False Advertisement

Have you ever purchased something online only to be disappointed when it arrived? Or maybe you watched a commercial about a particular food making it sound enticingly delicious only to bite into something that left you dissatisfied. You’re not alone. My husband and I fell prey to this trickery recently.

At the beginning of October, I was determined to visit a pumpkin patch to purchase pumpkins for my outdoor fall decorating. I went online to find a pumpkin patch nearby. My search was successful. On a beautiful Saturday morning, my husband and I set out to the pumpkin patch.

Upon our arrival, we didn’t see a pumpkin patch so we went into the information office to be pointed in the right direction. The kind lady behind the desk informed us that there was no pumpkin patch but was quick to point out other things they offered at that location.

Needless to say, we left unfulfilled; not finding what we had been searching for and what had been promised. We were victims of false advertisement.

A lot of us fall prey to another form of false advertisement; sin.

Hebrews 11:25 defines sin as fleeting pleasure.

We are tempted to sin with the promise that it can deliver pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness. However, instead, we are left discontented, unfulfilled, and miserable.

There is an old song by the Cathedral Quartet titled ‘Sin Will Take You Farther’. Some of the lyrics are:

Sin will take you farther than you wanna go. Slowly but wholly taking control. Sin will leave you longer than you wanna stay. Sin will cost you more than you wanna pay.

This reminds me of an incident in the Bible with a king named David. One night David was on his rooftop where he saw a beautiful woman bathing. He inquired about her and discovered that she was married and that her husband was away at war. He was not deterred. David sent for her and spent the night with her. The woman became pregnant. So David, trying to cover up his sin, sent for the woman’s husband in hopes that he would go home and sleep with his wife. Things didn’t go as David had planned so he went to plan B; he had the husband killed in battle. Wow! [2 Samuel 11]

David had gone further than he wanted to go and paid more than he wanted to pay. A family was destroyed, a young woman was now a widow, and an innocent man was dead. All for the selfish hopes of pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness. Sin is definitely a false advertisement!

Are you trapped in sin? Have you fallen for its false advertisement? There is hope! You don’t have to stay in that miserable unsatisfied condition.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Once we confess our sins, repent, and ask for forgiveness, we can ask God to help us to stay away from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can bear it.

We also have God’s word to help during times of temptation.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

We all need a trusted friend who we can open up to, who will keep us accountable, and who will pray with us and for us.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

There is no excuse to live one more day miserable and dissatisfied in a life of sin. God has provided all that we need to say “no” to sin and “yes” to true joy and true fulfillment.

God always delivers on His promises. He always keeps His word. With God, you never have to worry about false advertisement.

Psalms 119:89-90 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

What is Your Value?

How do you determine your value? Do you determine it by how others treat you? Do you determine it by what others say to you or about you?

Maybe you determine your value by your regretful past. Or maybe by how you look, what you do, or what you own.

A long time ago I heard a statement that has stuck with me all of these years. I think I may have heard while watching Antique Road Show.

The statement is, “The value of an item is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.”

Now, let me tell you how valuable you are.

You are so valuable that the creator of heaven, earth, and all living things gave His one and only Son, whom He loves, to die for you. In dying for you Jesus paid the price to redeem you from a life of slavery to sin and to give you eternal life with Him [Romans 6:23].

That may sound cliche to you but when you consider how much Jesus excruciatingly suffered in order to pay that price to set you free and give you eternal life, you will realize that you are priceless to God.

Isaiah 53:3-10

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of the people, he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

I know those were a lot of scriptures but read them again. Slowly this time. Allow them to soak into your heart and mind.

When you get a full grasp of what Jesus went through for you; you will realize that the only thing that makes you valuable is what God through Jesus was willing to pay for you.

They gave everything for you. You are priceless!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

​​Better Than I Deserve

This morning, while reflecting on my weekend, I realized the Lord had been speaking to me throughout the weekend about His grace.

Saturday evening, upon greeting my son, I asked the usual, “How are you?” He replied, “Better than I deserve.”

I marveled at the depth of his words. As I pondered his response throughout the weekend, it has become very meaningful to me.

“Better than I deserve,” is the very definition of grace!

Then the Lord showed me an example of His grace while shoe shopping with my granddaughter on Sunday. I accidentally knocked over a trash can that was strangely in the center of the aisle. The trash spilled out.

There just so happened to be a man standing beside us who witnessed the incident. Immediately he bent over to pick up the trash can and the trash. He said, “I’ll get it.”

He wanted to clean up a mess I had made. He was giving me something I didn’t deserve. As I continued trying to do it myself, he kept telling me he would do it. He was very persistent.

Then this Monday morning, as I was listening to a sermon on my phone while getting dressed, I heard a message on God’s grace.

But it wasn’t until later this morning that I put everything that God had been trying to reveal to me since Saturday evening all together. I had an aha moment.

I started to laugh and then to cry as I marveled at God’s goodness to me and His faithfulness to reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

We all have been given far better than we deserve: salvation, the forgiveness of sin, eternal life.

The man in the shoe store persistently told me he would clean up a mess I had made and then proceeded to do so while I continued to try to do it myself.

We can’t earn God’s grace and we can’t pay for it. We cannot, no matter how hard we try, clean up our sin mess. It is an undeserved amazing gift.

Jesus paid for all sin, past, present, and future, for all time. The penalty for sin is death and He paid it in full. He cleaned up our mess! A mess He didn’t make.

Romans 5:18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Are you trying to clean up your own sin mess? Jesus has already cleaned it up. All you have to do is receive the amazing undeserved gift and all of the amenities that go with it: peace, joy, unconditional love, eternal life, abundant life, purpose, and victory.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

Wow! You can’t beat God’s grace! There is nothing like it in the entire world. As a matter of fact, the world will never be able to offer you anything remotely close to God’s amazing grace.

What are you waiting for? Pray the prayer at the end of this blog post, mean it with all of your heart, then receive the gift of God’s grace and all that goes with it.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Broad Path or Narrow Path

Today my husband and I went on a very long nature hike. When we started our hike we were on a broad path. At the beginning that was our only option. Then we got to a place on our hike where we could continue on the broad path or choose the narrow path. The broad path is the path most people take. It’s safer and easier. The narrow path is the road less traveled as they say. There are a lot more obstacles along this path and also more potential danger. It’s definitely not the easy way. We chose the narrow path. We were looking for adventure.

I was fortunate to have my husband with me. There were a lot of times that he had to help me over obstacles or offer a hand for support. We even met some nice strangers on the path that pointed us in the right direction and warned us that things were about to get a lot tougher. You see, they had traveled that way before so they knew exactly what was ahead. That is always helpful.

Along the way, we ran into a lot of spider webs. If we were paying attention we could avoid them but sad to say we weren’t always paying attention. I even got bit by a giant ant. Ouch! There were also plenty of ups and downs. Some might call them hills and valleys.

By the end of our hike we were so happy it was over. We had a great time but we were dirty, sweaty from head to toe, our feet hurt and we were exhausted. Thankfully we had brought a change of clothes for the trip home. In the end, we never regretted taking the narrow path but we were glad that it was over and happy to be going home.

Our hike today reminded me of our lives. We are all born in sin and all start out on the broad path. Mathew 7:13 calls the broad path the path that leads to destruction. Then we come to a place in our lives where we can choose to stay on the broad path or choose another path. The bible calls that other path the narrow path. That path leads to eternal life and only a few choose it (Mathew 7:14).

Staying on the broad path is the most popular way. It’s full of pleasure and sin. It’s the easy route. We just kind of go with the flow. We have a “whatever feels good do it” kind of mentality.

Taking the narrow path isn’t quite as popular. We’re not going with the crowd. We’re going with God and usually, that way isn’t the easiest way but it is an adventure. If we choose the narrow path we’re on our way to eternal life but there are a lot of trials and tribulations along the way. That path is filled with a lot of self-denial, service, and humility. It’s definitely not for the faint at heart. But it’s also filled with a lot of love, joy and peace and who doesn’t want that?

Along the narrow path there are others that are walking alongside us. They are going through the same trials that we are going through. They support us with prayer and encouragement. Also, there are those on the path to point us in the right direction with a scripture, sermon or song. They may warn us that things are going to get a lot tougher but they will also encourage us by letting us know that through Christ we can do all things as He strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

There are plenty of webs to get caught up in. Webs of temptations, offense or self-pity. Not all webs are the same but they are all tricky and sticky. If we keep our spiritual eyes open and are vigilant and alert we will see them and can avoid them. In Mathew 26:41 Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

There are also lots of hills and valleys in life on the narrow path. These hills and valleys are also on the broad path. The good part about the ones on the narrow path is that though we walk through the valley our Good Shepherd is with us and we are not alone (Psalm 23:4).

Along our journey on the narrow path, we experience a lot of bumps and pains along the way. But it’s all worth it in the end. They are all reminders of God’s faithfulness to bring us through the tough times and they all serve a purpose.

At the end of our journey we get to exchange our dirty, sweaty, stinky sin clothes for a clean robe of righteousness washed in the blood of Jesus. Then we get to go home; our real home. This earth is not our home, we are just journeying through on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

John 14:2-3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will came back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

Sleeping in the Dirt

Yesterday my husband and I went for a walk and our dog Autumn came along. She was having a great time freely running around and smelling everything. This seemed to bring her such joy. Then we came to a place on our walk where she could continue with us or head back to the house. We tried to persuade her to stay with us. We even commanded her to come but she decided to do what she wanted to do, disobey us and head back to the house. She’s very stubborn and rebellious.

When we had returned from our walk we found that she had gone under the house. My husband tried and tried to coax her out from under the house but she wasn’t having any of it. She’s an inside dog so she would have had to have a bath in order to come back inside. Autumn chose to spend the night under the house sleeping in the dirt.

What’s life like for Autumn inside the house? Well, she gets to enjoy the air conditioning. She gets healthy food and clean water. She even gets treats from time to time. She has a nice soft bed to lay on. She gets to spend time with her family. She’s safe inside and rests peacefully.

What’s life like for Autumn outside under the house? She sleeps in the dirt. She’s alone in the dark. There’s no guaranty of her safety. There is no fresh water so if she gets thirsty she has to drink dirty pond water. There is definitely no food there. And it’s hot outside right now since its summertime in the South.

It reminds me of us with God. We are just walking along with Him and enjoying fellowship with Him. Then we come upon a fork in the road of life. We can choose to stay in fellowship with God and continue walking with Him in joy or we can choose to go our own way apart from Him. God is trying to persuade us to stay with Him but something is tempting us to go in the other direction. The temptation seems like such a good idea at the time so we give in to it. (Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”) And, just like Autumn, we end up sleeping in the dirt of sin. We have no more fellowship with our Father, who loves us, or fellowship with others who are part of the family of God. (Psalm 55:14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.) We are out of God’s protection. (Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord make me dwell in safety.) We are no longer drinking the living water that only Jesus provides. (John 4:13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”) We are no longer being nourished by God’s word. (Jesus answered, “It is written ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”) And we are just plain miserable. All because we want our own way. (Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.)

Is this a picture of you today? Have you chosen to sleep in the dirt of sin instead of sleeping in the Father’s house? He wants to clean you up and bring you back into fellowship with Him. (Jeremiah 33:8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.) All you have to do is go to Him. (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”) He’s calling you today. Choose wisely.

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

Honor One Another Above Yourselves

I learned a long time ago that if I focus on self-preservation God can’t use me. And as hard as it is to be transparent I know that it is required of me for the greater good of others. If God can turn my mess into a message then so be it. Every day I pray that the Lord will help me to use all that He gives me to glorify His name, build His kingdom and edify His body (the Body of Christ/the Church). That includes revelations about myself. So here it goes.

Those that don’t know me very well may think that I have it all together. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m literally a mess. God is never reluctant to correct me and discipline me. As painful as it may be I know it’s necessary to my spiritual growth. Like any good father, He does it gently and in love. I guess the worst part about the revelation of my sins is the ugliness of them. When He shows them to me I can hardly believe I actually did them and thought they were ok to do at the time. I don’t even recognize it. That’s scary!

Recently I was in Barnes and Noble checking on the sales of my children’s book, ‘The Many Fears of Miela the Cat.’ There was only one left on the shelf. I didn’t like where it was. It was all the way on the left end of the shelf and the side of the bookshelf was casting a shadow over it. I thought it should be in a more prominent position on the shelf. Seems reasonable right? I mean if you want to succeed in life you need to be aggressive right? So I saw no harm in moving my book front and center at eye level. The only problem was I had to move someone else’s book onto the shadowy end of the shelf to get mine where I thought it should be. So I did.

This happened Friday and it wasn’t until Sunday morning, while I was reading my morning scriptures and devotionals, that I realized my sin. Funny how God’s word has a tendency to do that. My sin literally shocked me. I felt like Urkel and found myself saying,  “Did I do that?” I felt so disgusted with myself. I repented right away and managed to not wallow in regret but instead got back up and moved on. That in itself is a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit that I’m so thankful for.

The scripture the Lord used to reveal my sin to me was Romans 12:10. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. I was not honoring, above myself, the other person who had written the book that I moved to a less prominent place on the shelf. I was being greedy and selfish. I was not treating that person the way I wanted to be treated (Matthew 7:12). I was not trusting God with all of my heart. I was leaning on my own understanding. I was not acknowledging Him in all of my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). I was wrong on so many levels. I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am for the convicting of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to stay in my sin and misrepresent God. I want to move up and onward.

How about you? Is there something that you do or have done that is justifiable in the eyes of the world but offensive in the eyes of God? Will you confess your sin and ask God to forgive you today? Don’t wallow in regret over it. Get up and move up and onward!

~Patrice Maguire