Tag Archives: Christianity and Religion

Blessings Beloved Readers – Ephesians 1:1-8

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

This bible study was written by Cheryl Showers, a minister of God, bible study teacher, church leader, and prison minister for many years. Most importantly, I am a bondservant to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings to every person who reads this bible study. I pray that as you read and study God’s word, your love for Him will grow, as you see how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you is. I pray that the more you learn and read and study His word, the more you will hunger and thirst for still more.

I pray that the Lord will protect each one of you, and that as we continue to embark on this study of Ephesians together, He will give us His divine wisdom, so that we will not only understand Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, but we will also understand how it applies to our lives today. My prayer for each one of us is that we will not only gain head knowledge, but that we will also live out the rest of our lives according to God’s holy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I love reading Paul’s many epistles, for many reasons. One of the reasons I love to read them is because of how Paul always begins his letters. In fact, as I read the opening in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I was inspired to write a similar opening in this study to each of you who are reading and participating in this study.

In the opening of his letters, Paul almost always began by introducing himself, and his position in the church. He almost always stated his qualifications, possibly in an offensive move against false teachers, false prophets and imposters. Let’s look at a few of his letters to see…

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His Good News. ~ Romans 1:1  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of His holy people throughout Greece. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

I especially love Paul’s introduction in Galatians. Before there could be any argument about whether he was fit to lead the church, or if it should be someone else, Paul set the record straight. He wasn’t writing to overstep his bounds. Yet Paul immediately establishes his right to send this epistle to the Galatians when he says…

This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. ~ Galatians 1:1  NLT ~

Paul’s greetings were always warm and filled with love for the people he was writing to, and he almost always gave a blessing to the recipients. Let’s read Paul’s greeting and blessing in Ephesians…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Ephesians 1-2

Look at how Paul addresses the Ephesians. He calls them “God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.” To address the Ephesians like that would have told them immediately that Paul held them in high esteem. Then, after letting them know how much he valued them, Paul asks that God the Father and Jesus would give the Ephesians grace and peace. Let’s look at Paul’s blessings in the greetings of some of his other epistles…

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. ~ Philippians 1:1-3  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

May God our Father give you grace and peace. ~ Colossians 1:1-2  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God give you grace and peace. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:1  NLT ~

Do you see the pattern here? In Paul’s day, there were no computers, so writing and mailing letters took much longer than it does today. The churches that Paul established loved and respected him. Therefore, they looked forward to hearing from him, either through a mutual friend, such as Timothy or someone else, and also in his letters.

The church was greatly persecuted in those days, as those who were a part of it, were well aware. Indeed, Paul had left Ephesus in quite a hurry, after ministering there for three years, due to a riotous crowd that wanted to capture him. After the mayor of the city defused the situation, Paul  called the believers together and encouraged them, before bidding them farewell.

After leaving the church in Ephesus, Paul went on to Macedonia to preach and teach. After his time in Macedonia, Paul planned to sail past Ephesus without stopping, so he could hopefully get to Jerusalem in time for the festival of Pentecost (Acts 20:16  NLT). Therefore, when he reached Miletus, which was near Ephesus, Paul sent for the elders, of the Ephesian church, to meet him before he continued on his way to Jerusalem.

Paul knew that the road ahead of him was a hard one, and that this would be the last time that he saw his friends, the Ephesians…

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. ~ Acts 20:22-24  NLT ~


36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. ~ Acts 20:36-38  NLT ~

The Ephesian believers never did see Paul again, because Paul was indeed arrested, for his faith and service to Jesus, just as the Holy Spirit had said he would be. As a matter of fact, the next time the Ephesians heard from Paul,  after they departed, leaving Paul on the ship that night, was in this very Epistle to the Ephesians that we are studying now.

Just imagine how touching it was to get a letter from this apostle and spiritual father, who was no imprisoned for Christ, and instead of bemoaning his own situation, Paul chose to greet them and bless them, instead…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Praise God for this letter from the Apostle Paul, for it not only helped the Ephesians’ spiritual growth, it also helped countless others to draw closer to the Lord. Please join me next time, as we discover what the Lord wants us to know about spiritual blessings.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Overview of Ephesians

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Road in Ephesus

Praise the Lord! Yesterday, I wrote an introduction to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and today, before we begin to really dig in to this message, we’re going to do an overview, of it and answer the five W’s about Ephesians. Therefore, let’s dig in and discover the answers to our questions.

Before we begin this overview of Ephesians, let’s ask our Father in heaven to open the eyes of our hearts…

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for leading us in this walk through Your word. I pray Lord, for each person who joins in this study of Ephesians, that You would open the eyes of our heart, and that as we begin to understand this message, our hearts  would hunger to know You better.

Lord, I pray that we would love You more, and that we will gain wisdom through Your word. I also pray that as our love for You increases, our love for mankind would increase as well, in Jesus’ name. Lord, reveal Yourself to us through Your holy word in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Before we get started on the overview, I encourage you to read the book of Ephesians. It really isn’t that long (just 6 chapters), and it will help you to answer the five W’s for yourself. Below are the links to each chapter…

Image Credit: Ephesus Theatre wanderingdanny.com
Image Credit:
Ephesus Theatre
wanderingdanny.com

The above links will take you to Bible Gateway, and if you sign in, you will discover that there are many study tools that you may use. While I’m reading, I like to highlight the verses that answer the five W’s in one color. Later, I may go back and highlight the key verse in each chapter, or sometimes, key words. You can always undo this, if you like, but I find this method of studying really helps me. Therefore, I urge you to click the links above, and keeping in mind the five W’s we learned in yesterday’s Introduction to Ephesians, highlight your answers to those questions as you go along…

  1. Who?  Paul wrote the Ephesians Epistle (epistle is a letter) to the Ephesian believers…
    1. Who wrote the book/letter?
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1a  NLT ~
      2. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      3. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
    2. To Whom was the book/letter written?
      1. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1b  NLT ~
      2. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. ~ Ephesians 1: 13  NLT ~
      3. Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. ~ Ephesians 2:11  NLT ~
      4. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. ~ Ephesians 2:17  NLT ~
      5. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. ~ Ephesians 2:19  NLT ~
      6. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:22  NLT ~
      7. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      8. … assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending His grace to you Gentiles. ~ Ephesians 3:2  NLT ~
      9. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      10. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. ~ Ephesians 5:1  NLT ~
  2. WhatPaul wrote this letter to the Ephesians to both encourage the Ephesians, by reminding them that God chose them before the foundations of the earth were laid. He also wanted to encourage them to lead a life worthy of their calling. Also, by reinforcing how they were saved, and how they are to live as Christians, Paul also warns the Ephesian believers against false teachings, encouraging them to be ready to battle the enemy at all times…
    1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this book/letter?
      1. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:12  NLT ~
  3. WhenPaul wrote this Epistle to the Ephesians between 60-62 A.D., while he was imprisoned in Rome.
    1. When was the book/letter written?
      1. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should. ~ Ephesians 6:20  NLT ~
  4. Where
    1. Where was the book/letter sent? As we stated earlier, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian believers, where he had spent three years, establishing a church.
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1  NLT ~
    2. Where was the book/letter written? As we’ve already established, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians from his Roman prison (Ephesians 3:1, 4:1 and 6:20). 
  5. Why?  The purpose is so all of God’s children will praise and glorify Him.
    1. Why did the author of the book/letter write it? 
      1. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.

This concludes the overview of Ephesians. We will begin studying Ephesians 1 in my next post, line by line and precept upon precept. I look forward to studying with you again soon! Meanwhile, please join me as we close this post with a prayer to the Almighty.

Father, thank You so much for sending Your word to us. I pray Lord, that You would speak to each person who reads and joins this study, and that we would be drawn ever closer to You. Holy Spirit, You are the great teacher, so please Lord, teach us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Introduction of Ephesians

Ephesus Great Theater Where Rioters Accused Paul of Damaging Artemis
Ephesus Great Theater Where Rioters Accused Paul of Damaging Artemis

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Before studying any one of the books of the Bible, it is important to answer the 5 W’s, which will help us to have a deeper understanding of what we are studying:

  1. Who
    1. Who wrote the book/letter?
    2. To Whom was the book/letter written?
  2. What?
    1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this book/letter?
  3. When?
    1. When was the book/letter written?
  4. Where?
    1. Where was the book/letter sent?
    2. Where was the book/letter written?
  5. Why?
    1. Why did the author of the book/letter write it?

We’re going to dig in and study the book of Ephesians, but before we begin the study, let’s pray together. I can’t begin to stress how important it is for us to talk to the Lord about His word, and to ask Him to give us understanding of His word. Therefore, I ask you to join your heart with mine, so that we can be of one mind and one accord. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, which is better than life. Thank You for putting it in our hearts to study Your word, so that we can gain a deeper understanding of Your will for us, in Jesus’ name.

Lord, I ask You in Jesus’ name, to give us discernment of spirits, and that You would also help us to read and understand what You are saying to us through Your word. Lord, I pray that Your word would be like a mirror, reflecting our own sinfulness and also let it reflect how You have called us to live. Father, I pray that You would open the eyes of our hearts, so that we nay see You and hear Your voice. Show us Your ways, Father, so that we may walk with You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In this introduction of Ephesians, let’s begin the study by looking at Acts 19Acts 20, to get a little background. In the first verses  of Acts 19, we discover that when the Apostle Paul first arrived in Ephesus, the Ephesian believers (citizens of Ephesus) knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. They had received the baptism of John, which called for repentance from sin. Therefore, Paul told them about Jesus, and they were baptized in His name. Afterward, Paul laid hands on the Ephesians and they received the Holy Spirit. Then they began prophesying and speaking in tongues. There were about twelve of them in all. 

After ministering to those twelve men, Paul went to the synagogue, “and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.” Unfortunately, some stubborn Jews refused to believe Paul’s message, therefore, Paul left the synagogue, taking the believers with him, and he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus, for the next two years. According to the scriptures in this passage, Paul ministered in Ephesus for approximately three years, impacting many lives.

During the three years that Paul was in Ephesus, many miracles, signs and wonders occurred. In fact, after seeing the power of God in Paul, there were several people who tried to capitalize on that power. There was a priest named Sceva, who had seven sons, and when they attempted to cast the evil spirit out of one man, it backfired in a way they never imagined…

14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. ~Acts 19:14-16  NLT ~

After this incident, the fear of the Lord swept through Ephesus, and many gave their hearts and lives to Jesus. However, there were still others, who were not happy with the changes taking place in their city. One man in particular, a businessman named Demetrius, who had a large manufacturing business, making silver shrines of Artemis, Apollo’s twin and the daughter of Zeus, began stirring things up. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and childbirth, among other things. After some former sorcerers, who converted to Christianity, burned their books of incantations (valued at several million dollars),  Demetrius claimed Paul’s ministry would cause people to turn away from Artemis, not only angering the goddess of this city, but also causing those businesses, who made shrines and  idols of Artemis, to lose business, and also causing Artemis to lose her prestige, thus stirring up a violent riot, until finally, the mayor of Ephesus was able to deactivate the riot and calm the angry rioters.

After the riot, Paul summoned the believers, encouraging them, before he departed. Paul  didn’t return to Ephesus again, however, that doesn’t mean that he just forgot them. Instead, when Paul was making his way to Jerusalem, for the Passover, sometime later, he sent for the elders of Ephesus, when he stopped at Myletus. When they came to him, Paul again shared the gospel with them, telling them that he would never see them again. Then he warned them against false teachers and false prophets…

31 “Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.” ~ Acts 20:31  NLT ~

36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. ~ Acts 20:36-38  NLT ~

Praise the Lord! Please take the time to read Acts 19 and Acts 20 for yourself, so you can get a feel for what Ephesus was like when Paul came to them, and what it was like when he left. It’s always good to know the background about anything you’re going to study. We’ll begin looking for answers to the five W’s in the next part of this study of Ephesians, and after that, we’ll begin to study Paul’s letter to the Ephesians line by line and precept upon precept. Until then, beloved readers, God bless you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

A Day in the Life…

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. ~ Matthew 24:12 NLT ~

I watched the news Friday night, and as I watched, I wept. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the news out of my mind or my heart. An old Beatles song came to mind as well, and I just couldn’t shake it, so take a listen to the song, before you read on or listen while you read.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo
Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Please bear with me as I share what I saw and heard on Friday night, that caused me to weep… On Friday, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the twenty-four year old soldier who was needlessly slain Wednesday, was taken home, to be laid to rest. He was driven home along the Highway of Heroes, while hundreds of Canadians gathered to pay tribute to him, as he made his way to his home and final resting place.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

On Wednesday, after ruthlessly shooting Corporal Cirillo, his assassin, thirty-two year old, Islamic convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then charged through Canada’s parliament, before being fatally shot by Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers. Not only did an innocent young man lose his life, but also, his assassin, their lives cut terribly short.

The following day, when parliament reconvened, Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, was hailed as a hero for killing Zehaf-Bibeau before he could murder or harm anyone else. You could see tears rolling down the staunch officer’s cheeks, as he stood otherwise composed, while the members of parliament gave him a standing ovation, and I couldn’t help but cry for this brave man too, for though he had done the right thing by killing the killer before he could kill anyone else, he would have to live and come to terms with the knowledge that he had taken a human life.

This whole story is heartbreaking. An innocent twenty-four year old, with his whole life ahead of him, including a wife and a six year old son, who will now grow up fatherless, not to mention a brother and parents, was senselessly slain. As a parent of two grown children, I can’t imagine losing one of my children. In the natural scheme of things, parents are usually the first to pass on, and I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating this loss must be to Corporal Cirillo’s family. How could I not weep over this story?

Thomas Eric Duncan
Thomas Eric Duncan

Another story covered, was the ebola epidemic, and the nurses who cared for Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was forty-two years old, when he died of the deadly ebola virus in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The nurses who spoke to reporters seemed to be genuinely compassionate, as they shared what it was like to care for the dying man. One nurse in particular said that he held Mr. Duncan’s hand, staying by his bedside, in the place of his family members, who were not allowed to be there, because of the danger  of catching the highly infectious disease.

Other nurses shared how their community has responded to them. One said that her niece was asked not to return to school for twenty-one days, even though they don’t even live together. Still others said they were being shunned by various friends and businesses, who were fearful of the medical team contaminating them with the virus, even though the virus is transmitted by body fluids, and is not airborne.

Again, I couldn’t help but weep, for Mr. Duncan, who caught the deadly disease when he buried his pregnant daughter, who died from it. In the aftermath of his falling ill with the dreaded disease, both the Liberian government and the Dallas County prosecutor considered filing criminal charges against the dying man for bringing the disease to the United States.

How ironic this is, when it was the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital that failed to test and treat Mr. Duncan immediately, when he arrived in the Emergency Room on September 24, 2014. When Thomas Duncan told the ER staff he had just returned to the United States from Africa, they should have questioned him more closely about where in Africa he had come from. He should also have been tested for ebola, based simply on the knowledge that he had come from Africa, where the ebola epidemic rages on, yet instead of admitting him to an isolated unit and testing him for the disease, they dropped the ball, sending him home with antibiotics, which could not fight the disease; and to his family, thereby putting them at risk of catching the ebola virus.

When Thomas Duncan returned four days later, on September 28, 2014, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital dropped the ball yet again, with this very sick patient. Yes, they admitted him to an isolated room, but they failed to treat the disease until six days later, on October 4, 2014, when they treated him with an experimental drug. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and Mr. Thomas Duncan died on October 8, 2014.  Had he been tested and treated immediately, there is every reason to believe that Thomas Duncan would have survived the disease, like every other patient who has been treated here in the United States. Again, how could I not weep over the injustice of this?

Man-attacks-police-with-hatchet-jpgAlso in the news was a recap of the unprovoked attack by a man armed with a hatchet on Thursday, who struck two police officers, one on his arm, and other on his head, before he was shot and killed by the two other officers who were there. Sadly, an innocent bystander, a twenty-nine year old woman, was shot in her lower back. Yet again, I couldn’t help but cry, and still, the news continued.

Jaylen Fryberg
Jaylen Fryberg

Friday, during the early lunch at a high school in the state of Washington, Jaylen Fryberg, a fourteen year old freshman, shot and killed a female student, and wounded four others, before shooting and killing himself. It was said that he shot both family members and friends. What could be so wrong, that he would do something so terrible? I couldn’t seem to help myself, as I sat in my recliner, weeping for the lost souls, who placed no value on human lives.

The final story was an uplifting story, yet it, too, broke my heart. Lauren Hill, nineteen years old, and a Freshman at Mount St. Joseph University, near Cincinnati, Ohio, is also a basketball player. After discovering she had a malignant brain tumor that was terminal, Lauren’s response was, “Can I at least still play basketball?”

Lauren Hill
Lauren Hill

Wearing jersey  number 22, Lauren gets up early every morning to practice with her team. Though the tumor has weakened her coordination and energy, Lauren still pushes herself to come to practice. Her goal has been to play NCAA basketball for Mount St. Joseph University since she first found out about her tumor, but because it is likely that she has only a couple of weeks left to live, the NCAA did something unprecedented. Because Lauren’s situation is so urgent, the NCAA made a special exception to change the Division III school’s opener against Hiram College to Nov. 2, despite its rules that require seasons to start later in November.

Lauren’s hopefulness is inspiring. Her goal isn’t just to live to play that one game. She has stated that she hopes Sunday’s game will just be her first basketball game with  her team, and that many others will follow. Again, how could I not weep as I witnessed this young woman’s courage in the face of certain death?

As I sat in my recliner weeping, I wondered what was wrong with me. After all, it’s not as though I knew any of the people in these stories personally, but then, just as quickly, another thought ran through my  mind. “There’s nothing wrong with you for weeping for those who are suffering. Instead, you should ask, “What’s wrong with the people who are not as affected by these stories?”

Sadly, far too many people have become desensitized to the pain of others, Even Christians have become hardened to the pain of strangers. Many adults and young people watch horror films and murder shows, not to mention the nightly news, with all of the violence going on throughout the world, while still others play violent games, and search out violent websites. After viewing so much violence and killing, many people have become desensitized to these things.

However, for those of us who are Christians, this should not be. It’s easy not to feel personally affected by the suffering of someone we don’t know, and have never seen, yet, as followers of Christ, we are to love even those we don’t know, and when you love someone, you care about what happens to them, even if you haven’t seen him/her for a long time. In fact, look at this command for Christians…

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15  NASB ~

Beloved reader, when is the last time you wept because of the plight of people you may not even know? When you hear of human trafficking; of children being sold as sex slaves; of men, women and children dying of dreadful diseases like ebola; of tragedies like hurricanes and tornadoes destroying people’s homes and even killing them, do you feel the weight of their pain? Does your heart ache for the abused and misused? The prophets wept for the people of Judea and Israel, especially Jeremiah. Jesus wept for Mary when He saw her weeping over the death of her brother, Lazarus…

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled, 34 and said,“Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35  NASB ~

Beloved reader, if you find yourself unmoved by the pain and suffering of others, then you need to pray for God to change your heart of stone…

26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 36:26  NASB ~

Ask the Lord to fill you with His love for others. Ask Him to help you to love others the same way that He loves them. Ask Him to help you to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For this is God’s will for His children. In fact, Jesus commands us to love even our enemies…

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:43-48  NASB ~

Finally, beloved readers, ask your heavenly Father to help you to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For He is faithful to His children, and if we delight ourselves in Him, and ask for anything according to His will, He will give us the desires of our heart…

14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15  NASB ~

Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Beloved reader, don’t become desensitized (hard of heart). Rather, weep for those who are hurting and struggling. Weep for those who are lost. Weep for the many nations, including our own, who are bent on going to hell.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Hollywood’s Sex Scandals – Enough is Enough!

hollywood-scandals-6361

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. For that matter, I haven’t posted anything on my other blog, Stories for the Heart, since October 8, before I went to the hospital for a spinal cord stimulator implant. It isn’t that I didn’t want to write anything, because I’ve had this word on my heart for a long time. However, the surgery left me feeling exhausted. In fact, every time I would sit down to write something, I would find myself waking up a few hours later. Try as I might, I just couldn’t hold my eyelids open. I’m still pretty exhausted, and there’s no telling when I’ll be able to finish this post. However, I’m determined to at least get this post started.

This is an important message that is certain to offend many. For those who are offended, I make no apologies. What I’ve written is the truth, nothing more and nothing less. If you are one of those who would rather not know the truth, then I suggest you read something else – perhaps a book by Joel Osteen, or another author, who would prefer to tickle your ears with a lie, than take a stand for the truth…

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.  ~ Hebrews 13:4  NASB ~

Hollywood has always been a hotbed of sex scandals, ever since it’s foundation as the movie mecca of the world. It’s earliest actors and actresses were involved in domestic disputes and criminal maleficence, as well as many sordid sexual scandals. Almost, from its inception, Hollywood “royalty” seemed to live above the law, as though their money and notoriety allowed them to purchase additional freedoms, above those of normal men and women.

Sadly, nearly one hundred years later, nothing much has changed for Hollywood “royalty.” This last week, while I was in the hospital, I listened to the news and read about the recent scandal where computer hackers apprehended the nude photos of one male and twenty-five female celebrities, and I’ve kept my thoughts to myself. Then, this week, on October 6, 2014, by refusing to decide whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriages, the Supreme Court thereby allowed five more states to marry homosexual men and women, a right strongly advocated for by many of Hollywood’s elite. Also, on Monday, October 6, 2014, an alleged audio recording of Stephen Collins, actor (best known for his role as pastor and father in television’s 7th Heaven), emerged, on which he was heard confessing to molesting three young girls between the ages of ten or eleven and thirteen.

The whole thing leaves me feeling sickened for our nation, which continues to sink lower and lower into debauchery. Is there no one willing to take a stand for righteousness? As I think about the state of our country, I have to admit, with great sadness, that we are no better than Sodom and Gomorrah, and if those of us who are called Christians do not humble ourselves and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then we will be judged for the evils in this land. “But wait a minute, Cheryl,” some might say. “This isn’t my fault. I don’t do any of the things you’re  talking about.” 

Really? Perhaps you haven’t participated in any of the wickedness I’ve referred to, but what have you done to stop it? Have you spoken to those involved in these and other sins, and warned them of God’s anger? Have you shared the truth with those who are lost? Or do you look the other way and ignore the sin taking place in front of your eyes, and mumble, “God forgive them,” without ever taking the time to warn them?

17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. ~ James 4:17  NLT ~

Let’s just take a look at what’s been happening recently in the news and address these issues truthfully, in the light of God’s word… Jennifer Lawrence made these comments, in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, for their November 2014 issue, after hackers released nude photos of her and several other celebrities, “The people who chose to look at nude celebrity photos that hackers posted committed ‘a sexual offence…’  It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” she said about the hackers. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”

Ms. Lawrence continued, “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offence. You should cower with shame.”

I wonder, how many of you, who are reading this post, agree with Jennifer Lawrence’s statements? Indeed, those who hacked and posted the photos, and those who chose to look at them, did commit a sexual offence, not against the celebrities, who willingly allowed themselves to be photographed in nude and sexually explicit photos, but against God and themselves. 

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-10  NLT ~

As for Ms. Lawrence’s comment that this was not a scandal, I beg to differ. According to Dictionary.com, the definition for scandal is:

1.  a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.
2.  an offense caused by a fault or misdeed.
3.  damage to reputation; public disgrace.
4.  defamatory talk; malicious gossip.
5.  a person whose conduct brings disgrace or offense.  verb (used with object), scandaled, scandaling or (especially  British) scandalled, scandalling.
6. British Dialect. to defame (someone) by spreading             scandal.
7.  Obsolete. to disgrace.
True, there are many, perhaps even a majority of people who, in this technological age of “sexting” and nude “selfies”, see nothing wrong with posing for nude photographs with a boyfriend, lover or spouse, but regardless of what the majority believes, it is still sinful, and it is indeed, scandalous. Furthermore, I find it morally outrageous that Ms. Lawrence has the nerve to call this a “sex crime” and a “sexual violation.” As one who was sexually violated as a child, against my will, I see no correlation between the sexual crime that was committed against me, against my will, and the fact that pictures she willingly posed for have come into the public eye. It is well known that if you pose for nude photos, there is always a chance that they will be made public, thus causing a scandal. She chose to take that risk. No one forced her to do so against her will. That is the difference between a sexual crime and a scandal.
 
Another example of the difference between a sex crime and the scandal that Ms. Lawrence and others find themselves in is the case of the Sayerville High School football team, in which at least seven (perhaps more) upper class football players sodomized several under class football players, calling it “hazing.” Give me a break! This was not hazing. This was a sex crime. It was rape and it was sodomy. The victims of this attack did not willing pose for nude photos. They were violated against their will. These boys were victims. 
 
The difference between someone involved in a scandal and the victim of a sex crime is that the one involved in the scandal may or may not feel shame for a period of time, but they will recover fairly quickly. However, the  victim of a sex crime must fight for recovery for the rest of his/her life. In many instances, the victim suffers from post traumatic stress, and battles with suicidal thoughts as well. His/her experience leaves him/her wounded and fearful of intimacy for the rest of his/her life. The victim often carries the burden of shame because of the crime committed against him/her, and many times, people are more sympathetic towards the perpetrator of the crime than the victim.  This should not be.
This wasn’t the only Hollywood scandal I heard about while in the hospital. There was also an audio tape of Stephen Collins, the actor who played the father and pastor on Seventh Heaven for many years, allegedly confessing to molesting several young girls, ages ten through thirteen. Again, if the allegations against him are true, how terrible for the little girls who were victimized. This is a sex crime, and my heart goes out to the girls who were harmed by another of Hollywood’s elite. 
 
So, Christian, do you wonder what all of this has to do with you? What can we do about things like this? We must boldly take a stand and cry out against the evil in our land…
 
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV~
After killing Abel, when God asked Cain where his brother was, Cain  responded by asking God a rhetorical question… He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Though God didn’t answer that question, if we look at the following passage from Ezekiel 3:17-21, we will see that we are responsible for our brothers and sisters, and anyone we come in contact with. In fact, our responsibility for others is so great, that the Lord repeats Himself to Ezekiel again in Ezekiel 33.
17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from Me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed Me.20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” ~ Ezekiel 3:17-21 NLT ~

Therefore, beloved Christian, our responsibility for others is so great that we must be willing to speak the truth to others in love, because if we don’t warn them, and they die in their sins, their blood will be on our hands. And though we might want to say, as Pontius Pilate did, that we wash our hands of any responsibility for their death,  God has already made it clear in His word, that we are responsible for warning those who are lost in sin. Beloved reader, people are talking about these things at work, on the streets, in the beauty and barber shops, and all over. Do you smile and agree with what’s being said, or do you let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify the Lord? 
I must address one final issue before I close this post, and that is the issue of the Supreme Court’s refusal to address the rights of same sex marriage, which led to men  and women in five different states marrying their partners of the same sex. Marriage was not created by man, but by God, for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying. When Adam was alone, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone. Therefore, He created woman from the side of the man, to be his helper and his wife. He did not create two men to procreate, nor did He create two women to procreate. He created man and woman to marry and it was good. Later, as men and women became more and more wicked, God addressed homosexuality and He called it an abomination, because men and women had turned away from Him and what He had created them for, and given themselves over to what was unnatural.
Therefore, regardless of what the Supreme Court of the United States or any other country deems legal, if it goes against the Law of God, then it is sinful and wrong. I don’t hate any man or woman who chooses to live in sin. My heart breaks for them, because they have chosen to live contrary to God’s will for their lives, and the wages of sin is death. I understand that many will read this post and hate me for what I have written, but I must speak the truth in love. I pray that what I have shared will touch someone’s heart, and they will turn from their wicked ways and call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
You see, I don’t have to close on a sad note, because God is so wonderful that He made a way for every man, woman and child to be saved, no matter what we’ve done, or who we’ve done it with.  We just need to do as Peter commanded in Acts…
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Acts 2:38  NLT ~
 Hallelujah! It doesn’t get any better than that. Beloved readers, I pray that as you read the words I shared with you today, you repented of your sins and turned to God in Jesus’ name. My heart’s desire is that no one would perish, but that all who read these words would call on Jesus and be saved. 
© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Sweet Little Lies

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. ~ Psalm 51:6  NASB ~

Image Credit: Written Reality
Image Credit:
Written Reality

We live in a sinful world filled with deception and governed by the father of lies. We’re taught from a young age to hide our feelings, and put on a happy face, no matter what is going on inside of us. Those who have been raised in an abusive family are taught from a young age to deny and hide the truth, using any means of deception necessary to protect the abuser(s). We’re even taught that it’s better to tell a “little white lie” than to hurt someone. Even Fleetwood Mac alluded to “sweet little lies,” in their 1987 hit song, “Little Lies,” but are lies really sweet?

How do you trust someone who lies to you, when lies are the polar opposite of the truth. As a matter of fact, scripture makes it very clear where both lies and the truth come from…

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” ~ John 8:44  NLT ~

How do you feel? Do you think it’s okay to tell little white lies? What makes a lie white? If some lies are white, are other lies black? Where do you draw the line?

According to the bible, Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Also according to scripture, Jesus said that He is the Truth. Please note that nowhere in the bible do the scriptures imply a difference in types of lies (i.e. – white lies or black lies). Indeed, the scriptures make it very clear that not only is the devil a liar, he is the father of all lies. Wow. Just think about that for a minute. If the devil (God’s enemy) is truly the father of all lies, then there is no such thing as white lies. Furthermore, the scripture says that when the devil lies, it is consistent with his character.

So, keeping this in mind, what do the scriptures say about God’s character???

God is not a man, so He does not lie.
He is not human, so He does not change His mind.
Has He ever spoken and failed to act?
Has He ever promised and not carried it through?
~ Numbers 23:19  NLT ~

29 And He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind!”  ~ 1 Samuel 15:29  NLT ~

This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. ~ Titus 1:2  NLT ~

18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. ~ Hebrews 6:18  NLT ~

According to Hebrews 6:18, it is impossible for God to lie, just as there is no truth in the devil. Therefore, when we become a child of God, Jesus, who is the Truth, dwells in our hearts, and if He dwells within our hearts, then how can we participate in any lie? Yet, sadly, so many people, Christians included, are confused about this, because they have bought into the lies the world has repeated to them, rather than seeking the truth from their Father.

Image Credit: God Follower Blog
Image Credit:
God Follower Blog

Think about it this way, God’s Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of all of His children, who are believers in Jesus Christ. Now, if I am walking in the Spirit, I will not even utter a white lie, because it is impossible for God to lie, and when I walk in the Spirit, I am walking in obedience to God. However, if I choose to share a sweet little lie, for a good reason, then, I am walking in my flesh, and it is sin.

Who is truly a good friend, one who lies and tells you what you want to hear, or someone who tells you the truth, even though it may be painful to hear? Do you want to confide in someone who promises to keep your confidence, but tells you sweet little lies or the one who always speaks the truth?

Finally, beloved readers, consider this. Lies do not lead to freedom. Indeed, they bind us in a tangled web…

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive! ~ Sir Walter Scott ~

Do you truly want to be free and walk in complete liberty? Then seek and speak only the truth beloved friend. Don’t be a slave to someone else’s lies, or worse yet, your own!

32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~

Finally beloved reader, I leave you with this warning from Revelation…

“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.” ~ Revelation 21:8  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Who Are You Worshiping For?

My daughter sent me the following video clip of Victoria Osteen, exhorting her congregation, a few days ago, and as I watched it, I couldn’t help but feel sickened and uneasy in the pit of my stomach. In the clip, Mrs. Osteen gave the congregation at Lakewood Church, and the television audience, reasons to worship God, that left me both shocked and disgusted as I watched. Like someone who witnesses a terrible crime or accident, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, nor could I stop myself from listening to every word that she spoke, in stunned silence.

I’ve already written about Joel Osteen, and the false gospel  he preaches and teaches (see bulleted links below).

Yet, although I’ve researched Joel Osteen’s false gospel, I never gave much thought about his wife, Victoria, and her beliefs and teachings, until I watched this video clip (see below).

I concur with Bill Cosby’s statement tacked on at the end of Victoria Osteen’s exhortation. For that truly is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard coming out of a minister’s mouth. Indeed, after listening to Mrs. Osteen’s heretic urging and teaching in this video, I feel compelled to address the things she said from a biblical standpoint.

“So I just want to encourage every one of us to realize, when we obey God, we’re not doin’ it for God. I mean that’s one way to look at it. We’re doin’ it for ourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning.

“So I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doin’ it for God, really. You’re doin’ it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

Victoria OsteenWhen Mrs. Osteen stated that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for Him, but for ourselves, I was shocked and disgusted by how narcissistic her exhortation was. Let’s be clear about this, the Lord, our God is a jealous God, and though He loves us with an everlasting love, He is God and we worship Him because He alone is worthy of worship…

“You must not have any other god but Me.”  ~ Exodus 20:3  NLT ~

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.  ~ Exodus 20:4-6  NLT ~

By suggesting that we worship for ourselves, Victoria Osteen is inviting her followers to be as prideful and self-serving as Satan was when he tried to exalt himself over God. Those who do as Mrs. Osteen suggested, are setting themselves up as gods or idols, and God makes Himself very clear about the dangers of idol worship. Whenever anyone chooses to exalt himself above God, he/she will earn His wrath, just as Lucifer did. Further, just as Lucifer was brought low for his pride, so will all, who exalt themselves above God, be brought low.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son            of the morning! You have been thrown down to the            earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13   For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and          set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the          mountain of the gods far away in the north.
14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the                 Most High.’
15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the         dead, down to its lowest depths.  ~ Isaiah 14:12-15            NLT ~

17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your            beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of            splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed            you to the curious gaze of kings. ~ Ezekiel 28:17  NLT        ~

"Cut Down - The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar" by: Slavujac
“Cut Down – The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar”
by: Slavujac

Don’t be deceived! Those who dare to exalt themselves above the Lord will be brought low, if not in this lifetime, then certainly when they come to the judgement seat of Christ. A good example of this can be found in Daniel 4, when King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself above God by not acknowledging that all of his accomplishments were a result of God’s goodness to him. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar bragged that his accomplishments were a result of his own doing, crediting himself, rather than God. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar was brought very low. (Click the link to Daniel 4, above, to read the whole story.)

Mrs. Osteen also claimed that God wants us to be happy, and that He takes pleasure in our happiness. Now, while that sounds really nice, it isn’t true. The fact is that mankind is often very happy when he is sinning, and this most certainly does NOT please God.

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. ~ Hebrews 11:24-25  NLT ~

The fact is that by encouraging people to worship to please themselves instead of God, Mrs. Osteen is aiding Satan, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, by robbing and cheating people out of the blessings that could be theirs. Not only that, but those who refuse to worship the Lord in spirit and truth will be punished. Let’s examine the consequences of choosing not to worship God for His name’s sake…

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4  NASB ~

47 If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, 48 you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until He has destroyed you. ~Deuteronomy 28:47-48  NLT ~

The consequences for not worshiping and obeying the Lord in spirit and in truth are serious. That is why it is vital for every believer to study and know God’s word, for it is easy to be led astray. Let’s see what the scriptures say about how we should worship and obey the Lord…

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. ~ Philippians 2:12-18  NLT ~

Beloved readers, as we examine the scriptures, do you see where it tells us to worship to please ourselves? In each of the scriptures above, we are commanded to delight ourselves in the Lord, or to rejoice in the LordNOT in ourselves. In fact, Paul tells us to obey God with deep reverence and fear. There’s certainly no room to be self-centered in that command. Then, as we worship and obey Him with deep reverence and fear, God will reward us by giving us the desire to do what pleases Him. Again, it says NOTHING about worshiping to please ourselves. Our goal is to do what pleases God.

Image Credit: Pinterest - Carmen Woodie
Image Credit:
Pinterest – Carmen Woodie

Beloved readers, please do not get tangled in the false teachings and false doctrines of mankind. Instead, seek your answers from God’s word. The following scripture is my heartfelt prayer for each person who reads this post…

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2  NLT ~

Beloved readers, God is worthy of our worship. All too often, we sometimes confuse ourselves or others by trying to make worship more appealing to the masses. We confuse people into believing that worship is singing hymns, or “Praise and Worship” music, but that is not what worship is.

Worship is declaring God’s “worth.” We can declare God’s worth in many ways. One way to worship God is through obedience. The first time that “worship” is mentioned in the bible is when God commanded Abraham to take his son, Isaac, up the mountain, to offer him as a sacrifice to Him, in Genesis 22:

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

Image Credit: christianslikeme.net
Image Credit:
christianslikeme.net

The Lord had asked Abraham to sacrifice his precious son, whom he had long waited for, and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Now, here’s one thing I’m certain of, this act of worship did not make Abraham happy. In fact, I feel certain that this was the hardest thing Abraham had ever had to do. Now, if Abraham had been listening to Victoria Osteen, he might have sung a “worship” song that made him happy, rationalizing that since he was happy with his choice of worship, then God must be happy too.

Now, just think about this for a minute. If Abraham had done as Mrs. Osteen suggested, he would not have heard the angel of the Lord… he would not have seen the ram in the bushes and sacrificed it to God… he would not have proved that he truly did fear and revere the Lord… he may not have become the father of many nations… God’s Son, Jesus, may not have come from his bloodline…

Beloved readers, in closing, I leave you with these scriptures about worship. I urge you to worship the Lord according to His word, NOT Victoria Osteen’s word…

24 “For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ John 4:24  NLT ~

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker… ~ Psalm 95:6  NLT ~

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.'” ~ Luke 4:8  NLT ~

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire. ~ Hebrews 12:28-29  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers