Saturday, October 26, 2013

Double Agent

Recently I've been confronted with this idea of being a "double agent" Christian. Is that even possible? I think of a double agent as one who has two identities. You know what I'm talking about, right? Maybe the person has an actual identity but must have an alternate one because of being a spy or working undercover. In movies and books, I've seen this person trick another person or even another country into thinking he or she is in their support when they actually are not.

Now, I'm sure in the world of spies and peace-keeping forces this might be called for. But, can I share with you that as a Christian, there is no place for a double agent.

A young friend of mine has been trying to witness to another friend. This unsaved friend has grown up in the church throughout her life. When asked why she hasn't made a decision for Jesus, her answer always reverts to the so-called Christians around her. She reports the things these Christians do that go against what she has learned to be proper behavior for a believer. Her reasoning is: "If they act like that, why do I need to be saved?"

Of course, we immediately throw out the argument that even we Christians are hypocrites. We can't be perfect. We still do things wrong - sin. Does this exonerate us from trying our best to live as Christ calls us to live? I say, no.

In my Bible reading for Saturday, Paul had this to say to Titus: "Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live." He goes on to say that these kind of Christians are disobedient.

God calls Christians to be what that name means - little Christs. We are to strive each day with everyone and in every place to be like Jesus. Is this hard? Yes. Will we flub? Yes.

There are no double agent Christians. Being a believer is someone you are not something you do. You can't just turn it off and on. God might use the term lukewarm to describe a double agent Christian - someone who acts like a Christian on Sunday but doesn't live it on Monday. That type of Christian makes God sick. Check out Revelation. A lukewarm Christian makes Christ want to vomit. Graphic? Yes. True? I'm afraid so.

The scariest part to this double agent Christian is that a person who needs to accept Christ might be blocked by the duplicity. How tragic to think that someone would not come to faith because of a Christian's bad example.

Oh, Christian brother and sister, let's examine our Christian walk and get rid of any double agent tendencies for the sake of our unsaved friends who are watching.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Today - October 21st - is my wedding anniversary. Twenty-four years together. As someone said to me yesterday at church - that doesn't happen very often these days, couples staying together.

When he proposed to me he said: "I can't promise big houses or fancy cars, but if we stick with God, it will be an adventure."

He was right. This pastor's wife can honestly say that it has been an adventure.

My hubby left me a card this morning. On the front it says: Another Year of sheer Bliss! On the inside it reads: You're Welcome! So like him. LOL

I love you! Twenty-four more years of bliss and adventure, here we come!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kids These Days!

Have you heard that spoken? Have you said it yourself? I will confess to having said this and amened it from someone else.

May I be honest? The undisciplined nature of many children these days, disturbs me. The lack of respect I see in children is unsettling.

Too often I hear parents say that they don't want to discipline their children because they want to be their friend. They argue that their children will hate them if they correct them. Now I will have to make another confession: I just rolled my eyes.

When did it become the responsibility of young children to rule the household? Who said that a parent could shirk their responsibility?

Do parents realize that children actually desire boundaries? To truly show care, a parent must guide and direct children through the use of discipline. I'm not advocating beating a child, but there are times when a pat on the bottom is all that will get attention. Time-out doesn't work with all children.

Working in the public school system, I see so much disrespect in children. I wonder what kind of adult that child will turn out to be without the proper training in respecting others and using self-control.

As Christian parents we have a responsibility to discipline our children and teach them self-control. We can't think this shows that we don't love our children - to the contrary.

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12

Ephesians six commands that parents bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Sadly, when we fail to do our job as parents, our children grow into adults that struggle in the workplace or in school. Having no training at home causes them to lack the self-discipline and respect required in the world.

The best way to show the love you have for your children is to raise them following the Lord's instructions. God commands us to train and discipline our offspring. It's hard at times, but God doesn't leave us alone. We have His promise that He is with us. We have His Word to instruct us and encourage us. We have prayer to lay out our struggles.

Your children are gifts from God, but they are also your responsibility. They need you to be the parent, not their friend. They are counting on your training to help them become well-rounded adults, ready for a Christ-like life.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Clergy Appreciation Month

During September, our church read the book, I Am A Church Member, by Thom S. Rainer. Chapter Four is I Will Pray For My Church Leaders. In this section, Rainer gives an example of a typical day in the life of a pastor. I've had a couple of people approach me at church, telling me that they had no idea what all was involved in being a pastor.

Since this month is Clergy Appreciation Month, I want to outline here a few areas that Rainer says church members should pray for in regards to their pastor.

"A pastor's day is filled with mountaintops and valleys."

As a pastor's wife, I can attest to this. My hubby has been called to the hospital for an emergency, then had to rush back to do counseling he has set up for the day - which is normally more than one appointment. He will also have phone calls mixed into that as well as people who drop in.

"Serving and leading a church well expends all of a pastor's energy. He is on call every day and every hour. Because the demands are so great on him, the pastor often neglects his own health and well-being."

Pray for your pastor's health.

Pray for his sermons.

"It is an incredible task to speak and preach the Word of God every week again and again."

Pray for him and his family.

"Few families face the kinds of pressures and expectations as the families of pastors."

Pray for your pastor's protection.

"It means that the devil sees the pastor as a threat, and one of his highest priorities is to take him down and take him out."

These are hard days to be a pastor. It is a hard world to try to minister in.

Please, try to set a time each day to lift your pastor up in prayer. Let him know you are praying for him - maybe even ask if there is any specific prayer he would want you to pray for him. Let him know you appreciate him - compliment him. I can assure you, he hears the negative stuff but hardly ever gets the positive things.

I thank God that even with all of the demands, pastors are obediently answering the call everyday to minister to their flock. Thank you to all of the under-shepherds on God's ministry team.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Little Historical Fiction

Welcome Tamera Lynn Kraft!

Our Thought Life
In my Civil War novella, Soldier’s Heart, Noah Andrews returns home but struggles with the residual after effects of the war. While most of us will never go through an experience as horrific as war, everyone goes through hard times. We, like Noah, need to learn to take control of our thoughts if we want to overcome those tragedies.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Noah used scripture to help himself. There are many times I’ve had to do the same. That can be challenging, but here are a few scriptures we can meditate when going through difficult times. All verses are NKJV unless otherwise stated.
Grief: If we live long enough, we’ll all lose someone we love to death. But we can remember that death is not the end for a Christian. We will see our loved ones again.
John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Offense: Offense comes to everyone, sometimes because people intend to offend us and sometimes by mistake. But we can’t dwell on that offense. We need to learn to forgive and give the offense to God.
Proverbs 19:11(NIV) A person’s wisdom yields patience;it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Matthew 6:14:15 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Tragedy and Trials: Tragedies come in life. Bad things sometimes happen to good people, but here’s some promises we can hold onto in the midst of tragedy.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Isaiah 43:1-2 Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
Depression: Some people deal with medical depression and need medical treatment and counseling. But everyone goes through periods of depression and discouragement. Here’s some verses to remember during those times.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Back Cover Blurb:
After returning home from the Civil War, will his soldier’s heart come between them?
Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife. Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm.
But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home. Can they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?
Soldier’s Heart is available in e-book from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Reader, and Barnes & Noble Nook. It will also be available in paperback in a couple of months.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction because there are so many stories in history. Tamera has recently celebrated her thirty-fourth anniversary with her loving husband. She has two grown and married children and two grandchildren.
Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog:
Revival Fire For Kids Blog:
Adventures in American History: