I Miss the Bible Belt South…

The South was once known as the “Bible Belt.” A culture rich in spiritual heritage. Whether or not your immediate family went to church every Sunday, more than likely one of your neighbors or other family members did.

It seemed back in the 30’s through the 80’s every family had someone in the ministry…either a Dad, Grandpa, brother, uncle, or cousin preaching the Gospel. Many families were blessed to a build a legacy of fine preachers including Grandpa, Dad, and Grandsons. Going to church and knowing about Jesus was a way of life in the Bible-belt. Many of our public school teachers were also Sunday school teachers and school principals often served as deacons and sang in the choir. We all loved and sang the same favorite Hymns and spiritual songs…”This is My Story,” “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” “Victory in Jesus,” and “I’ll Fly Away.”

Back then, funerals were attended by all family members, friends, and neighbors, even when they were held on a Monday or Thursday afternoon. And, back then people cried over the death of a loved one. It was accepted and expected to show grief. Who doesn’t remember Grandma crying over the casket of Grandpa and telling him that she’d meet him in Heaven causing your own heart to break even more. Evidence of living the Christian faith was never far from our eyes and ears in the Bible-belt.

In those days neighbors knew their neighbors and were kind and caring one of another; especially when sickness or tough times came around…Kindness and caring were something we were taught and expected to conduct. So, what happened?

Somewhere around the mid to late 90’s things started changing not only in the South, but all over the globe…and not for the good in my opinion…Children were no longer disciplined or expected to carry out “old” family traditions…Sunday night services in many churches gave way to “family and friend” time spent at ballparks and other weekend adventures. Neighbors started keeping their doors shut and their lives private. People no longer got off of work to attend the funeral of an extended family member or neighbor. Eulogies and Memorials took over the Preacher’s messages regarding Heaven and Hell; no one wanted to hear the Gospel preached or sad songs that made you cry. Church services got shorter and shorter…Revival meetings went from seven days a week down to three, then eventually down to one Sunday morning service. Stores and businesses couldn’t get enough profits in six days, so they extended work hours to 24/7. Money and pleasure became our nation’s god. And, somewhere in the midst of it all, it no longer mattered if your Dad or grandpa was an old-fashioned preacher or not because there were dozens of new Bible translations and dozens of new ways to “worship.” Different style churches sprang up in malls, shopping centers, and school gyms. Preachers and Pastors no longer wore suits and preached behind a pulpit, but rather wore dress-down jeans with a t-shirt and preached on a stage.

In this new, modern-day culture, people were given the choice to choose which style of “church” they want to attend, or not attend. It became perfectly acceptable to not attend an organized church at all. Religion really didn’t matter any longer…Just do whatever is right in your own eyes. It became apparent that man had once again become his own god.

Community churches advertising under the motto, “Come as you are” not “Just as I Am” began to spring up in the 90’s taking over the old, traditional style of church service and Worship. Doctrine and denominations were considered bad words no longer an important part of church training. “Sins” were no longer named or mentioned. It was no longer expected to wear your “Sunday” best, because anything from short-shorts to bathing suits were accepted. Church was all about having fun and being entertained.

Old-fashioned white sanctuary walls with white ceilings were painted black with strobe lights hung to accommodate a new form of non-traditional, contemporary head-banging and jumping up and down style of “worship” replacing the old-fashioned type of repentance of holding up “holy” hands unto a Holy God. Why? Because, God, in this new culture, is now “cool,” known as JC who loves the sinner as well as the sin; no matter what it is. This new Jesus loves all choices and rejects none…There are no boundaries on his love (which is absolute truth!) for mankind, nor boundaries on our sins, because JC has changed…”Sin” doesn’t need to be named or preached any longer, because we’re all going to Heaven no matter how we choose to live! Repentance is no longer preached or required…just come as you are and stay as you are…Simply put…Be Happy…Do as you please…Jesus doesn’t mind…We’re all good somehow and we’re all going to Heaven in a little row-boat!

Parts of this “new” theology is sound, Biblical Truth. God, through His Son Jesus Christ, does love ALL of mankind and is willing that “ALL” come to a place of repentance (turning away from sin) calling upon the name of Jesus for Salvation. Even though Jesus loves the “sinner,” the Bible plainly teaches that He hates sin. HE always has and always will hate sin…The most important part that’s being left out in many of our modern-day churches is the doctrine of “Sin.” The fact is that sin destroys and kills…It’s only remedy is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our only Hope and our only way to God…The Bible teaches that, “For God so loved the world that HE gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Yes; God loves the whole world, but when GOD enters into our lives in the form of His Son, Jesus…our lives change and we migrate away from “sins” of the flesh to a new way of living pressing towards to the mark of the higher calling found in Christ Jesus.

Yes; more than ever we need the South, North, East, and West to rise again looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith. We need to walk across our yards and paths greeting our neighbors in the love of Christ inviting them into our lives and our churches. We need to place our focus and attention back on God by putting HIS Word as priority in our hearts and lives over other interests including pleasure-seeking and entertainment. And, we need to humble ourselves, repent, and seek His face so that our “land” may be healed (II Chronicles 7:14). Ask anyone…We are living in perilous times.

Yes; I’m glad to have been raised in the South with its long summer nights, sweetened tea, neighborly visits on the front porch, Sunday school quarterlies, powerful Hell and brimstone messages from the pulpits, both Great-Grandpa and Grandpa being preachers, married to a preacher, raising our daughters in an old-fashioned, traditional Baptist church, and praying for our grandchildren to continue in the old-paths all the way to Glory.

There is no doubt that Change is good…New is good…But, the Bible teaches that GOD never changes…HE is the same yesterday, today, and forever more…HE is our anchor of Hope in all things and in all ways. It is my prayer that whether you are from the North, South, East, or West, or any other nation on earth that you may come to know the GOD of the Bible through His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior. May the true Church rise and be known as the “Bible-belt” to the entire world…

Linda Rollins, M.Ed.
Author

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His Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways…

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 58:8-9.

To everything there is a season…God set into motion His timing as a part of His Creation…The Bible clearly states, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Timing is God’s creation…Even the timing of our birth and our death…This is one valid reason why His Ways are higher than man’s, and His thoughts are higher than man’s. He’s the only ONE who knows the beginning from the end…the Author and Finisher of our Faith as we know it here on
planet earth.

Over 365 times, the Bible instructs us not to worry or fret. Why? Because, God has everything in His Control. Though, we may not know the outcome of any matter, God does. God also knows the heart and the intentions of the heart. Finding Peace and Serenity in the midst of everyday life is a matter of Trusting God to be God!

Take for instant. We might “judge” someone harshly. We may feel as if “they” will never amount to anything worth while in this life. We may write them off as being a “loser.” When all the time God has BIG plans for this person’s life. I sadly recall a time when a teacher on my team once said, “That child won’t amount to anything. He has no redeemable qualities.” I gasped at her remark. I thought to myself, “Oh, you just wait and see what God might to in this child’s life.”

I also know this from a more personal experience with one of our daughters. When our youngest twin (by five minutes) was in the third or fourth grade, her teacher thought she should be held back one year in order to develop more socially. She and her sister were each other’s best friend. The teacher thought they needed to be separated and allowed to “branch” out on their own. But, I insisted that she be promoted to the next grade level along with her twin sister. There was just NO way I was going to have twin sisters divided between grade levels. The teacher took great offense at my determination to stand against her “professional” judgment. I, immediately, placed the matter into God’s hands and insisted the twins be promoted together. And, they were. Today, that same youngest twin is forty-two years old and the vice-president of a large banking institution. Don’t tell me that God’s ways are not higher than man’s!

Another more personal experience is that of my husband’s. As a young boy he was plagued with a speech impediment. Sadly, speech impediments back in the 50’s and 60’s were often misdiagnosed as learning disabilities. During his primary years in school, he was pulled weekly from classes for speech therapy. Missing too many classes resulted in his falling behind and being held back. This was devastating to him as a child and took a life time to recover. When God began calling him into the ministry, like Moses, he was afraid his speech would be a liability. He struggled with God for several years before submitting to God’s call upon his life. Today, he is sixty-seven years old, holds a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University, and I can gladly say that God blessed him with a successful thirty-plus years of ministry as Senior Pastor of three different churches. God’s ways are higher than man’s!

I believe the one thing “man” struggles with the most in their Faith is God’s timing. We want it “yesterday!” But, God holds the key to when HE will answer, intervene, and intercede. I know this truth to be most difficult for me at times…Like my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, I want God to show up on my time-table; not His! But, the beauty of growing older is learning to Trust GOD to show up right on time; His time! And, in His way…which is always higher than our ways and thoughts.

So, today, you may be struggling with a matter of extreme importance to you. Don’t worry. God knows and HE understands. The lesson is to “wait” upon God and allow God to be GOD and to do His thing in His time. Rejoice, my child, rejoice, for Jesus is the author and finisher of our Faith!  His ways, including His timing, are higher than our ways…How grateful I am for that!!! Amen.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author.

Copyrighted @2018.

Family…It’s a God Thing!

 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (II Tim 3)

I am in the midst of doing an interesting and deep Bible study on II Timothy chapter 3. I became especially interested in the statement, “In the last days men will be without natural affection.”

A close study of the words, “natural affection” lead me to the original Greek word, “stergeo” which is defined as a form of natural love specifically between family members.   Yes; it is talking about familial love; family love.

The biological family unit was created by God and still remains one of God’s greatest and most valued creations.  Is it not any wonder that Satan has spent thousands of years doing his best to destroy the natural love that should exist between immediate family members such as parents and children, adult children and parents, siblings with siblings, and even grandparents, aunts, and uncles etc.?

Sadly, we all know that some of the worse hurt and abuse encountered occurs within the DNA family structure.  Another diabolical plan derived at the hands of God’s enemy, Satan. God, have mercy and help us! But, just as sadly, modern-day culture has redefined the meaning of the family unit by encouraging everyone to simply, “love the one you’re with,” or love those whom you have much in common or shared interests.

These days, people love their neighbors (as we should!), their friends (as we should!) their peers (as we should), their teammates, and even their church family (as we should!) but show very little effort, time (if any!)  regard, love and /or respect for natural or immediate family members.

People in this modern-day and time have energies and  willful, blissful time to “hang” with friends and peers six or seven days a week but can’t find time enough  to visit aging parents or grandparents  much less family time with siblings and cousins, even during the holidays.  In this modern-day, holidays, birthdays, and special occasions are just “red” days on the calendar to be ignored at all cost!

But, God designed and chose our DNA family for HIS plan, purpose, and will.  I know that’s hard for some people to swallow!  But, it’s through the ups and downs of natural “family” love, acceptance, and mercy that we learn to give and receive natural love to ourselves and to others as intended by God.

It’s not too hard to love those that love us back and think the same way as we do.  But, it can be rather hard and challenging to accept “uncle” Joe for who he is or “aunt” sally for who she is.  It’s also a challenge at times to accept our parents for whom they are and for parents to accept adult children for whom they are. But, growing and maturing in God’s Grace, Mercy, and Word is never, never easy.  We must be willing, ready, and “fit” for the challenge. And, there’s no better place to start this school of obedience than within our own immediate family!

So, let me ask you a question.  What appears to be the modern-day family’s pathway in these last days that God refers to as being, “without natural affection?”  Here’s my answer:  Separation at all cost; no matter who it hurts or who it bothers.  Simply don’t call.  Don’t text. Don’t email.  Don’t answer the phone. Block the numbers of family members. Block social media.  Don’t visit.  Just stay away , stay away, and stay away. Let day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year go by… After all, it’s acceptable now a days in society that people are just living out their own lives the best way they know how by doing what they enjoy doing…And, it’s socially acceptable that none of us “owe” anyone in life anything; especially our family!  

The modern-day answer for dealing with DNA family matters goes something like this:  Just don’t think about your family or extended family members…and never concern yourself with their troubles or concerns. Pretend you don’t know what your “family” is doing or what they might be going through.  And, as always just keep a friendly smile on your face for the crowd along with a cheerful tone in your voice for your “friends”…

Well, I don’t know about you, but doesn’t this sound a whole lot like the description of the “last days” when men will lose their “natural affection?”

Here’s the conclusion of the whole matter. A close, loving, forgiving, accepting biological “family” is the greatest revelation, gift, and application of “agape” love there is on planet earth.  God made it that way.  I believe what God is trying to show each one of us  is that when we learn to love, accept, and forgive those whom God has ordained (set aside) and naturally placed within our lives that we will mature and grow to accept ourselves and others for who they are; who God made them to be. Thus, the stronger the family unit the stronger the church and the stronger our society.

When a child grows up loving, nurturing, and respecting their parents, siblings, and grandparents and continues therein their adult life will develop more of a loving “god-like” heart that shows a greater love and respect for both authority and society.  The very things that are taught in God’s Word, the Bible.

The Bible clearly teaches that God is no respecter of persons. We reap what we sow. Teaching our children to respect and value everyone, anyone, and everything above immediate and extended family members is neither healthy nor Biblical. If anything, we should PRAY for our family members who cause us our greatest grief either by their personal life choices or by their mannerisms. Pray ye one for another…

No family is perfect. Family members can be the first ones to let you down and the first ones to pick you back up when you’ve fallen. But, since Family was one of God’s original creations, I think we should take careful stock in making sure that our DNA “family” is a vital priority in our lives. Of course, I know there are those who have been completely abandoned by their birth parents and adopted into loving, caring families. In that case, the adoptive family is to be loved, valued, and respected equally.

Be assured, God keeps very good records.  He is the original logistics Creator.  There is a “family tree” in Heaven and one glorious day God will reveal to us our family line as far back as the day of Creation when we will see face to face our original parents, Adam and Eve.  That my friend will be our “earthly” lineage.

But, there is second lineage that God has chosen for those who Believe.   The linage of those “born-again” through the Name and Power of Jesus Christ; the son of God.  For those of us who are born-again into that eternal family where the circle will never be broken we will spend all of eternity with our spiritual heavenly family; our spiritual brothers and sisters.  This shows to me just how important “family,” both earthly and heavenly really are to God.

Today, we should all give thanks for our earthly family whom God has hand-picked for us according to His purpose and plan.  As the Bible clearly teaches us to do, Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long. 

Thank you, Lord, for my precious family. Amen.

Remember, God Loves You,

Linda R Rollins, M.Ed.

 

 

 

What Injustice?

What injustice? ….I say Boycott the NFL!

On yesterday, Americans all over the world watched as #NFL teams and players sadly took a knee in protest of our nation’s flag and national anthem to boycott “injustice.”

What injustice? Every day these rich #NFL players drink clean water, eat fine foods, drive expensive vehicles, and sleep in luxury, comfort, safety and protection while millions of people, including innocent children living both in the USA and around the world, starve to death and would love to taste a drop of fresh, clean water and have a safe place to sleep…

These spoiled-rotten, ungrateful, high-minded sport entertainers need to be reminded just how unnecessary they truly are on an actual scale of real-life. They are the ones being paid millions of dollars for running up and down a playing field entertaining their fans while our nation’s military personnel and first responders put their lives on the line daily for the very minimum.

The Bible clearly teaches that in the “last days” men shall become lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…having no love for what is good (II Timothy 3:3-4). This is exactly what we witnessed and saw played out on football fields all over America; ungrateful, unthankful self-seeking, self-centered, childish men trying to make an ill-mannered statement.

I say, #Boycott the NFL and every actor, actress, and entertainer who thinks they are “too good” to show respect for the country we are blessed to live. I say ban them all together and ship them to the streets of Afghanistan with nothing more than their shoulder pads for protection! Then tell me about justice and injustice!

I am thankful and grateful for men and women such as my grandson who is currently serving in the USA Army protecting our nation’s liberties while these ungrateful football teams and players show how ignorant they are and what poor role-models they actually are. How truly sad these creatures are…

Yes; I will stand for the USA flag and ALL that it represents…liberty, justice, and freedom for all. God bless the USA.

Lin T Rollins, M.Ed

Fret Not Yourself…

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers.” (Psalm 37:1).

Welcome to springtime 2017…And just in case someone in your life is causing you a lot of pain and grief right now, just remember God loves you and HE sees and hears all.

The Bible provides us with instructions on how to handle the daily stresses and uncomfortable, challenging situations in our life; especially when dealing with unreasonable people who want to hurt us emotionally. The Psalmist David wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” That little word, “fret” simply means, worry, trouble, bother, or upset. In other words, do NOT allow evildoers to worry, trouble, bother, or upset you. The Psalmist also tells us not to be envious of their wrong doings.

Many times it seems that those who commit evil acts and wrong deeds against us go unpunished and some even seem to be celebrated in their wickedness. But, as followers of Christ, we can “Trust in the Lord, and do good…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…And, cease from any and all anger; for yet a little while and the wicked shall not be nor the works of their wickedness prevail.” (Psalm 37).

As a Christian, I can take great comfort in knowing that my GOD knows the intentions and motives of every man’s heart. The wicked may plot against those they dislike, envy, or wish to hurt. But, this is not so with the upright in heart. A righteous man wants the “best” for all and even prays for his enemies. The Bible says that the Lord knows the way of the upright and he shall not be ashamed. But, the ways of the wicked shall perish.

Just as winter has given way to summer the workers of iniquity will have end to their season as well. But, for those who place their Trust in Christ they shall not be ashamed nor perish. Their trust and works of righteousness in Christ shall live on forever and forever. For the Christian, a forthcoming glorious, eternal springtime in Christ, absent of all evil and wickedness, awaits. Oh, What a Glorious Day that will Be…Amen.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author.

Jesus Came to Save that Which Was Lost…

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 KJV).

Have you ever lost something of great value? I know I have.

A few years ago I was sitting in my recliner twisting my wedding ring around on my finger when it slipped off and fell between the metal bar and the inside of the chair. The space was way too small to reach my hand down to retrieve it. I turned the chair over on its side and eventually upside down trying to get to my wedged in ring. A full hour went by with my trying unsuccessfully to get my ring.

My husband decided the only way to get the ring was to rip the side of the chair apart thus destroying the chair that matched the rest of the furniture. It was an option, but my last option! My husband went on to bed while I continued reaching from every angle imaginable trying to get my ring. I even took a wire hangar to reach it, but not even that helped. The ring was definitely stuck in a very secure spot. But, it was my wedding ring and I was not about to let it stay in that spot forever.

I began to pray and ask Jesus to please help me get to the ring. Hour upon hour went by without success. It was around 2:00 AM in the morning, and I had been trying to retrieve the ring for four hours, when all of a sudden the ring just turned loose and fell out underneath the chair. It was a miracle because nothing that I had done for the past four hours had helped. I gave ALL the credit to Jesus and thanked Him for retrieving my ring for me.

To be honest, Jesus understands losing something of value then doing what only HE can do to get it back. Man’s fellowship with God was lost in the Garden of Eden. Without the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross and His amazing Resurrection that most valued fellowship of all would still be lost. But, Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost; the souls of man from eternal separation from our Heavenly Father and Creator; God.

Just like the miracle I experienced that night with my ring, Jesus can find the loneliest sinner wedged in the most remote place and return him or her back to the Heavenly Father as pure as snow. My friend, if you or you know someone today that is “lost” and without Jesus as their personal Savior, He is only a prayer away. Won’t you call upon Him today? Remember, He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Amen

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, M.Ed Author

Words of Wisdom to End the Year…

After my morning devotion, I was reflecting upon the advice and wisdom of our elders. When I was around 13 years old I asked my grandmother if she thought I was pretty. She very quickly responded, “Pretty is as pretty does.” She then added, “The Lord sees the heart. You must first be pretty within to be pretty without.” She was absolutely right. A beautiful person can truly mess up their lives with wrong choices and bad behavior.

Another saying of wisdom is, “Waste not and want not.” You don’t see very many people “saving” things these days. Abundance seems to be the norm, so people tend to use what they want and throw the rest away. It wasn’t always like that. My generation was raised by those who had lived through the depression. We were taught to use only what we needed and to take good care of the things we did have.

Other words of wisdom included, “cleanliness is next to godliness,” “a stitch in time saves nine,” “to have friends one must be friendly,” and “he’s (or she’s) so lazy he wouldn’t work in a pie factory tasting pies!” These simple lines of wisdom were once used to guide, shape, and mold a person’s life; and, they worked! I still find myself not taking more paper towels than I need, making sure my house stays clean, fixing something before it gets worse, and Lord knows hearing my mother’s voice inside of my head asking me if I don’t have something to do whenever I’m just doing nothing!

However, these days we’re not suppose to make anyone feel guilty or bad about themselves…Well, how is that working?? We now have a generation that feels entitled and believes anyone interfering with their life choices is mean and holding them back! Sure; we’re trying to hold them back alright…Hold them back from a future of unemployment and poverty, immoral living and self-destruction. Shame, shame on us!

So, fifty years ago should my grandmother had responded, “Oh, yes, Linda, you are beautiful no matter what you do.” No, I’m glad she told me the truth…“The Lord sees the heart. You must first be pretty within to be pretty without.” Thank you, Grandma! You were certainly right!

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T Rollins, M.Ed, Author