The Cost of Yes

my heart was racing with every turn of the page and I couldn’t—NO, I wouldn’t put the book down until I had read the very last word.

My husband was working the midnight shift and the kids had been in bed for hours. I was not sleepy, and as is my habit, I love to read before bed. This night I was reading a page turner that a new friend had given to me. We had moved into our new community a few months before (the same as my new friend) and our girls had become friends in their kindergarten class. My friend loves to share Jesus with whomever God causes her path to cross (she has the gift of evangelism) and when we first met she began to talk with me about Jesus. She encouraged me to read the book she handed me. It was a novel about end times and is the first book in a series that seems to never end! As I think about this now I giggle a bit because it seems a strange choice to encourage one to read but Holy Spirit had prepared my heart and knew exactly what I needed to read. I have read many of the books in the series but this night my heart was racing with every turn of the page and I couldn’t—NO, I wouldn’t put the book down until I had read the very last word. That was 17 years ago.

When I had come to the last word it was late into the night, but I somehow had more energy than when I began reading. However, since it was quite late and the next day was a school day for my children I turned out the light and began my nightly prayers. Only this time I told God I didn’t want to be left behind, I wanted to spend eternity with Him and I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples

Luke 14:33

I look at these words of Jesus and wonder why we stop short in sharing the gospel message. It has been my experience over the years the message preached is of His love, grace and forgiveness. Please don’t misunderstand me this part of the gospel is an amazing gift! But Luke 14:33 and verses like it seem to be left out of teaching what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus. In Luke 14:33 Jesus says we must give up everything—surrender all to Him.

As Pastors, Elders and leaders; as the Bride of Christ are we afraid to include this part of the gospel because we think it would cause many to not want to follow Jesus? If this is the case then we have forgotten Holy Spirit’s job, Who, as a dear friend reminds me, is very good at His job! He prepares hearts to receive Jesus—to receive all of Jesus, all His words and all His teachings.

I am reminded of the parable of the sower and the farmer who drops seed on rocky places which spring up quickly but wither in the sun because the soil was shallow. This person receives the message but soon falls away. Could it be some of those who receive the message fall away quickly because they are not hearing a complete message? And could this also be a ploy of the enemy, who wanted to be God, whispering in the ear of the Bride, “Did God really say?”

Yes, God really said. We are to disciple and be discipled and as disciples we have to be willing to surrender all to Him.

Will you pay the cost of your yes?

Wednesday Encouragement

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Submission

I was boldly outspoken, fiercely independent and…

I was boldly outspoken, fiercely independent and dare I say, “my way or the highway,” type of gal.

Growing up in a large first and second generation Italian-American family and the youngest and only girl after four brothers, my parents, specifically my mom, always told me I could be and do anything I set my mind too.

Then I met Jesus. Don’t get me wrong giving my life to Jesus has been the best life event ever. And, that’s just it. In giving my life to Jesus, I gave my life to Jesus. I made a commitment to live my life according to His will.

As women and wives there is the propensity to take offense to Paul’s words that we are to be submissive to our husbands. BUT, when we live our life so tightly connected to Jesus He teaches us true submission is to Him first and submission, Biblical submission, follows in all other areas of our life.

Submission doesn’t mean we lose our voice or become doormats. It doesn’t mean we can no longer be bold. It doesn’t mean we lose the personality God created us with. It simply means we are not to live our life independent of Jesus.

Submission in this verse means under God’s arrangement; submitting to the Lord. When we marry we are no longer a single individual but an individual that has now become a part of a couple. And all decisions we make ought to always include our husband

Whenever I want to have dinner with my girlfriends, buy something not included in our budget or embark on a new endeavor, I always defer to my husband, even though I know he will say, “Yes, I want you to go out with your friends,” or, “please treat yourself!”

I have learned to submit to my husband so consistently that I recognize the value in doing so. God has gifted my husband with a different perspective and insight than me. There have been many times my husbands insight has caused me to re-think a situation and avoid a deep struggle. Life has too many of those to begin with, Amen?

When we choose to submit to Jesus first submitting to our spouse and each other becomes second nature.

And husbands verse 19 instructs you: Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:19.

Love and respect. Lets offer that to one another through Jesus and because of Jesus.

Diamond in the Rough

Diamonds are considered one of the most valuable natural gemstones. They are formed by heat and pressure from deep volcanic eruptions. Once ‘birthed’ they are transformed from their rough state by cutting, shaping and polishing.

As we stay tethered to Jesus a similar process begins to take place in us. We are transformed from a rough interior and exterior by the work of Holy Spirit in us.

We are encouraged to teach and admonish one another.

Admonish. Maybe this word is a negative to you. By Biblical definition admonish is to reason with another by warning through instruction in the truth of God’s word. Applying positive pressure to one’s thinking and encouraging the choice for God’s best. His good and perfect will.

We accomplish this by meeting Jesus daily in His word and asking Him to shower us with His wisdom. We encourage one another with psalms, hymns and songs of the Spirit. We sing to God with gratitude in our hearts.

YOU, are so precious to God that your value cannot be fathomed. You are priceless.

Transformation can be hot and pressure filled. It is an ongoing process and the responsibility of Holy Spirit to renew you to be more and more like Jesus. How He thinks, how He speaks, how He acts.

He’s making a diamond out of the rough. Will you let Him?

#knowgodknowhisword #knowhiswordknowgod #discipleshipstartswithJesus

Wanting More

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Last night my husband and I enjoyed Wine Down a weekly Friday night Summer event hosted by a hometown vineyard and winery in our community. These gatherings are family friendly and bring together our community with live music, food (either purchased at the winery or bring your own), and wholesome, clean fun.

We decided to purchase our meal from the food vendor, which was pizza, a rare treat for us! I had the Sopressata, an Italian divinity and my husband had the Hawaiian with jalepeno. Each pizza was thin crust and had eight pieces. Before I knew it, mine was gone and I asked my husband if he wanted to share another pizza, because I simply wanted more!

What causes us, at times (perhaps many), to go off on our own to gain more rather than wait on God for His provision for our circumstances? God told David he would have given him even more but David didn’t ask for more he only took matters into his own hands.

As children of God he desires to give us yasaph. He desires to continue to add more, to surpass His increase again and again. Do we trust Him and turn to Him first? May it be so in every situation.

Shalom!

©2018 TereseJMBelme

Wanting the Giver More Than the Given

 

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photo credit Pixabay.

I love to give gifts. I especially love to give gifts for no reason. There is something beautifully simple yet profound as I watch the expression of joy on the face of the recipient and their eyes light up when they open the gift that was chosen specifically for them.

We learn to be good gift givers from the One who gave the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Who died on the cross so that all creation would have the opportunity to choose Him and the hope of being with Him forever.

Imagine the delight of His disciples as they were rowing back to shore and they realize their beloved Jesus is standing on the beach waiting for them! They thought He was dead! Perhaps they had been fishing for many hours but caught very little. Jesus tells them to let their nets down one more time and when they pull their nets from the water their is a bounty of fish heavy enough to tear the nets!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11.

Jesus loves to give us good gifts. Physical gifts and especially spiritual gifts. He has tilled the soil of our soul and placed goodness there and he has placed an eagerness to know Him in our heart. He wants to fill our nets to overflowing.

But His greatest desire is for us to know the Giver more than the given.

Shalom!

©2018 TereseJMBelme

Words

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photo credit:https://pixabay.com/en/book-bible-bible-study-open-bible-1209805/

 

Learning is a privilege. Consider all the people around the world who do not have access to teachers and curriculum, especially girls in some areas where learning is against the law. A travesty to say the least.

Learning subjects such as language, math and social sciences helps us to form our world view and engage in intelligent conversation. While learning is a privilege we have always taught our children to not believe everything they read. Simply because it is printed in a book does not make it true. We have taught them not to gloss over what they don’t agree with but to dig deeper and understand why they don’t agree. Believe me when I tell you, as young adults, this approach has created some very spirited conversations and I wouldn’t have it any other way.! I love to experience their minds at work and ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand their point of view and to give me His kind and gentle words when I have an opposing view.

As students of God’s word we don’t need anyone to teach us His word. Yes, God has gifted us with pastors and teachers to help us understand His word but allow me to give you this to ponder. It begins with us. Our responsibility is to open God’s word, and often, and allow His word to speak to us. To learn by the power of the Holy Spirit all the goodness within His word.

God’s word is alive and active, (Hebrews 4:12), yes, you can have a relationship with God’s word because Jesus is the word of God. God’s word is good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2Timothy 3:16), the question is will you allow His word to do all these things for you?

Precious One, God’s word speaks to you and you know God’s voice (John 10:27).

Are you listening?

Shalom!

©TereseJMBelme 2018

 

In Between The Rains

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As I sit at my desk and look out my front window at the still quietness of the pre-dawn morning, I see storm clouds have moved in and this view reminds me of God’s faithfulness and I think about the storm clouds of life and the adversity they mostly bring.

Many will run from adversity because of the fear adversity invokes. I know, I use bolt not run. God is teaching me to stand toe to toe with adversity and to recognize the opportunity to trust in Him and depend on Him even more. To allow Him to stretch me beyond what I thought possible and to grow in spiritual maturity. To praise Him and to be overwhelmed by His Sovereignty.

With the storm clouds come rain and as the clouds move on they leave in their wake the sun. It is in between the rains that the opportunity for growth happens. Like the farmer in James 5:7, who has tended to his crops with care by tilling the ground in preparation to be sown and patiently waits for the rains that will bring new growth, we too can prepare the soil of our hearts by nurturing and cultivating our relationship with God in anticipation of new growth in us.

Precious One, hold on new growth and spiritual healing is coming.

In between the rains.

Shalom!