Battle of the past 

  

While waiting on my food to cook , I said down by couple from church, and we got to talking. As we were talking we brought up the topic of “the armor of God.” He said told me, “Notice that the Lord never tells you about how to cover your back. Maybe it’s because you’re always supposed to be looking forward and not to be looking back.” As I drove home I thought about this. How true was it? God told us he puts our sins far as the east is to the west. He always forgives us for every sin that we’ve ever done in life. He paid our debt on the cross. So why don’t we always reflect back to the past? 

What I took away from this is always look forward in every endeavor in your life. Because your battles are in front of you, not behind you. The devil tries to bring the pat in front of you. If you deny him the power, they will stay the past. 

I thought it was fascinating and I really like the truth in it. I thought I would share it to everybody else. Maybe you too are fighting battles that should be left in the past. Give them to God, and you never have to fight them again. 

I hope you have a good evening , over and out. – Marli 

At the cross; At the cross. 

  

Have you ever sang this old hymn? Maybe your grandma or grandpa, mother or father, aunt or uncle, or someone close to you sang it to you as a child. But have we stopped to really think about what actually happened “At the Cross?”.  

If you don’t know this hymn it goes like this: “At the cross, At the cross; where I first saw the light; And the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith, I received my sight; and now I am happy all the day.” . 

There are many versions of this song today. There is a song by Chris Tomlin- who sings the blood ran red, which has some of these lyrics in it. And Hillsong actually sings one called at the cross. But I’m not here to give you a list of Easter songs to listen to. I’m here to ask have you stopped to think about what happened that day at the cross? 

We often times, as Christians or non Christians, get wrapped up in Easter. The bunnies & the eggs. We do talk about Jesus and how the tomb was empty! But what about before? What about the blood that was shed. What about his sweat turning into blood the night before. What about how they tortued him? Do we stop and really understand what happened? 

We say these words so confidently- “Jesus died on the Cross.” . Did you not just hear yourself? HE DIED! ON A CROSS!…. If someone called you up right now saying “Hey so and so just died..” . How would you react? Tears would fall. There would be sobbing. There would be denial. When it comes to Jesus we say, oh ya he died…. Where’s are tears? Where is our sobs?

We was on trail that day… We deserved that cross. We deserved the death penalty – that he graciously took that day. Until we realize that he literally died to save our lives; will we ever get it? 

I read this morning in a devotional, that said, “At times, we are in circumstances that are personally crucifying.”. How true is that? That is what got my wheels spinning this morning. There are times we take it upon or selfs to finish or start things that Jesus wants to help us with- but we think we “have it”. It cripples us. It makes us go into debt. It hurts us spiritually and emotionally. We “kill” or “crucified” ourselves. 

Wake up. And listen. There was a man named Jesus. He literally loved us so much that he proposed on a cross. He showed his love for us by dying. He bled. He bled blood just like you or me. His heart stopped beating. Do you feel your heart beat right now? He felt his stop. His lungs literally begged for air. He struggled in  agony for each breath. Why? So we could breathe easy….. If you want to know how the pain felt, allow someone to break you legs, then throw you to the floor, allow them to kick you around, tie your arms out to your sides, and then cut open your side. And that still wouldn’t equal half the pain that Jesus took that day. 

We all know the Easter story. We all know that Jesus over came death. That he arose in that 3rd day . He conquered death and gave us victory. That’s why we can be saved. That’s why we are spotless and white as snow. That’s how God can look upon us and see not our sin, but glory & perfection. For us to get that though, blood was shed. Prefect, precious, blood of our Jesus was shed upon that cross. Why? Because I sent him there. Because my sin, sent him there. You see I was supposed to die that day, and he said “No. I love you too much for you to die.” . He took my place . That’s why I said he proposed on a tree instead of one knee. Because of his love that day, I can love others . Because of his love that day, I can be free. Because of his love that day, I am spotless…. 

Don’t take this Easter for granted. When they talk about his death, remember that his blood did fall. His life , left him. He died. This isn’t a fairytale. The hero of this story have his life for the ones he loved.  Would you take a moment to think of it? Tears my fall if truly stop and thinking how he died. 

So if the old hynn was changed ; I think I would change it to this, “At the cross.At the cross, where I finally Saw the light. And the burden of my heart fell hard. It was there by faith, I realized my fate. And now I rejoice in him all day long.” .  Because although I’m thankful for what he did for me, I will praise his name. That’s the only thing I can do. You see if we don’t praise him for this, the rocks will. I don’t want a tiny rock taking my place. He died for me. He saved me . But he also died for you. Have you let him save you ? This is why I’m saying- “Come on theres room here at the cross.”.  Don’t let this Easter be another Easter. I pray you understand fully what happened that day. But even more so that you can be saved . 
If you want more info on how to be saved, contact me. I don’t mind explaining and helping you through the plan of salvation. If you have comments or questions; please contact me as well. I’m not a fancy writer, but I’m just writing what I feel God has me to write. I hope everyone has a safe and fun Easter. May God bless you and yours! Thanks. 

-Marli 

Photoshopped Christian? 

  

 Many of you may know, but for those you don’t; not only am I a blogger, but also a photographer. In this field, I meet many different people of all different ethnicity, color, shape, & form. I’ve photographed weddings, events, seniors, families, newborns, and more…. Each time I go to a shoot I get nervous. Will they be ok with me as a photographer? Will they like the end edits? Will they be satisfied? I may look calm & collected, but inside I’m a wreck. Planning each of our next moves. Smile here, turn here, move your hair this way…. I have to act confident to give confidence…. Each time I just pray that I am in the right field & I will do what I’m needed to do. 

After the shoot is when I sit down and get personal with the clients facial features. I sort through thousands of photos and choose the best ones. I drop them into photoshop and begin the edit. I know this sounds all crazy to put on a Christian blog, but what if we are acting like Photoshopped Christians? This thought crossed my mind as I was editing early this morning….. 

You see in Photoshop I can take way your blemishes, wrinkles, scars that you hate. I can brighten your eyes and whiten your teeth. I often times fix your pose, and soften your skin. I make sure you look like you’ve had your beauty sleep & prefect in every way…. Is it you? Yes. It’s the best you. The you that you want to see. The you that you want to look like everyday. 

In a society that thrives on selfies – photoshop is everywhere. Magazines, book covers, Instagram, face book. We scroll through thousands of Doctored photos daily, but can we distinguish the fake from reality? 

In church we do the same. We get up Doctor ourselves up. Apply makeup to hide our bags under our eyes. We fix our hair just right. We brush our teeth, to stand there and stare at them in the mirror wishing they were whiter. We look and pray that no one can see the blemish that came up over night. We often throw insults at ourselves about our looks or weight. To then rush out the door forgetting our bibles laying on the couch because we was to busy photoshopping our lives. Making each move perfect. Each word that passes through our lips sound intelligent & wise. We smile even if we are sad and broken. We then proceed to our pew…to finally notice that your bible is at home laying in the couch. If we was true with yourself we probably haven’t opened it in days maybe weeks. It hits you then…reality…. Your perfect façade crashes to the ground. Embarrassed you try to play it off. Taking notes, maybe even trying to force worship because that’s what your there for…. Isn’t that why your there? To show people you love God? You may have tripped but you; you piece your “perfect world” back together. No one to notice… We can’t see through your photoshop skills. You the shake the preachers hand, leaving that place to miss the sermon completely because you skipped breakfast and your starving. Smiling and telling people you’ll see them next week, to get in your car and drive off as if you never been there…. That’s what your supposed to do isn’t it? … 

You see just like that blemish I hide in your photoshopped photo that you can no longer see, I can. I can see it because I know what the before photo looked like. Just like your photoshopped photo, you seem happy and excited; but no one knows but me that it took millions of try’s to get you that one photo. Retake after retake, and thousands of pep talks to boost your confidence to get you not to give up. You see, just as I take your photo & edit, and sort through all the bad for that one photo. God does that to us…. He takes our photo daily. Begging us to smile, Telling us  we don’t need photoshop; because through him we are made perfect. We are to scared to trust him. That’s why we try to hide our feelings we try to blur the edges of our faith. 

If we would only see what he sees, we wouldn’t need to be photoshopped Christians in the world. We would not leave our bibles in the couch; we would have it in our hands, because we couldn’t  get enough of it. We wouldn’t have to force worship, because it would be natural. There wouldn’t be a need to “touch ups” because our photos would be ready to print . Instead we choose to be shackled in chains of fear, self doubt, sin, etc. We would be begging to be in Gods photos… Instead we are running away from his camera to our own. It’s like hiring a professional photographer to shoot your wedding on your iPhone, because you don’t trust their equipment… 

Why do we do that to God? He knows every flaw- just as I know where that hidden blemish is that has been photoshopped. He knows our fears and doubts. He knows when we are broken and when we are excited. You see if you ask God to be your photographer- your photos will always turn out perfect… If you remember God warns us about wolves in Sheeps clothing. What that means is fake Christians, sinners, demons, ect, acting like true followers of Christ. Or in other words- a photoshopped Christian… Don’t be fooled by others façade. They are just as broken as you are. The sooner we all realize that the better off we will be. The better our worship will be, because we all have fallen short of the glory of God. God doesn’t care how good you are at “Photoshopping” your life. He cares that you cry out to him .  So please- put down your pride. Take a step back and allow God to see you for you. Allow Others to see your before photo. There is someone out there that needs to see they are not alone. Be the real photo in a photoshopped world. Don’t hide your faith by blurring the lines. Be crisp, sharp, and focused on God. And I promise you- he will make sure that your life looks better than the fake poorly Doctored photoshopped lives out their. I’m not saying you will get it right in one take, but the journey will be worth it in the end – and so will your photo…. 

Thank you, 

Marli 

Church: Necessary or Luxury?  

  

Have you ever heard this…. 

“I don’t need to go down to that church house to worship God. I can do that anywhere.” 

Maybe you don’t know what to say to that? Well for one, their right. They don’t have too. You can worship God in your backyard, on your daily walk, or driving in your car. You do not need to be in a church building. Many places in the bible worshipped by rivers, creeks, or homes before they built church’s to worship in. So if that’s true why do we have churches ? Are they necessary or are they a luxury? 
I’d like to start out and say that a church house Isn’t necessary. You can have church in your living room. It does say in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” 

With that being said, you can worship at a ball field , a living room, or even at a campsite…. A church without God in it is just a build. Anything without God is just boring and lifeless. 
The kicker is that church is necessary as well. Why? Because God told us to gather together. He told us to fellowship with others who are likeminded. We are to come together to worship God and Praise him for all he has blessed us with. It’s important as Christians to have a church to go to. It’s important in this day in age to come together and be lifted up in prayer so that we can make it through out the week. Church is our place to recharge our spiritual batteries. 
So if it’s necessary, why don’t more Christians attend? That’s a good question. I truly believe that as a Christian you see church in a different way. If your a Christian and you do not hunger for the word of God; I’m going to question you. Because If we truly give our lives to him, we will want to know him. We will want to praise him. We will want to know his will for us. We will want to attend because it’s a place to worship our God and hear from him…. 
Yes, I do know that although we are saved through Christ we fail. We get into our worldly ways. “Well I’m tired. I’m sick today…. I went last week…. I don’t like so and so….. I don’t have anything to wear…. I can’t give money right now….. I don’t have a ride….” I could go on with excuses that we use. If we allow these excuses to stop us from going to church what are we going to do when God says, “Hey do you see that man? He needs me. Go tell him about me.” What would you do? Would you say, “Well I would but he looks busy….. Well I would but he doesn’t look like a nice person…. Are you sure you want him? … I can’t today I’m scared….” Or would you say, “Ok God …but I am going to need you help?” . This is where church can help us in our daily walk. We can go and talk about how to tell others about Christ. We learn how to handle life’s challenges. We get to pray for the lost , sick, and those who need help. A true God filled Church shouldn’t break down one another but to lift up one another . 
I heard someone say, “Church should be a hospital for the broke. Not a museum for good people but a hospital for the broken.”. How true is that? Jesus compared the lost souls to sick people. When your sick you go to a doctor to heal you. You trust your doctor. If your healthy you hang out with your friends and go to work. Jesus is both. He heals us from sickness & he’s our friend when we are well. The church is the doctors office & your best friends home. You go there because you need or want to see them. That’s why we go to church, because we need and want to praise God. 
But is church a luxury? I believe so. There are countries that do not allow Christians in their towns etc. They do not allow the Bible at all & they do not believe in God. China for example is one who out law Bibles. Missionaries have to be careful about how the witness to others. Bibles are a luxury over there. How many times have you read yours all the way through? They literally rip the pages out of them and memorize that page word for word so then they can pass it on to the next person. They trade pages until they have it down. They meet for church under ground in dark places because they will die if they were caught. Jesus is not welcomed there. 
What would we do? Would we still worship God? If we can’t get to church by 10:45 and last an hour- how would we survive there? Would you be a Christian if that’s what you had to go through? God called us to lay down our lives for him. If you can’t give up an hour or two for church, how are you going to give up your life? 
I say church is a luxury because we never know how long that we can attend church freely. Tomorrow our new president could say,”Ok no more churches. If you go we through you in jail. Build a wall 15 foot high around every church so no Christian can get in.”. What would you do? Would you be throw in jail for God? Paul was. Many of the disciples were. I don’t know who told you that the Christian walk is easy, but they lied. It’s hard. We have to fight a battle everyday against the devil. We could die for our faith. My blog could get shut down or possibly they could come and find me. One day that may happen. It’s a luxury that isn’t thought of as one. If you won’t serve God now, how will you serve God when they want to come and kill you? You won’t. 
So I beg you, find a church. Get in the word of God. This is necessary and it’s a luxury. We may not have this opportunity much longer. If you don’t have a place to go, come down to Green Chapel in Herdon Oklahoma. We would love to have you. If you live farther off, ask around – I pray someone can tell you where to go. There isn’t anything like a church family. Fellowship with true believers is an awesome thing. Take time out of your day to give back to God. He died for you, praise him for at least an hour. What do you have to loose? Nothing today, but maybe everything tomorrow. 

May God Bless You & Yours, 

– Marli 

GO! A crime is committed! 

 

Maybe you’ve watched Criminal minds, Jag, CSI, or any cop/fbi tv show. The good guys are always searching for the “murder” so they can bring them in to “convict” them. We always feel relieved when they “catch the killer” even though we know it’s a tv show. The scary truth is that it really happens every day. Cops really do arrested murders and they are tried in court. People really loose their lives & families have to burry a love one. Maybe your thinking why I’m talking about this? Well just like the cops are searching for the bad guy, we are to be searching out lost souls who are being killed by the devil- or the “bad guys.”. 

We was once the bad guys. Jesus had to come down die for us and search us out, so he could save us, wash our sins away, and make us the “good guys”. We are supposed to search out the lost just like the cops would search for the killer. There is a crime happening right now. Let me tell you the case:
The suspect is the Devil. 

The crime he’s committed is stealing and kill lost souls. Murdering there hearts & trying to keep them away from God. He has kidnapped them away from the father. He has made the feel worthless, depressed, sadden, and stole all their joy. 

He has bound them with chains just like a slave. He has hidden them away from the church so they couldn’t see there spiritual family. 
How can we help? Search for the lost among the worn down . Lift up their names to the heavens. When you find a victim, show them the light. Give them the key to loosen their chains. Show them how to get peace and bring them home to their spiritual family who, I hope, has missed them so much. That’s what cops do right? 
If we took our jobs more serious, I wonder how many souls we could rescue from the Devil. You maybe sitting there thinking this can’t happen. There is not hell or heaven. Let me be honest with you…. This is very real. One day you too will have to choose what side of the fence you are on & you can’t say “I’m not going to pick a side.” . You will have to. 

One day this world will end , we will die, we will leave our earthy homes and I will be in heaven. But I think about the ones who won’t be there …. All because they never heard. They wasn’t rescued from their chains. They were forced to work as slaves for the devil. 
Today I encourage you to do your spiritual duty as a “cop” and search out the lost. We are in a never ending battle with the “bad guy” , the devil. But one day the FBI- Jesus- will arrest him and lock him up for good. What team are you going to be on? Do you want to run away from God, enslaved to the devil. Or work with God, helping and working towards the kingdom… 
Look for the signs & investigate the crime that the devil has committed. Start with your history, open your bible and read up on him. Look at how much hurt he’s caused. Read up on how our “boss” handled things. And then go out into the field and do the same. Always be read up, prayed up, and suited up, for your daily battle with the devil. 
“Go ye therefore teaching all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and if the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things just like I have told you: and Lo, I am with you. Even into the ends of the earth.” – Matthew 20:19-20
-Marli