Thousand Foot Krutch

Thousand Foot Krutch
I love this band. I listen to them daily. Even though we are looking at another camera, we all look like we're alert for it being a fan signing and it's 11:30 p.m. on a Friday.

30 March 2011

Pastor Explanation

I want to make sure that everyone hears my heart. Pastors and other teachers hear from God. They are important. We need them. But we also need God. He is important. We need to hear from God.

So it is a fine balance: make sure that you are listening to God and your pastor. Pastors/ministers are very important: they are part of the five-fold ministry (teachers, pastors, evangelists, apostles, and prophets). Parents are, too.

They are not God, though. I don't think any of them would even say they are. They are just trying to lead their brothers and sisters and guide them. Remember, also, that they are held to a different standard because they are leaders, according to the Bible.

But if your pastor's voice is also God's voice, that needs to go before God. Everyone struggles with this - even me.

I knew a lady who had to leave her church of 25 years because God revealed she had become a follower of her pastor; her hearing from God had turned into hearing from the pastor who was hearing from God. Is it bad to go to our pastor for advice? NO! Never. I trust my pastor very much! WE SHOULD. But we should also go to God. And it should all be lining up. If it does, you are good!


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

Chatting with Rachel

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Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

The Book Jesus Read

Acts 17:10-11 The brethren immediately sent Paul  and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble minded  than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.


There is a book called "The Bible Jesus Read." It talks about the Old Testament, which is what Jesus quoted (Paul came after Jesus, not before Jesus). "The Scriptures" then was the Old Testament. Paul quoted Scriptures too, as did all the other New Testament writers. The church would not have been created without the past. God says, "Remember the Lord your God...Remember the Sabbath Day...Remember the good things I have done."

He quoted much of Isaiah and the Psalms, and told stories from Genesis. Jesus knew the Scriptures. Jesus knew that the Scriptures and Prophets were not ancient and forgettable.

God is not forgetful. "He remembers his promises even unto the end of the age." He wants you to remember Him and what He has done in your life, because only then can we continue to fight the good fight. Our job is not to dwell in the past and remain in bondage and fear, but to remember the past and move into a healthy future. That's why He says to remember the good things He has done for you. Not the bad. God doesn't do bad things - He lets them happen, but He does not do them. His enemy does it.  His enemy asks for Christians to prove whether they are faithful (several accounts: Job, Peter in the Gospels, Jesus). God allows it. The enemy is the accuser of the brothers and sisters standing before God accusing Christians day and night (Revelation 12).

"Standing before God day and night" - so he does not rest. He is relentless. Luckily, God cast him down (Rev 12:10) -- when Christ was lifted up on the cross Satan was cast down. When Christ rose from the dead, Satan and death had no more power except what we give them to control our lives and by resisting Christ's calling to our lives.

"He stands." An unwelcome guest stands. I know that if I have a visitor I like, they will get a seat. If I don't, I let them stand so they will leave faster. (Sometimes I do forget.) An important difference: Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. The accuser stands before him. Jesus enjoys the place of power. The accuser is a beggar.

The accuser. When we accuse others, especially our brothers and sisters, we are not being Christ-like. Christ does not accuse our brothers and sisters. Christ does not accuse. He mediates. He asks God for us, to meet our needs. He helps us. He loves us. Christ died for us when He did not have to.


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

28 March 2011

The Boy who Became a Prophet Relates to Us

I'm wrestling with something. Bear with me, my people.


1 Samuel 3. I think we are all pretty familiar with it, Samuel's calling from God. However, 1 Samuel 3:1-4, can relate to our lives today. (Everything is relatable, but we need pastors to help us understand sometimes - and the Holy Spirit.) Why and how? Samuel was literally sleeping under the Ark of the Covenant. He grew up around the Spirit. Studies by biblical scholars have revealed that in those days, before Pentecost and Christ, the Ark of the Covenant was the presence of God among the people. So Samuel was literally sleeping under the presence of the God, or the Holy Spirit! 


And yet, Samuel did not recognize God when He called him. Three times God called him. Finally by the fourth time, Eli, the priest who had became a backslider, finally understood it was God. (God can cause even hard consciences to come to His understanding for His purposes.) Eli told him if it happened again, to say, "Here I am, Lord, your servant." (The "if" is another subject all together.) 


And Samuel responded. 


But think about it. Samuel, who we know as one of the great prophets of the Bible, who would anoint King Saul and King David, from whose line would come Christ, had grown up all in his life in the "church" system, and He thought the voice he heard was Eli! God revealed to me that we - myself especially - can begin to rely on our pastor's voice to tell us everything we need to know, or some other authority, like a parent, leader, family member, or friend. We should respect others in authority. God speaks through them, and He confirms what you need to hear. I am not talking about that.


Let me say something. I am not disputing that or saying that we should NOT go to church and devote ourselves to the preaching. We should. If we are not going to a Bible-believing church and interacting with other Christians, we are not being proper. It's like seeing your family once a year - it doesn't work for developing healthiness (Hebrews 10:23-32 says do not forsake gathering together). Psalm 1 talks about a healthy tree is planted and not uprooted. So we should gather together and also be planted in the House of the Lord. 


I am saying that we should be able to hear from the Lord. We should not mistake God's voice. God speaks; if we speak and we are made in His image God also must have a distinct voice. Does he chose to speak to everyone? I don't know. But some people never hear an audible voice, and some do. (I think a lot of it has to do with belief - do we believe that God has an audible voice to speak to us with?) If we DO hear an audible voice, that should be warning, or a sign. We should be in close communion with Him, and then we will know the sound of God's voice is. God changed Samuel's heart, and Samuel became close to God. 


He became a prophet. 


Here's something else that's shocking. 1 Samuel 3:7 - "Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him."


Samuel SLEPT under the Holy Spirit, but he did not know God. How can that be? Just like Samuel, I have always grown up in the church. Most of us have. We're saved, or see others saved, or see miracles. Or we grow up with parents who are ministers (in any form - pretty much they publicly share with their brothers and sisters in the church). But it's not the same as operating under the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Spirit, we are awake, alive and moving with the Spirit, but Samuel was asleep. This was as much a physical sleeping as a spiritual sleeping. Samuel had not received the Spirit to prophesy or preach, but he was around it. He knew in his head what the Spirit was, but he had no experienced it yet. God had not appointed the time. And when God did, Samuel knew it.


Well, this weekend has been a time of anointing and pouring out of God's presence. I pray that people are receiving it and getting as much out of it as I am. I am praying that this feeling will continue, and not squelch God. Nothing burns/ignites us more than Christ, the Son of Man and God. I am realizing that the Holy Spirit is not frightening - only to our flesh, because our flesh knows that when the Holy Spirit moves in, the flesh has to go. And it doesn't want to move out! It clings harder than ever, but if we allow the gentle hands that fashioned the world to shape our hearts, souls, and minds, then slowly our flesh is crucified and we are truly living for God and in Christ's image.


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always, 


Rachel

26 March 2011

Quotes

"Jesus died to take away your sins, not your mind."

"God doesn't need our money. God wants our hearts" - Jim Stern

"You are as close to God as you choose to be" - Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"Destiny -- God -- rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing."

"Your voice is the most important thing you posses, so use it (or don't) on purpose" - Laren Poole, Invisible Children founder

"Do you know what it's like to be half of a whole?" (Mal, Inception)

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose - William Shakespeare

A drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts.

Life and death is in the hands of God. - Tass

"That's what life is all about, people. Making the smart choices. Not the fast choices. Or the easy choices. Making the smart choices. That's what life is all about" (Chuck Norris, "Mr. Justice" Walker Texas Ranger).

"I could search for all eternity and find there is none like you"

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" (William Shakespeare).

"Worry shows a lack of faith in God" (Francine Rivers).

"I'm strong. I'm too tough for this town [Hollywood]. I won't let it break my heart. I won't let it break me. I'll fight it to the finish. I just wish it was a fight I knew how to fight" (Audie Murphy)

"Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't real." - Anonymous

"I can't ever remember being young in my life" (Audie Murphy)

"Whatever you are, be a good one" (Abraham Lincoln).

"We're not doctors. We're not on call. We freaking work in [fast food, design, computers], not a hospital - we're not on call, but they expect us to be. We don't work in a hospital" (Amanda)

"I don't want you to give up your dreams for me."
"I'm not giving them up. I have new dreams now [and they include you]."

"Next time someone asks what you are going to do in life and you don't know, say, 'Well, I am going to follow Jesus all over the world and hopefully die a martyr.' They'll never ask you again" (Kirk Bennett).

"I'm at war with the world/cause I ain't never gonna sell my soul" (Jon Cooper, Skillet).

"If the media didn't exist, segregation would still be around" (Don Jung).

"It's not {just} the curse. It's the power you give the curse" (Penelope, Penelope).

"You can't let them snuff out your spirit!" (Hounddog)

"Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal" (Dante Alighieri)

"Your focus determines your reality."

Don't ever take another man's word for God. Don't ever believe a man just because he says he's right. Always find the truth for yourself. It is too easy to fall into lies and deception. Always check what your pastor is saying against biblical truths and stop treating the Bible like you're at a junior high dance; guys are on one side and girls on the other. - Paraphrase of Jim Stern's words

"The only thing you have 100% control of is your attitude."

"You're missing the point. Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing!" - 1200 year old elf from the Santa Clause. This is so true. We see God when we believe in Him.

"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going" (Rossi, Criminal Minds).

"If you grow 1% everyday in 100 days you've grown 100%."

"There's not much ethics at Ethos University" (Allison, on my story The Ethos Complex).

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" (Eleanor Roosevelt).

"Christianity is a lifestyle."


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

24 March 2011

Video Commentary on Proverbs 16:28, 18:8

Feel free to include your comments, either here or on my Facebook wall!


Proverbs 18:8 NKJV


"The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body."


Proverbs 16:28 "A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends."
      

I actually discuss two verses mixed into one. Everything in God's word lines up with everything else. 




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Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

22 March 2011

Lemonade -- or Sour Fruit

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Or, when life gives you sour fruit, add sugar! Then it tastes better. (I'm pretty sure that's a metaphor straight from Rachel's head, but not sure! I had never heard it before.)

Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

19 March 2011

As I'm sitting here listening to RadioU on my iTunes on my second to last day of spring break, hanging out on Facebook and Frontierville and cruising my email and reading The Irish Princess, by Karen Harper, I just realized I haven't posted very much during March. That's because I have been very busy, have been dealing with some tough stuff in relationships I have, and have taken to writing about it in a private journal.

It's not that I don't trust my readers, it's just that there are some things that people think that if other people heard them, they'd realize that even the best people struggle immensely to control their feelings and maintain a relationship with Christ and cope with other Christians.

God can handle everything, but other people cannot. Growing up means that you accept that other people just can't be in your core, and it's probably not healthy, either. I've found that expecting them to only leads to bitter and hurt feelings. God can be in your core, and He can clean it out, too.

I know. He has been cleaning mine out.

I have really been struggling with judgment, condemnation, and discernment, and the differences of them. And love, as always. I don't usually feel that emotion nor does my face express it, but I always try to be kind and thoughtful. People really seem to appreciate niceness, although it makes me seem younger than my 20 years. Niceness is a rarity in our society - or, I should say, a hidden jewel. People think they ought to be mean when really they are nice, and some mean people pretend to be nice.

I guess we're all in the same boat: sinners who need to be saved by God.

Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

12 March 2011

The College Life

This is SUCH a busy time. We have five classes, not one! Gotta love the college life, and I don't even try to fit in crazy wild parties. How do those people cope? Just kidding ;) wish me luck!

Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

09 March 2011

Bible study plan and websites

I am going to be putting up a Bible reading plan. It will probably be a "Through the Bible in a Year." I think Christians should be reading the Bible and not just "self-help" Christian books, which are good but should not constitute building your relationship with God. These should be read in addition to the Bible (I am guilty of using them instead of the Bible). Christians should read the Bible and not just take the word of a pastor, who is a man of God and should be confirming what you learn in your personal Bible study and relationship with God. But you should go to church and hear the message and listen to your pastor and interact with your fellow brothers and sisters.

Here's websites to advance and enrich your learning environment.

www.biblegateway.com - I look up verses using keywords or verses; excellent reference for almost every version of the Bible in many languages.

www.studylight.org - I use this site to study with; perfect for studying the Bible.

http://studylight.org/com/ - tons of commentaries; I use this site to read commentaries when I am having trouble with understanding something, in addition to talking to my pastor.

www.biblestudytools.com - I use this site mostly to look up words in the Greek and Hebrew (the interlinear Bible), but excellent for creating an online Bible and getting references. There's a place for notes of your own and to look at other, normal people's notes and pastors' notes as well.


The Bible study will come along shortly! Here it is:
http://www.navpress.com/uploadedFiles/15074%20BRP.dj.pdf 
I am currently going through the Discipleship Journal in addition to Beth Moore's study on Seeking a Heart like His: A Study on David.


Or pick one of three plans, whichever works for you! http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138


Here are short Bible studies to enhance your time with the Lord:
http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=140


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

Egg Shells

I have to walk on egg shells around my friend, and perhaps around anyone who might interact with this friend and just unconsciously "tell" her things that will make her angry and lash out at me, or report me. Do you know how hard it is not to walk on eggshells without breaking them? Someday they will break and then the fun begins! Yeah right. That kind of stress messes with a person's mind and stability and is not a fun feeling. It always happens to me.  (Dang, I sound just like a victim!)

Maybe the devil is trying to tell me something.

Just stop existing...you'll never do anything right and no one will ever be happy with you and they'll always be angry and betray you, so just give up.

And God? I doubt His sounds anything like that. 

Trust me, darling. Stop trying to please man, and live according to my grace and will. The personality conflicts will vanish when you do. Until you acknowledge Me as the only one you can please and the only one you SHOULD please, you will struggle with others. 

I'm starting to wake up to this truth. Hopefully not too soon, because I don't want to marry a man like that!! Or be bitter for the rest of my life.

Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel

04 March 2011

Gossip: A Parallel Bible Study


This is an issue that constantly occurs. We all need to address it in our own lives and to always bring our situations before God in prayer, he never condemns or makes us feel bad. We feel better because of His Spirit, not because we make others feel bad. As we read God's Word, we need to go to Him in prayer.


Proverbs 16:28


A perverse person stirs up conflict,
   and a gossip separates close friends. (NIV)




A perverse man spreads strife,
         And a slanderer separates intimate friends. (NASB)



Troublemakers start fights;
   gossips break up friendships. (MSG)



A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;
      gossip separates the best of friends. (NLT)



A dishonest man spreads strife,
   and a whisperer separates close friends. (ESV)



A perverse man sows strife,
      And a whisperer separates the best of friends. (NKJV)



A froward [willfill, obstinate] man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth    
      chief friends. (KJV)



Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,


Rachel

02 March 2011

Friends: A parallel look at Proverbs 12:26



Be careful who you call friend!

Proverbs 12:26

"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." NIV

"The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray." NASB

"A good person survives misfortune, but a wicked life invites disaster."  MSG

"The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray." NLT

"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray." NKJV

"One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." ESV

"Godly people are careful about the friends they choose. But the way of sinners leads them down the wrong path." NIRV


Pick good friends!


Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,

Rachel