Sometimes you just have to stop, be grateful, understand God is good no matter what happens and see his glory. The glory of God is the outward manifestation of his holiness. Bottom line, HE is HOLY. I can trust HIM. He will always be GOD and is immutable. Never changing means I don’t have to guess my way through this hard life. I can know that I know that I know that HE loves me. I can’t walk away from that fact. I am honor bound to Him. My hope, my calling (which God says it without repentance) and my entire life being is wrapped up in my God who is who he says he is and who loves me more than I can comprehend. There’s no quitting with that behind me and only grace for what lies before.
(Mom went to be with the LORD before I made it home again Nov 18th, 2010. Her last words to me were that she loved me over and over. I miss her dearly, her legacy to me was to love and be good to people. She was even searching the Scriptures the last week of her life to LOVE the LORD with all her heart and do what she could for Him)
God help all of us who sit on spiritual backsides complaining life is hard. I reposted this article which was written waiting to catch my plane back to Dallas Tx, March 21, 2009, to remind me not to waste my life on what might have been. GOD is my life and I am thankful for each beautiful day in my life experiencing HIM.
Subtracting the distractions and excuses from out of your life that subtract from you, in other words asking yourself a real question; what radical change do I need to make in my life that will position me where I need to be in Christ with those I love?
I was in a hurry to get to the airport to make my flight so I could hurry up and see my Mom before she passes away. There was a traffic jam because two other drivers in an obvious hurry slammed into each other. I made my flight and the stress of the traffic jam was totally unnecessary. As a matter of fact the entire rush of the weekend was totally unnecessary. We are so connected in this world but have no real connections. We have created a surface culture that stretches us from one extreme to another never offering substance, quality, and real relationships. You may stop here and think that this article is offering little substance. Well hang on a few more sentences and see if you identify.
I was looking at my Mom in the hospital bed. Here was a woman who was once your typical five foot two eyes of blue. My mom was a beautiful woman and my dad was handsome and stunning. Seeing her now at age seventy two was very hard. I knew other women at her age that were in much better shape. She was struggling to breathe without a machine to aid her breathing. She was trying to hang on to life as best she could but the hope of life as she had known it was gone. There would be no more days of walking unaided, without an oxygen tank, or without giving out more energy than she had to give. There would be no more steak dinners, movies, or simple sitting outside in the sun.
Life had been subtracting from her days each and every time she took a labored breath the deficit became more alarmingly clear. Her arms were all bruised black and blue from veins blowing. A simple finger stick left her bleeding for over an hour. Her face was worn, tired, and merely stretching over her slight skeletal frame. It was hard to see. What I want to write about is my glimpse of the future. Growing old isn’t always kind to us. We get to the end of our days and pay in our bodies and minds for the days gone by. I hope and pray I learned from this preview that there are things that matter, chiefly among them living well. Serving the LORD with your life!
The Law of Subtraction is merely that we need to subtract things that subtract from us as much as possible in our lives. Things that interfere with our walk and purpose in life, Christ life. We live at a staggering pace and once in a while we get a glimpse of reality. When a loved one is on their death bed we can learn from them what matters in this life. I can tell you it isn’t bank accounts, living status, or job recognition. No one on their death bed wants to get up and go trade more stocks, or be promoted one more time, or have just that one bigger house.
People near death talk about life surprisingly. They talk about those they love, good memories of times that might have been hard but are good. They regret the subtractions in life but do not talk about those.
I want to talk about them. I don’t want to sweep them under the rug. Let’s get them out and be real and honest with them. We are way beyond hypocritical here because we all know we “pretend” all is well when really all is not well and we are not well. We continually monitor all areas of our life and determine what is necessary and what is ok to let slide. Letting our spiritual wholeness slide has severe consequences. If it didn’t I wouldn’t be sitting in an airport on standby 30 hours to go back to a place I do not feel welcome to work in a city 1000 miles from my family and friends.
How do we slide spiritually? For me it was first and foremost all my fault. There is no one to blame but me. Let me say that clearly. I know people do the best they can but we use the “best we can” excuse for stupid reasons sometimes.
“ Well, I was just doing the best I could and I don’t know what more I can do, if you wanted perfection you should know I am not perfect.” Ugh, horrible excuse. Really, we are doing the best we can? I firmly believe GOD loves us unconditionally, and that as His sheep he will see to it that this little lamb finds her way. God put a plan in place the trumps my best on any day. My best is like filthy rags.
Yet to just say, “I am doing the best I can,” when really I should be saying I am doing nothing is how we slide. Doing nothing is stupid, because doing nothing is exactly what it sounds like. DOING NOTHING.
People say things like, my heart is broken and I am waiting on God to heal me one day so I can feel again. I am just destroyed right now so I know God understands why I just can’t deal with this. I have said those words!!!! I really meant them when I said them but I was so very wrong to think that way. I didn’t understand a lot that I know now though. Really can you imagine God is sitting in heaven healing you while you do nothing? Of course He can, but that would be really irresponsible on His part because that is not what His heart is for healing. The whole point of healing is to restore. If we are to just sit and do nothing, why did God go to all the trouble to spell out clearly in His Word that He wants to have an active even interactive relationship with us on an intimate level? If God waved a magic wand to each problem and made it all better what would we do? I will tell you what we would do. We would put expectations on God that would eventually lead to our disposing of the need for a relationship with him and change it to an addiction to Him based on our fleshly desires. Every time the fire gets a little hot we will just ask for our magic wand fix and suspend the suffering. We would never really get to know God because we would have our magic wand to provide for all our needs. Oh a few of us would be grateful but most would get the problem solved and move on to the next thing. Thank GOD for suffering and refining.
I am so glad God says in His Word to cry out to Him and to seek Him. What in your life is keeping you from Him and needs to be subtracted. We face this life from the vantage of victory not defeat. GOD has spoken on this clearly.
Psalm 34:19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Proverbs 2:7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless
Psalm 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Phillipians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
We had just left a beautiful scenic harbor heading back to my apartment. I had friends with me in a 2 car caravan and suddenly the vibration in my car became severe and we all heard a loud pop. My rear tire had blown. If you know anything of Dallas you know on an interstate this could be deadly. I calmly pulled the car to the side of the road and proceeded to figure out what to do next. Unfortunately the lugs were torqued too tight and three grown men couldn’t get them off. We are talking hefty men standing on the lug wrench, using 4 ways and cheater bars. I decided to send some of my guest to my apartment and keep them out of harms way using the second car.
One bent lug wrench and 2 hours later we waited on the police to help us get off the highway. All the plans for the evening were changed. It was close to midnight before the police finally came. They were great following me as I drove my poor car to my home which was 1/4 mile from the blow out. It was more than ironic that I was almost home and could see my front door across the interstate. So much went through my mind as I thought about my guest and hoped they all were ok and not too disturbed by the events.
The next day a guy came over with a breaker bar and 19mm socket and with great ease he loosened the lugs. I had soaked them overnight in WD40 but he credited the success with having the right tools.
Here’s the parallel I drew in my mind. I was almost home but the blow out challenged my journey. I could see my destination. I couldn’t get there because I had an unexpected storm and was not adequately prepared for it. I had tools that were tucked away for such a day but they were inadequate and I had no experience using them since I had purchased this car. They were cheap, used improperly (we broke a 3/8 socket wrench and bent the lug wrench) and the wrong choice for the job. Isn’t life like that? We go off with the wrong tools and when the storm comes we are ill-equipped to handle it. It was very dangerous in Dallas on I-30 that night. Cars flew by as I stood there on the highway. Each tool failed and we were all still stranded.
God has promised to equip us for this journey. The best way to be prepared is to know him intimately by His Word and His Spirit. I can’t overstate the value of staying under the influence of the Word. It will be the tool that sustains you on days where a blow out changes everything. Things in life will cause a change in direction but not destination. I could clearly see the finish line, my front door but the tools I had to get there wouldn’t work and I had to accept an alternative route. The truth is useless unless it changes you. Use the truth you have been given to help you when a blow out in life occurs so you won’t be stranded waiting on someone or something to help you out. Accept that there might be another way so that you are open to leading and teaching when the way you have isn’t working.
I was listening to this song Make My Life a Prayer to You today. God’s love is truly amazing. All that he has done to secure our salvation and to also provide a way to know him intimately is truly the most well orchestrated plan to save man that could ever be created. I read his living and loving WORD and find in it all that I truly need to know in this life. Yet he is gracious to know my heart and know that the loneliness that comes and goes through me sometimes exists because he created me to love and be loved.
He knew this when he came down in the garden and saw that Adam was alone and it was not a good thing. I am so thankful that God doesn’t come at me with catch phrases about contentment when I talk to him about this. Instead his Word says he knew me and formed me and that as a Father he gives good gifts to his children. He says that he began a good work in me and will complete it. He comforts me with the “knowing” that he has all of it covered.
I want to praise him and thank him before you for being the very most high God who says he is touched by what touches me. What an intimate amazing relationship to have that touches my heart in deep places I can’t find words for. My eyes find tears for those words though. I can hardly see to type this. I can’t wait to see him face to face. I am overwhelmed by the most amazing filling love that blows my comprehension right off the charts.
I think that is what is so captivating about God. Only God could love a little sinner girl like me who just came from the most simple unassuming means. I feel like a miracle to have been born into this world and in my childhood circumstance to have been saved let alone loved by my Father in heaven. That’s what is so precious about God, that he could love me. I am amazed by that fact.
If I died tomorrow I would die knowing I am his and he is mine. If you don’t know this please contact me I will tell you how God can save you like he did me.
You know some mysterious things have happened in the last couple of years to me. Some of them defy rational explanation. You can’t make this stuff up. You don’t know what to think or where it’s coming from but this thing you know and do. You know GOD is in control and you move forward. I have seen a lot in my short years. I have seen the best and worst sides of this temporal life. GOD has humbled me in the most unusual ways (maybe usual ways to Him) No matter what comes your way, whether you get an explanation or not, whether it makes sense or not….. we have to remember the eternal perspective, take the lumps and go on in life. If we let the temporal drama interfere with the daily task ahead we will become ineffective and off our race. Jeremiah 8 talks about a man that won’t get up when fallen and that doesn’t ask for directions to get back on the path he’s supposed to be on. I have learned that what happens in life doesn’t have to make sense or slow my life down. Dear ones have a single heart, single purpose and stay by the stuff.
Living Like You Were Dying has become a mantra for me in a way. I think God supports this when he says we are a vapor and vanish.
Wow! I turned 50 this past year. It was a year of many first and many changes. Although I had been divorced 10 years it was the first year I had ever lived alone in my life, the first experience with an empty nest, the first time I adventured back into the dating world. Splat! Oh well, I tried, I’ll soar again in God’s time, that wasn’t pretty. This year I had a car wreck which was topped by my daughter totaling my spare car. I had a cancer scare that made me realize how sweet time is. I jumped out of the rat race taking a 40% pay cut by changing jobs. Life is too short to be stressed instead of blessed. I sold my home in SC and cut ties with the past and my security blanket back there. You can’t move forward looking in the rearview mirror. When your faith and fear collide, and they always will, you have to choose to keep pressing on.
The year was filled with so many great things. A great ministry to volunteer time that helps people get back in their race, a praise team at church that sees something in me that I am still learning about myself and some really great people who taught me, encouraged me, stretched me, crushed me and humbled me in so many ways that I can’t begin to explain. It’s called life though. Jesus walked Peter to the boat in a storm not on calm seas. Jesus is walking me through this journey and where I see the lesson I am learning, where I don’t see, God patiently and graciously walks me through again. Wow! how loving is our Father to do that. I love the abundant life God has given me. Not things, they pass away but the blessings that are too many to tell and too many to not see the hand of God.
Sometimes I ponder things and wonder if seeking direction with the Lord is as important as simply following where he is leading. Does that sound conflicted? Let me tell you what that means to me. Sometimes we see a path and ask the Lord to confirm it when maybe the path opening before us is the confirmation. God says that he opens doors man can’t shut and he shuts doors man can’t open in Revelation 3:8. You might refuse the door but it isn’t closed. It’s open and always will be for eternity. You will just miss the journey if you don’t’ go through it. I used to be one that would see the path, second guess myself, second guess the path and even the bricks it was paved with. My over analyzing and also my own conclusion that I was right in my analyzing would muddle the path and muddle me. By the time I started the first step on the path, if hadn’t of thought my way out of it, I was restless, uncertain and already thinking of plan B. In my mind seeking God’s direction was more of me analyzing what was best for me and hoping God endorsed it to happen that way. The learning curve on that can be as long as you want it to be. God has plenty of time to wait for you to surrender to him.
Grant it, life is hard and being vulnerable and taking risks is hard. Yet when God lays a path before us we need to go for it like we are dying. We need to not waste sweet time second guessing God and thinking the impossible can’t happen. If it looks too good why can’t it be from God? He says he uses the foolish things to confound the wise. He also says he gives good gifts to his children. He even said finding a wife is a good thing. We are not in a minefield with God. He has a clear path, clear plan and clear say regarding the matter. He said nothing was impossible with him.
It would be nice if we all could spend time in heaven like the little boy did in the book Heaven Is For Real. If we could understand that Jesus really loves all his children. If we could love and trust like children do! Oh My! I teared up reading how this little boy told his parents that as a four year old Jesus had the angels sing to him because he was so scared. I am not sure the angels will sing the song above to me and evidently they won’t sing We Will We Will Rock You either. Read the book and get the gist of that comment. When Lazarus died he was sitting in Abraham’s bosom and this little boy is sitting in the arms of Jesus. I don’t think there is a coincidence in the parallel.
I am sure the sweet time we waste on earth would minimize if we had an eternal perspective. So, when the path opens before me, unless God says NO! There’s no reason not to go through that door. It might look like spiritual skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing or bull riding and I am positive it’s not always pretty or rosy. But it’s the race! It’s the plan to move forward and God is passionately loving us with abandon and cheering us on. The sweet time I have left I hope to love deeper, speak sweeter and forgive sooner. I want to live like I am dying because I am in all reality. When I get to heaven if I can ever look up at Jesus because I can’t imagine the glorified awe I will have for him. I am totally blown away now by his grace. If hear the angels sing I hope they sing this song. But if they don’t … I am sure whatever they sing will never be as loud as the heartbeat of God for this little gal he has declared priceless and purchased so no one else can buy me.
There’s a song by Mike and the Mechanics called The Living Years
It talks about parental damage and wasted time. I know this first hand and even though Dad’s been gone since 1987 I still can have something rattle my insides about the past.I have forgiven my parents but sometimes the lesson you learned in the journey comes forward to teach you now. I was involved in a storm this week that I created for myself but it brought up things I thought were long faded from my memory. One thing I learned from the wreckage of having a distant dad who didn’t really know how to love was that you have to say what needs to be said and do it in the right way. I could have asked him hundreds of times why we couldn’t get to a healthy daughter/father relationship and why we had to talk in defense. I could have said why did my brother die and tried to understand his hurt and pain instead of clinging to my fear of being the next to die. We do sacrifice the future when our pain carries us around and we don’t give up or give in. Being always right is a huge burden. I am thankful GOD taught me that I am frail, fallible and still fantastic in His loving care. It’s very tempting to hold on with right on our side but how does someone find their way home to us if we value our being right more than doing what is right? Sometimes I have been right in this journey and times I have been wrong are probably more numerous. Still if I win everyone loses. In relationships the goal has to be for everyone to win and for us to realize where a person fails in our eyes we can get angry and also show mercy. I can’t avoid saying what I need to say but I am still learning and navigating in unchartered waters in some areas and have a lot to learn. I learned that people make mistakes and deserve a second, third even 100th chance. I can’t stay stuck in the places that are hard even when I cause the hardness because they will become my trophy to pain and eventually a monument. Even The Living Years are hurtful there is still a lot of life out there and whole healthy love and we have to move forward to the mark and keep going. Look around you and find others who need your love and grace and walk with them forward toward Jesus as well. Everyone who crosses your path was there to either to teach you or you teach them. All of it is God’s divine plan. Follow after love with pure motives and a sincere heart and trust GOD not yourself. Lesson learned. One day I will know how to love perfectly because the glass will be removed but the best I can do here is to love as whole and healthy as I can. Sometimes that doesn’t look like love and it’s sad when it doesn’t because my heart is always to love. This was prompted because a man in my church was gored today by a bull that caught him against a fence in the roof of his mouth and literally took his face off. When I think of that and how the whole family is wondering what tomorrow brings I have to realize we all have to live in the living years because we don’t know. Love deep, forgive huge and follow after the one that loves perfectly.
The Way of Love
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.