Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello, 

I'm sorry I haven't written in awhile.  I wanted to alert you we've moved our blog to another site to allowing for more delivery options of our messages, including podcasts and videos.  Please click the link below to sign up for our new and improved blog. 

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Thank you so much for your continued support.

Much Love,
Dawn Ford
Infinite Love Ministries, INC.
Our Website



Monday, March 5, 2012

Do You Worship the Mush God?


Worshiping a Mush God can get messy.  Photo From

This article was referenced by my pastor on Sunday.  I ended up pulling the whole article and wanted to share.  It was written by Nicholas Von Hoffman.  
 
The Mush God has been known to appear all over the world on Sunday mornings to a great many people wanting to relax and read the Sunday paper and have a nice hot cup of coffee. He is always there to soothe you and put your mind at rest. Always ready to tell you that you deserve the rest today because you have worked so hard during the week. He is also eager to tell you about that really important game on TV, or to remind you about all the things that you need to do around the house this Sunday morning.  
 
During the week the Mush God appears all over the place. He appears with politicians at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and to clergymen speaking at the start of all the various government legislative proceedings. In fact the Mush God is the god that politicians always seem to turn to. The Mush God just adores politicians.
The Mush God is also the father of the innocuous and harmless prayer. Most people just love to hear the Mush God speak. You could easily get him to give an opening prayer at the start of a hooker’s convention, and he would gladly promise that no one at all would be offended. The Mush God is very proud that his beliefs and doctrines are completely non-irritating and non-offensive.

This Mush God loves to interact with other people and he especially loves to show up whenever spiritual questions are being debated. He just loves to talk about his views on tolerance.

The Mush God has no theology to speak of. His is a pure Cream of Wheat type of divinity. Here is finally a God that doesn’t believe in strictness and rigidity. His laws seem to be made out of rubber because they bend so much. You can take any of his laws and mold them in a much more, “useful” manner. People just love this Mush God because he is so very easy to get along with. What a convenient god. Oh thank heavens for the Mush God.

The Mush God has no particular credo, no tenets of faith, nothing that would make it difficult for either the believer or the nonbeliever alike to lower their heads when he speaks. In fact the Mush God is not a jealous god at all, and will gladly share the platform with any other gods that anyone might have.
Call him the god of the Rotary, or the god of the optimists. This god is the protector of the Buddy System. The Mush God is the Lord of secular ritual.

The Mush God is a serviceable god who will fit in anywhere. His laws are chiseled not on tablets of stone, but they are written on sand which allows his laws to be open to amendment, qualification, change, and erasure. His laws can easily blend in with the beliefs of anyone.

Here is a God that will compromise with you. He will gladly relax the rules. He will make allowances and declare all wars, of any type, to be holy wars. Here is a god that is all too happy to look the other way.
Here is a god who is a good friend to everyone, in fact the Mush God tells all his friends that they can do no wrong, that all activities are fine with him. And most people just love him for that and are all to happy to follow him, where ever he might lead them.

Post a comment to these questions below:

1.  In what areas of you life do you serve a Mush God?



2.  What can you do differently to eliminate the Mush God in your life?




3. Is this statement true or false? Why? Why not? "If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing."




Dawn Ford, is the VP of Infinite Love Ministries, INC.  A non-profit dedicated to teaching all about the infinite love of Christ.  For more information or to have Dawn speak at your next event. Infinite Love's Website
 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are You Dealing with an E.G.R.P.?


Those E.G.R.P.s can drive you crazy, but take heart. 




By Dawn Ford
We all have a least one “E.G.R.P" in our life; an Extra Grace Required Person.  You know the one that drives you a little crazy, gets on your last nerve.  You can meet them anywhere.  Work, the grocery store, maybe even in your own home. 

Unfortunately, we don’t get off the hook with God when we are called to love everyone.  Everyone means everyone.  Even the E.G.R.P’s.  Gulp. Even our enemies.

Love is not a feeling.  It’s a choice.  An action word.

“...let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love,” 1 John 4:7-8.  

God is the Source

We can’t do this on our own.  As mere humans we don’t have the capacity, but as Christ followers, God is the source of our love.  He loved us so much, He gave us His one and only son.   If God never did another thing for us, He gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive; the gift of eternal life.

Jesus is the Example

Jesus is a perfect example of how we should love others.  While we will never be perfect, we can look to Him as a model.  He gave up his throne, put on skin and walked among us.  He lived through ever possible emotion, felt every possible victory and suffered every possible defeat.  His life and death are all about His love for us and the love He has for His Father. Our only goal should be to be more like him. 

The Holy Spirit is the Power

The Holy Spirit gives us the power to agape (unconditionally) love one another.  He lives in our hearts, making us more Christ-like.  If we seek His guidance we will not only love others the way they deserve but, we may even pray for them, and have compassion for them.

Questions:

1.  Do you have an E.G.R.P in your life right now?  Why do you think God has them bugging you?


2.  What's one thing that you can do to love them?



Dawn Ford is VP and creative director for Infinite Love Ministries.  A non-profit dedicated to showing all the infinite love of Christ.  If you want to get involved or have Dawn speak at your next's women's event check out our website at Infinite Love Ministries

Photo from iStockPhoto.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can You Comprehend God's Infinite Love?


By Dawn Ford
http://www.infiniteloveministries.com/

With a ministry named Infinite Love, what else would I be talking about on Valentine’s Day, but God’s infinite love for us?  There is no better way to do that then to study the scripture that sparked our name. 

Scripture

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Back Story

Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and all believers everywhere to strengthen their Christian faith.  He does this by explaining the purpose of the church and the body of Christ as a whole. 1

Paul is in prison in Rome under house arrest. In the day he was free to move around the house with the supervision of soldiers, but every night he was chained to a soldier to make sure he did not escape before his trial before Caesar.  His crime was his missionary efforts on behalf of the Gentiles (non Jews, as in us).  Paul suffered for the very truth he would explain to the Ephesians in this six chapter book, but this did not make him back down one bit.  The last thing Paul wanted was people to feel sorry for him because he was imprisoned. He wanted his readers to realize that it is a benefit for them that he was a prisoner. 2

Paul opens Ephesians Chapter 3 describing himself as, “a prisoner for Christ Jesus for you the Gentiles,” (Eph 3:1).  Paul might have been physically chained to a Roman solider, but he knew that Jesus was the Lord of his life, not the Roman government, so if he was a prisoner, he was Jesus’ prisoner.3  The scripture quoted above is part of a prayer Paul speaks of the Ephesians and us.

Treasures and Truths for Us

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.  Paul has experienced many trials and tribulations up to this point but, he also knows how God has sustained and strengthened him abundantly.  God through the Holy Spirit wants to strengthen us in the same way.  As a member of God’s family He promises His love and power to every member of His family.4  Just like Paul, all we have to do is believe and receive.

“...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...”  In the Greek language there are two words that mean “live in.”  One denotes live in a place as a stranger, the other refers to settling in and making a permanent home.  Dwell, katoikeĊ, means a permanent home.  Jesus wants to settle down in our hearts forever, not just visiting as a stranger.5

“...being rooted and established in love...” Paul is asking the Ephesians (and us) to be rooted and grounded in their love for one another.  Spurgeon put it this way,  “Two expressions are used: ‘rooted,’ like a living tree which lays hold upon the soil, twists itself round the rocks, and cannot be upturned: ‘grounded,’ like a building which has been settled, as a whole, and will never show any cracks or flaws in the future through failures in the foundation.” 6

“...to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...”  
  •  The love of Jesus is so wide that it covers all our sins, our failures and our shortcomings.  It covers every circumstance in our life and works it all out for good.
  • God’s love is so long, it covers us before we were born and it will be with us after we die.  Jeremiah 31:3 tells us “...I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  We can’t out love God and we can never lose His love. 
  • God’s love is deeper than any human's could be.  Philippians 2:7-8 tell us how deep the love of Jesus goes;  “...but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” No one can go lower than the death of the cross, and that is how deep the love of Jesus is for us.   
  • God’s love lifts us to great heights.  “How high you might ask?” It lifts us to heavenly places where we are seated with Christ.  “...He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).
“...and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.”  There is no way to really comprehend God’s love for us, but we get a somewhat better understanding when we look at the cross.  The cross pointed in four ways, essentially in every direction, because . . .

  • God’s love is wide enough to include every person.
  • God’s love is long enough to last through all eternity.
  • God’s love is deep enough to reach the worst sinner.
  • God’s love is high enough to take us to heaven.7

God’s love for all of us is infinite.  On this Valentine's Day, whether you get a card, flowers, dinner or chocolate know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your God is crazy in love with you and has already given you the greatest gift he could ever give, His son.  


1. Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, 1991, p 2128.
2. http://www.blueletterbible.org/, David Guzik commentary on Ephesians 3.
3. D. Guzik
4. D. Guzik
5. D. Guzik
6. http://www.spurgeon.us/
7. D. Guzik


Dawn Ford is the VP and Co-founder of Infinite Love Ministries, INC. A non-profit dedicated to showing all the infinite love of Christ.  For more information please visit our website, http://www.infiniteloveministries.com/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Looking for Everlasting Love? You Won't Find it with the Vampires, Werewolves or Other Things that Go Bump in the Night


Stock photo Twilight, http://bit.ly/wv6x8q
by:  Dawn Ford

OK, it’s confession time. 

I’m a Christian woman who got sucked into the Twilight series.  In my defense, it started a couple of years ago when I saw several of my fifth grades girls* walking around school with the books.   As a speech therapist, anything that got my language impaired/learning disabled girls (or boys for that matter) reading was of interest to me.  I had done lesson plans for the Harry Potter series, as well as  Lord of the Rings, so I figured, this was no different.

What I didn’t expect was how hooked I got.  I devoured the four books in a week, waited with great anticipation for the first two movies and started reading other books in the same genre.  When the third movie was about to be released, a reporter friend Dave, was tasked to write an article on the world wide phenomenon.  On his Facebook page he posed a simple question, “Why do women like Twilight?”

It gave me time to pause, to reflect and quite frankly shook me back to reality.  I realize the main reason I was enthralled with the series, (especially the first book) was the love between the two main characters.  The idea of someone loving you forever, with that kind of intensity is intoxicating.  Who wouldn’t want to be loved like that? Of course, the shake back to reality came when I remembered I was already loved in just that way.

Scripture

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Back Story

In John 3, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus a Pharisee.  His chief job, as part of the Jewish ruling counsel, was the strict interpretation and observance of Mosaic Law.  By the time Jesus came on the scene the Pharisees along with Scribes, and Sadducees had twisted these laws into rules and regulations that where impossible to follow.  They were Jesus’ staunchest critics because He called them out at every opportunity for their legalistic, unrealistic ways.

Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.  He had heard Him preach during the day, had seen Him perform miracles and Nic wanted to know more.  Right off the bat, Jesus blows Nicodemus’ mind by telling him, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” (John 3:3).

It was taught widely among the Jews at that time, that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically assured of heaven. In fact, some Rabbis taught that Abraham stood watch at the gate of hell, just to make sure that none of his descendants accidentally wandered in there.1

Then Jesus utters the most famously quoted verse out of all 31,373 in the bible, shattering another long standing Jewish belief that God not only loved the Jews, but the whole world. 

Our Take Away
 In one verse we learn it all:
  • We learn the object of God’s love (agape, unconditional love): the world   
  • We learn the expression and the gift of God’s love: He gave His only begotten Son. God’s love didn’t just feel for the plight of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son.
  • We learn the recipient of God’s love: Whoever believes in Him. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it believes in Jesus, the gift that the Father gave. For the record, believes in means much more than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.
  • We learn the intention of God’s love: should not perish. God’s love actually saves man from eternal destruction. God looks at fallen humanity, does not want it to perish, and so in His love He extends the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. 
  • We learn the duration of God’s love: everlasting life. The love we receive among people may fade or turn, but God’s love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity.2

It's not about being judgmental. 

I didn’t see the fourth Twilight movie, I won’t see the fifth and I don’t have the books on my shelf anymore.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying reading this material or other secular works are wrong.  For me, it made me take my eye off the true love that is extremely intoxicating, all encompassing and undeniably infinite.  


Questions:

 1.  Is there something in your life that takes your eyes off the true love, the unconditional love of God?



2.  If so, how will you chose today to refocus on what's really important? 



References:
  • * ATTENTION PARENTS:  Fifth grade girls should not be reading these books.  There is a teen rating for a reason.  If you do find your child reading these books or any other above their age range, use it as a teachable moment and read the books together. 

Dawn Ford is VP of Infinite Love Ministries, INC (ILM).  A non-profit corporation dedicated to showing all the infinite love of Christ. For more information, check out the tabs at the top of this page or visit our website,  http://www.infiniteloveministries.com/

Monday, January 16, 2012

There is No Racism Under Christ

Martin Luther King, 1964

By: Dawn Ford

I enjoy working with Preschools and Kindergarteners.  They love and accept everyone.  It doesn’t matter what you look like, how you walk or how you talk, these little people with pure hearts eat together, play together, and even have rest time together.

Unfortunately a sad thing happens when many of these same sweet Preschoolers became third and fourth graders.  Suddenly, differences are noticed, tagged and in extreme causes exploited.  As an educator I work hard to combat these issues head on but it’s difficult to stop the ball once it’s in motion.

As we reflect today on the man Martin Luther King and his message, we can be proud of many accomplishments in the almost 44 years since his death.  Praise God my generation and younger have not had to live through the day to day outward aggression that tore this country apart in the 1960’s.  As Christ followers however, we must not be complacent and not enter into a Passive Racism where we turn a blind eye to problems and issues that still plague our country and our world today.

Scripture

Colossians 3: 1-14

11"Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Back story

Paul is writing to the church in Colosse, a city in Asia Minor (now Turkey) and believers everywhere.  The letter is composed from a prison cell in Rome, in an attempt to combat new believers combining the Christian truth with paganism and secular philosophy. 1

In chapters 1-2 Paul explains how the world’s teaching are totally empty when compared with God’s plan and he challenges the Colossians to reject shallow answers and to live in union with Christ.  Once they (and us) enter that union with Christ, Paul urges the Colossians to foster union with one another and live in harmony under the love a Christ, (chapters 3 and 4). 2

Our Take Away

There is no racism under God.  God is very specific early in His Word, when He calls Abram to leave Ur (yes folks that’s modern day Iraq) and follow Him.  In Genesis 12: 1-3 and again in Genesis 18:18, God specifically states that all people on earth and all nations will be blessed through Abram (later Abraham).  No nation, people or race is given preferential treatment.  Even the Jews, while they are called God’s “chosen people”, God meant they were “chosen” to bring his message of love and acceptance to the world.

One little Jewish boy got is so right.  Look at Christ teaches when he put on skin and came to earth.  Jesus’ “superstars” in his parables and in his teaching where always people the Jews despised; The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33-37), 10 lepers are healed, only the Samaritan comes back to thank Jesus (Luke 17:16), the Roman official who has so much faith Christ will heal his servant, he tells Jesus, he doesn’t even have to come to his house, just speak the healing and it will be done (Matt 8:6-11). 

Jesus purposely picked races the Jews looked down on, not to only teach them the Good News was for all but also to show God doesn’t play favorites. 

Our only call is to love.  Once you are a Christ follower the love you have for Him, should translate into love for all – friends, fellow believers, spouses, children, parents, slaves and masters. 

What can we do now?

Be mindful.  While you might not speak or act with hate, tolerating others behavior, jokes, speech, and actions is all forms of passive racism.  Racism stems from fear and misplaced pride.  While it should be done in love, be bold enough to educate what is appropriate under Christ’s direction. 

Also, use situations as teachable moments for your children and children in your sphere of influence.  The only way I combated the shift from PreK acceptance to fourth grade bigotry was letting it know what I would tolerate and what I wouldn’t.   

ALL means ALL.  The word for “all,” “kole” in Hebrew, “pas” in Greek means, “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.”  Christ message is for all. He wants to be in all and He wants us to love all.  

Questions:

1.  What are you reflecting on today as we celebrate Martin Luther King Day?



2.  What can you do differently to facilitate Christ ALL approach?   


Dawn Ford is a licensed speech language pathologist and the Vice President of Infinite Love Ministries, INC. A not for profit corporation dedicated to showing all the infinite love of Christ.  For more information check out the website, http://www.infiniteloveministries.com/


1 and 2, Life Application Bible, New International Version, 1988, page 2156

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What do you smell like?

www.istockphoto.com


By Dawn Ford

I used to hate walking in a department store.  I have so many allergies; I’d have to dodge the perfume ladies, wanting to sprits me with some new fragrance.  While I admire perfume on others, I’m limited to simple clean scents that don’t make me sneeze or make my nose run. As Christians it’s really no different, we have to be careful what kind of scent we give off to others, making sure we’re always pleasing and never overpowering.  

In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul states, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”  [2 Cor 2:14] As Christ followers, we're supposed give off a pleasant fragrance.  Let's look at the whole scripture to get an idea how.  

Scripture

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NIV)

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”1

Back Story

The small Corinthian church was weak, but in their defense, Corinth was a tough town. As part of post Hellenistic Greece, Corinth was an important port city on the Aegean Sea.  It was a very busy prosperous town, with lots of visitors from all over and many pagan temples that worship the Greek gods. 

The Christians in Corinth struggled in their surroundings.  With all kinds of corruption and every conceivable sin going on around them, they felt a great pressure to adapt.  In First Corinthians, Paul tried to instruct them in their faith, resolve conflicts and solve problems.   Most received the letter well, but among them there were false teachers who denied Paul’s authority and attempted to slander him.  Second Corinthians is written to defend his position and to denounce those who were twisting the truth.  2

The Use of Imagery

To make his point, Paul used imagery the Corinthians and others of that time period would have understood.  When the Romans conquered an area, there would be a Roman triumphal procession through the towns.  The Roman general would display his treasures and captives amidst a cloud of incense burned to the gods.  To the victors, the aroma was sweet; to the captives in the parade, it was the smell of slavery and death. 3

In the same way, Christ the triumphant ruler of our lives has a sweet smelling aroma to those of us who believe in Him.  Consequently to those who don’t know Him (or have been hurt by someone claiming to follow in His name), the Good News message of the Gospel may have a horrible stench smelling like death.    

Our Take Away

Just like expensive perfume, a little goes a long way?  Yes there will be times when someone asks you specific questions about Christ and they’ll want you to go into detail and explain.  For the most part, your actions will have an opportunity to speak louder than your words.  Do you just "dab" yourself in Christ enough so those around you get your clean fresh scent or are you so overpowering you make others sick to their stomach?

Smells leave an imprint.  The olfactory or sense of smell is the most primitive and most sensitive, so from an early age, different smells are imprinted in our brains.  Just as easy as smelling your mom’s homemade apple pie today can bring back wonderful memories of your childhood, smelling bleach or antiseptic can bring back a terrible hospital experience.  What’s going to be your lasting smell; pleasant or painful?

Sometimes no matter how good you smell you’re still going to make someone sneeze.  Even if we do and say all the right things, people can still be turned off and reject the Good News of Christ.  Jesus addressed this very specifically in Gospel of John, “...No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him...,” (John 6:44).   Our only requirement is to be good ambassadors of Christ and to represent Him well.  Remember, you may be only be one link of a chain of saints who brings a soul to Christ.

Are you up to the task?  Spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ is not for the weak, but go back to Paul’s words above, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us...” (verse 14) and “...we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God,” (verse17).   There are hints of how to be fragrant:
  • Let God lead you. 
  • 'Sincerity' is translated from the Greek word eilikrineia, which means “pure” or “transparent.”  Paul’s message and ministry, had no hidden motives or agendas. Neither should ours.
  • We speak in the sight of God in Christ. Paul was always aware that his first audience in ministry was God Himself. Every word he spoke, he spoke in the sight of God. Its the same for us.  

Questions

1.  We're all human and we all make mistakes.  Think about a time you may have come on too strong.  How would you do things different if you had the opportunity?


 2.   Jesus said, "...No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him...," (John 6:44).  How does that change the way you look at your role as a Christ follower and ambassador for him?



1 Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, 1991, p. 2095.
2 Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, 1991, p. 2059.
3 www.blueletterbible.org, commentary by David Gurzik on 2 Corinthians. 


Dawn Ford is the VP of Infinite Love Ministries, INC.,  a not for profit corporation dedicated to transforming lives through the power of God's Word.  Please visit www.infiniteloveministries.com  to contact Dawn as a speaker for you next women's event.