Saturday, June 22, 2013

Appearance to the Glory of God

In 2010, I preached a message entitled H.A.T.S to the Glory of God. The acronym stands for health, appearance, temperament and security. The text for the message was in 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." In essence, the message was teaching that our health, appearance, temperament and security should all give glory to God.

I want to talk about the appearance portion of this acronym. We live in a day and time where the ungodly fashion trends of society have infiltrated the church. Everything from women dressing like men, to wearing bikini's on beaches, all in the name of self expression have become common place among Christian women with no conviction. This is unfortunate and gives the enemies of God great occasion to blaspheme the name of the Lord.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 gives the blueprint for fashion among Christian women. It says, "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." Proverbs 31:10 and 1 Peter 3:3 support this verse giving clarity to how a woman should present herself in public. They can be summed up like this. A virtuous woman is a godly woman of great value. Her adornment is not merely outward. It more so quietly expresses the fear of God in her heart. She has self-control over her own desires. She does not dress in such a way to attract men because she is a Christian woman who displays who she is through the way she lives.

These verses are pretty straight forward, BUT Christian women are not displaying a revelation of these verses in their daily living. Christian women have no problem showing cleavage. Christian women have no conviction about wearing a dress so short that looks like a shirt. Christian women don't see anything wrong with wearing a bikini to the pool or beach. This type of dress does not reflect Christ and have labeled Christian women with the tag of indecent exposure.

As a Christian woman, you should glorify God in what you wear. Your outward appearance should reflect the inward beauty that is in your heart. This means that your dress should not be provocative, attracting the attention of men. It should not accentuate your accents causing you to look like worldly women who have not yet had an encounter with the Savior.

I pray that you would have an encounter with the Savior and receive the revelation that you have been created in His likeness and image. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made in secret to publicly display His beauty. You are His masterpiece designed to outwardly show the reflection of Him which is intricately woven in our hearts. Therefore, don't buy the lie! Live up to the standard that God has created for you and let your outward appearance reflect His glory that is burning brightly in your heart.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Forgiven Forgives

As pastors, my husband and I are very passionate about preaching; namely preaching against sin. This doesn't always go over very well; especially when dealing with an individual about a particular sin. Let me say though, that the sins we deal with, many times are not necessarily big. They are the little character issues of the heart when dealt with that cause deep hurt, offense and the catalyst to send people out the door.

This gets very perplexing, but when my mind tries to go places it doesn't need to be, I hear the Spirit of God reminding me that people come and people go. You keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and choose to walk in love and forgiveness. Whenever, I hear these words, I say, Yes Lord. I will walk in love and forgiveness.

This is not always an easy task, this love and forgiveness business. Yet, I have found that the task is less difficult when my heart and mind are fixed on being obedient to the Lord; rather than giving in to the dictates of my flesh. You see, the bottom line is that forgiveness in not an issue of the "want to." Forgiveness is an issue of obedience.

Jesus said in Mark 11:25-26, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." This verse clearly teaches that in order to be forgiven you must forgive. Ephesians 4:32 reiterates this truth. It says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."

Did you see that? Mark states that if you don't forgive you won't be forgiven. Paul teaches in Ephesians that the forgiven forgive. Let me say it to you this way. You need, we all need, God's forgiveness. When you don't forgive you forfeit God's forgiveness. Furthermore, he forgave you! You have done of some terrible things against the Lord and He forgave you. Yes, He forgave you therefore you must forgive.

Sin is so damaging and many times is the impetus to offense. This is why as believers, we must do all that we can by the grace of God not to sin. Though it is damaging and many times causes offense, the one offended must forgive. You must forgive. I must forgive. We must forgive! Forgiveness is God's kingdom way, and for one to walk in the way of the kingdom, they are obligated to forgive.

Meditate on this teaching today. Ask the Lord to give you a heart that forgives. Ask Him to teach you through offense to learn to walk in love and forgiveness. The only way that you will learn this is through offense. Therefore remember, offenses are going to come, BUT the forgiven forgive.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stay In The Positive Lane

When I was in high school I ran track. I enjoyed it and learned quickly the importance of staying in my lane. It never happened to me, but I have seen many track meets where runners accidentally or purposely crossed into the lane of their opponent. When this happened, whether by accident or on purpose, it would cause injury and in many cases the loss of the race.

This helps put things in perspective in terms of staying in the positive lane of life with spoken words. We live in a day and time where people are negative about almost everything. No one is happy about anything and they say things like, "If it aint one thing it is another." "I always get stuck in traffic." "There are cutbacks on the job. I know they are going to lay me off." "I always get sick."

These are negative confessions and breed negativity in your life. You have to learn to stay in the positive lane with the words that you speak. The Bible is clear when it says in Proverbs 18:21 which reads, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." This means that if you speak negative, you will have negative things happen in your life. If you speak positive things, positive things will happen in your life. In other words, you life is a product of your words.

Mark 11:23 also teaches this concept. It says, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." Here you have it again and it is summed up in the latter part of the verse, you will have whatever you say.

With that in mind, ask yourself, "Self, what have you been saying?" Are you speaking life or are you speaking death? Are you finding reasons to rejoice or complaining about everything? Are you staying in the positive lane even if it means keeping your mouth shut? These are just a few valid questions to ask yourself because if you cross the line over into negativity you will only hurt yourself and reap the consequences of your negative words.

Let me leave you with a few powerful, positive things to say.

I will stay in the positive lane. I will live up in a down world. I will rise above the common fray of everyday negativity. Life and death are in the power of my tongue and I will have what I say. Therefore I choose to say only what God has to say about everything. I will find reasons to rejoice. I am grateful, and even through hurts, difficulty and disappointment, I choose to count it all joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I will fill my heart and mind with the Word of God, so that when I am squeezed, my mouth will be trained to say what God says. Today is a great day and I choose to stay in the positive lane!

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Monday, June 3, 2013

Marriage IS a Mystery

I'm excited because in 32 days we will be going to Cabo to celebrate 21 years of marriage with friends and family. I am looking forward to a time of loving Christ, enjoying life and making memories. Most of all I am excited about celebrating 21 years of marriage to my best friend, companion and lover for life Robert Poole Jr.

As I reflect on our time together, and how we are still in love, I think on others who are now in love, but it came at a great price. I think of others who decades earlier pronounced undying love in their wedding vows and now hate each other because of infidelity, abuse, lies and the like. I also think of those who are about to get married and wonder, do they have the stuff to stick. This presents the mystery of marriage and has left many, including Christians scratching and shaking their heads.

Herein lies the mystery of marriage. Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 calls it a great mystery. He says, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." So what is the mystery? It is, how do two completely different people get married, stay married and continue to enjoy marriage? The answer to the mystery is the Lordship of Jesus Christ over both husband and wife in the marriage. I say this because the reason why Christian marriages fail is because one and or both REFUSE to submit the Lordship of Jesus Christ by obeying the Scriptures.

Joshua 1:8 and James 1:22-25 both say that by hearing and heeding God's Word will guarantee success in every area of life, including marriage. James tells of how if you hear and don't heed you are self-deceived. And we all know that self-deception is the worst deception. He concludes the matter in verse twenty-five by stating, "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." In essence, if you do the work, you will be blessed!

There you have it! Mystery solved! Work the Word in your marriage and your marriage will be blessed. Robert and I have personally experienced this coming on 21 years of marriage. We have had our challenges just like everyone else, BUT both of us are submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and what He says goes, whether we like it or not. We forgive one another because we are commanded to forgive in Mark 11:26 if we want God's forgiveness. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." So, we don't give place to the devil by going to bed angry.

If you are married and refuse to obey the scripture for whatever the reason, you marriage will go down as an unsolved mystery. You will have to stand before God and give an account as to why you didn't allow Him to solve the mystery in your marriage with the policies, procedures and principles of His Word. You don't want to go out like that. Yes, marriage is a mystery, but if you fear God and keep His commandments you will live in peace and joy, knowing that the mystery of your marriage has been solved!

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila