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Happiness for Real

Weekly Sabbath Survey
 Happiness For Real — 2-18-2017
“Bloom Where You’re Planted.”  Back 40 years ago, that was “code” for, “Now that you’ve been fired up in the Lord, stay in your same church and don’t mess up status quo, no matter how bad it is.”  You can guess this was a desperate attempt to keep newly Spirit-led denominational people from jumping ship. Some stayed, others left. Some went back, others went forward. Each had to figure out what was best for them and their family, and what made them happy.
But, this upheaval gave birth to a new denomination: The Non-Denominational (Charismatic) Church. In the beginning our services were REAL church!  The ‘new’ music was so beautiful and powerfully anointed, people got saved, healed and delivered during the worship! At times the anointing of Holy Spirit was thick as a cloud. God just did His thing as the people prayed for each other and needs were met. The preacher moved among the people ministering. There was no need for preaching on one of those days! But, eventually the leaders saw this free-for-all church caused some people to run out the door almost screaming. We learned that big challenges to Status Quo were counter productive to some people’s happiness. We needed to be more NORMAL. So, enter the ‘seeker friendly’ version of Charismatic Church. I know people who attended ‘charismatic’ churches for years and never knew it was full of tongue-talkers, including the pastor! This “church” no longer uses that term, and has become mostly the same old church we had before the Charismatic Renewal Church got plastic surgery!  Even most of the music has little anointing now. But, there are a lot of BIG churches now, and the people are “happy.”  
For some of us, happy means joyful. Life is good. For others it means attaining a certain goal. (Or holding on to Status Quo!) But when goals are reached, the happiness of that fades quickly. The Lord wants Believers to learn happiness is not something obtained from outside circumstances. It comes from the inside. True JOY is found in knowing the Lord, His Holy Spirit inside us, and the joy we get from the accomplishments of other people. This makes true happiness in our hearts. People who enjoy the achievements of others are as happy as if they had achieved it themselves. Counting our blessings is more than a song; it’s an exercise in thanksgiving. Tony made it through a bad cancer event. The grandchildren are healthy and growing up to be great kids. My two sons, daughter-in-law and step-daughter are a blessing! I have some good friends that I can trust. My life has been difficult at times, exciting at times, peaceful at times, but never boring! I am happy.
Joy also comes from small things around us. My patio plants I tend every day, my little dogs that I love. A good meal cooked for my family. A jar of pickled eggs I ‘put up’ myself. The smell of clean laundry as I fold it. Soaking in my hot tub. A mist that rises from my garden at sunup. My rooster crowing. The days I have energy, my mind feels bright, not much pain, and bodily systems seem to be working correctly. All this is contentment money cannot buy.
Do I have bad days? Who doesn’t ??  I lived in excellent health all my adult life until about 55. I began to have little things go wrong—little aches and pains that got bigger. And all the docs could offer was lots of bad drugs. I have kept that to a minimum by my own quest for relief in natural remedies. It has been an adventure but I’m still going. Not going too strong, but going. Outdoor activities in winter, that I like to do, are hard for me. It pains me to relinquish control. I want to do everything myself. Asking for help is a frustrating, humbling process. (God is working to make me ready for my last ‘trip’.) I try to be happy that there are those around me who are willing to help me! And I pray for Spring when my body will feel happier again, too!
We must do our best to be happy right where you are. On my worst days, I don’t like to complain to God or beg Him to help me (or just take me!). I want to tell Him I am glad that if I died right now, I KNOW I will be with Him. (“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8)  Life is a simple matter of choosing to be as happy as we possibly can. It’s our decision to be happy. It’s as plain and easy as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  Or, more Biblical, “Rejoice that your name is written in The Book of Life.”
           
The Lord takes care of me so I don’t want for anything. He gives me rest and makes the storms of life easier for me.  He sets a table for me with all of life’s goodness and pleasure to choose from.  He pours His Spirit over me. My happiness is running over the top!  Psalm 23  (paraphrased). 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please)     August 2015
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Lifter of My Head

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Lifter of My Head —  1-21-2017
Years ago I heard about a person who was really “down on their luck.’  From a good family, grew up in the Christian faith. Initial launch into adult life went well. But fortunes turned. This person was on the ropes, spiritually and every other way. And singing the “Somebody Done Me Wrong” song. (I know the words by heart!) There is only one counsel to give a Believer in this shape. It is a sort of ‘do or die’ prospect of giving God full control of our life. We must accept the blood of Calvary as a covering for our sins. This was told to this once faithful Christian. The miserable person flew into a tirade, blurting, “I am not an evil person who needs somebody else to die for my sins! I am in control of my own life. I don’t need help from anybody!”
A TV doc might say here, “How’s that working out for you?”  Or, maybe Sponge Bob, even more cruel with, “Well, good luck with that!”  It’s heart breaking to see people so overwhelmed and unable, even unwilling, to accept the honest truth of what the devil and their own willfulness is doing to their life. They press on and claim to be the master of their fate, the captain of their soul. They need no help—divine or otherwise. (Except when they “borrow” money from you.) They don’t need a Savior. They are adrift on a stormy sea in a leaky boat. No life preserver, no provisions for survival. Eventually they must forsake the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. [1 John 2:16] They cannot stay in denial of their extreme circumstances. There’s a line in a Bob Dylan song: “When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?” Even if we do lose everything, we must strengthen our hope of heaven, our trust in Jesus!
We may learn the Good News as children, but at some point we need to HEAR the Bad News. Sometimes, possessed with only the Good News, we find it of little value and declare ourselves “The Boss of Me.” We put Jesus in chains, throw Him into a hidden place until later when we die and need Him to punch our ticket into Heaven. Meanwhile, we sail the seas of life in storms and weather fair, thinking we are OK because we still have our head above the water. Some of us are in the leaky boat and some are absolutely on the Titanic. Hear the Bad News: All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. There is none righteous, not even ONE. What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!!!
He promised to take our heavy burdens. In Bible days, men walked along the dusty roads, some carrying large bundles on their backs, bent over under the weight their faces looking at the ground. There was no UPS, no delivery service. Rich people had camels. Poor people carried the load themselves. At the time, another person traveling light might offer to carry some of the load for another. The person would say with joy, “Friend, you are the lifter of my head!” Many times they didn’t even know each other. That line became a Jewish idiom for being a great help to another. Jesus wants to help us with the load we carry. He wants to be the Lifter of Our Head. He promised that His load is always lighter than ours.
It’s sometimes hard to TRUST God, even when we are saved. But when we finally do, it will change our life forever!! Your faith becomes trust, and your trust becomes grace, and your grace becomes PEACE, even in the storms. Faith is difficult. It is work. Trust is a simple surrender, but even then it takes a great push on our part to get there. Then, grace slips us into that wonderful peace. It comes fully as a gift God gives. We should never have to work for it. It is a Peace that passes understanding. A peace that given our circumstances, doesn’t make sense! These are lessons we learn over and over in life. We forget, and the Lord has to remind us of what we learned before. Life is school and will be until the day we “graduate.” All the while we are going back and forth between ‘we know it’ and ‘we forgot it,’ He is our protector, and our righteousness, and the bearer of all our burdens.

Lord, how things that trouble me are increased. Many say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:1-3 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  July 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

Stories & Lies

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Stories & Lies —  11-19-2016
Every culture has its story tellers. These people were/are the historians of cultures without written language. And what we might call tall tales are fun. Other stories provide a record of family experiences we pass on to our children and grandchildren. My kids and grandkids ask me to tell stories of my childhood or my boys growing up years. No matter how many times I tell a story, we all laugh very much every time. I have a longtime friend who is quite the story teller himself. He regales us at gatherings with his recollections. Once he told a “huntin’ camp” tale about how the guys pulled a practical joke on one of the group. We all shook with side-splitting guffaws as he went on and on. At the end, all of us laughing ’til we cried, he said, “Now, that may not be exactly how that happened, but if not, it should have been!” There was no doubt, an element of exaggeration at work! Another old timer story teller said, “Why ruin a really good story by stickin’ to the  facts when a little imagination can really entertain the folks?”  So, those who appreciate that sentiment have learned to expect a little touch of Pecos Bill, Davy Crockett, or Chupacabra from of our story tellers, while sittin’ around the camp fire. They don’t tell something to LIE, but to give people a good laugh. Authors write fiction, and sometimes, story tellers just tell it. It’s spinnin’ a yarn.
So, if story telling isn’t lying, what is? A lie is something told to cover up an evil deed or to protect the lying person from harm; or to enhance one’s standing with others like taking credit for something I didn’t do. It could also be something said to deceive or take advantage of another person, financially or otherwise. And sometimes a lie is said to do harm to another person, like spreading gossip that the speaker knows is not  true. In the Bible the words for lie and liar mean to deceive, to falsify. Number 9 on God’s Top Ten List is Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. So, that would make lying about or against another person a SIN. Anything said to deliberately cheat someone or otherwise take advantage of them, is akin to The Father of Lies, which is, in fact, the devil.
Paul wrote “. . . put away lying, let every man speak the truth in love . . .”  There is a list of things that put a welcome mat for the devil. Lying is one of those. That ol’ snake is most assuredly very comfortable with lying, filthy (corrupt) communication, and slander (evil speaking, ugly gossip) coming out of our mouths. He finds a ‘place’ we make for him and brings along bad spiritual vibes that reverberate in our homes and our hearts, working to drive away the good things of God’s Spirit, like peace, harmony, joy, and even love.
There was a time in American society when lying was very frowned upon. Now, we’re hardly fazed by it. Ordinary, “good” people lie to each other in a pinch. I heard someone quote, “A lie is an abomination to the Lord, and a very present help in time of trouble.” That’s two very different Scriptures put together to say something the Bible doesn’t say!  Salesmen lie to make a sale. Preachers lie from the pulpit. Kids lie to avoid a whuppin’. Spouses lie to each other for a variety of reasons. And some of the most accomplished liars get themselves elected to public office, maybe even as President of the U.S.A.
One thing that our Lord God and Jesus are is TRUTH.  When we are not in the truth, not telling the truth, we are missing a key element of who we are supposed to be if we know salvation in Jesus. Christians DO NOT lie. Sadly, some of the slickest liars I ever knew or heard of said they were—Christians!
Some of us may think we are so free in Jesus we can do whatever we want because ‘we are not bound by the law.’ Christians are free from the LAW of sin and death. That means for Believers, it is no longer true that we are doomed to be sinners and to die eternally, as God said in the Garden of Eden. Once we are under the Blood of Jesus, this no longer applies to us. But that doesn’t mean we can run around doing what we want. The rest of The Law is still there! We cannot lie, steal, covet, murder, blaspheme God, etc. When we sin, if we repent we are restored to righteousness. But we must understand this: The blood of Jesus shed at Calvary is not a lucky charm, magic potion or Get Outta Jail Free card. And it certainly isn’t a license to sin without consequences. Truth or Consequences. Yessiree Bob!!!
. . . and, all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone:  Revelation 21:8 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  June 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

What We Look At

Weekly Sabbath Survey
What  We Look At —  11-5-2016
With election day upon us, I felt compelled to offer something pertinent to this nauseating event that ends months of continual bad stuff. This was written last summer, but seems to be on point today.
Most people view life and circumstance one of two ways: Some focus on what we call The Big Picture, and others on the minutia and many facets of The Details. Most big accomplishments happen when a team of several people are made up of both types. Their insights do not oppose one another, they complement, especially if nobody is trying to take all the credit. Both view points are necessary and valid.
Those who focus purely on the big picture see everything from Eden forward and recognize that most of it was BAD. They can become jaded. They are in doom and gloom mode all the time. Seeing and knowing and thinking about all the sin, the corruption, the inhumanity of humans over thousands of years, even one’s own sin, in time will overwhelm the cheeriest Pollyanna. Nobody could maintain joy when focusing on nothing but the worst of human history.
But there is also a danger in excessive emphasis on the details. Some of us ‘see’ too much detail of our own corruption, our family and friends, and the ordinary awful things that keep happening around us. We absorb the hurt of others and everything is very personal. This can be as bad or worse than the big picture people being overwhelmed with world history. Detail people can drown themselves in the local TV news. They take in everything and ‘own’ the sorrow of the details. Recently I became overwhelmed myself with deaths of friends and family, divorce and so forth, in my own sphere of acquaintance. Didn’t leave much brain space for the presidential debates! Might be a good thing.
Today evil and sin seem to be more powerful, prolific, wicked, worldwide, even up close and personal. The Bible calls it “throwing off restraint.” More and better ways to kill each other with soldiers in wars and criminals idiots on our hometown streets. The daily news media frenzy over anything sordid they can find. People are caught up in it and can do nothing but weep over what is going on!  Movies, TV,  ‘Shades of Gray’ books. Unrighteousness and chaos from the devil himself packaged as entertainment!
I want to caution those of us who are really trying remain aware and alert and still maintain a merry heart. We are connecting the dots—-a straight line from today’s news to the Book of Revelation, and so forth.  We must not allow what we read, observe, even what we hear from God to pull us into either of the two extremes. What we dwell on, what we think, what we see and stare at, is what fills us. Every day, no matter what happens, what takes our time and energy, we MUST focus on The Lord God. Behold Him Face to Face, in private prayer and worship (can’t wait for Sunday when we’re on the ropes on Monday!). We are filled with Him by staring at Him. Line in a love song: Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. We must Turn our eyes upon Jesus! Seeing Him, acknowledging Him should begin and end every day that we live!
Further, we must remind ourselves that ALL is working together to accomplish God’s plan for the eventual demise of Earth and the return of Messiah. His plan marches on every day, somewhere, no matter what. It is all working together for GOOD for those who love His appearing. The secret is to find His plan for our own life, and get into that plan. Cooperate with God. Always with our eyes on the prize: Jesus.
The search for truth and understanding of the times we live in is good. It can bring us perspective and useful information. But once we have truth and understanding: we will be amazed that once again, we have found Jesus, the one who said, I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life.
The One who testifies of these things says, Surely, I come quickly.  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus.  Revelation 22:20

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  July 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

What are You In or Into?

Weekly Sabbath Survey
What Are You In or Into? —  10-29-2016
No matter who we are, we are all in some situation, some stage of life. Some things we are in are in something else. Example: you are in a marriage that is in an extended family. That could be a whole other sermon by itself!!)  Then there are interests or pursuits that we might say we are “into.”
About 40 years ago my Daddy’s baby sister and her hubby (now in their 80’s) went with a group of church friends on a charter bus trip. The first night at the hotel there was a time of mingling with other guests around the pool. It was a pretty rowdy crowd for the traveling Baptists who did not do “al-kee-hawl.” But my uncle is a real witness for the Lord. He kept introducing himself and chatting up folks to see if there might be an open door. In the course of conversation, one woman said, “We are really into disco now.”  My uncle, I think frustrated with the scene, said enthusiastically, “Oh, we are, too!!”  My aunt gave him a disapproving nudge under the table, but kept smiling. Back then, Baptists didn’t DANCE, especially not DISCO!
Our lives are lived in this world in the Lord! He’s got the whole world in His hands. Life is a serious business. Different people are into different things, good and bad. But in all things, the Lord is there with us, for every happy and beautiful time, like the day you married the love of your life. And He is there even in those fiery furnace times as He was with the three Hebrew boys, like the day a dear loved one died. The places we go and things we do characterize our lives. Some things come and go, others are with us for a lifetime. Some things we choose and others are thrust upon us. What we do day by day is our life. What we choose, and how we live with the things we didn’t choose, will determine the legacy we leave behind. Our behavior, what we did, will surely be remembered by others. What we do in this life echoes in eternity.
I’m giving thought myself as I write, about what all I am in and into. To say I am both in and into Jesus would be an understatement. He, The Father, Holy Spirit and their Book are the very center of my life. I’m in my ministry of writing and of being a close friend and/or mentor to a few sisters in the Lord. I’m in my family and circle of friends, as time and distance will allow. I love all of them, near and far. I am in and into my home—my house, Hens Acre Farm, and Texas. I am very into my dogs and my chickens. I’m into my once gorgeous prize-deserving Geranium I’ve had for six years, since we moved to Hens Acre Farm. It got accidentally left outside to freeze a little 3 times last winter. It has recovered somewhat, me giving it a lot of TLC through Summer. I love it, so I’m still working to bring it back to its former glory.
Everybody is in and into various things. Being in something implies a location or entity or frame of mind. Into is similar but has the implication of something we are interested in or taken with, could be a location (I’m into Texas) or a fad (I’m into chicken decor) or something more spiritual (I’m into healing music). Whether we are in or into something by choice or by chance,

God watches over us and helps us in the midst of what we might just call “life.”  He is there to guard and guide, and always wants the best for us. In the worst circumstance of our own making, He is The Father, waiting for the Prodigal to come home.

So, what are you, my readers, in and into?  Maybe you have a situation so emotionally shattering it seems to overwhelm you every minute of the day. The Lord is in it with you. Or, maybe you have adopted some pass time, joined a club, got a new friend that you know is not for you. Jesus is with you. You could be in a crushingly bitter dispute with a friend or family member, even into the Court Room. The Father is with you. Or you may have won the lottery, just closed a big business deal, got promoted to an awesome job, or have otherwise come into a new and positive situation. The Holy Spirit is with you, as well. We may be up, we may be down, but still, He never leaves us, never forsakes us.
Where could I go to be away from Your Spirit? Or, where could I run from Your presence? If I rise up into the heavens, You are there: if I made my bed in hell, I would look and there Your are! If I flew away in the morning and went to live far across the sea; even there Your hand would lead me, and Your right hand would hold me.  Psalm 139:7-10

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  July 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

Red Flags in the Mirror

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Red Flags In The Mirror —  7-23-2016
All Believers begin to grow and develop within the confines of where we first heard the Word of Jesus. Some people stay right there. But some of us will see, sooner or later, that the ‘womb’ where we started has grown too small. So we seek out another venue where we can learn and grow some more. This outgrowing our situation experience can happen many times in one life. We shouldn’t stop growing and changing as long as we live. Several times I arrived at some real truth and more power in God. I have come to realize there is always going to be more truth to be learned and more strength to be gained by those who keep leaving the old spiritual things to go forward into the new in God. Sort of being Born Again over and over. We stop growing when we are satisfied and/or do not relish a change or a challenge. When confronted with a ‘new to us’ thing in our faith, we may balk at first, but as time goes along the Lord opens our understanding, and we go forward. But for some, fear of change or something they don’t quite understand or anything ‘different’, will ensure they will be right where they are now, 50 years from now.
BUT, we must consider, it is true there is a risk we might get into something that is not of God. It happens. We may be fooled by others or our own heart that “wants what it wants.” There are people who get disappointed with what God did or didn’t do. They prayed and prayed, but He didn’t obey them! So they ran away. Whatever,sooner or later, we must apply the brakes, ‘abort’ the mission as it were. The Lord will show us the way out so we can go on with what He really has for us. I have not enjoyed so much those “side trips” the Lord allowed me in my ignorance or zeal. It was usually hurtful to myself and sometimes others, and may have had an element of face-reddening embarrassment and/or gut-wrenching repentance. I can say, I learned things on those journeys I would not have seen in much of any other way. I guess God doesn’t let anything be completely for naught. Even our worst time in the pig pen like the prodigal son teaches a valuable lesson and becomes something we can warn others about.  
One thing I have observed: If we listen carefully instead of praying so loud we can’t hear the Lord speaking to us, we might notice the Red Flags He put out along the path. Then, it is still possible to turn around and RUN!!  By the time we see the flags in the rear view mirror it’s just about too late. We don’t know what to do but keep going. It’s a journey that will be walked out in difficulties that could have been avoided. I have known some people who kept going in some alternative universe that never was part of their destiny in God.
Some of my worst trips to the Island of Lost Boys (where we turn into braying donkeys—see story of Pinocchio) I made excuses for other people. I wanted to have mercy on them and not see them as a schemer or out of God’s will or even an enemy in disguise. I wanted to HELP them. Or, I wanted to keep going in a situation I enjoyed rather than face the fact that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s quitting too soon and there’s staying too long. I am convinced staying too long is the BEST way to miss God’s plan for me. Leaving too soon can be fixed easier than the damage done in delaying the inevitable.
This kind of a thing is our choice. “The Devil Made Me Do It” just doesn’t cut it. Blaming others like Adam blamed Eve, doesn’t work either. We still have our free will choice down here on Earth. If we keep choosing the wrong thing, step by step, we will wind up in a situation with the red flags in the rearview mirror disappearing into the distance. Hindsight being 20-20, we know we did the wrong thing. But we think we are in too deep to turn around. That is an enemy lie. We still have our CHOICE and can make a change at any time. It’s just the further we go, the more difficult to turn around. We believe the lie, and then a painful experience must be played out. Only after we have exhausted ourselves out with efforts to make a hog slop situation into a Kosher corned beef sandwich, will we finally give up.
The most truthful thing I can say about this is, we are some strange critters. Peter told us we have been given EVERYTHING that will make us have ‘life and Godliness.’ So when something goes wrong, we are without excuse. It may take YEARS but we must come to the point of seeing the utter misery of living ‘out from under God’s umbrella of care’, and return like the prodigal son in the sure and certain hope we can be a servant in our Father’s house. There, we will find mercy and forgiveness and grace and restoration from a Father God who loves us more than we can possibly understand.  
The rich and wasteful son said, I will arise and go to my father, and I will say, “I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me like one of your hired servants.”  He went back to his father, but while he was still far off, his father saw him and had compassion for him. His father ran and hugged his neck and kissed him.  Luke 15:18-20
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  April 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing