L. Kathleen Cline's Blog
Did you ever wonder why this year there was controversy over Memorial day? Maybe you felt like people were lecturing as if you were in a history class. I don’t remember in the past, so many posts reminding people of the cost of war and the importance to remember. Yet, even with all the reminders, people watered down Memorial day weekend by calling out names of people who did not fight and die for this country. Yesterday, I asked God why this bothered me so much. I am not an adamant personality unless you are talking about God. In fact, I think differing opinions stimulate thoughts, or at least they used to. God answered me with the story of David in 1Chronicles 21. It is a somber story, and you should go read it for yourself. Basically, David called a census out of arrogance, as if the Israelites were his to number. As a result, God punished the nation by bringing a three-day pestilence that killed 70,000 men. David, in verse seventeen, questions why God is punishing the nation for his sin. I am going to stop for a minute here. Is that not what happens with most countries? The people pay for the sins of our leaders!
Moving on with the story, the angel of the Lord commanded David to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan. Out of loyalty and love for the king, Ornan offered everything for free for David to offer to God. In verse twenty-four, David answers, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer burnt offering which costs me nothing." God nailed my issue concerning Memorial day with this story perfectly. Entitlement! America has become so privileged that we think everything is a given. Generations have not paid the cost of faith, freedom, work, or citizenship. When you don’t pay the price or value of things, everything becomes cheapened, hollow, or worthless. We are a society of cheap grace. Want to go to heaven; say these words, and the ticket is yours. But where is the disciplining, dying to the flesh, or investment in seeking God? The same goes for patriotism. When you teach generations of children to hate your country and disloyalty to your fellow citizens, are you surprised society holds no value in those that sacrificed their lives for other people’s freedom?
When 0.4 percent of the American population is active duty military personnel, or 7.3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their life, you can see why the cost of their lives is cheap to others. It makes me curious what the numbers look like in our churches of active people in the service for our Lord?
Although my frustration reared its head concerning Memorial day weekend, I think the actual issue is how entitlement has infested every walk of our life, and nothing is sacred anymore. Not even our service to God. Let me give you a heads up, sisters and brothers. If you litter your social media with selfies of you serving God, it cost you nothing! “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be notice by them; otherwise you have no reward with your father who is in heaven, Matthew 6:1.” Citizenship to this country may not actually cost you anything, and you can remove every memorial in thought or actions. However, God will never let you cheapen the cost His son paid for every human’s eternal salvation. You can try with your cheap words or performances, but entitlement claims ring hollow when it comes to God.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, did God tell Paul to give up when He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness?” Was that really the takeaway of this chapter that we as Christ-followers should just accept our lives’ poor conditions? So when I hear that deceiving spirit whisper, “Things will never change.” Am I supposed to listen? How many of us have stopped praying about significant matters in our lives and used 2 Corinthians as an excuse? Did God tell you personally that His grace was sufficient, or did you give up asking for the miracle because you lost faith in God’s abilities? Maybe you were tired of waiting on God and just moved on?God asked me all these questions the other day as I was driving to the Rescue Mission. I often talk to God about the spiritual condition of my ladies or ladies that have walked. I can’t say it was the question that was mulling around in my head that God was engaging as much as my heart that was slowly giving up. God was challenging me to ask more, pray more, believe more in the manner I was talking to Him about everything going on around me. We pray small because I think we’ve gotten lazy about how we implore God. I joke with my ladies that we use Bible verses as some sort of weird salve that we rub all over, thinking that will do the trick. We are to walk out God’s word in our lives. The same needs to be said about our conversations with God. How many platitudes or clichés are we using in our prayers to God? That must just insult Him because God knows our underlining intentions or beliefs. They are not hidden from Him. Just like the car ride conversation I had with God. It was not my question but my heart or trust that God challenged. Do I believe God can change the heart of man? Do I believe that we are new creations in Christ? Do I believe that God can call into being that which does not exist? Do I believe that nothing is impossible with God for those that believe?
I am writing these words to challenge all of us. We don’t get to quit praying about situations in our lives till God says quit. Even in 2 Corinthians, God was not saying quit. He was telling Paul to adjust his request because God had a purpose for the situation. Healing for my legs came from proclaiming Luke 18:1-8 over my life. For three years, the journey has been going on because heavy metal poisoning had been going on for years. Some miracles happen suddenly. Others are a life journey. Both of them involve boldly engaging God, knowing God can, and praising His name for His abilities.
Today, sit down and write out bold words you can proclaim over your situation, knowing God can fulfill those requests. For some of you, this will lead to a sudden miracle. Others, like me, God will give instructions on lifestyle changes. It ultimately boils down to your choices and willingness to believe God can and will in your circumstance. Christians love to quote Proverbs 3:5-6 but do we really mean it in our hearts? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3 is written out and taped on my computer with the words, “I am confident in the Lord’s leading!” For all of us, I think we need reminding to stop verbally rubbing God all over us with hollow words and start walking His word out in faith. Jesus asked in Luke 18:8, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” The choice is now yours.
Corresponding verses: Luke 18:27, Romans 4:17-22, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Exodus 14:13a, Ecclesiastes 5:6, Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 20:7, Job 5:8, Ephesians 5:9-10 https://vimeo.com/531511202
looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Jesus endured our punishment with joy. May we finish this holy week remembering the cost and praising God for such love for us,
- Sister-in-Christ, Kathleen
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
Unity has become the new hot-potato word. As a Christ-follower, there will always be this intense desire to have harmony with the people around us. At what cost? Romans 12 is a chapter in my Bible that has many underlined and circled words. Verse 2 starts by reminding us, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable.” Believers can never come into agreement with any form of iniquity! I love the warning God gave to Cain in Genesis 4:7. “Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” The temptation is never the sin, so we all must recognize evil in disguise and reject it to the very core. We are not allowed to skirt around and pretend to go-along-to-get-along because it is easy or popular. Sin destroys people’s lives, so why would any Christ-follower be tempted to appease society by partnering with it in any form. It is cruel and unloving to pretend unity when you know a particular lifestyle or thought process will consume and utimately lead to hell.So, what is unity in God’s world? I like to describe it as parts of a watch or a complex whole. Each member of the church has a role to play to achieve God’s will in society. Just like a watch, any filth can clog up the works and stop the function. Verse 9 reminds us, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Any belief, thought, choice or action hostile towards God is evil, and God gets to decide what is hostile to Him. Going back to verse 2, we must renew our minds in God’s written word, so we do not get caught up in these bizarre conversations concerning unity. The unity in the Bible calls for all to be reconciled with God. We should have nothing to do with the world or any intertwining of our beliefs to pacify evil. If you want unity around you, then apply Romans 12 to your life. By the time you finished interceding for others, contributing to people’s physical and spiritual needs, you will prove the will of God. It is not our hollow words or bizarre posturing that brings peace but our investment of God’s love in people’s lives. Decide for yourself to stop the societal conversation of unity and start getting others into reconciliation with God, the only true unity.
Photo by Heather Zabriskie on Unsplash
These times are those times that God warned us about repeatedly. Americans, well, we got to read the hard words, say a few prayers for those being persecuted, and move on home for Sunday brunch. It has now hit our shores in a different form but effective all the same. Bullies are threatening the finances of many Christian organizations and people, and one-by-one they are apologizing for God and rejecting His word. It is decision time for all of us.
I have a person in my life that gets great joy from being evil, setting me up, and hating me. For years, “I” tried every method possible to appease their hate. Finally, I surrendered to God and followed His direction. The next statement may shock some but spend time with God concerning these words. God showed me evil will just hate and will always be true to its evil self. Only God can change the heart of man. Until that day, I had to learn that they hated me and will always hate me till God changed that fact. My job was to follow God’s lead on interacting with them in a godly way, and let me tell you; it did not involve placating to their evil whims. I am going to encourage you to spend time with God on some verses. The first verse is Revelation 21:8 about the cowardly. I used to have a vision of this verse as those whose lives were physically on the line.
Now I think for the American Church, it is our wallet and reputation that is concerning. The reason people get into discord with God is that they do not seek Him concerning everything! Repeatedly God chided Israel because they considered alternative options for their problems instead of seeking and following His will. The Church is in the mess we are in now because we decided to follow experts or the government for our solutions. Please seek God on your own and allow Him to guide you to the next step. Experts are used for God’s glory, but how do you determine the heart of the one you are following? How do you know if you are being deceived? How do you know evil from good? Ask God, and I promise you He will answer you.
Verses to meditate on: Matthew 7:21-23, Mark 4:17, and Matthew 10:28.
Photo by Lena De Fanti on Unsplash
Author L. Kathleen Cline’s newly released “No Words to Speak” is a thought-provoking and moving children’s tale about dealing with grief.
“No Words to Speak” from Christian Faith Publishing author L. Kathleen Cline is that rare breed of children’s book that entertains young readers whilst also communicating a valuable, meaningful lesson about the preciousness of life and the importance of living without regret.
“No Words to Speak”: a heartwarming children’s tale about God’s guidance in times of grief and mourning. “No Words to Speak” is the creation of published author, L. Kathleen Cline, a teacher at Downtown Rescue Mission in Huntsville, Alabama, and a teacher and advisory council for Christian Women’s Job Corps in Harvest, Alabama. Cline is the author of ‘Finding the Way: Proclaiming Jesus As Truth’ (2017), ‘I Am More’ (2019), ‘It Is More Than Saying I’m Sorry’ (2020). Cline writes: “How do we prepare children for the inevitability of death? What do we even need to teach them concerning this life event? Rich’s little town is devastated by three sudden deaths. As Rich and his friends were struck silent by sadness, Rich knew that his friend Mr. Rock would be able to help them understand what to do next. Read as each little friend questions and processes grief differently. Discover how the children learn to be in service to those in mourning. Watch how the children’s actions influence others to seek God for direction. The most important lesson learned is to live with no regrets by remembering to love and appreciate family and friends.” Published by Christian Faith Publishing, L. Kathleen Cline’s new book is a captivating and poignant children’s tale that depicts the various ways in which people live with and overcome grief. Centered around an evergreen and universally applicable theme, this beautifully illustrated and engaging tale is one that is sure to withstand the test of time and become a favorite of many a young reader for years to come. View a synopsis of “No Words to Speak” on YouTube. Consumers can purchase “No Words to Speak” at traditional brick & mortar bookstores, or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes store, or Barnes and Noble. For additional information or inquiries about “No Words to Speak”, contact the Christian Faith Publishing media department at 866-554-0919.
These past few months, I have found myself standing in line for many reasons. Most of the time, I talk with the people around me. Inevitably, the conversation moves to how much evil is going on in the nation. I always state that I believe that God hears the cries of His people and will expose and remove corruption. As I think about these conversations, only once did the person agree with me. Most of the time, I hear the same thing. “I know that with God, all things are possible, but nothing is going to change. Jesus is coming, and we need to hang in there till He comes.” Even now, when I reread the quotation, my heart gets so sad. Satan has really pulled one over on God’s children if we believe that there is nothing Christ-followers can do.
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.
“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