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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 18 November 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – THANKFULNESS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – THANKFULNESS

 

 

There’s a wealth of things I could say about thankfulness. Benefits, the endless goodness of God, or an inane list of things I’m thankful for.

 

But today, I just want to offer thanks to our heavenly Father for being Who He is. For loving me and holding me in the palm of His hand.

 

As we enter the holiday season, and as we celebrate in whatever way this week, may be thankful to Father for His love and devotion and faithfulness to us.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Thankfulness

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 5 November 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FAITH and PATRIOTISM

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FAITH and PATRIOTISM

 

Did you vote already? Or, are you going to vote this week?

What does our faith have to do with being patriotic? Aren’t we supposed to ‘separate’ them? Church and state? How can we? Are we divided individuals? Do we possess split personalities?

As followers of Christ we are called to relationship with Him. And that daily communion, minute by minute really, does affect the whole of our lives. Or, at least it should.

 

CINO’s (Christians in Name Only) give Christianity a bad rap. I don’t know about you but I don’t like being with, or even talking to, someone who is two faced. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But if we aren’t reflecting Him, then we are nothing but tasteless sand and a cold candle in the dark.

And as our nation faces unprecedented hope, how can we neglect so great a duty—nay, opportunity to act on our faith.

I was once asked, quite scathingly—and mockingly—“What about your faith?” “I thought you had faith.” It was in that very dark time in my life that I had been forced to take action. Action which created a great division—and crushed my heart in the process. But I had done what I had to do. I knew I had done the right thing.

 

And to answer that mocking question, faith is not some idle concept. Faith is more than ‘just’ believing God is there.

 

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.  – James 2:19

 

Demons shudder? They know Who God is. And they shudder because they oppose Him. Just knowing Who He is does not a Christian make.

 

Relationship with Him is what makes the difference. That relationship affects and colors everything we say and do. I defer yet again to my signature Scripture,

 

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  – Romans 12:2

 

Being in communion with our heavenly Father does not make us a bunch of mindless minions. Rather, we are empowered to be the unique individuals He created us to be. As such, we are called to act in obedience, and to boldly proclaim His kingdom. Bringing God’s kingdom to earth.

That means doing our civic duty. And this week specifically, that means voting. The purpose of my blog, this post is not to support one candidate over another. Rather, my intention is to speak to Godly Americans, and encourage you to act on your faith. Don’t sit by idle. I did for too many years, and we as a nation can no longer afford that passive luxury.

As followers of Christ, too many of us have become complacent, allowing others to give voice in our stead. The term ‘silent majority’ was coined for a reason. I don’t when or by whom, but it is a sad sad thing that the majority would be silent. It is time for us, the MAJORITY, to roar. No longer silent. Speak out, and vote, and we will see our America restored. We will see the kingdom of heaven prevail.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Faith and Patriotism, James 2:19, Romans 12:2

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 28 October 1028 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – TRANSFORMING FAITH

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – TRANSFORMING FAITH

 

What’s your favorite Scripture?

 

I’m sure you’ve seen the question posed in memes and interviews. I know I have. And I can no more choose a ‘favorite’ verse or Scripture than I could choose a favorite book (mine or someone else’s) or a favorite child or grandchild. They are all special to me in different ways.

 

But I do have a signature Scripture. Romans 12:2

 

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 

Basically, God is saying, “Don’t think like the world (enemy.) Think like Me.”

 

The whole of His Word is given for our best interest, and to walk fully in it we must think as He thinks, and see as He sees. To live as He lives. Transforming our thinking to match His—it’s how I came to see myself as He sees me.

 

When God looks at you He does not see your shortcomings… He only sees the Christ in you! So when you look at yourself in the mirror you should only see the same thing! #InHisLikeness  – April Oxendine

 

We are, after all, made in His image. Genesis 1:26

 

We were created to be like Him, to fellowship with Him, walk with Him and talk with Him. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, He is drawing us to Himself.

 

He has not, however, made us mindless puppets, but given us our own will. Our own likes and passions, our own identity. The freedom to choose Him, and learn of His ways.

 

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  I Corinthians 3:18

 

Father God sees us transformed already. He sees His own reflection in us. We have but to think as He thinks, and see what He sees, so we can live as He lives. In Spirit and Truth and Love.

 

To what end?

 

To defeat the wiles of the enemy. To silence his lies. To rescue those who cannot hear God’s Truth.

 

TRANSFORMING faith. Confidence in the One who reigns over all. Confidence in the face of all that is contrary. Confidence when facts and evidence belie the Truth.

 

Faith is a weapon of spiritual warfare. It is our shield against the enemy.

 

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (emphasis mine)  Ephesians 6:14-17

 

With the lies of the enemy silenced, his attacks thwarted, we can hear Father’s still small voice. His whisper on the wind. We can hear His heartbeat in our own.

 

And we can walk in sweet communion and fellowship with the One who made us and loves us most.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Transforming Faith, Romans 12:2, Genesis 1:26, I Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 6:14-17

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 14 October 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – I AM A FRIEND OF GOD (repost)

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – I AM A FRIEND OF GOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcxKRsn-hGc

As I was considering what to write about today, this song came to mind. The name of this feature comes from this concept. I launched Front Porch Fellowship in August of 2016.

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/blogwords-sunday-7-august-2016-front-porch-fellowship-why-this-title/

 

“No great theological discourse. No lamenting prayers—or maybe there are. Not hours of reading the Bible. No singing and dancing and praising Him, even. Just abiding.”

 

All of these have their place and time. But none of these are requirements to “have church.”

 

This springs from a few different sources. One of those took place twenty-something years ago when my best friend was living with us. I can’t recall now why, but there were times we couldn’t make it to the Wednesday evening service at church, and we’d go for a walk instead. We realized, in our conversations, that we were, in fact, having church. The fellowship of two friends, spending time with our heavenly Father.

 

“Because He is a friend. And friends do stuff. And sometimes they just sits. Quietly. Being friends.”

 

“We walk and talk, as good friends should and do.” I heard that years ago, and I have come to a place in my life where that defines my relationship with Father, friendship.

 

Being a Christian is not about following a religion. A set of rules. A list of do’s and don’ts.

 

Being a Christian is about a relationship with our heavenly Father. And there’s only one rule, “Love Him with all your heart, and love others as we love ourselves.” As I’ve learned how He loves me, I’ve been able to love myself in the same way.

 

Interacting with our Father doesn’t have to—nor should it—be a formality. While we are not little “mini gods” running around, we are created in His image, and as we seek Him and grow in the knowledge of Him, we are transformed to be like Him.

 

He is our friend. Someone to laugh with. Someone to talk to, to turn to when we’re lost or lonely, or broken hearted. A shoulder to cry on.

 

Like all friendships, it’s not all one sided—it’s not all just me talking. I have to have ears to hear His voice. I have to dedicate my time and my self to grow the relationship. I have to put in if I expect to get anything out of the relationship.

 

Have you walked with Him lately? Talked with him? Have you spent time just being with Him? No words, no expectations. Just being the friend He says you are?

 

There’s nothing so precious.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, I am a Friend of God

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 7 October 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ABIDING FAITH

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ABIDING FAITH

 

As believers don’t we all profess our faith? At the very least in His existence? But what of daily living? What of faith in facing the mess that is our world? And what is faith?

 

Faith, noun, complete trust or confidence in someone or something

 

That’s the dictionary definition. God’s definition is a bit more comprehensive:

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11: 1

 

Wikibooks goes on to say, “Faith is the connecting power into the spiritual realm, which links us with God and makes Him become a tangible reality to the sense perceptions of a person. Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God.”

 

And how do we get it?

 

… God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  Romans 12:3

 

and

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

 

So that’s it then, right? We all have our measure of faith, and that’s meant to sustain us through life? Right? Seems to me it goes beyond that. Way beyond that.

 

So then faith comes by hearing,  and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

 

The wording of this verse has always puzzled me. “…faith comes my hearing…” pretty clear. But, “… hearing by the word of God.” I didn’t get that. I mean, if I’m hearing the Word, how do I hear by the Word?

 

Father God explained it to me; my natural ears hear the Word, spoken aloud, which feeds my spirit man. Two different realms. We are, after all, spirit beings. That’s what He meant when He said, “Let us make man in our own image.” ( Genesis 1:26) He didn’t mean He has a corporal body—He only did that when He was born in a stable. Rather, in His image refers to the Spirit.

 

We are spirit, we have a soul (mind and emotions), and we live in a corporal body.

 

So as we feed our mind, which incidentally silences the enemy, we feed our spirit man. And for our faith to grow we must exercise it.

 

In one translation, it says:

 

If we are saved by faith alone… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:12-13

 

“Work out our salvation” is not sitting idly by until we leave this world for eternity in heaven. Work out sounds an awful like exercise… jus’ sayin’

 

I heard a story once of Smith Wigglesworth, (10 June 1859 – 12 March 1947) a British evangelist who was influential in the early history of Pentecostalism. He was awakened in the middle of the night by Satan himself, in a rather Dickens-y scenario—rattling, clanging noise, bed shaking and shifting. Upon opening his eyes and realizing who was in his bedchamber, Mr. Wigglesworth said, rather calmly I imagine, “Oh. It’s just you.” And he closed his eyes to go back to sleep. “And by the way,” he said. “Put my bed back where you found it.”

 

What measure of faith! To know that even with Lucifer himself manifest in his bedroom, Smith Wigglesworth knew the enemy could NOT.TOUCH.HIM.

 

And I remember thinking, I want that kind of faith.

 

I couldn’t pinpoint when I heard that story, but I can say that my faith, while perhaps not so bold, is on that level. Stray thoughts, doubts, fears that creep into my mind to taunt me and pull me into doubt—I cast them down in much the same way Mr. Wigglesworth does in that story.  “No,” I say, knowing God’s Word backs me up. Knowing that the enemy cannot lay a hand on my spirit man—which is what he wants. Knowing that no matter my circumstance in the natural, I walk and live—and abide in—the authority given me by God the Father.

 

That’s abiding faith. Confidence in the One who reigns over all. Confidence in the face of all that is contrary. Confidence when facts and evidence belie the Truth.

 

Faith is a weapon of spiritual warfare. It is our shield against the enemy.

 

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (emphasis mine)  Ephesians 6:14-17

 

Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  Matthew 8:23-26

When those fiery darts bounce off, as in the story of Smith Wigglesworth, as Jesus sleeping in the boat, we can rest in complete and utter assurance that Father God holds us in the palm of His hand. In the midst of the storm, in the assault that swirls around us. We rest. We are at peace.

 

That’s abiding faith.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Abiding Faith, Hebrews 11:1, Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17, Genesis 1:26, Philippians 2:12-13, Ephesians 6:14-17, Matthew 8:32-26

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 30 September 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FRIENDS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FRIENDS

 

I believe Father God brings or allows people into our lives for different seasons and different purposes. Perhaps it’s a passing stranger who does a kindness. Even those who inflict pain and wrongdoing are ultimately used for His purpose. If you’re not sure, He tells us so:

 

But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.  Genesis 50:20

 

Romans 8:28, We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

But the friends who come to stay are His hands and feet. They are His heart, expressing worth and value to hearts subjected to the world’s callousness.

 

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.  Proverbs 16:24

 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

 

I am blessed and amazed to count the number of lifelong friends Father has placed in my life. Each with a special purpose and place in my life—Cyndi, Jennifer, Karyn, Merissa, Dana, Carrie, Donna—all but two I’ve known for 30+ years.

 

And to the impetus of today’s post—Dana came for a visit last week. Flew from Colorado to South Carolina, including 27 hours stranded in Texas. For a week-end stay. You don’t do that for casual acquaintances or half-hearted friendships. Well, maybe a visit. But half-hearted friendships don’t last years and decades. Half-hearted friends don’t lift you up like these friends do me. Half-hearted friends don’t stick with you through your mess and your junk.

 

True friends, God-friends are the smile when we’re not feelin’ it. They’re the Truth when we don’t want to hear it. They are the balm when our hearts are hurting. And I’m thankful for of mine.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNHBT7wjqVI

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Friends, Genesis 50:20, Romans8:28, Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 18:24

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