Archives for February 2016

Poison Ivy, Sin and You

poison ivy1

 

 

As I was working in the Poison Ivy behind our house Saturday, I was thinking God should have put an ending length on Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy vines start up a tree and wrap its vines around the tree and all the branches as it grows. It reminds me of a squid with its long tentacles. I have pulled vines out of trees that were twenty feet long. Nothing seeming can escape the Ivy. Poison Ivy reminds me of sin in our lives. Poison Ivy can grow in almost any environment. I cut it in the winter just like I do in the spring. The enemy doesn’t need much room to push sin into our lives. All he needs is a tiny opening in our lives to encourage us to sin. Any time will do. When he sees a hurt that has festered, a lie that is just so easy to tell, a feeling of our importance and an unmet want, he moves on in.

Poison Ivy is a tough plant. Once it takes root, it is hard to get rid of. I have tried to get rid of roots out of my ground that were three inches in diameter. Sin is like that in our lives. Once we believe the lie of how right we are to allow the hurt to fester and think about it every day, then hurt turns to bitterness. The root underneath grows as the vine above the ground grows. Poison Ivy will grow up, down, around and just about any direction as it moves. It will branch off of its own vines and roots. Once bitterness begins to grow, it will go in many different directions in our lives. Everything in our life will be covered by it. Once we tell a lie, then that lie grows into more lies.

Many people do not know that Poison Ivy also can produce flowers. They are very aware of the rash that comes from the oil of the Ivy. Sin can look pretty good at points. We can believe every lie that comes. When I am working in the Poison Ivy, I have to be very care not to get the ivy oil on my skin. If you have every had Poison Ivy blisters once, the memory will not be erased. The blisters remind me to be extra careful with my cover ups.  I know I need to cover my body up to my neck and to be extra careful with my face.  With sin, we have to be extra careful to close any door that can be opened in our lives. In order to do that, we have to measure every thought we think by the truth of God’s Word. We have to be in prayer and Bible study every day.

The easy thing for us is just to distance ourselves from any pain, hurt or trouble. It would be easy for me to just not go near the Poison Ivy. If I want to rid the Poison in my woods then I have to go, cut, clear and spray to get rid of it. Jesus was among the saints and the sinners. He worked in the midst of everyone. I cannot avoid hurt and trouble. It is just a part of life. Poison Ivy is just a part of my woods whether I want it or not.

James says the “one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it” sins. I know from experience what I need to do to protect myself from the Poison Ivy. It is a plant with poison. I know from experience what I need to do to protect myself from sin. The enemy sits and waits for any opening in my life. There have been many times I have been unprotected in my relationships. Each day that I have not met with truth and prayer is unprotected. When I shield myself with Him, the enemy will have no place to distort my thoughts, steal my ambitions, discourage me and steer me away from God’s truth. Poison Ivy is there. How I shield myself, can be the problem. Sin is there. How I protect myself is the issue.

In-laws Are The One Another by Lynn Autry

 

One another

 

 

 

Have you thought about all the one another passages in the Bible? We are to love one another, forgive one another, be at peace with one another and many more.  Many people use exclusion clauses for the one another passages. I have and I’m sure you have to. One another is used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. Many of the verses are instructions for us. Paul wrote 60% of the one another verses. Over half of the one another passages either deal with love or unity. Some of the passages deal with humility and other areas. Let’s start looking at the instructions that God has given us for relating to each other in relationships.

Love one Another is repeated over and over in the New Testament. I think God wanted to get our attention by having it in several books of the Bible.

John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have love you, you must also love one another.”

John 15:12 “This is My command: Love one another as I have love you.”

John 15:17 “Tis is what I command you: Love one another.”

Other passages to look at are Romans 13:8; I Thess. 3:12, 4:9; I Peter 1:22; I John 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 John 5

God had instructed the Israelites in the Old Testament to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. They were to impress this on their children. Jesus was carrying this to a new group of believers. These new believers were to love each other just as He had loved them. Christ had shown his disciples a sacrificial love. He had demonstrated a Godly love. We are to love each other as Christ has loved us.  Christ did not pick and choose who He would like based on color, age or size. He did not pick and choose based on personalities. He loved each person equally. Where a person lived did not affect how much Jesus loved them. He personally shared His love with the Samaritan woman.

Jesus says again in verses 34 that we are to “love one another.” This time He adds the word must. We are to by all means necessary to us “love one another”. Jesus has called it a commandment so we would see the urgency in these three words. He compels us to make every effort to love each other. We are to love with Christ’s love. We are to love one, one and one again until there are aren’t any ones. We are love another and another.

Who we loved and how we loved was very important to Jesus. He gave us this one another as a building block for the other one another passages to build upon. His love for us was so sacrificial. Can we not at least try to love each person as Christ has loved us.

 

serve one another

 

 

Serve one another is one of our commands that also instructs us to love.  “For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”  (Gal. 5:13) Before Paul talks about service, he talks about freedom. We have been set free from slavery to sin. Christ has called us to be free but to do what actually. We are to have our freedom but be careful how we use it. Our selfish desires are not to be apart of our freedom. We are not to use our freedom just for us. In case we are unclear as to how to use our freedom, Paul gives us a command as to how to use it. We are to use our freedom for service. Our service is to come through our love for people. We are to do the opposite of selfishness. We are to love. C.K. Barrett says the opposite of the flesh is love. We have been given freedom to love and then serve. Christ has loved us and we are to channel that love that He gives us to our service for other people. We are to be a servant. That may mean helping, waiting, assisting or giving.

Eph. 6:7 tells us to “Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord, not to men”. When we serve through our love, our attitude will reflect that. Our service should reflect that we are not doing it for selfish gain but what is pleasing to the Lord.

As we serve and receive service, we need to do it with the love of God. Sometimes receiving service can be hard for us if we have a problem with the way it is done. Ladies, just receive it and don’t worry about the way, the why, or the how it is done. God will take care of that. We just have to love. As we serve, we sometimes have a problem with how it is received. Let the Lord guide you on what to do and when. There have been times when I thought my service to an in-law was a great idea. The service was not received the way I intended. When the Lord is your guide, you follow His guidance on serving. Let Him take care of the rest.  Our command is just to serve with love. How simple is that?

 

accept one another

 

 

 

Accept one another is one of our another commands that is instructed in love. “with all humility and gentleness,  with patience,  accepting one another with love,”( Eph. 4:2) There are things in our lives that we willingly except without a question. We accept our children. We may not always like their behavior but we lovingly accept our children without question. We accept presents with a thankful attitude even if we may not like the gift.  There are things we do not accept willingly. We do not willingly accept unfair tickets. When we feel we have been unjustly fined, we have a hard time with the willingly. We do not willing accept bad hair days. Ok, I can’t be the only one who has tried blue and pink in their hair.

We are to accept one another. This is more than tolerate each other. It is more than to just survive. This is to willingly without protest or reaction accept each other. The acceptance is to be more than the willingly. We are to do this in love. We are to show love when we accept each other. We have a tremendous example to follow. Christ accepted us in love just as we were to give us redemption. ” Therefore accept one another,  just as the  Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

The problem arises when we want to choose who we show Christ’s love and acceptance to. We want to add the exception clause to the verse. We want to show His love to the people that we feel like deserve it. The undeserving is under the exception clause. I will accept this person because they are kind and accepting to me. I will not show love and acceptance to this person because I don’t like them or they are not like me.

We are to follow His example and accept each other with His love. Christ has loved and accepted us. Can we not show that same love to in-laws and accept them? In-laws are the One Another.

 

Be devoted to one another

 

We have another command to do in love. We are to be devoted to each other in love. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (12:10) Let’s just deal with the first part of this verse. We are to have an affectionate relationship within our family. One of the words used in this verse to describe our relationship is devoted. Devotion is more than a casual look in their direction. Devotion involves loyalty and allegiance. When we have an allegiance to something like our country, we are showing a commitment. We may wear the red, white and blue or wave a flag on patriotic days. Our devotion to people involved in our relationships is to show that kind of support. We are to show our loyalty to them during their big days and little days. We are to show our devotion during the happy times and sad times in each other’s lives. Desertion is not an option in a soldier’s life and it is not an option in this verse.

Paul adds another part of this command. We are to do this devotion out of brotherly love. We are not to fight like brothers do at times but we are to love as brothers  do. Brothers are to be able to fight or disagree at times but still maintain a love for each other. Brothers will stand together when something happens to the family. They run to support in sickness or problems. As we show our commitment to the people in our relationships, we are to do this out of love. Love is a powerful word. When love is behind an action, the whole attitude changes. The actions get easier to do when love is behind it.

How do we do this devotion, commitment and brotherly love in our relationships? We have to go back to the word devoted again. When we follow this word in scripture, we read that we are to be devoted to God, Christ, prayer, apostles’ teaching and more. Before we can be devoted to each other especially in difficult relationships, we have to be devoted to God. Our devotion has to start first with the One who can give us the love to pass on in our devotion to each other. Our devotion to God and our communication with Him on a daily basis helps guide us through our devotion and love for the people we are to be devoted to with brotherly love. Start at the source and then you will be able to obey this command in your relationships.

 

peace with one another

 

 

Peace with one another is a one another on unity.”Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you make it salty?  Have salt  among yourselves and be at peace  with one another.” (Mark 9:50)  We are to have peace with each other. What is peace? Peace is freedom from oppressive thoughts or disturbance. It is harmony. Is this peace on the inside of us or on the outside with each other? Actually it’s both. It starts with the inside. C.S. Lewis says  “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” Since God is peace then our peace first starts with Him. Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace”. He has the peace we want. Our inter peace starts with Him. We have to accept what Christ has done for us on the cross. Only when we have peace within can we start to have peace in our relationships. As long as we are at war with ourselves and God, we will not be able to take the peace that God intends to give us.

Salt is a favoring. It can make the tasteless food have taste for us. When we have God’s peace than it favors our relationships. We first make sure we have the peace inside. We then move on to how we react with each other. Romans 12:18 tell us that if it is possible and as much as it depends on you, we are to strive to have peace with each other. It is not always possible to have a relationship with angry people. We are to do what depends on us. What does depend on us? It depends on us if we are in bondage to oppressive thoughts. It depends on us if we let bitterness build up. Freedom is the key to our willingness to do what depends on us. We are to strive to be kind and be Christ like to even the most disagreeable people.  The peace within is what keeps us from crashing and burning when we cannot have peace with everyone in our family. God’s peace gives us the assurance to move on when we have done all we can and leave it in His hands for all the rest. With family we want close relationships, this is not always possible.

God will guide us through what to say and not to say when we let Him. Proverbs 16:9 says God directs our steps. Many times I have said something out of frustration and God was not in any part of it. Many times God has given me words to say when I didn’t know what to say. Many times God has just kept my mouth. Can I get a witness? Peace on the inside of us and peace on the outside with each other can only happen with the Prince of peace. We need God on the inside and we need God’s guidance on the outside. He is the key to our peace with one another.

 

 

sharks

 

 

In our one another series, we find another on unity, we are not to bite and devour one another. “But if you bite and devour  one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.” (Gal. 5:15) Ouch, that verse hurts for many of us. In the previous verses, we are to be learning how to love and serve each other instead of sinning against each other. The Christians instead of serving one another were biting and devouring one another. Paul used three verbs: biting, devouring and consuming to make the point.They were in anger biting one another and deliberately devouring each other. Their passions were used for devouring instead of service. Those who should serve one another were biting each other.

One of the ways, Paul tells us we can be unified in our relationships is not to attack each other. We are not to act like animals that bite, devour and consume their prey. Some animals pick at their prey and some just tear right into them. Either way, Paul says don’t do it. We are to act like children of God. How we treat each other shows more about ourselves than possibly the other person. Sometimes we act like some relationships are disposable. We do not feel like we actually need the relationship. We do not have to put any effort into the relationship. When we get annoyed or upset, we can bit and devour. The relationship is not worth the effort. We do need each other in the family. Each person is worth the effort. Each family is worth the effort.

Paul says to “Watch Out” that instead of serving one another, we will be consumed by one another. Biting and devouring leads to possibly destroying each other emotionally or the relationship. Relationships are built on communication. When our communication hurts instead of serves one another, the relationship may not survive. Jesus tells us in Matthew 12 that we will give an account for every word that we speak. When we are attacked verbally, that usually means we will bite back by words or actions. Paul makes it clear that the way we keep from spending time biting is to serve. Jesus gave us the example of this. Before Jesus was going to the cross, He was washing the disciples feet. He could have been attacking verbally the leaders that were going to hang Him on the cross but instead He was serving by washing feet. He chose to serve in love instead of bite and devour. What an example for me and you.

forgivenss

 

In-laws are included in forgiveness to one another. If we are to have any hope of unity in our family, we have to choose to forgive. “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Eph. 4:32) As disciples of Christ we show our love to each other through kindness and compassion. A natural outpouring of our love to each other is also forgiveness. As we love to be forgiven from each other for our mistakes (boy do I make them), we also are to forgive each other when they make mistakes. C. H. Spurgeon said, “To be forgiven is such sweetness that honey is tasteless in comparison with it. But yet there is one thing sweeter still and that is to forgive.”

The cost of not forgiving is high. When we do not forgive, we hold onto the hurt and hold the person hostage. We refuse to let go. We refuse to believe our God is strong enough to handle every part of the offense. As mothers-in-law, we have daughters-in-law and sons-in-law who want to hold us hostage by their unforgiveness.  Whatever we attempt in the relationship is judged by what has not been let go. As mothers-in-law, we also do the same thing. We hold onto a hurt and judge everything the person does by what happened in the past. I have been held hostage and I have also held someone else hostage. This stops the relationship.

Paul says our model in our relationships is God. God made a choice. He sent His Son to this earth for us. He chose to forgive us. He could have held us hostage by our sinbut He chose not to. His love was that great. God knew there would be times we could not forgive by ourselves so He gave us a model for forgiveness. He showed us the ultimate love and through that love came forgiveness. Only when we have God’s love can we let go of unforgiveness and forgive. Only when we have God’s love can we love when we are not being forgiven by someone else. God’s love show us how to love and how to forgive when life reaches up and knocks us down.

carry-burdens

 

 

Mothers-in-law are like any in-laws, we have burdens. Paul says we are to “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians  6:2) What is a burden? In this verse, a burden is considered to be a heavy weight. Burdens are considered to be a hardship that needs to be carried for a long distance for someone. We all have burdens. Some of our burdens are small and some are big. Not all burdens are physical, some are emotional. We may have burdens of financial, family crisis, health issues, loss of employment, death of a loved one and more. As mothers-in-law, we are considered sometimes to never have burdens we can’t handle by ourselves. We are so strong. We are able to handle it ourselves and we do try to do that sometimes. Mothers-in-law know that is not the case don’t we. We are not exempt from burdens.

God does not intend for us to carry our burdens ourselves. In our relationships, we are to have a equal concern for each other. If one of us suffers, then this should be felt by all of us. In this verse, carrying one another’s burdens is an imperative. We are commanded to do this. For all of us we are to be available to help each other carry our load.  The bigger question may be “Do you know what burden needs to be carried?” Communication is huge in knowing what burdens are there.  We are to move past whatever issue we have we each other and be a burden carrier for each other. In Psalms 55:22, we are told to “Cast your burden upon the LORD”. God is always there for us to lay our burden on Him. He also provides for people around us to help us our burdens.  God has it covered. He is there and He provides burden carriers for us.

When we are a burden carrier for someone or someone is a burden carrier for us, then this is following the example of the love of Christ. This is how we show the love of Christ by carrying burdens.  Christ came to this world and took our sin on Him. He bore burden of sin on the cross. He took our heavy weight of sin and carried it the distance to the cross. He showed such love for us. When in-laws carry each others burdens, we are showing love to each other.  Are you a burden carrier for someone in your family? Are you a burden carrier for another in-law? Each of us have the opportunity to show love by being there for an in-law.  Someone is waiting on your help to carry their burden with them. Seize the opportunity and strap on the burden they have. Your burdens will seem less heavy when you carry their burden the distance for them.

 

pray for one another

 

Every in-law needs prayer. Whether it is the mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law or son-in-law, we all need the prayers of each other. James says in 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.” We are not given an option of whether we are to pray for each other. James says we are just to do it. This is a command. When we pray for others, it helps us to think beyond ourselves and grow in compassion for each other. When we are obedient then we get rewarded. A healing occurs and we are made whole and become an overcomer.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are to pray with all kinds of prayers and supplications for the saints. What do we pray for each other? Your in-laws need the same kind of prayers that you need. We all need prayers for: 1) wisdom to make the right decisions 2) discernment to understand the things of God 3) God’s protection 4) God’s provision 5) to realize our position in Christ 6) to boldly proclaim the gospel 7) open our eyes and enlighten us to his purpose and calling for our life 8) be regular and consistent in the study of God’s Word and there are many other prayers for us to pray for each other.

James says that when we pray with determination, zeal and intensity that our prayers have God’s power. When we believe and want God to actually do something good in our in-laws lives, our prayers are powerful. We are to be motivated by God’s love and a desire to help others even in-laws. Every problem we have with an in-law gives us even more reason to be steadfast in our praying for others. With good and difficult situations with in-laws, we are commanded to saturate them with the compassion of God through prayer. As we pray for one another, we have the victory in in-law relationship that God intended.

 

 

May we accept our responsibility of treating our in-laws as each one another passage suggest. May we start getting down to the real business of including in-laws in each one another passage.  May God awaken us all to our responsibility to pray for one another, carry each other’s burdens, forgive one another, do not bite or devour one another, have peace with one another, be devoted to one another, accept one another, serve one another, love one another and the many other one another passages so that all Christians may glorify God and fulfill the purpose for which we have been saved.

 

 

 

Ultimate 7 layer dip

 

7 layer dip

 

 

 

 

I was given this dip and used it for our Super Bowl Party. It was delicious and a  great success. Try it for your next finger food party.

Ingredients

1 16 oz can of Refried Beans

1 packet Taco seasoning mix

1 cup of Sour cream

1 cup Salsa

1 cup Shredded lettuce

1 cup Taco cheese blend

1 cup Chopped green onions

1 cup Chopped tomatoes

 

Mix refried beans with taco seasoning

Layer the rest of the ingredients

Use favorite chips for dipping

Enjoy