Tag Archives: godly living

Pray for the Peace of Washington D.C.

Pray for the Peace of Washington D.C.
This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Pray for America

Cover of "The Secret Power of Speaking Go...

I picked up a great little book that I take with me to church and sit in the prayer room during the second service. It’s from Joyce Meyer Ministries: The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word. I bought it when Joyce was here in Phoenix a few years ago. What makes this book different is that it puts scripture into the first person and it’s divided into topical sections.

In the “Civic Responsibility” section I like to take the 3rd one down and give it my own spin:

“I pray for the peace of Washington D.C.! … May peace be within your walls and prosperity within your palaces!” (based on Psalm 122:6-7)

If Christians in the U.S. pray this several times a day, maybe we’ll see a change.

Here’s another…

I am one of God’s chosen people. I am called by His name. If I humble myself, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity the face of God and turn from my wicked ways, then will God hear from heaven, forgive my sin, and heal my land. (based on 2 Chronicles 7:14)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~Matthew 11:28 (MSG)

Prayer is a powerful tool.

We may feel that we can’t do anything to change anything in Washington D.C. We may feel that our representatives and senators aren’t listening to us or putting the needs of the people first instead of politics. We may feel helpless, but we’re not. We’ve got the power of prayer.

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

We don’t know what God’s plans are. We can seek his Will for our lives and pray for the lives of others. And when we do, we will feel “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” and that is an awesome feeling. What happens in the world, doesn’t matter. It’s in God’s hands.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

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Are you a Cultural Christian?

Are you a Cultural Christian?
This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

What is a “Cultural Christian”?

A Cultural Christian is someone who may be born again, believes Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, may have been baptized by immersion, yet still accepts, lives in sin and/or condones what the current culture accepts as proper, OK, passable, not a sin — knowing that it’s against God’s will and law and does nothing about it.

It’s like you have one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in the world.

The problem with that is that once you become a born-again believer, you are a Citizen of Heaven and you cannot continue being a citizen of world.

I was a cultural Christian for many years. Of course, I knew my ticket to heaven was secure, but I thought I could continue to do some of the things that I did before and it was OK. It’s wasn’t. I was in a relationship with an unbeliever and after each “encounter” I had this guilty feeling. That was the Holy Spirit inside of me convicting me – telling me that what I was doing was disappointing God. It was against his rules for living a righteous, Christ-like life.

I was a liberal Democrat. I had the attitude of “to each his own” – but condoning and accepting bad behavior is also against God’s will. Now, I’m a Christian Conservative and what’s happening in our country and the world makes me angry. Actually, I’m incensed and disgusted! I don’t recognize America any more – I know our Founding Fathers wouldn’t either. 

A Cultural Christian thinks same-sex marriage is OK. In God’s eyes it is NOT so it shouldn’t be so in your eyes.

A Cultural Christian thinks abortion is OK. It is not in God’s eyes – it’s the murder of innocent lives. It doesn’t make sense that when a pregnant woman is murdered it’s two counts of murder, yet society condones the murder of innocent babies like they were trash.

Get the point?

As a Christian, you MUST read the Bible DAILY! 

With so many Bible apps & websites, there really isn’t any valid excuse not to. Check these out:

You must attend and get involved in a bible-based church.

“Bible-based” is the relevant keyword here. Make sure the church leaders and pastors don’t pick and choose what Bible verses to teach and ignore the ones that God needs believers to hear. Strive to seek the truth.

Live a WWJD? life.

Stop and think before reacting. Say to yourself, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” “How would Jesus handle this issue?” What would Jesus say in response?” “Would Jesus watch this show?” “Is God smiling or is He disappointed in me and my behavior?”

Connect with Christians on the social media sites.

Follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their blogs, like them on Facebook. You become like those you hang out with. Striving to be Christ-like is not easy. But it helps when you get together with other committed Christians and talk about the latest news, how you feel and how your friends feel about the issues.

This world is not all there is – Thanks to Jesus!

When I look around at this sin-sick world that I live in, I thank the Lord Jesus that this is not all there is. That I have a HOPE like no other in Christ of an eternal life in a Paradise called Heaven. I like reading Revelation 21.

Here are a few of my favorite passages from that chapter:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared…I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Jesus at the Gate

The Narrow Gate into God’s Kingdom – Heaven

And the one sitting on the throne [Jesus] said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:1, 3-8

You can take the wide gate just to be popular and accepted into today’s society and culture or you can truly live the Christian life and enter Heaven through the narrow gate:

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it…”~Matthew 7:13-14

 It’s Your Choice.

Here’s a hint: Jesus wins in the end! Don’t you want to be on HIS Side? Click here to get to know Christ personally – it is about a personal relationship, not about religion.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow @GiselleAguiar on Twitter
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Conduct Unbecoming a Christian

Conduct Unbecoming a Christian
This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

bible readingIf you’ve served in the military or watched any war movies, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “conduct unbecoming an officer.” It’s a charge with sometimes severe consequences if an officer does something that an officer shouldn’t do.

As Christians, we are supposed to act like Christ. It’s expected of us.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he stresses this:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. ~Phil. 1:27a

What’s important are the first two words: “whatever happens” – that means at all times, in all circumstances, no matter what.

There’s no excuse for not behaving like a Christian!

It’s not easy. But God gave us two invaluable tools: the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it. ~Luke 11: 28

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. ~Galatians 5: 22-26

Each morning, before we start our day, we need to ask God for strength and guidance to conduct ourselves worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Twitter: @wwjdrevival

Check out these other great blogs:

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

WWJD? At work?

WWJD? At work?

In His Steps by Charles M. SheldonIn His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
In the original book that started the WWJD? movement back in 1897 (too bad it didn’t stick), In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon, several business people who are members of the fictional First Christian Church of Raymond, Kanas, take the pledge to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” before making any decisions or reacting. The results are incredible from a man who reports his superiors after discovering they were defrauding the government and subsequently losing his job, to the  newspaper editor who stopped accepting ads for tobacco and liquor, to the business owner who started treating his employees and customers with the Grace of God.

But, In His Steps is a work of fiction. It was a compilation of a 12-week sermon series that Rev. Sheldon preached to his congregation in 1896.

How different would the world be if Christians everywhere would really live a WWJD? life – especially in business?

James Cash Penney c. 1902

James Cash Penney c. 1902

We have a modern-day example of a Christian businessperson who lived a WWJD? life – James Cash Penney, better know and J. C. Penney, the man who started the chain store from a store called, “The Golden Rule” in Kemmerer, Wyoming. J. C. Penney has stores in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico along with a catalog business nationwide.

I have found silence to be a powerful element in prayer. To learn to be alone with God even in the presence of others is something we Christians should try to do. There are innumerable times during the day when we can turn our thoughts, even for a moment, from business affairs and center them on God’s goodness, Christ’s love, our fellow man’s needs.
~ J. C. Penney*

His philosophy was to treat customers as he would want to be treated.

How are you doing? Are you treating your customers, clients, co-workers and employees as you would want to be treated? Do you stop and pray and thank God several times a day? You should.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8

*J. C. Penney quoted from 365 Daily Answers to What Would Jesus Do?

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Check out these other great blogs:

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight USA to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today
This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Christianity

I met with my pastors, Jon Taylor, Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Phoenix, and Chuck Foreman, the teaching/missions pastor, this week to talk about collaborating on a small-group study on WWJD?. They agreed to help write it as well as a companion sermon guide.

Chuck forwarded me a newsletter from the Disciple Nations Alliance. I loved the opening message and tried to find it in a blog online at their website so I could share it, but could not. It was written just for the newsletter recipients. Thus, I’m compelled to share it here since it highlights the need for a church-wide study on WWJD?.

Coram Deo: Before the Face of God

A deadly virus is running rampant through the Church around the world. Not a physical virus, but a mental one—and very subtle. Victims typically don’t realize they are infected.

What is this virus? It’s the idea that the Christian faith is primarily personal and private. It addresses personal salvation, and it focuses on developing a pious inner life, but it has little to do with how someone lives the rest of his or her life.

There are huge problems with this.

We spend the vast majority of our time working, eating, playing, and living in relationship with family, friends, and co-workers. If my faith isn’t informing how I live my life, something else surely is. And that something is the accepted norms, values, and practices of my surrounding culture.

The virus enables Christians to assume they are theologically orthodox because they affirm correct answers to the questions of God, man, the fall, and salvation. Yet it prevents them from making a connection between these personal/spiritual topics and how they think about work, life, leisure, and the broader culture. While holding to a form of Christianity, in practice, they are functional atheists, Gnostics, or animists, depending on the culture from which they come.

This explains how Enron’s indicted former CEO, Ken Lay, while serving as an elder in his local evangelical congregation, could drive his company off a cliff. In business, you play by the rules; and in today’s America, the rules are established by the secular, pragmatic, materialistic culture. It is OK to “cook the books” and deceive shareholders, so long as you don’t get caught.

This is just want Satan wants, for the virus strips the church of its saltiness. It is no longer able to influence and shape culture. God’s truth is shackled—prevented from penetrating and saturating all areas of life and society. As a result, the nations are not discipled. Rather, the church increasingly reflects the values and practices of the nations. This is the tragic consequence: The failure of the church to understand, much less carry out, the Great Commission. The nations—trapped in structures of poverty, corruption, and tyranny—are paying the price.

This is the problem we exist to address. This virus has to be attacked head-on, exposed for the lie that it is. When Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he really meant it. His truth applies to every area of public life. It is not merely a message of salvation; it is an all-encompassing way of understanding everything. We are called not just to save people out of the world, but to bring the truth to bear in all areas, thereby living God-honoring lives and creating God-honoring cultures, starting with our families, churches, arenas of work and, ultimately, nations. As this happens, the nations are blessed, just as God promised they would be (Genesis 12:1-3).

God loves His Bride, and we see increasing evidence that He is awakening her to this inward threat. We believe God has raised up the DNA to be part of the solution, and we are grateful for your partnership in the endeavor.

In Galatians 5:13, Paul tells us Christians:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Here, “the flesh” refers to the sinful nature of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. You see, it’s not “natural” for us to be godly. We can thank Adam and Eve for that. But Jesus shows us how to live righteous lives and commands us to do so. (Romans 12:1-3)

WWJD? The Revival is not just another fad

Our mission is to help Christians strive to be Christ-like. It’s not easy. We are tempted by the world on a daily basis. That is why the small-group study that we’re preparing is so vital. When discussed in the small-group setting, the group members hold each-other accountable. That makes a big difference from just reading a daily devotional.

Please follow WWJD? The Revival on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We will keep you updated on the progress of the study and when it will be available. In the meantime, look for devotionals, bible passages and encouragements.

God Bless,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-winning Christian Author
@giselleaguiar 

Christians should be shocked by sin

Christians should be shocked by sin

Love the Sinner – Hate the Sin

I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin. ~Psalm 36:1-2

The greatest security against sin is to be shocked at its presence.~Thomas Carlyle

shocked

We are as a society, less and less shockable. We are the proverbial frog in a pan of heating water, unaware of our danger. What would Jesus do about the lack of concern over sin? Wouldn’t He want to restore sight to those who are blinded by the deceitfulness of sin? A healthy fear of God is a good way to restore our sens of right and wrong, sin and righteousness.

God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God. ~Psalm 55:19

Excerpt from: 365 WWJD: Daily Answers to What Would Jesus Do?

Why do we condone what goes on in society? As Christians, we cannot keep the blinders on. We must speak out when we are bombarded by immoral and offensive advertising, TV shows, radio shows, movies and other forms of so-called “entertainment.”

We Christians can change the world.

365 Days of WWJD?

Further reading:

How should Christians talk about same-sex issues?

Keep the Peace Within You

ABC’s #GCB Should be Called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins’

What would Jesus do?

Walking the Walk
Follow WWJD? The Revival on Facebook
Twitter: @wwjdrevival

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
Deo Volente! (God Willing): Christian Church History, The Roman Empire

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

 

Resisting Temptation

Resisting Temptation
This entry is part 23 of 23 in the series WWJD?

In two subplots in the movie Courageous, we see examples of integrity – one man who had it and one who didn’t.

Courageous, the movie

How's Your Integrity?

Sheriff’s Officer, Shane Fuller, played by Kevin Downes, is a Christian, divorced dad struggling to pay his child support and alimony.

Javier Martinez, played by Robert Amaya, is Christian, married, father of two struggling to feed his family and pay the rent and bills. He hears about construction jobs, but when he gets there, they have enough men and he’s sent home.

Javier later gets a job at a factory and after a month, is presented with an offer. The company’s president tells him he can be promoted to a managerial position with increased pay if he would just fudge the inventory a bit.

Shane, is also tested daily. As the Sheriff’s Office arrests drug dealers in the city, Shane is in charge of getting the recovered drugs to the evidence locker. He is tempted to take one or two packets thinking that they wouldn’t be missed.

Which one do you think passed the test? Which one do you think stuck to the integrity and moral values of his Christian faith? Which one do you think fell to desperation and greed?

The answer is surprising. Sheriff Officer, Adam Mitchell, played by Alex Kendrick (who also co-wrote and directed the movie), notices that the amount of drugs collected doesn’t match the amount in the evidence locker. He suspects his partner, Shane, who is later caught in a sting and sent to jail.

Javier, after thinking it over and talking to his wife, tells his boss, that no, what he was asking him to do, lying on the inventory sheet, is dishonest and it goes against God’s Word. As it turns out, it was a test and Javier passed. They were looking for the honest, man of integrity to promote. They had tested many other people and Javier was the only truly, trustworthy person.

Read the rest of this entry

When Everything is Heading South…

When Everything is Heading South…
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Story of God

Excerpt from Chuck Foreman’s sermon 1/15/12 given at First Christian Church of Phoenix

Usually when things begin to go south in our lives, it’s not because we’ve had nothing to do with it. But we often look for someone else to blame. Those “downward spiral” times when everything in our lives just starts to hit the fan are precisely the times when we need to stop and take a long, hard look in the mirror. We need to get on our knees alone with God and honestly ask Him, “How am I doing, Lord?” What do you want to teach me right now? Not so-and-so, not my mate, not the government, not my bank—but ME!?

Christ's ArmsA couple of ‘spiritual tune up’ suggestions:

Memorize James 4:8 and take it like big boys and girls as if God were getting right up in our faces. It goes like this:

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ~James 4:8

We also need to understand and really believe that God is looking lovingly, deep into our hearts for something. He’s not looking for perfection; He’s just looking for openness to Him, a willingness to repent and change, and a desire to be used by Him.

Have you ever wondered what God does in his spare time?

Here’s what he’s up to:

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.~ II Chronicles 16:9a

God’s looking for a reason to rescue us, help us out of our downward spiral! He’s looking for some sign from us that we really want Him!

We’re going to see as we journey thru The Story of God this year together that rescuing His lost & fallen creation is THE PLOT in God’s Story—in Our Story.

Next: In the Beginning…

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Additional Reading: The Devil Made Me Do It

6 Traits of a Leader

6 Traits of a Leader
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Christian Leadership

In this time of predictions for the new year, as one reads them, one wonders if they will come true. Did last year’s predictions come true? Probably not. But we have to realize that the unforeseen keeps making the future unforeseeable.

We can plan and set goals, but one thing is certain, there will be obstacles in our paths and how we deal with those is the sign of a person who follows God’s teachings or the Devil’s.

Whether you’re a leader or a follower, these 6 traits are what a godly person should have that will help them handle any crisis. And when you think about it, they are the traits we should look for in presidential candidates.

  1. Integrity: the person’s life and words match
  2. Justice: the person rejects dishonest gain
  3. Convictions: the person’s values won’t allow their to accept bribes
  4. Positive Focus: the person refuses to dwell on destructive issues
  5. Pure: the person disciplines their mind to remain clean and pure
  6. Secure: the person is firm, stable in their identity and source of strength (God)

Adapted from Leadership Promises for Every Day by John C. Maxwell based on Isaiah 33:14-16

Religious rightThere is no perfect candidate just like there are no perfect people. Only Jesus is perfect and a godly person strives to be Christ-like and that shows in how the person lives.

People change. We need to look at the change for the better which shows that they have the traits listed above. Watch for these traits in the presidential candidates.

We all make mistakes. It’s how we handle ourselves when we realize our actions were wrong is the sign of the WWJD? person.

Follow WWJD on Twitter

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author & Inspirational Speaker
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Extra Grace Required

Extra Grace Required
This entry is part 19 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

Family holiday dinnerHow did your relationships fare during the Christmas get-togethers? Were there some rough patches you’d like to soon forget? Or was there joy and good cheer all around?

I yelled at my 88-year-old mother over the phone on Christmas day. Bad daughter. I had reminded her to do something regarding a financial matter and she told me that some lady told her it wasn’t necessary. She’s been let’s say, a little unwise with her finances and I lost my cool. I reacted instead of stopping and saying WWJD?

A few minutes after hanging up, I started feeling lousy. How could I yell at my mom on Christmas?! I called her back to apologize begging her forgiveness.

She’s become one of the “EGR” people as my pastor, Chuck Foreman, (First Christian Church of Phoenix) spoke about a few Sundays ago. EGR= Extra Grace Required.

For 88, mom’s doing pretty good even after major surgery and a long recovery. She’s home in Puerto Rico (I’m in Phoenix) and doing OK. But, she’s 88, set in her ways, and even though she seems to be “all there,” she’ll forget some things sometimes.

Anyway, Pastor Chuck has been sending me his sermon notes to use as material in this blog and here’s an excerpt of the sermon message of 12/18/11 entitled: “Going Home for Christmas: Unintended Destinations—-in My Relationships”. (Listen to the whole message here.)

There is nothing more important to God than our relationships.

Ironically, that’s where most of us have our biggest issues. We’ve driven some giant wedges between ourselves and some people. We hang on to hurts, resentments & we’ve either written people off or we’ve fallen into an ungodly pattern of how we live with and treat them. We might even tell them, “The last thing I want to do is hurt you.” But it’s still on the list.

There are some things I’ve noticed about people—about us.

Settling In…

Christians are often the guiltiest of this tendency, especially when we’ve been a Follower of Christ for a long time. We stop really following Jesus and just settle in. We stop growing. Over time, our Christianity becomes more defined by our routine of attending Christian Stuff –going to church, prayer, Bible Studies, concerts, conferences, meetings—Our Christianity is more about that kind of routine than really behaving and living as Jesus would. We stop paying attention to our attitudes & how we respond to people.

When was the last time you stopped to take inventory of yourself, and genuinely, honestly take a long, hard look in the spiritual mirror and asked Jesus, “How am I doing, Lord?”

Without realizing it, we settle in to a negative pattern of treating people. Sometimes it’s only certain people, but how we view them & treat them is so un-Christ-like that we would be shocked if we saw the video playback of our own behavior toward them.

We tend to excuse ourselves thinking that certain people or groups of people don’t apply. It doesn’t really matter how we treat them. For some reason, they are the exception. This happens in marriage, with other family members, parents to children, children to parents, between siblings, in friendships, & in work relationships. No relationship is immune to the abuse of un-love.

Who is it that you exempt yourself from treating in a Christ-like way?

Violating Boundaries…

We break God’s Law by violating each other’s personal boundaries. Before we get into this, What is the purpose of the Old Testament (OT) Law? –and of our subsequent modern laws, all of which are based in some way on the OT Biblical Law. Here’s the purpose of the Law…are you ready? The purpose of the law is to protect us from each other.

In 1992, Henry Cloud & John Townsend wrote a great book called Boundaries. In leadership circles, we often refer to the parts of this book that talk about setting personal boundaries so we don’t get burned out. In other words, workaholics like me need to learn to say NO, etc. But most of this great book is for people who violate the God-given, personal boundaries of others by trying to control them. You see, for some of us, everything has to be “just so” & done “just so”. We impose our hang-ups on those around us, usually those closest to us. We become control freaks, trespassing on the lives of other people—in areas we really have no right to and usually about things that matter only to us. No relationship is healthy or desirable when personal boundaries are continually violated.

We Settle In… Violate others personal Boundaries, and We all have…

EGR People…

These are very special people. Bless their hearts! They’re in a world all to themselves—because their world is all about themselves. They have achieved the honor of belonging to their own category of living things. This category is even denoted by an acronym—E-G-R, which stands for Extra Grace Required! We all know some people who fall into this category.

We all have difficult people in our lives.  Some of us have become difficult people.  We all have relationships that are not what they should be—not what they could be.  Often the single most dishonoring  area of our lives to God is our relationships. 

I’m convinced from scripture and listening to Jesus in the NT that there is nothing more important to God than our relationships with other people—-all the people in our lives and all the people we meet. According to Jesus, love for God cannot be separated from love for people. He never, ever separated what He called the “2nd Commandment” from the “1st or Greatest Commandment:” Read Matthew 22:36-40

And Jesus gave us The Golden Rule: Matthew 7:12
Don’t forget The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37
(Read WWJD blog post: Love Your Neighbor)

Jesus’ best friend, the Apostle John, put it this way: I John 4:7-8 & I John 4:19-21

You say, “I don’t hate so-and-so, I just can’t stand him/her!” You know, we’re not gonna feel warm fuzzies for everyone. How do you treat them?—is the question. Do your actions toward this person speak of love, or do they speak of disdain, even hate?

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The last of the “Going Home for Christmas” series was Christmas Eve. I’ll have that one up shortly. Subscribe so you don’t miss it. It was a great message.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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10 Ways to Pray for People in Authority

10 Ways to Pray for People in Authority
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Pray for America
Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.~1 Timothy 2:1-2

No matter which political party you favor, if you voted for the current president, senators, congresspeople, representatives, federal, state or local, you can still pray for them. God calls us to.

  1. That they be God Fearing and recognize that they are accountable to Him for each decision and act. (Proverbs 9:10)
  2. That they be granted wisdom, knowledge and understanding. (James 1:5)
  3. That, if unsaved, they be drawn to a saving encounter with Christ; if born again, they be strengthened and encouraged in their faith. (1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 1: 17-23)
  4. That they recognize their own inadequacy and pray and seek the will of God. (Proverbs 3:5-8, Luke 11: 9-13)
  5. That they read the Bible and attend prayer meetings and Bible studies. (Psalm 11: 1-7, Colossians 3:2)
  6. That they be given godly counsel and God-fearing advisors. (Proverbs 24:6)
  7. That they be honest in financial, tax and ethical matters. (1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:6-10)
  8. That they desire honesty, integrity and loyalty. (Psalm 26: 1-12, Proverbs 11:3)
  9. That they have courage to resist manipulation, pressure and the fear of man. (Proverbs 29:25, 2 Timothy 1:7)
  10. That they endeavor to restore the sanctity of life, families, divine order and morality in our nation. (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)

Note: I can’t take credit for writing this or the research putting scriptures for each number. This came from a handout with no copyright or author that I found in my church’s prayer room called “Prayers for Our Country and Our Leaders.”

Related reading: Wanting God’s Best for Our Land

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

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Unintended Destinations – part 2

Unintended Destinations – part 2
This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Christmas

This is a continuation of Unintended Destinations an excerpt from Chuck Foreman, Teaching Pastor at First Christian Church of Phoenix

It’s Christmas Time, so I’m gonna throw in a little of the Christmas Story here. Remember the part about the Wise Guys? I mean the Wise Men? It’s in Matthew 2:1-12

Verses 1-2
The Star— We actually have software now which enables us to look at what was happening in the sky around the beginning of the 1st Century. What the Wise Men saw was Jupiter (King Planet) & Venus (Mother Planet) aligning. This would have looked like the largest star you’d ever seen! By God’s design, the Heavens were telling about the birth of a King.

When this alignment of the King & Mother planets occurred, it happened w/in the Constellation Leo (the Lion). The Lion, is the symbol of Judah, which told these eastern astronomers right where to find this new King.

Verses 3-8
On Dec. 25, 2 BC, Jupiter went into retrograde motion, which from a person’s vantage point on earth, who might just happen to be in Jerusalem, would appear that Jupiter had actually stopped in the evening sky right over a little Judean town called—Bethlehem. The Heavens were telling God’s Story, and Jupiter, the King Planet led the Magi all the way to Bethlehem. Pretty Cool.

Verses 7-12
But now these guys are stuck in Judea. They can’t go back home thru Jerusalem because Herod will figure out where Jesus is and go kill him. Matthew is very specific that, “…having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” They couldn’t get back home they way they’d come.

I know that’s not Matthew’s main point. He’s just telling us the story. But I’ve been thinking about that—These astronomers found themselves in a real pickle, a long way from home. And getting back required a change of direction.

If we’ve found ourselves distant from God, far away from Him, we’re never going to get back to Him on the same route that led us away from Him! We have to get back home another way!

If we’re honest, we know what sin it is that has us in its clutches. We keep going back to it and we know it’s become like a brick wall between us & God. We won’t let go of it and therefore, it won’t let go of us.

  • Sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend before marriage
  • Porn—It’s as addictive as any drug isn’t it? And it’s everywhere. You have to decide ahead of time what you’re going to do.
  • Anger or Critical Spirit—you do more tearing down than building up.
  • What’s the thing you won’t let go of?

  • What’s the thing that won’t let go of you?

Sometimes our sin isn’t that obvious. Some of you are sitting here right now thinking, “I don’t do any of those things.” But you still feel about as far away from God as you can get. It’s because for you, SIN has masked itself as—SELF. But you can’t see it because you haven’t stopped to take a long, hard look in the mirror since who knows when!

The thing that’s separating you from God isn’t any particular heinous sin that you can put your finger on. You’re not a bad person. You’re just a self-centered person—however subtle your self-centeredness may be.

If those who know you well were interviewed by Fox News, and asked these questions about you, what would they say?
Questions:

  1. What does (your name) do?
  2. What does (your name) love?
  3. What does (your name) stand for/believe in?
  4. What defines (your name) ?

How would those who know you well answer these questions about you?

What are you hanging onto that you need to let go of so God can change it into something that will help you serve Him?

What has a hold on you that you need to be released from so that you can be close to God again?

You see, our problem is either SIN of SELF. What’s keeping you away from God? What aren’t you letting go of? Are the habits & patterns in your life driving you to God or keeping him at arm’s length?

God wants you home for Xmas. He wants you back home with Him. But like the wise men—you’re not going to get back home the way you came. You’re gonna have to get home to God another way. Living life the way you have been & doing the same things you’ve been doing isn’t going to get you back to God. You’re gonna have to make a change in the way you live & in the way you think.

Seek, Reach Out, Find Him— Acts 17: 26-27

Everything God has done in your life has been so that you would find Him. The good and the bad happen to drive you to Him! He’s not far away from any of us. If you seek Him, you’ll find Him. If you reach out to Him, He’ll reach out to you…and lead you home!

Let Him take you home, back home, where He is, where you belong— this Christmas.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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God is in Control

God is in Control
This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Don't Worry

The world is under the influence of the devil, but it is not under his control. God is in control- now and always. ~Charles Stanley

God is involved in every moment of your life if you acknowledge Him or not.

God is a part of all things – He is the creator, sustainer and orchestrator of everything that is.

God gave humans free will and he will never override it.

God’s ultimate purpose will be accomplished. In the end, God will have His way. His will will be done!

God does not always manifest “control” when or how we think He should. God, however, knows precisely which method to use in which circumstance. He knows what is best for each life. And He knows precisely when to employ His chosen method. Our role is to trust Him implicitly. ~Charles Stanley

God is in control of the situation, and He will accomplish His purpose.
You can put yourself on God’s side- the side of victory.

You can trust God to act in precisely the right timing and with precisely the right method to accomplish the ultimate good in any situation and in any life.

Consult God always: 2 Chronicles 15:2, Isaiah 55:6, Psalm 63:1, Romans 8:28, Deuteronomy 28:1-2, Deuteronomy 28:25, James 4:7-8, James 4:10, Psalm 145:17-18

Like what you read? Then you’ll love my award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out: www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1


Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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Notes from Joyce Meyer in Phoenix

Notes from Joyce Meyer in Phoenix

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the MindAwesome as usual, I walked across the street to Phoenix First Assembly to see Joyce Meyer 3 out of the 4 sessions. What was also great was being able to finally connect with a college friend of mine (college in VT) who lives in my same neighborhood.

Last year, I wrote a series of articles on each of the sessions. This time I’m just going to share my notes. As always, i come out of these sessions pumped up for the Lord and determined to change for the better.

One thing about Joyce is that she doesn’t hold anything back. She’s also a trooper. Her first night in Phoenix, she developed an abscessed tooth and had to wait to have it fixed till she got back home. But, in pain and with a swollen cheek, she taught her sessions not missing a beat.

Note: Joyce always reads from the Amplified Bible which adds insights to certain words and phrases and helps in better understanding scripture. I’m switching to that versions so all bible verses that pop up are from there.

The theme this time was Strife – how to deal with it, get over it and avoid it.

Strife is defined as bickering, arguing, disagreement – an angry undercurrent. As Christians, we encounter strife often – at home, at work – out in the world. We cannot just take up space in a pew. Stop just hearing the message and do it!

Keep strife out of your life. Resolve the problem.

As Christians, we need to carry an anointing from God. Do what you do with excellence. Always be a person of integrity – be honest and keep your word.

We that call ourselves “children of God” should not live in anger.

One of the signs of the end times is the body of God growing cold.

It’s impossible to be angry and have the Love of God.

Philippians 2:2-5

Humility of Mind – have a great opinion of other people.

Ask God to “Teach you through everybody.”

Take responsibility for how we respond to other people.

We need to pray to be Christlike.

God wants us to grow.

We can receive conviction and not have condemnation.

Acts 13:22
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

We are nothing without God.

People can’t help being the way the are.

Let the love of God flow through you.

Stop pretending that everything’s OK. We can’t prosper where there is no peace. Treat strife like poison.

There’s power in agreement – there’s discourse in disagreement.

Matthew 18:19-20

If God says not to do it, we need to make a commitment to not do it.

Luke 10:1-6

Our words should be drenched with the anointing of God. 1 Peter 3:10-11
1 Corinthians 10:9-10

Look at the Jews – they were on an 11-day journey that took 40 years – they complained when God didn’t give them what they wanted.

Stop trying to figure it out. Have peace with yourself.

You need to be able to take correction.
Philippians 3:12
When You’re condemned, you’re pressed down so you can’t press forward.

We can’t always do something about other people but we can control how we react (WWJD?)

Wear the breastplate of God’s approval. Philippians 1:27
God’s not surprised by your weakness.
Give each individual the right to be who they are -which is different from you.

Romans 12:3-6

You are much more than your opinion.

  1. Be courteous and respectful
  2. Listen with an open mind
  3. Be willing to pray about what they said
  4. Don’t be touchy and easily offended
  5. Keep looking for a place that you agree about than harping on what you don’t agree. 
  6. Be careful about voice tones and body language
  7. Pick the right time to confront someone
  8. Get over being selfish
Pray daily: “Fill me to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Proverbs 11:24-25
Proverbs 28:25
If we really trust God, there is no need to ever be jealous of anyone. 
If we can never be happy for other people who get what we want before we do, we will never get what we want. 
If it’s right for you and you’re mature enough to handle it – God will grant it. 
Character is developed when we don’t get what we want. (How true)
How consistently content are you? 
Fight jealousy by showing love. 
It’s easy to resent – to become judgmental – to slander.
Don’t be jealous of any one who has what you want if you don’t want to do what they did to get it. 
We don’t trust God’s providence 100% in our hearts. 
Works of the flesh – when we try to do what only God can do. 
James 4:1-2
What you really need is to be closer to God. Enjoy God. 
Don’t give the devil much credit. The Devil will leave you alone if you’re 100% on fire for Jesus. 
Mark 11:22-25
God doesn’t give us a timetable (“in due time”). 
Trust God and be a blessing wherever you go.
God wants you to be blessed.
If you do what you can do no matter how small, God will always do what you can’t do. God is able. 
If God wants you to do it, you’ll do it. 
Giving up is easy. You don’t need the power of the Holy Spirit to give up. 
Ephesians 5:5-7
Proverbs 22:10
Philippians 4:11
I picked up The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word  and I plan to read it cover to cover before Luis Palau’s City Fest. 
What Joyce talked about this weekend is WWJD. Get with the program.  
God Bless
Giselle
Soli Deo Gloria

Search Amazon.com for Joyce Meyer

The rot in values that is causing America’s decline

The rot in values that is causing America’s decline
This entry is part 12 of 23 in the series WWJD?

This is so right on that I’m reposting it here. From ProphecyNewsWatch.com:

Science and math. Science and math. President Barack Obama’s new mantra is science and math. If only America’s students focused on science and math, he told us in his State of the Union address, then we’ll be as innovative as China and will no longer have to farm out the building of wondrous handheld gadgets. The gods of science and math will make our economy blossom.

But missing from the president’s new, post-midterm vision for America is any mention of the rot in values that is causing our decline. The reason we don’t excel in education is not because our schools focus on philosophy and the humanities to the exclusion of science and math, but rather because we are becoming a pack of ignoramuses watching inane TV shows, following the lives of mostly decadent celebrities, and engaging in an endless orgy of consumption. Our problem is not that we read too much Nietzsche and too little astrophysics, but rather that our character is becoming corrupt.

The solution for America is not to raise an army of sterile drones, engineered into productive obedience by a government that emphasizes equations. I have no interest in living in China; communist totalitarianism dare not be our model. Rather, our solution is to reembrace the values that made America great: thrift, hard work, close-knit families, a pioneering spirit, entrepreneurship, a love of adventure, fearlessness, a rejection of indolence, faith-based ethics, a God-centric society, and a belief in spreading freedom and democracy.

Thomas Jefferson knew tons of science and math. So did Benjamin Franklin. But George Washington did not. No historian claims that Abraham Lincoln knew calculus like Einstein. The point is that science and math made some Americans great, but were passed over by others who were equally great.

But what all these men possessed in abundance was a sense of mission. Whether it was a hatred of oppression and tyranny, or a desire to see the dynamic American spirit supplant the ossified European aristocracy, or contempt for brutal institutions like slavery, they all embraced America as a great idea, a living dream, one that could lift men and women and inspire children.

Is any of that greatness captured in Jersey Shore or in MTV’s new ode to childhood corruption, Skins? Is American exceptionalism evident in the millions trampling each other at the crack of dawn to get 20% off a new HDTV on Black Friday? Was American greatness in evidence at the recent Golden Globe Awards, where the most ‘beautiful’ among us got up to thank hairdressers and fashion consultants, but not a single star thanked God, with the sole exception of Ricky Gervais, who thanked God for being an atheist? The obsession with celebrity is especially startling. Our founding fathers did not idolize humans. That’s what the British, French and Russians did, lifting ordinary mortals to positions of ‘divine’ grandeur. Rather, the founders idolized God alone – faith in Him was stamped even on our money – and brooked no shallow imitation.

Yes, Mr. President. We need better schools and more accountable teachers. But more than anything, we need new values undergirding the schools, the parents and the teachers. So long as we have books out like Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom, which says the only thing that matters is getting your kid into Yale and to play violin at Julliard, we are going to have a nation which, even if it remains wealthy and prosperous, will still be selfish, self-absorbed and narcissistic.

Obama surprises me. How much science or math does he know? He was elected because he inspired people with oratory rather than engineering. He gave them a renewed vision of American greatness – something that most mathematicians and nuclear physicists would be hard pressed to do. How appalling that the limits of his vision have now come down to simple, shallow materialism.

Without proper values, we will squander whatever wealth we generate. Without proper values, we will produce world-renowned scientists who don’t know how to stay married, and who have no relationship with their children. Without proper values, one generation will make all the money and the next will waste it.

Many looked to Obama as the embodiment of a new American dream, one of hope and change. But is this the hope we waited for? The hope that our kids will work on the next iPhone? Was the change we waited for so utterly literal that it refers to coins? I thought the Pilgrims risked drowning because they wished to have the freedom to develop their full godly potential, unencumbered by European prejudice. If it was money they wanted, they should never have left the fleshpots of Europe.

Yes, America is still the wealthiest nation on Earth, thank God, and yes, I like money as much as the next person. But if life is simply about accumulation, and if this great nation embraces the soulless Chinese society as a model, where wealth is not accompanied by a reverence for human dignity and where a family is allowed to make millions but to have more than one child is a forbidden nuisance, then I say their wealth is a curse, a curse which I reject, and proudly proclaim “in God we trust” and “God bless America!” 

Soli Deo Gloria!