L. Kathleen Cline's Blog

Did God Really Say That?

 This week I am teaching my class about Eve. As I sit and read over my notes, I feel this is something we all need reminding concerning Satan. Even when you teach something, it is entirely different than experiencing an event for yourself.

The first reminder is that Satan misquotes God. In the last five years, I will say, people abusing God’s word for their own benefit has become common. We all need to make it a practice to go and read God’s word for ourselves and don’t just read the one verse. Read a chapter above and the chapter below to make sure you understand the verse in context. I recommend Gotquestions.org as an excellent website to inquire about different Christian topics. There has become this lazy approach to God, where we allow others to tell us what He says instead of us seeking God. The next reminder is Satan will play on some sort of benefit that you desire. I think this is where prosperity teaching went so wrong. Just because you feel something will be right for you or an idea fulfills a longing deep inside you does not mean it is from God. In 2 Samuel 7, David wanted to build God a temple, and even Nathan, the prophet, gave his blessing. The next day, though, God sent Nathan back to tell David no; he could not build God a temple. In this situation, God gave His reasoning, but that is not always the way God works. Sometimes the answer is just no without an explanation. When we allow our emotions to direct us, extreme confusion can happen because it may feel so godly to you but actually out of the will of God. We all have to learn to check our emotions and make sure Satan is not pulling one over on us. The third reminder is Satan will play on our senses; sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Maybe a song on the radio to remind you of a past event. He could place a familiar scent in your path that triggers an undesirable emotion or, worse, a desirable sinful moment that had you in bondage in the past. Satan has a way of playing on your desires to tempt you to betray your faith in exchange for a cheap moment. Don’t get me wrong, that “moment” seems like a must until it happens, then comes the guilt. Unfortunately, when we do sin, Satan temps us to solve the consequences ourselves. We act like Adam and Eve that made themselves covering from leaves as if God would not notice the coverings on His naked humans. Instead of just confessing, we cover up the mess we create the best way we can and pretend to God that nothing has changed in our lives. The story of Eve, combined with James 1:14-16, is something I think we should visit yearly just as a refresher. As I so crudely say to my ladies, “Sin is not a booger someone flung on you. We willingly choose to sin.” As James teaches, “Do not be deceived.” We must take everything to God in prayer with patients so we can hear His reply. Once again, be careful with your emotions. They can easily guide you to sin.

James 4:1

 “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts?” James 4:1

As you brace for another storm, this would be the perfect time to ask God what “pleasures” of yours are hostile to Him? I did, and it wasn’t pretty.😕
Photo by Chunlea Ju on Unsplash

Honor God

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18.
My prayer is that you honor God today by going above and beyond in whatever task is at hand. I also ask that God reveal any opportunity to serve, so others feel God’s love in action.

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Hope Deferred

 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12." The passion translation says, "When hope's dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life's sweetness will satisfy your soul."

Why does prayer sometimes leave you feeling heartbroken? Within a month, I will be going to my third funeral. My mind is screaming; this is insanity. My heart, I think, stopped speaking because you can only mourn so much before you start to go numb. Satan keeps pushing my thoughts towards, "Where is your God in this?" For me, he is an idiot because my personality will research and answer questions that come my way. So, where is my God? Here is my answer.
God blessed us with free will, but with choices, there comes the possibility of unfavorable outcomes. It does not matter if something is an accident or a deliberate act; everyone connected to that event is going to be affected by the incident. Because sin came into this world, so did the destruction of life. Everything has an end; that is why God sent His Son so that death would not be the final destination for His children. Sin brought death to earth, but Jesus brought us eternal life. Not one of my friend's eternal destination is in question. Not one! So while I mourn for those left behind and the reality they must walk in every day, my God took care of the final destination.
Yes, Satan will win small battles of fear and loneliness if we allow, but he lost the keys to death! During devotion this morning, I pointed out to my husband how I feel. For the past few months, Rich and I have attempted to get away, including last weekend, to no avail. "Things seems to keep pilling higher and higher, but God has us getting closer and closer." The last statement is where my God is; He is strengthening His people. Unfortunately, that is also a choice. Satan lives to bombard our thoughts with doubt and fear. For me, sometimes it is wearing and unrelenting. It would be nice if a long weekend could fix things, but it can't in life and death situations. With every ounce of being you have, you must dig deep in prayer and walk in faith. I praise God for my army of praying friends. Once again, a gift from God.
Today, if you are worn out and feel hope deferred, ask yourself the same question. Where is God in this? Invite God in the conversation. Satan wants you heartbroken and hopeless. Like my husband and me, you may find things look overwhelming, but God…

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Praying for Your Enemies

Most of us spend a great deal of effort to keep ourselves from vulnerable positions. We do this because if evil sees an opening, it will take full advantage of the situation. Whether it is your money, credit, identity, health, or safety, the corrupt are always looking to take the stolen upper hand.

Let’s say someone stole your identity, and the damage was substantial. Do you feel it is your duty to press charges so that the criminals do not steal from someone else? How would you feel if a fellow follower said you had to pray for your enemies and proceeded to ask God to bless them? Are they asking God for their success? What are they saying? Are they correct?
The context of Bible verses is very important. Once again, Satan will take full advantage of the ignorant and twist verses to pervert God’s character. We need to make sure that we are not participating in this behavior. To ask God to makes someone’s sin prosperous is absurd at best. God does allow free will acts to occur, but He has nothing to do with a sinful act at all. Sin is not in God’s will for us. (James 1:13) If someone has gained by any corrupt means, how can you ask God to bless them? Good grief, sisters and brothers, what are you asking or saying to others?
When we make a judgment call on our own, it is very easy to misinterpret the situation; that is why Christ-followers need to seek God for everything. Matthew 24 gives a clear warning that during the end times that if possible, deception will fall on His elect. It saddens me to see this event unfolding on many social media sites.
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death,” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
The above verse is the only blessing you should ask from God for those practicing lawlessness. I should hope you desire that all evil be unsuccessful and rebound upon itself. We should always pray for salvation for others. I personally ask God to treat evil like He did in Exodus 14:13-27. I pray as in Exodus, when evil and God’s people were in the same circumstance, God’s people walked on dry ground and were protected by God. Evil, though, God, made their efforts difficult and their evil acts to miss their mark.
So yes, God, please bless all with a repentance that leads to salvation, but for evil, may it never gain ground or succeed in any form. Also, God, if a child of yours publicly misrepresents Your character by an out-of-context verse, then quicken them quickly so they can retract the presumptuous statement. You have done this for me, so I know Your Spirit is always faithful.
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Stop Listening to the Enemy

I heard a testimony that has stuck with me for many reasons. Here is a tiny portion. “My grandson was too still in his little bed, so I went to check on him. He quickly sat up, and I thought, oh, no. He said, ‘YaYa, my stomach hurts. Will you lay down with me?’ I thought I don’t want to be up all night, but then I said, he did not say stay up all night. He said, will you lay down with me. So I did.” There is much more to the story, but this is what I want to emphasize. How many times do we add to what God is saying to us?
For example, God may ask you to have lunch with an unsaved acquaintance, but you hear, be their best friend. It is funny, but seriously, most of us need some help when it comes to actually understanding what was requested by God. Just last night, I was trying to clarify from God a message spoken. I won’t exactly say what was communicated to me, but here is the gist. “That is man’s timeline, Lori. I never said a timeline; man did.”
Prayer journals are the best way to keep your thoughts straight. Are you angry, sad, or frustrated with God because what you thought was to happen did not? I have been married thirty-four years this year, and eighty percent of our fights are caused by miscommunication. Please take my advice concerning this issue; if you feel God did not live up to some sort of bargain or message, talk to Him about it. I did all day long yesterday, and when He answered me, I felt stupid—relieved and stupid.
Stupid because I know my God, and what I was questioning, if it were true would mean God was playing games or reneging. If you are on a faith walk with God, then make sure you do not allow doubt of any sort to disrupt that walk. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostle, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” At this very moment, there are many so-called followers encouraging others to go along to get along. The moment you go into an agreement (not taking a stand) with evil, e.g., lying, theft, abortion, according to God’s word, you are guilty. If you discourage anyone from seeking God concerning any matter, you are then going against God. The discouragement could be mocking or judging what they are requesting from God.
I am flippant here, but I bet old man Abraham looked stupid, thinking his old wife would have a baby. How about what’s a boat, Noah? Did you ever look at the instructions for the destruction of Jericho? My dear faithful sister and brothers, if God called you for such a time as this, then hold the line till He says otherwise. Know your God and know your enemy!
I won’t lie that I went in and out of my faith yesterday till I cleared up the communication lines with God, and now I am solid again. My falter happened because I allowed somewhere along my thought process a false claim or arbitrary timeline to be placed on God. Then to make things worse, I let words enter my eye gate from “followers” proclaiming defeat and surrender.
If your faith gets shaken, praise and worship is the best remedy. I recommend Psalms 145-150. No loyal follower-of Christ can read those and not get pumped up. Stop listening to the enemy and start proclaiming God’s abilities.
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What Is In Your Spiritual Diet?

We spend so much time on our outer appearance. Would you agree that most of the ugly in this world has nothing to do with how someone looks? Yet society spends billions a year on fade diets.
If you were to look at a spiritual diet, how would it appear on paper? What would be your favorite spiritual snack, drink, or main meal? Is that five minute-devotion all you have been eating for substance? Seriously, when it comes to your spiritual self, you want to be that fat, pretty one. Only God’s word eaten in abundance will get you “fluffy.” So once again, what is in your spiritual diet?
Now, like all diets, you must have self-control and determination to maintain your goals. David said it this way in Psalm 119:30-32, “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.”
If you have already stopped your prayer journal, this is the day to pick it back up again. Like any diet, you will have failure, but that does not mean you quit. Set a reasonable goal for your time with God and start again. Ask God for increased faith or a deeper hunger and thirst for Him. There are way too many self-serving, self-absorbed personalities at work in society. God needs His children to become solid, unassuming spiritual adults. You can only become that with well-balanced godly habits. Maybe like David, you can say; first, I will choose God and be faithful to Him. Second, I will place God’s laws in my life. Third, I will hold fast to God’s commands, and finally, I shall move quickly towards God’s will. How that looks for your life is the personal side of your relationship with God. Once again, our spiritual diet is an area God needs us to be full and overflowing. Not anorexic and spiritually hangry.

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Do Not Grow Weary

 At the end of the day yesterday, my faith faltered for a few minutes. When you are tired, I must say that is not the time to discuss concerning issues you are waiting on God to answer. Then I did the worse thing; I spoke my doubts aloud, which made my husband begin to question things. Immediately God quickened my heart to stop and remember. I apologized for my comments and then began to list everything God had done to direct us in our faith walk.

If you find yourself wavering in your faith as you are waiting on the Lord for an answer, please practice this exercise. Once I finished the list, my husband and I began listing stories in the Bible. Those stories are there to help bolster your faith in God. These are trying times, and Satan is working overtime to rattle God’s children. We must remember Who are God is and His capabilities. Father, give your children vigor, persuasive arguments, and the power to rise and remain firm in our faith. In You alone, we trust!
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Poverty and How You Can Help

There are many reasons there is poverty on this earth. Many governments oppress their people and steal them blind of their possessions. What about America? It was hard for me to comprehend that children in America go hungry even in my tiny town. I am not here to debate the reasons. God calls everyday citizens like me to participate in relieving the suffering around us. Let me be clear. At no point do I believe throwing money at people is the answer. To me, that is a perversion of what God called us to do, which is to minister, mentor, and disciple. Yes, the money will help, but with people like the ladies I serve, money only feeds their addictions.

I know many ministries have a platform for mentoring. They will help with food for a month, but after that, they require you to sit down with a counselor for budgeting education. I love this policy because having a bad month can happen to anyone. Budgeting is not taught in schools anymore, so teaching someone to be self-sufficient is a blessing.
I think when it comes to issues of poverty or addictions, people recoil back and think it is too overwhelming, so they do nothing. Do you know the simplest thing you could do for people is remember them in your prayers? When I say pray, I do not mean a glancing sentence of blessings. I mean to intercede on their behalf, seeking God to break the back of poverty in their life. Educate your children not only on how to minister with their hands but petitioning God.
I am going to hit an unpopular belief but please just consider it. When you go to a mission, ministries, or helping in some form, do not take pictures to promote yourself. You should always go out of your way to save someone’s dignity. You would want people to protect yours. You are not visiting the zoo; these are people in dire need. Take a picture of the building if you have to, but seriously, would you want your worse day memorialized? “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor,” Psalm 140:12.

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Poverty in America Awareness Month

January is Poverty in America Awareness month. A local artist friend gave me her two Little Tracy books to read. I would like to recommend these books to help children and adults acknowledge poverty's impact. These books can also help everyone understand the effects of people's actions and words. The names of the books are Little Tracy Goes to School and New Shoes for Little Tracy. Take a look. https://www.amazon.com/Little-Tracy-School.../dp/1732474648

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