Fire and Brimstone

Love is a foundational truth in the Bible.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

However, in these last days let us not forget the ministry of reconciliation. The Christian mandate was given in Matthew 28:19-20 to “… go thee therefore…”

Accordingly, as we demonstrate the loving sacrifice of the living God, let us not forget the other truth we must share regarding God’s wrath to come.

FIRE & BRIMSTONE

I Love My Body

© Wanda J. Murry, October 1, 2020

The Body is an amazingly beautiful piece of human art. It is especially eye-catching when you dress it in fine apparel. It stands out and beckons you to take a second and third look; to draw closer for up-close and personal vetting. Someone said that beauty was in the eye of the beholder; yet, the Body invites depth that goes beyond the naked eye. It’s the only way to see if it’s only skin deep.

I don’t boast about much, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to celebrate my Body. Let’s face it – if I don’t brag about my Body, no one will know how magnificent it is. It would be a great disservice for me not to boast about my Body when many are searching for one that looks and feels as good as mine does.

My Body is so satisfying I know if I share a little about it, you will be aroused and want to explore it. And that’s precisely my intention – to awaken an emotional desire in your heart to draw you nearer to it. You see:

My Body is:

  • sweet like sugar
  • comforting like a warm blanket
  • welcoming and protective

My Body will:

  • penetrate your intellect
  • make you thirsty & hungry for more
  • fill you with love, joy, & peace

and, My Body provides:

  • the embrace you desire
  • the truth you require
  • the home you admire

I celebrate my Body today because it has been good to me in ways seen and unseen. It nourishes me even as it cleanses me of the garbage I’ve taken in. My Body is my gift to all who will enter its doors, which I share proudly today:

Grace and Truth Baptist Church

15904 E. 23rd Street South – Independence, MO 64055

It is a Body that consistently equips the sons and daughters of God to be more than just Believers. 

I dedicate this blog post especially to my sisters in the Women’s Ministry, who never cease to amaze me as they teach me by word and deed, what it means to be a woman with a heart for God, given to hospitality. By demonstration, they are the epitome of Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Hannah, Deborah, Mary, the mother, Elizabeth, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Sarah, and more. Perfecting their state as virtuous women, they are daughters in whom I believe God is well pleased.

Sisters, you are a huge part of why I love my Body!

Song of Solomon 7:1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Proverbs 12:4a

virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:…

Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

My Ever-Expanding Family

a bigger picture with a better view

Someone recently said of me, “if Wanda tells you that someone is her brother or sister, that may not necessarily be true. Wanda calls everybody her brother and sister.” I laugh at my friend. Guilty as charged!

I grew up with one sister, Gwen, in Kansas City, Kansas. We are our mother’s only children. At 11 years old, I had the great pleasure of meeting two sisters and a brother: Talone, Pudgy, and Tasha. They are my father’s children. I am hoping above all hope to meet my father’s firstborn, Sheila. Sidenote: Sheila, if you’re out there, I sure would love to meet you!

I am the oldest of all of my siblings except for Sheila. Biologically, I have five blood-related siblings. And if I may give a brief shout-out, they all beautiful and exceptional in their own unique ways. Love you guys!

However, I can’t count the actual number of brothers and sisters I have on this earth. Their numbers exceed my imagination; plus, I don’t know them all and, I’d probably be overwhelmed if I did. Some of them I know personally, and they are located all around the world in places like Atlanta, Canada, Africa, Arizona, Kansas, etc., etc., etc. There are many I will never meet in person in my lifetime on earth. I do know this, though… my brothers and sisters are innumerable.

The truth is that my father has a lot of children, and he expands his family daily. This ever-expanding family is global, stemming from every ethnicity, across the globe. My father is an international lover… of souls. I’m also an international lover, as I attempt to emulate my father as he’s instructed me to:

John 17:22

  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

1 Corinthians 10:17

  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12

  • For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Romans 12:5

  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Galatians 3:26

  • For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:7

  • For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

I love my ever-expanding family. If you have placed your trust, hope, and life in Jesus Christ, I hope you do too. It’s both necessary and profitable to the kingdom of God that Christians see themselves as being part of a global, spiritual family. Jesus made it clear the value he has for his spiritual family:

Matthew 12:48-50

  • 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
  • 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
  • 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love and cherish my biological family. I’m to love them no different than I love my spiritual brothers and sisters. God even commanded that we love our enemies. So loving people in general is what a Jesus follower should be known for. 

1 John 4:20-21

  • 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Without wrapping our heart and head around this spiritual mandate, we limit ourselves to earth-bound thinking and pursuits that add no heavenly benefit to the kingdom of God. It may seem extreme but at the end of the day we are called to have the same mind as Christ, our Savior:

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Spoiler Alert: dear brother and sister in Christ, this earth is not our home! So love the ever-expanding family of God. And while you are at it, do what you can to add to it!

In A Relationship With God

The basis for all the others…

I was 11 years old when I first began to hear about the God I would later come to love. He was a mysterious stranger that intrigued me. I read the stories about him in my children’s bible. I listened intently to the lessons the teachers taught about all the things he did for me. My young mind was in awe of this invisible person who took on flesh like mine but was a Spirit-being.

It wasn’t long before I knew that I wanted what he was offering. This Jesus, who loved me so much that he died for me, drew me in. My mother loved me strongly, but I didn’t know of any man who lovely me this deeply. Plus, at 12 years old, I knew I didn’t like pain; I was sensitive to the hurts of others. So the option of not burning in hell for eternity because someone loved me like this, in my young mind, was a no-brainer.

Over the last 45 years of my life, I have been married to the Lord. I won’t lie: I haven’t been the best wife to him. But, because he has proven to me time and time again that his love for me is unwavering, my heart has desired to become a better wife. My trust in this husband has never been abused, misused, or hurtful. Every day this husband has proven himself faithful, longsuffering, and trustworthy.

Being in a relationship with God is awe-inspiring. I don’t mind sharing His love. He has an abundance of love to spread around to any and everyone who desires to join him in holy spiritual matrimony. I want everyone to experience the love I’ve found in my relationship with Christ, and it’s so simple, a child with understanding can do it.

Just repeat after me:

Lord,

I know that I am a sinner because sin was passed on to me through Adam, a fallen sinner, according to Romans 5:12, 3:23, and 6:23.

I know to become a child of God, I must be born again, according to John 3:3.

I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and died, was buried, and rose again. I confess this belief with my mouth and ask you, Lord, to send your Holy Spirit to live within me, according to Romans 10:9-11.

I believe this in my heart, confess it with my mouth that I am now a child of God.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Welcome to the Family of Christ.

You are now in a relationship with God.

(Reach out to me if you accepted the Gift – I’d love to welcome you!)

Lifestyle Choices

[Wasting our greatest investment]

To be good at ANYTHING, we have to study and practice it until it becomes second nature. The great thing about the Word of God is that it is inexhaustible. And, when we study God’s Word, it not only becomes a part of us, but it transforms us from the inside out.

Just as a butterfly starts out as a different creature and then goes through a transformation process, so does the person who has given their life to Christ. And just as a caterpillar can end up a butterfly or a moth, a person can end up “born again” but without the distinct spiritual beauty that clearly identifies them as a new creature.

Of course, this is no sadder than a person who goes to college and gets a degree they never use. Which bears the question, “if we study a manual to learn our profession, why don’t we study the Bible to master our confession of faith?

At the end of the day, it’s about mastering our lifestyle choices.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:9-11

Checkmate 2020

God is the Righteous Judge

The bottom line is ALWAYS THE SAME … and, IT’S NOT A GAME!

We Choose Who We Follow!

We have FREE WILL to do whatever it is that we desire to do. And, we must know, that there will always be consequences to every thing we choose to do, and to be.

There are no gray areas here, no fence to straddle, though many times we prefer the fence top on a multitude of topics. There are ONLY two options:

~ God’s way or Man’s way ~

Always keep in mind that man, regardless of his title, position, education, substance, power, ethnicity, culture, heritage, or anything else – at the end of the day – is just a man, as we all are:  born in sin, in need of a Savior, and on his way to hell if he chooses to reject the gift of Salvation offered through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

It was, is, and remains

the only sacrifice acceptable to God for mankind’s sins! If you put your trust and allegiance in any man or idol over God, you’ve made a CHOICE for your life and your eternal resting place. And, there are no…

ifs, ands, or buts about it.

~ CHECKMATE ~

Joshua 24:15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I Could Panic, But Praying Is Easier

Thinking inside the spiritual box wins over thinking outside the emotional box

Burrrr. At three a.m., my phone registers a temperature of three degrees. At three a.m., I realize I’m in danger of becoming a human popsicle. Why? Because my furnace has died. The temperature on my thermostat reads 40 degrees, but it feels like North Dakota. I can see my breath.

A mental debate on apartment living versus homeownership ensues briefly. I am happy being a homeowner. I climb back under the covers with a flashlight to avoid frostbite and continue looking through papers for my home warranty. No luck.

I send a text to my realtor to ask if he has the warranty information. I don’t have money for a new furnace. After pressing send, I seal up my igloo and claim an additional thirty minutes of shut-eye.

I could have panicked before going to bed after the furnace rattled three times and became silent. In my defense, I don’t panic easily. For me, prayer is an easier response to difficulties. 

PRAYER is my automatic go-to. When issues arise, I pray. When I have no control or power over the matter, I turn it over to my heavenly Father. He already knows the issue, and I’m smart enough to let him handle it for me. I BELIEVE HIS PROMISES ARE TRUE.

I’m hoping I won’t have to cough up any more funds. I hope the pros will be able to fix the issue today. But, if not, I appreciate the open door to my son’s home. And if need be, I’ll pack up my little igloo and rest comfortably in peace.

I COULD PANIC, BUT PRAYING IS EASIER!

Our Temples

Core strengthening exercise for the soul

DISCLAIMER:  IF YOU HAVE NOT BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ASKED HIM INTO YOUR HEART, AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM … THIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR YOU!

Our temples are so much more than just flesh. As NT Believers we are now the “Temple of God” in the same way that the Nation of Israel had a “Temple” where they went to be in the presence of God and to worship God.

Accordingly, defiling the temple holds greater meaning when we look at how the Anti-Christ will be in opposition to EVERYTHING GODLY & CHRIST-LIKE by seating himself in the temple in Jerusalem and beckoning people to come worship him.

The Anti-Christ’s actions are in direct relation to Lucifer’s desire and push to be “like the Most High” [Isaiah 14:13-14]. This bold move was then, and remains now, an abomination in God’s eyes and bears bringing to remembrance. Anytime, and in any way, we elevate ourselves or put anyone or anything in a position in our lives as an object of worship or to glorify it, we have set up an abomination in God’s eyes.

For NT Believers, our body indwells the Holy Spirit and we are now the Temple of God. We have to ask ourselves in what ways 1) do we, 2) have we, 3) are we polluting God’s temple (taking into ourselves: body, mind, spirit); and, 4) what or 5) who have we given more superiority in our life over God?

God’s Temple is the place where He gets all the praise and glory due His Name!

1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22

I Pray

In Jesus’ name I pray …

Lord God,

Every day I am reminded of how much I need you in these evil days. There is chaos and murder and abuses and governmental injustices that abound. My heart is tender; if I didn’t know where my help and strength comes from (Psalm 18:2), I would crumble in my emotions and spirit as one dead.

The greatest anguish that presses against my sanity is the PAIN being played out all around the WORLD. It is the sorrows, the famines, the hatreds, the brutalities that would destroy me, if I did not know that THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN WITH A PLAN FAR GREATER THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE.

All of these destructive shenanigans are just part of what You, Lord, are using in your MASTER PLAN FOR YOUR KINGDOM TO COME. So, I take my burdens to you, Lord. I cast my FEAR upon your throne, because in all HONESTY, I know there is NOTHING ELSE I CAN DO but turn to the ONE who holds all the power (Matthew 28:18). I remind myself that your ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8), and that you, Lord, are a GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:11) who watches diligently over his flock.

This is my comfort … he who began a good work in me (Philippians 1:6), shall perform it. I will cast my cares upon you (Psalm 55:22) because only you can sustain me in these perilous times. My hope lies not in man or woman or child or government, but in the ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD (1 John 5:20). My peace is made sure by my total dependence upon you and no one or nothing else (John 14:27). And, when I lay me down to sleep, I will fear no evil because you are with me (Psalm 23:4).

I will rejoice and praise thee with my whole heart (Psalm 9:1) because you are MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, MY PROVIDER, MY STRONG TOWER, MY HOPE, MY EVERLASTING LIFE! Because you are with me always (Matthew 28:20), I will take shelter under your wings.

THANK YOU, FATHER, FOR THE BIRTH, DEATH & RESURRECTION

OF YOU SON, WHO DIED FOR MY SINS, THAT I MIGHT HAVE LIFE!

In Jesus’ name, I pray!

To God be the Glory, Forever and Ever, AMEN!

Joseph: A Picture of Remaining True

When a man’s ways please God…

It starts from birth.  Children start out tender and sensitive to their environments.

Genesis 37:4 (KJV)

And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

  • A parent’s affection or lack of affection begins the building blocks of their foundation. When parents show favoritism to one child more than others it sets up an ungodly competition and causes discord between siblings. Every child should feel loved by their parents, even when they make poor choices and/or behave in ways not pleasing.
  • At our spiritual birth, we are hated like Joseph was, because of God’s love and favor towards us. Satan, once the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-15), hates us because we have becomes God’s heirs to the throne, the place he wanted to be, and the reason he was kicked out of heaven. And because he hates us, he continually seeks to make us stumble and fail at pleasing God so he can accuse and shame us before God as he has been shamed. The Story of Job is our picture of this truth.

 Don’t expect everyone to rejoice in God’s plan for you.

Genesis 37:8 (KJV)

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

  • God has a plan for every Believer’s life. There are ones common to all of us such as “to love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37), and to ‘go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19-20).
  • Your service gifts are specific to you and how God has shaped you to be. Not everyone will be able to accept God’s vision for how He is using you to serve. So, don’t let other’s ridicule or rejection of sharing Christ and serving Christ affect you in a negative way.
  • Jesus was hated for proclaiming himself as the Messiah and saying he was sent by God the Father to do the will of His Father, even though it was true. Don’t expect to get a pass on being/doing what God is shaping you for, because Jesus didn’t, and he was Messiah (John 10:30-32).
  • Don’t feel bad when people reject the truth you speak from God’s Word. They have been blinded, and only God can remove the cover from their eyes. It’s our job to provide the torch that is lit by the power of God’s Spirit within us.

031219-HolyBibleLessons on our character, resisting temptation, unfairness, patience and God’s faithfulness.

Genesis 39

  • 1-5 – (v2) the Lord was with him; the Lord made him prosperous (v3, 23; it is God who gives us power to get wealth – Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.; Psalm 1:3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.);
  • 6b) He was a goodly person (He practiced living right… Proverbs 16:7When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.)
  • 7 – He was tempted to sin;… 1 Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • 8 – He refused to sin;… – 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
  • 9c – He shows discretionhow then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? [Discreet: Prudent; wise in avoiding errors or evil and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; cautious; wary; not rash] (also, Genesis 41:33, 39; Mark 12:34And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.)
  • 10 – He resisted the temptation (hearkened not unto her) (James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)
  • 11 – He didn’t avoid the temptation – (Proverbs 4:14-1614 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.)
  • 12 – Yet, he was delivered (And she caught him by his garment, … and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. [God will deliver us: 2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:]

green click pen on a white graphing notebook

[Eternal security is found “in Christ” and, there is a plan already in place to guide you to that road:  Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:12, 10:9; 1 John 1:9]