Follow the Instructions

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake no the law of thy mother:” — Proverbs 1:8

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” — Proverbs 4:1

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” — Proverbs 4:13

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” — Proverbs 8:10

“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” — Proverbs 15:32

You’ve seen those scenes in movies where a couple buys a new piece of furniture that they have to put together themselves. Usually, the man lays aside the instructions to impress his woman, “Pfft,” he says, “I don’t need the instructions.” Then he commences to ruining the whole thing because he loses parts, or he doesn’t know where certain parts go. The man may gain a supposed victory as the furniture stands before him in a form unlike the image on the box, but soon it may fall to the floor in a giant heap of screws, boards, and random pieces. The man is defeated, and usually quite embarrassed. But if he had followed the instructions, he would have a beautiful piece worthy of display in his home. A piece that he could be proud of and that would please his wife.

If things end up so badly when we refuse instruction, then why do we so easily refuse it?

God knows man and his heart. God knows that if we follow our own path, we will ruin everything and cause problems for ourselves. So, He gave us instruction through His Word. Oh, what a loving Father!

Everyone, even you and me, we have thought at some point that we could make it on our own. Laying aside the instruction from God we thought wasn’t necessary and trying our own method. How did that end up? Not good? When we learned that our way wouldn’t work, we repented and tried God’s way. And what happened? It was all good.

Some people know the instruction, yet don’t follow it.

That’s why America, and the whole world is in the shape it’s in. There are few who don’t know of God. People know that the Bible is His instruction. The thing is, they look at the Bible and then at their own way, and turn from the Truth to follow a lie that drags them to Hell. Because the lie pleases their flesh for the moment, while the Bible’s guidance pushes to deny yourself.

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,” — Romans 1:27-29

So, people know of God, but they don’t like to retain Him in their knowledge. They want to do their own thing. They want to please themselves instead of pleasing God. I will be honest with you. This saddens me and makes me angry. The Bible is such a blessed thing. God is so kind to give us this instruction, and yet we throw it away and fulfill our own lusts. This should not be.

As true Christians, we should read and follow the Bible, God’s instructions. We can’t do this by ourselves. We can’t even live without the grace of God holding our breath in His hand. We are at His loving mercy. Why betray that love and cause heartache for ourselves?

Why not listen and do? I’m sure the world would be a much better place if more people would follow the instructions.

Faith Cross

Watch Your Mouth

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” — Job 27:4

“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” — Psalm 34:13

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” — Psalm 39:1

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” — Proverbs 18:21

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” — Proverbs 21:23

And now go ahead and check out James 3:1-12.

We as humans have this little thing that lives in our mouths called a tongue. And the tongue is a strange little fellow. He lacks the hard strength of bones, but is mighty enough to slay a giant. He is nothing but muscle and mischief if allowed free will, becoming more fierce and skilled with use. His sharp words will cut like a dagger, and his sounds pierce like an arrow through the heart. He will speak the true nature of man’s heart, whether he be foolish or wise. And he can kindle great fires and destruction in his path. The power of the tongue can bring death.

The tongue can yield words of goodness. Kindness can flow from its syllables. It can build up and encourage a person. It can bring about great speeches and words from God that prick the hearts of many and strike them with wonder at the glory of the Lord. The power of the tongue can bring life.

But there is something we have to remember: No fountain can yield both sweet and bitter water.

How can we bless God and then curse men? How can we speak good of God, yet break our brothers with our words? Have you ever heard the saying, “Silence is golden?” In all honesty, if people were silent more often, the world would be a better place. So many things are said that shouldn’t be, and they start little strivings that turn into huge ordeals, when in the first place if a kind word were spoken it would all have gone a different way. We can say something bad and then something good, but the bad will corrupt the good and make it all bad. It’s kind of like a sweet vanilla ice cream that has a roach in the middle, or a plate of roaches with ice cream on top. See the roaches are nasty, and it doesn’t matter how good the ice cream is, you’re not going to eat it because of the bugs. At least, I wouldn’t.

We are all human. There will be times where we mess up. We will say something we aren’t supposed to and then it snowballs into a mass of chaos.

So, here’s a challenge for you:

The Bible says to be quick to hear and slow to speak. I challenge you to listen. Get all the facts. Learn about the whole situation by observing and STAYING SILENT. Then, think, but don’t trust in your own understanding. Ask the Lord for help. Take your situation to Him and He can tell you what to say. Then, speak, and see how it goes for you.

Faith Cross

The Inside Counts First

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” –Mark 7:15

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart: and they defile the man.” –Matthew 15:18

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” –Jerimiah 17:9

The heart of man is an evil thing, selfish to the core. It wants nothing but to please itself. It thinks wickedly all hours of the day. It basks in corruption and maliciousness. It is villainous and vile, and to follow it would spell doom for the soul.

A man or woman can do good to others, go to church, and just be one of those good ole’ people. But if they never receive Jesus into their heart, sadly, they die and leave this world for an eternal torture.

What you do matters, but what’s on the inside matters first.

Interesting thought: Who you are on the inside will dictate what you do on the outside. Why do we label drinkers as ‘drinkers’? Think about it. You label a drinker a ‘drinker’ because that’s what they do. They drink. The same goes for a smoker, or a chef, or a farmer. I label myself as a ‘writer’ because that’s what I do. I write. But the thing is, a farmer wouldn’t plant crops all the time if that wasn’t what he wanted to do. A chef wouldn’t cook all the time if that’s not what his heart was drawn to. They are labeled those things because that’s what they do, but they wouldn’t do them if that’s not who they were on the inside.

Now, here’s the thing. The heart of man is evil and that’s what’s inside him. So, he will do what his heart wants. But when God comes in, the story changes.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.” –Ezekiel 36:26-27

God gives us a new heart when we accept Him as Savior. We are new creatures in Christ. There’s a label given to people like that. They are called born again Christians because now it’s in their heart to be Christ-like. They have a desire to walk in God’s statutes, keep His judgments, and do them.

So, it matters what you do, but that is dictated by who you are on the inside, or rather, Who is inside you.

Stewardship

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” — 1 Corinthians 4:2

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” — 1 Peter 4:10

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” — Colossians 3:23

And one more, Matthew 25:14-30.

Stewardship is a word that most Christians are well familiar with. And about everyone understands the word’s meaning. Stewards faithfully take care of what their master places in their management.

So, what has your Master placed in your management?

Look around you. It’s all in your hand. In Genesis, God gave Adam dominion over all living things, but He also gave Adam responsibility to take care of the garden of Eden.

“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” — Genesis 2:15

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. God blesses us with gifts and talents. They are not ours to keep, but are placed with us to multiply, to bless others with, and fulfill God’s purpose for us. Every human is born with a purpose and talents and gifts to help fulfill that purpose. But if that human doesn’t choose to manage those gifts and nurture those talents, they are wasted. That is not good stewardship.

God didn’t have to let you wake up this morning, but here you are. Time is something else God has placed with you today. And there are so many ways we can spend it. You could spend all day roaming on social media. You could use the time to call a distant relative and let them know you’re praying for them. I could go on forever. But the thing to remember is that we are given time. As good stewards,  we need to manage our time in a way that glorifies God.

God has given us so much. The promises and blessings are overflowing. The love and mercy is never-ending. There should be nothing we aren’t willing to do for Him. Granted, we get scared sometimes when what He commands us to do gets us out of our comfort zone. And yes, sometimes we flat-out don’t want to do it. And sometimes, we can’t see how He could provide the means for us to do it.

So, you can hide it in the dirt, or use it for His glory.

When He gives us something, time, energy, talents, whatever it may be, we are to faithfully take care of what He’s given. Remember, the good and faithful servant entered into the joy of his Lord.

–Faith Cross

A Peer’s Pressure

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

Before we get started, I want you to take a look at Proverbs 1:10-19 and James 1:12-18.

I wanted to talk today about something that everyone goes through. Adults, teens, and children alike, go through this and sometimes it’s hard to turn away.

What I’m talking about is peer pressure.

The internet defines peer pressure as “influence from members of one’s peer group.”

You can have a child tempting another with stealing a cookie when their mother told them specifically no dessert before dinner. You can have a teen offering one of his non-smoking friends a cigarette, promising not to tell a soul. I heard a story about a man presenting another who did not drink with an alcoholic drink multiple times, but at each time he refused. These are examples of bad peer pressure.

Temptation is a nasty thing. Lying in wait around street corners, patiently awaiting your arrival so it can say, “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause.” And it doesn’t even have to be necessarily huge bad things. It can be little things, too.

But here’s what you have to remember.

God has the ability to look at each and every person as if no one else in the world exists. He can look at us all as individuals, and wants us to have an individual relationship with Him.

That being the case, He doesn’t compare us to anyone else. Likewise we don’t need to compare with others either. “Jake only fasts once a week. I don’t think I need to fast three times a week.” “Carol doesn’t pray five times a day. I don’t think I need to.”

Don’t give in to the temptations of life, or enticements of the devil. 

You should look at yourself and say, “What do I need to do to get closer to God? What can I do to strengthen my walk with Him.”

It’s just you and God in this instance. What other people do doesn’t matter. It’s what you do that helps or hinders your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

–Faith Cross

Every Choice Matters

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” — Deuteronomy 30:19

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” — Galatians 6:7-10

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” — 2 Corinthians 5:10

Every choice matters

Everything you do matters. God put you on this earth to fulfill a purpose. Everything you do should be to forward that purpose. Granted, there are times when we feel like our purpose is unclear, or the steps are uncertain. And yes, there are times when we don’t know what we are doing or we don’t know what our purpose is. And sometimes, choices have many options and it is hard to determine the perfect right answer.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” — Philippians 2:12-13

God has given us this beautiful, yet terrifying thing called freedom of choice. We can choose to do whatever we want. We can choose to live as a giver of nourishment to the hungry, or we can choose to be a mugger that slinks in alleyways. We can choose to live as the head of a multibillion-dollar business, or we can choose to live life on the streets as a beggar. Every day is filled with choices. The world runs on choices.

Think about that.

Are you choosing life or death? Are you choosing to be joyful or sorrowful? Good or bad? Godliness or ungodliness? Are you choosing to follow God or turn from the righteous path?

Every choice matters. Every choice counts. What are you choosing?

–Faith Cross

They Are Watching You…

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink or, whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” — 1 Corinthians 10:31

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17

They are watching.

The people around you are all watching. They watch the way you contort your face at the words they say. They watch the way you walk. They see the way you treat others. They view the way you handle situations. They are watching.

What are you showing them?

Do you let them see a smile or a look of disgust? Do you show them how close you walk with the Lord? Do you show them how you would like to be treated? When trials come, do you let them see a wavering, melting Christian or one standing firm and unfaltering? What are you showing them?

No matter how bad the temptation is, don’t give in. Don’t give them an opportunity to justify bad actions, “Well, they are a Christian and they do it so it must be okay, right?”

Do what you do for the glory of God, do what you do so they can see the truth, and do what you do to show them what’s right from wrong. Show them what a true Christian is. Christian means Christ-like.

When they look at you, do they see Christ?

Yes, sometimes we want to lash out in all our fury. Yes, sometimes we want to tell people off. Sometimes it’s really hard to do the right thing. But, Christ first. Jesus goes first. God is first in our lives no matter the circumstances because we love Him and we want to please Him.

They are listening. Are you saying the right things? They are looking. Are you shining the light in your soul? They are watching you. Always watching you.

–Faith Cross

Don’t Stress

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

I have a few verses here for you.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” — James 1:2-4

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” — John 14:27

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” — Romans 8:28

So, what is all of this about?

Well, if you haven’t already noticed, there’s a lot of junk going on in the world right now. And the funny thing is, it’s not just wreaking havoc on the world, but it’s wreaking havoc in our individual lives as well. In this time, it’s easy to get stressed out about everything you have to do or everything that’s going on. I know I do.

But realize this:

God is the biggest, strongest, most powerful Being in the Universe, and He has decided to fight for us. He has made the choice to listen to us as we pray. He wants to move on our behalf.

Yes, you can get all stressed out about everything. Yes, it’s human to feel like the world is coming down on you sometimes. And yes, from time to time, every little thing will try its absolute best to break your nerves.

But you are a child of God.

And He will not suffer you to break under the pressure. God is right there with you through it all. And guess what? He’s gone through it, too. The stress of the multitudes coming to be healed. The stress of having his own people hate Him. The constant cries for help rang in His ears, those merciless pleas for aid. He knows what it’s like to be stretched thin by the pulling of life. God came down as a human. He knows all about our struggles.

So, when you feel yourself start to panic at all the politics, the media, your obligations and tasks, and the things you don’t understand, stop. Take a step back and breathe. Evaluate what needs to be done. Write it down if you have to, but look at it. Really study it. Tell yourself, with God all things are possible. Ask Him for His guidance and help. And then, do it. Slowly but surely, step by step, you’ll get through this.

You will because the biggest, strongest, most powerful Being in the Universe has decided to walk with you all the way home.

–Faith Cross

It’s Not All About Me

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. thanks for visiting me today.

I’ve got some reading for you to do. Read Genesis (37:28), (39:4, 20, 22), (41:39-40).

Now, most of us know the story of Joseph. His brothers placed him in a pit and then sold him. He went to being just under the head of the Potiphar’s house. Then, he was cast into prison and left there for a while. Then, he was made second to Pharaoh in Egypt. But let me ask you something:

Was it all about him?

Well, the obvious answer is “no.” God put him in a place through his ups and downs where he could help His people. Through his trials, God brought him to a place where he could save thousands. But he had to be taught some lessons first.

When we go through trials, sometimes we have the tendency to ask “Why me?” or “Why this?.” But God never does anything without purpose. And what’s more, He can do something in your life that can help in more than one area. One of the main things in a Christian life is to live your life for others. So now let me ask you this:

Are the things you’re going through all about you?

Correct answer: no. Trials and tribulations help one to grow, or teach one a lesson. Your growth can help someone else down the road who is going through the same thing you faced. The heartache can teach you a lesson and help you talk someone else out of making the same mistake.

God loves you, and if you were the only one on earth, He would have still laid down His life. But the truth is, there are other people on this earth too. There are people at rock bottom who need help. Think about it, Joseph went through ups and downs and in the end saved a nation from starving. He couldn’t help them until he was at the right place physically and spiritually. And to get to that place, God found it necessary to put him through trials.

This trial is not all about you. This pain, it’s not just for you. You, as a child of God, are put here for a purpose, and everything you go through is to help you and possibly help someone else.

–Faith Cross

Love, Selfishness, and Self Care

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today. 

So, here I am again, breaking things down the way I understand them. I don’t know everything, and I don ‘t have all the answers, but here’s what I think.

In the blog “Love Is Sacrifice,” I went over defining love and its attributes. But now I’m going to continue this thought and bring in two more subjects, selfishness and self care.

It is my understanding that the world runs on two very simple concepts, love and selfishness.

If you think about it, love is the sacrifice you give, just like God gave of Himself.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” — John 3:16

Love is giving of yourself, and selfishness is taking for yourself. satan is a prime example of selfishness.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” — Isaiah 14:12-15

So, to be like Christ we must give of ourselves to others. But here’s something to think about: Can you give too much of yourself?

That’s where the third subject, self care, comes into play. Google gives the definition of self care, “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” You see, this is the balance between love and selfishness. And even though it may seem like you’re being selfish to take time for yourself, it’s really helping you to help others.

Let’s face it, we’re all human. We all get angry, sad, upset, beat down, and discouraged. We can’t help everyone all the time, because we ourselves need help too. An angry person who meets another angry person won’t bring them out of anger, but each fuels the other and both rage together.

So take some time for yourself. Let yourself grow in God. Read His Word, talk to Him, ask Him to help you. Make sure your heart is as right as it can be. It’s okay, it’s good even to do things that make you happy (as long as they are pure things).

Remember the acronym of J.O.Y. Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. Don’t neglect Jesus, don’t neglect others. But don’t forget: Don’t neglect yourself.

–Faith Cross