Life is hard but GOD is good!

Dear Christian who is hurting,

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) “He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted.” (Isaiah 61:1)

The word heal in Hebrew  means to heal, to sew together, or mend. Imagine if you will GOD healing me piece by piece even mending together what has been torn apart. That was like salve to my weary and broken heart that my GOD would put me back together in His way in His time.

Broken hearted in Hebrew in this case means to break into pieces, crush, maime, crippled, shattered, wrecked, rupture, to be broken, rend violently. Jesus repeated this verse in Luke as part of his mission coming to this earth. To heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. I was a captive to emotional stuff. No one held me physically captive it was all spiritual bondage. I remember when I lifted my eyes after the long nights of pain and blame and realized the chains were truly gone and I was totally free. I remember feeling as if my soul had wings because once I was blind but now I see. I have sung What a Friend We have in Jesus hundreds of times just because I now KNOW he indeed is my Friend.

Bind is the Hebrew word which means to tie, bind about like a headband or turban, bind on, restrain, bandage. What comfort that you are GOD’s child and He is waiting in the wings for you to embrace the healing he will provide and has demonstrated in first sending Jesus to die for us but, also in giving us a means to have an intimate relationship with him. Not only did GOD heal but he also bandaged my wounds as they healed. How loving and how restful that is to me. I can fall into his loving arms in prayer and as the dear and precious Father I have never had, let Him do that for me.
Wound comes from the Hebrew word  which had idol as a root but also a pain or wound even a sorrow wound. I identify with making my pain and idol. I was so fearful to freely trust GOD with everything. I had spiritual white knuckles that if I let go of control it might hurt me how ironic. I remember when I first started studying the Hebrew and Greek and came across this it was all very hard to swallow. Now I love knowing what God is really saying. I am amazed at the lengths He goes to in order to have a relationship with us and take care of our needs and desires. We can truly trust him. I never trusted anyone before except myself which just about destroyed me.

Imagine him knitting you back together from brokenness of unimaginable proportions and binding that healing into a masterpiece that he knew in Psalms was fearfully and wonderfully made. That is what GOD has done for me. I sought Godly counsel through my Pastors wife because on my own I was unable to clearly see or progress. I was becoming emotionally and spiritually crippled and ineffective. I sought the Lord in His Word and on my knees, and I learned how to listen instead of act or react to everything. I began to see life’s lessons in it all and see how GOD works behind the scenes always on my behalf for His glory. It was like the scales from my eyes fell and as I began to become whole I feel full and have an overflow that I can share with others.

Hearing you say that your heart is broken, that you feel damaged, burned out, and that even talking about it makes you feel depressed is where I have traveled. It hurts but also shows us we are in touch with something still being not healed. How you might feel right now is a place I am very familiar with. It is the exact way I felt. I was emotionally and spiritually wrecked and very unable to admit it. I must say this to you hoping you will take it to heart because it is far more important that you understand what I am going to say more than you ever look at me. As I said that is not at all what this is about.
Feeling the way I did without dealing with it and without healing hindered me in every way spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I did that exact same thing by just avoiding it all. I spent hours pouring my life into futility of doing stuff that just didn’t provide anything valuable to help me grow. I have paid a very high price neglecting my relationships horizontally with people and vertically with GOD.

Not healing kept me in bondage to my pain until I decide to address it. It foreshadowed my witness and effectiveness as a light to the lost and dying world and kept me stuck going through the motions of life without really living the wonderful life Christ intended. I am speaking the truth in love. I did exactly that very thing.
Dear One, I know GOD is with me and that saying this is from grace He has given me to boldly let you know as strongly and lovingly as I can. I continued pouring my life into pseudo surface relationships which did make me laugh and provided numbness from it all but did not provide growth that will help a person heal or be restored. I wasted part of my life I can’t get back. I found many people there whose motives were not for my good or God’s glory.

Words that real friends tried to share with me along this line were dismissed when I was going through the same thing when I first was divorced and when I began to deal with my life and who I was. I was so far from healthy and whole. I would feel ungrateful to GOD if I didn’t share this with you for all that He has done for me. I am still in total awe of His grace and mercy.

I won’t continue belabor this but Dear One, but you seem to be where I was and I pray you seek out God with all your heart as well as fellowship in the Lord who will stand by you in this time, seek the LORD in His Word for what is already in place to help you heal, and cry out to GOD to find Him faithful to love you through this pain you are suffering. Above all one of the biggest mistakes I made was to try to do it in my own strength but I learned how to live in Christ as my life. That is the only way to really be healed and have lasting peace.
I am tried on every front here in Dallas with great trials but I am at peace knowing my rock, my anchor of the soul, my good Shepherd, redeemer, friend, Father, is ever with me. He is fighting for me and I can keep the great faith and peace that He provides. It’s not one bit me but in and through HIM, my all in all. I pray you continue in love as the Bible says and that you find healing in HIM. This is said from a heart that breaks for you but rejoices knowing our GOD will love you to the point your life will once again flow from His fountain if you let Him.

God bless you all who read this.

Good Friday? Are You Kidding Me?

This was originally written March 2009. My mother was dying and everyone I know is going through something so I thought I would share. Sunday is coming!!!

Where my feet may fail.

I have been studying church history and the history of Christianity in general and I have wanted to honestly absorb what happened the week that Jesus died. I wanted to absorb the enormity of the unspeakable gift and sacrifice of God to fallen man. I have seriously pondered and thought what it must have been like those last few days to be part of the ministry of the Son of God. I realized how beautiful the picture was that Christ, in his last act with the disciples became a servant, washing their feet. I have often thought that if I had to use only a few words to describe all of Christianity, servant would be in the top 10. Yet I don’t think of servant as making things happen for the good of others but more of being available to serve as opportunity presents. The extra mile in the journey that comes up naturally and without “work”

As we look at the cross we have to think about how the followers of Jesus felt before his death. Circumstances had to look bleak hopeless and unreal. The day of agonizing prayer in the garden as the disciples slept, the betrayal, and the subsequent arrest and ultimate crucifixion was to be remembered in history as “good” Friday. Good? Is that our definition of good? No, it would never be viewed in an earthly way as a good day if the events were happening to us. Jesus even said he endured it and despised the shame.

Mary has lost her son, grieving as a mother would. The disciples are wondering if it was all real or a joke since their teacher, master, and Saviour now was laid in a tomb. Preparations were being made to bring the necessary spices to embalm him, meaning they didn’t think he would rise from the grave. Agony, grief, pain, doubt, fear, regret and “what ifs” were plaguing their thoughts as Satan was  enjoying the moment. God was all the while, working unseen,  finalizing the atonement that would secure our justification. I was playing this over in my mind, trying to embrace everything I was reading in the Bible about it when it hit me like a lightening bolt right in the center of my heart.

We all have our Good Friday seasons. We have those times in life when it all seems bleak and our hearts are weary. I was struggling with divorce, single parenthood, being single and relationships, finances, and all that encompasses being hurt with betrayal of infidelity and a childhood that was emotionally abusive. The pain of my own flaws and failures as I didn’t know how to unconditionally love or care for other’s happiness. I was violated beyond description in some ways a true victim but in others a raging victim of my own doing. I couldn’t tell the difference at times and I wanted to die often to be frank. I am a witness and case in point to the fact that with human eyes and a fallen heart we can sometimes lose the picture and feel hopeless. We can ourselves make huge choices that leave scares. Our ability to make mistakes is endless. I was falling apart, losing my self in an ocean of agony, grief, pain, doubt, fear, regret, and “what ifs.”

The pain was real and deeper than ever before. It was the culmination of many things and many years. I had a skewed view of who God was, what He should be doing, and how life should turn out for me and how He should take care of my needs. I won’t go into tons of detail but I was at rock bottom. This meltdown came after I had just learned a powerful lesson about God’s grace but with the agony that was gripping me, grace or anything profitable wasn’t clear to me.

I had been to countless hours of Christian counseling and still nothing broke the spiral I was in over the complicated mess my life had been woven into partly my own doing and self deception, partly by my past and partly Satan’s plan.  I also did not understand the fellowship of the suffering of Christ in which my trials were to reveal my character so that each trial would mold and make me more like my master. EVERYTHING God set into motion regarding my salvation has been done for me. I keep trying to do it but it’s already been taking care of. Walking in it is all that I am asked to do. Take the journey not make the journey. I often wanted to approach the trial as a soldier but instead approached it as a helps victim because that was all I knew to do. Whine and cry about my circumstance and keep trying to lift myself up by the boot straps. It was a dark, dreary, disillusioned and depressing time for me. Then………… as I write this with tears of joy…more of my story later… let’s go back to the tomb for a moment before I tell the rest.

Two women approach the tomb to take spices. They didn’t expect what they were going to find even though Jesus had told them. Catch this! The Son of God told them verbally he was going to raise from the dead and they doubted, they were taking spices to embalm him forever. Thank you Lord, for the human element you made apparent in your Word so that I would know there are times we just don’t have enough faith. They didn’t expect to find the stone rolled away, they were spoken to by an angel that Jesus had risen and ran back to tell the news. The disciples were found mourning and didn’t believe it. They too, the very people who had walked with Him and seen the miracles, and had heard his words, they too doubted. It took time for it to sink in. How many times have I stayed in mourning when the good news was right before my eyes?

When the message gripped their hearts, and dear ones is has to grip our hearts, our heads can’t fathom it. THEN……THEY KNEW!!!! THEY KNEW!!!! HE’s ALIVE!!!! We are forgiven!!!!!!!!! All that he had said and all he had done was indeed real and was TRUTH. They were set free by THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE. All the while as darkness was encompassing them, Jesus was working behind the scenes he had paid the debt we all owe for sin and cannot pay, he had conquered death so that we can live, and all so that I can be forgiven by his imputing righteousness on all who believe and will believe down through the ages. Christ living in me.

Ok, back to me. I have been through a very dark time as I described above, a time when I didn’t trust God enough for what He promised to do. I didn’t see God realistically or Biblically. I had no clue that all I was going through had a purpose. I started digging deeply into God’s WORD to see what was real and what was not. I started looking at God, my Father, for the first time in a way that was different. I don’t see God the same way I did in the days when I wanted him to endorse every prayer and make life all better. Waving back to him saying come on catch up to me and my ambition.

Today, I truly know I am resurrected, restoration has begun in my heart and healing is taking place. Circumstances haven’t been greatly changed, I am still single, finances are still low as a matter of fact sometimes negative, and the past is truly and realistically what it is. But hallelujah my mind is being renewed, my sins are forgiven and my view of it all is different and what I have been through no longer has control of me. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply my being was hurt or how thankful I am for that valley of these last years.

The chains of it all have been released as I realize who and what I have in Christ. I couldn’t have learned that apart from the Holy Spirit teaching me in the Word. Praise the God of heaven and earth who will never leave us. Who is raised from the dead. Who was and is the true I AM. Unconditional love drove him to a cross to claim …… it was the joy set before him…….

Friend if you are going through a season or even a life of pain as I testify to you there is a day when you will realize this. God won’t change the past, but you can trust in faith that He is faithful with sustaining grace to know that whatever happens or has happened in this life is for a season and a reason.  The season may be whatever length it is but there is a far and better country. The reason always points to the lamb.  My peace and joy doesn’t come from my circumstances being miraculously changed for my good, but in knowing God, that He loves me, is with me, and will never leave me. His character is paramount to all the truth that He is.  He paid for me with His own Son’s life and is forever my Good Shepherd. Storms will come and go, winds will knock me down,  I will still be flawed but not eternally condemned. Praise the One who is raised from the dead, praise be to the One who sent Him for my redemption.

Praise GOD for saving grace that has set me free to be at peace with God. I hunger daily for His Word and have found not reading it to be like neglecting my relationship, I sing praises to His name, (in Dallas traffic much to the laughter of cars around me.) I want to learn, grow and share with others the wonderful news of salvation. If that is all I do the rest of my life it will satisfy me. I want to reach out to those who are lost and share this Good News!

My life is in the hands of God. So, I leave you with this. If you do not have a personal relationship with God, I want to let you know I can tell you how or if you are going through a season of trials I stand with you in prayer and love as you embrace what God is teaching you. I want this post to glorify our LORD and humbly send it to you… KNOW THIS, RESURRECTION IS COMING!!! What a glorious thought. It may be in heaven but we have a day out there when all pain is gone and tears wiped from our eyes. I would love to hear your testimony or praise if you want to share.

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Law of Subtraction.

(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.

When God ran to me

Reposted from 2008 in honor of all God has called son who have fallen in this world but still are loved by a Father whose love is perfect. A Father who ran down that long road to meet them and said my son has come home again! Happy Father’s day Sir.

When GOD ran to me. Click here to listen

Luke 15:11-24 A

11And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

This story has a very significant meaning in my life. I did pack up all I had and run from GOD. I didn’t live riotously but I did waste my substance. I spent all I had physically, emotionally, and spiritually and was left desolate. For a season I lived beneath the calling GOD had placed in my life at salvation, the calling we all have to be salt and light to the world. You all know what I am talking about. I am talking about the kind of living we do waiting on living to happen. The kind of self absorbed reckoning with our lives at the cost of being right with GOD.

Whatever is in your life that is distracting you or keeping you from dealing with your “swine trough” is a stronghold.  That swine trough could be pride that keeps you from forgiving someone, it could be doing a “work for the LORD” that is nowhere near God’s plan for your life. It could be a trough of indecision or the game of “waiting on the LORD” Where did GOD say to wait on him and do nothing while waiting? I see myself so much in the statements above. This prodigal got to the point he felt he was no longer worthy to be called his father’s son. Have you ever said these words? God I am not even sure I am saved and I doubt I am your child because I am here in my pig trough belly aching when I could be at your table. WAKE UP folks we can’t do this long and not feel like swine and degenerate despots.  We can’t run from a holy and just GOD and feel nothing or expect no conviction. When we neglect to face our issues we create a reality that very far from real. Human nature can justify almost any action but there is a clear and true standard that answers most of our questions in dealing with almost any situation. That standard is God’s Word. Our hearts are wicked and will deceive every chance they get.

Can you imagine the scene? I am going to paint this picture for you in modern times using a modern situation. Imagine a woman coming down a long road after being ravaged by divorce from a 20 year first marriage when she had served God with all that she knew how. Then to be followed by a precious second relationship  that failed because of disobedience to God’s Word. Finally to move out of her comfort zone  to total devastation in a city far away from all she knows and loves.  She has done all she can do and knows to do to try to make it in this world. Her heart is broken and she doesn’t even feel worthy to be a daughter of such a Father. A Father who she thought at one time considered her worthy to be His child. In her mind she is thinking any closeness I can have to Him even to be His servant on the outside of the family is better than what I have sought in the pleasures in this world. She feels unlovable, rejected, and torn to pieces. She feels no hope out there where the prince of the world is Satan. Her heart divides her each choice she makes because she is not whole, healed, or able to decide what is right anymore.

Slowly she begins to read about her Father’s love, care, compassion, sacrifice, and understands that is where it all should rest. She doesn’t place her confidence in those who pull you into the swine trough any longer.  She is remembering as David often did in the Psalms of God’s goodness even when people you love make terrible mistakes that hurt you. She begins to read her Father’s Words with passion seeking jewels of his grace, guidance, mercy, love, and understanding as well as righteousness. Her head lifts and she prays earnestly to the only hope she has in this life. Father, I have sinned, I have taken your grace and disgraced so much with my life with fear, doubt, and directing my own steps.  Her prayer is a long road, but she is not left journeying that distance alone. When the Father sees her heart is broken HE begins to run to her. As each prayer she prays indicates her total surrender His steps pick up even faster. He takes her to his chest and shouts to those around to begin to celebrate. He clothes her with his clothes, not the clothes she was wearing in the world. Her prayer ends where it should have began, in the arms of GOD. He restores her to the status that she had before she fell. He restores her to the heir and daughter she was.

The point of this story is of course that I am that woman. The other more important point is that through prayer and God’s word I was able to stop being her and by HIS grace learn my Father’s heart for me by His Word. I know folks tell you all the time to read the Word. We think a few minutes on Sunday when the preacher gives a message is enough to last all week. I am telling you not reading the WORD and praying daily is spiritually going to starve you and make you weak for hard times. Life is hard but GOD is good and we will lose sight of that if we neglect knowing Him intimately by reading the WORD. Begin today to know the heart of GOD by reading HIS love to you in written form and accepting His love demonstrated to you in the Cross of Christ. Email me if you want to know more. Blessings 🙂

Life Doesn’t Collapse in a Moment

Life doesn’t collapse over minutes and we can get to the point we feel as if our life has been turned inside out. There are many in this life who are living that way and who have gotten so discouraged they are resigned to the coffin waiting on the nails.  They don’t have to live this way but choose to. All who give up do it  by either  deception of or  leading by  the flesh,  the world or the enemy.  No one cognitively thinks, let me pattern myself to fail. The result of all storms will be one of two things, they will develop or destroy you. The primary purpose of the storm is to glorify God and reveal his character so that you can trust safely in Him to guide and mold you. Sadly, I have been myself and seen folks who sit by allowing the storm to drown them. I would be there still if it weren’t for the Word of God and the great Shepherding of the LORD.  I am keenly aware these days that a relationship with God requires the same kind of effort one does in the world. I have to be attentive and purposeful in it to stay close to Him.

We get all turned inside out when we have knowledge of GOD that raises questions and not intimacy with GOD that answers those questions. When a storm comes just knowing about GOD does not lend itself to trusting GOD. I know God parted a Red Sea but that fact  doesn’t give me hope in a storm when I am up against the wall.  I know God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, but that doesn’t comfort me when I need to hear something in the storm. I know that God is sovereign but that doesn’t satisfy my heart when life fails and seems out of control.

Now, this might seem heresy but let me continue. Knowing what GOD did in the past does  not guarantee me anything if I don’t know His character and by  intimacy know He will not violate that character. The character attributes of God reveal not only who He is but also who I am in Him.  What does God’s Word really mean to us if when we are  tested we crash and burn? There’s no strength in that, no power, and certainly no glory for the LORD.  Just accumilating facts is meaningless if I don’t know a holy and just God’s moral and divine attributes. God’s character is what sustains his promises. Who he is determines what he does. It’s like going on a honeymoon with facts about your spouse but not your spouse. Check out the book of Habakkuk for a glimpse of God’s character and our response to Him.

Create in me a clean heart, My sin.

Create In Me a Clean Heart by Keith Green click here to listen.

I love the passage of Scripture that this song is based on. Psalms 51 I think verse 4 stands out to me. As I write and try to share my story I try to say things that are generally uplifting but there are times when I have to be real looking at myself. It would be easy to always let you see victory in my life but then if you looked beyond the praise you would see a person who is different than you read here in this blog. I am living in Christ victoriously but also like everyone, I sin. This is one of those hard post because it’s me just as I am behind the praise. I am seeking God’s will and was convicted about sin.

David had sinned with Bathsheba and it was pointed out to him. Psalms 51 was written after his adultery had been revealed. I watched the anatomy of his confession and see in this deep understanding of God’s character. The focus is not the adultery but the fact that any action that crosses the threshold of temptation to violate a holy, just, and merciful God is indeed sin.

I would love to say I never sin but that in of itself would be a sin. I would love to say nothing ever gets me down but again that would be a lie and you are getting the gist of what I am saying. I can’t justify my actions. I have recently been dealing with something and had come to a couple of realizations. I will only delve into one here. I am being tested. What I want to deal with in this post is my sin and God’s will. This particular time of sin happened several years ago. I can’t say at the time I didn’t know I was sinning, I did. I was surviving by rationalizing my actions. I am not going to go into what I did because it really doesn’t matter. Disobedience to God is disobedience to God. With sin it’s a most sizes fit all proposition. The bottom line is my sin was against a just, holy, God who has redeemed my soul. Because I did it willingly I did not feel Godly sorrow over it. I thought it was heinous that I couldn’t feel repentant. I was basing my life on what I was seeing around me at the time and a lot of people were naming the name of Christ doing the same thing. Does that negate my responsibility? IN NO WAY! I knew better, and I sinned anyway. I recently have had to deal with my transgression and seek the LORD to create a clean heart in me. I really want to love and serve my LORD with my whole heart. I can’t do that with a heart that is not clean and receptive to His leading. Whatever I cling to, whether it be sin, relationships, past or future fear, all of it gets in the way of His plan. I see my relationship to Him as the most powerful love of my life. Sinning against Him hurts me in many ways and He is clear about my sin in His Word. You would have to see where he brought me from to understand why the love of Christ constrains me. I want you to know that you have to deal with things to grow and heal. I had confessed other things to GOD since this sin but not this one. I think pride was part of it, and also denial. When I moved to Dallas, God orchestrated a lot of things in my life to heal me and draw me close to Him. How could a gal who loves the LORD so much do something so bad? How could I be digging into Scripture and prayer and not have told GOD I was sorry for my wrong doing. Why didn’t it bother me daily, why am I now dealing with something that happened years ago. I think it was that I had to see myself as sinful as I was and because of all the brokenness, I couldn’t see it and take care of it. I spent time in prayer seeking the LORD about another matter when it hit me head on. I had sins that had never been addressed. I spent today reflecting, repenting, and receiving forgiveness. Why would I write that here? For sure it’s humbling, but at the same time, there may be a reader who is struggling, who has something in their past that they think is so far past that it doesn’t matter. Maybe a lot has happened to them and their life is hard and they think that there is so much packed way down there is no hope. I don’t know what your story is, but I do know the answer is always to take these things to God. To me today it mattered. First when I realized it I saw myself in need of the only GOD who can forgive sin. I ran to Him. Secondly, it showed me how fragile my life is and how carelessly I can be with it and days can turn into years. Thirdly, and this is the one that brings tears, I am more free by the Truth of God’s WORD that says who I am in CHRIST as I face who I was. Freedom in CHRIST is priceless. It can’t be bought or sold. His Truth sets us free and reveals His character so that we can grow more like Him. .. Wretched sinner that I can be from grace to glory to glory. I love HIM! I am in awe that only HE can take us from disgrace to grace.

Psalms 51: 1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Medicating yourself emotionally, We have to deal and heal

Written March 2010.
Losing my Mom was very difficult. She suffered her last days on this earth but always trusted the LORD knew best to heal her or take her home. My last conversation with her was so emotional. I did not make it to her bedside before she passed. She knew she was dying and said how much she loved me over and over. She also said to be good to people and love the LORD.  As I went to her home to try to get things together after her death I was overwhelmed by the amount of medication she had. I can’t imagine taking that much medication in one day. For as many pills as she took there was no real relief to her suffering because the pills only masked or numbed the symptoms. They did not heal her. While I was home I tried to do some things but had been having a nagging back ache for a few weeks. There were things at my own home back in SC that needed to be taken care of. I managed to overdo it and return to Dallas with very intense pain in my lower back. Long story short after nursing it through the holidays I saw an internist who sent me to an surgeon. I had some inflamation in my spinal column that was pushing on nerves really creating havoc with my concentration and lifestyle. I was prescribed several pain relievers of different types to bombarde the inflamation. They worked for a while but again only masking the pain and not healing me. Something in my spine was misaligned and the meds just kept me from feeling it.  When something is spritutally misaligned no amount of emotional medication will heal that. We fool ourselves thinking we are ok when we are running and numbing.

In midst of the grief and physical pain  I was challenged to a very deep level by someone  from my past that I loved.  I had been praying for them for over a year so their sudden appearance seemed to be an answer to prayer.  Unfortunately some answers sometimes are not what we prayed for.

 This morning I couldn’t sleep thinking about what I am seeing them go through. I thought of this medication scenario when I thought of them. Physical medication that heals nothing does bring momentary comfort and alleviate our pain and suffering. Emotional medication damages us rather than brings comfort. It doesn’t let God’s intention for suffering and testing heal. What do I mean by emotional medication? I mean surrounding your life with things that numb your accountability to GOD and that fills your hours with distractions that keep you from change and God’s will.  We hear about major addictions people turn to in order not to feel or deal, drugs, sex, money, and power.

What I am talking about is much more subtle. It’s in our minds and hearts and we have to be careful what and who we expose ourselves to or allow ourselves to become in bondage to.  There are two approaches to truth it is either believed and demonstrated by our actions and changes us or dismissed and fills us with knowledge that is useless unless we change. In other words the power of truth is the response to it.

  We can be blinded while we are medicating ourselves and it takes more and more to stuff out the noise of our soul’s cry to be free.  Jesus came to set the captives free. Isaiah 61. Luke 4. We are going to be tried and tested in this life and much of it is orchestrated to reveal our character and mold us into Christlikeness which frees us.  I try to be real about that and my reality isn’t always pretty, I have experienced alot in 49 years. 

It grieves my heart watching someone I love  ruin their testimony, wander in circles in the wilderness thinking shamefully that it is their plight.  People outside of me and my bias who are  watching them see it and are saddened as well.  When you are being medicated this way by artificial worldy pleasures and pursuits,  it’s hard to see it in your life. Your symptoms can be so masked that you really think you are ok even Godly.  I was there the first years after my divorce. No one could speak to me and change my heart and mind. I spent hours with people who were broken and medicating themselves with my brokeness. That makes this all the more hard to watch. I have been there.

I have also learned to purposefully take care of my relationship with Christ.  I try to keep myself surrounded people who love God and sometimes we pray for and talk about situations and circumstances in our lives being the body fitly joined together. I need the accountability and truth in love they share and I do likewise with them. The biggest change in my life is digging into the WORD of GOD and developing a real intimacy with Him.

 I was having such a conversation with a Christian friend who is an author that deals with the subject of wilderness experiences, brokeness, and depression and victorious living in Christ beyond them.  I asked him a question based on his experience with folks who resign themselves to “a hard life” who were burnt and spent and this was his answer about their future.  I thought it put into words what I hadn’t been able to so far. This is to me what an emotionally medicated person looks like.

“[They] will either enter the rest of Christ and the reality of Christ or  live as a wilderness christian with a deeply broken heart wandering around going nowhere in circles” , “pitiful lives with Christ in them and all you see in flesh”

“like the desert a vague memory they will be as a witness,  a piece of sand blown away in the wind forgotten that Christ lives in them” ,”You are welcomed into the kingdom but boy a poor example, just like the Israelites, resigned to self-imposed poverty in the desert,  and there you will die as a Christian”

“[It’s] so simple, the same faith that saved you is the same faith you live as a Christian. Christ in us living thru us but so hard to grasp”

“Thats what happens to wilderness Christians, you lose focus on the heart and build your ego up – [     ] and put a Christian label on it or you get attracted back to Egypt and live in sin. Build your ego up and make your Christian life attractive on the outside,  but the inside is as dry as the desert and as dead as bones.”

This conversation was the result of my heart grieving my loved ones loss.  I hate to see them lose. I heard it and felt it in their last contact with me. I hadn’t seen it as clearly as before. The bottom line is as much as I desire things be different, I am not this persons mom and certainly not the Holy Spirit. I can’t fix people. If I could they would be in worse shape anyway because I am not GOD.   I have to stand back and get out of God’s way. I also am accountable to guard my heart and walk so as not to let someone be a stumbling block to me. The last underlined sentence gripped my heart the most, I am sure we all have had seasons like this somewhere in our walk.  What is the answer? The truth is we all face things that challenge our lives, we come to those storms and are either developed or destroyed. It all depends not on the truth we know but the truth we believe. Is CHRIST not only able to save but able as HIS Word says to “keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day?” Everyone has their pivotal moment when they have to either trust GOD or wander in the wilderness.  Challenges reveal our substance and character and most importantly what we believe and base our faith on.  GOD will let us choose. GOD is sovereign but it’s always our choice to obey.

Changing Scars to Beauty Marks

I heard Anne Graham Lotz talk about God changing our scars to beauty marks. LORD knows I had some scars. I was talking to someone after a lecture I attended and after our conversation I drove home with alot of what I had said running thru my mind.
It’s not an easy message to tell folks that some of their pain is ok. That life is hard and GOD will be their peace. They want relief and sometimes relief doesn’t come in the process as quickly as desired. This causes all kinds of problems if you push ahead of God’s plans for your life and seek relief in the wrong people or things. People do not want to hear that this life is not about our comfort. I was driving along home thinking how much of my own life has been marvelously crafted by a hammer and chisel of some of the greatest pain. One of the deepest scars is the scar of rejection. No one naturally likes to be rejected. Those who are rejected by people who should have loved them are the people I most identify with. That type of rejection leaves significant scars. Women should guard their hearts better than I guarded mine. Women are not naturally designed to do that. We are designed to want to give of ourselves to others. I love being a woman and the wonderful thing about a woman’s heart is also what makes her vulnerable.
The most wise advice would be to avoid the scars in the first place. I know that sounded like DUH! God is teaching me by His Word how to do that but this blog is about people who are already scarred. What do you do when you are so deeply wounded and healing seems so very slow? I can only share and hopefully encourage you. I was very depressed and sinking over a final rejection by someone I loved. They couldn’t get their life together for whatever reason which kept them from being in my life. Boy, did that hurt watching them waste away and finally realizing they choose to.
I can’t tell you why this wounded me so deeply still learning that, but I can tell you that it was not a feeling I had experienced before. It was one of the deepest pains I had ever felt. I think it stripped something inside of me that needed to go. The best I can describe it is this, God has to meet all your needs and people never will. It’s unfair to folks to expect that. God has been molding my life in that direction lately. He has been molding me to trust Him completely and no one else for anything else. I love the body of Christ, love to fellowship, and they do meet a lot of needs in my life as they minister to me and I to them. What precious people God has put in my path in Dallas. Yet my hope is not in them because at some point they will fail me and I will fail them. I have to allow for that to happen because it will. Just love them anyway as they love me anyway. My hope is in the LORD alone.
What is healing me is His Word. I know that might be the last thing you want to hear because Christians rarely read the Bible anymore as a whole. We look for blogs, self-help books, and tapes and conferences to bring that magic wand that opens our eyes and makes all things right with the world. Save your money and your time. Those things can help to some degree but nothing will replace time with GOD and time in the WORD. Believe me I tried them all!!! My only hope is that you read this stuff I write and want to get to know the GOD I speak of intimately. If you read it and think of me then I have failed my mission. If you could look me in the eye right now I would tell you this. Get in the WORD, do it consistently and pray regularly it will change your scars to beauty marks. It won’t feel natural at first and might even be a chore. Still do it dear ones, let it open those wounds and spiritually salve them over as you heal the right and proper way, by God’s perspective. When I read I see the character of GOD who loves me, allows the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort me, as He heals my wounds. This life is hard, hard things happen, and some are part of our growth. Imagine a GOD who is loving enough to walk through it with you, leaving behind HIS WORD, and Spirit to be not only your guide but to reveal HIS heart clearly so that you know HE is holy and just. Only a perfect holy just GOD could orchestrate a symphony of pain that could bring sweet music and relief to our broken lives. It’s not about the pain, it’s about being molded more into HIS likeness to glorify Him. Jesus said he came to set us free. Pain brings bondage. It takes our focus. The only way to be free is to shift your focus to the object of your faith. God’s WORD accomplishes that in us by setting us free with truth. Luke 4:18 Jesus proclaimed this was part of HIS mission.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Wail On, Pit Dwellers

(Please note, I totally believe GOD wants to hear from us. I have been a pit dweller at times in my life this is written for a reminder to myself as well )

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! No one just wakes up with an emotionally burned out crippled and  crumbled  life. It takes time to get to any destination.  You might retort to me look at  Job and point a finger and say ah ha .. you have no clue what you are talking about.  Yes, Job is a person in the Bible who suffered greatly and we point to him often when we are in storms to try to get the courage to gut it out. I think we do ourselves a disservice doing that for several reasons because when we look at Job, we see the end of the story where GOD restored him. That keeps the focus on what we can get out of our brokeness rather than what it does to us in molding our character. We also need to look at Job’s life fully, not just that he suffered.  I am not talking about a person who is being tested in the way Job was. I am talking about when our circumstances are orchestrated by our own bad choices. Choices that have consequences that can not be restored. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying God doesn’t restore. He promises to restore what the locust have eaten. I am saying the suffereing and  restoration Job had was not the kind I am speaking about. There is much to learn there but I am talking about when sin damages us.

  Our lives do not crumble overnight.  I woke up at 3:00 am with this thot in my head and decided it will be today’s blog. Where I am at today came through many tough water that were deep and challenging.   So this blog seems to be more or less dedicated to trading your sorrow for joy of the LORD.  My intent and purpose is to give folks a glimpse of what  I found elusive in many of my storms. Not that I can change anyone but that  the things that changed me were the WORD of GOD and soldiers in the body of Christ who shed their light at a time when darkness surrounded my soul as wave after wave of my journey collided with my faith. I just want to shed what light I have been given. 

 My life could have been much different if I had not have taken the trip I did to get where I am now. What if each moment in our lives we could have an instant replay. We surely wouldn’t get to the place where we are sitting broken and burned out if we could just replay those things that didn’t go as we hoped. Of course we  really can’t do that and if we could it would create disaster in our lives. By sheer human nature we would abuse such a gift. It’s a kind of winning the lottery pipe dream lets get back to reality.

One of the most sheep like qualities of Christians is our ability to depend on ourselves to be our own shepherd. We acknowledge GOD, even have a wealth of knowledge about Him but lack the ability on our own to stay out of the ditch.  In storms knowledge of GOD is useless without intimacy with Him. It’s like being all dressed up and no place to go. I lived that for many years. My knowledge was performance and fear based. The times I have been in the ditch were usually when I was steering the vehicle. We can’t just ask GOD to come along in our lives as we take on burdens He never intended we carry or as we try to orchstrate our way out of the storm or into a better place, or deny it’s complete existence. We know GOD, what His WORD teaches but we filter it by our lives and the parts we line up with we feel good about. The parts we don’t we dismiss or deny. It should be the other way around .

I know when I was deeply stuck in the mire, no one could talk to me. I was insistent that life  was going to work the way I had prayed.  Basically I am glad it didn’t in some cases. I was praying for my way and not God’s way.

The mire is so ugly.  If you have ever tried to walk in deep goopy mud you know what it’s like to try to pull one leg out, take a step, then pull the other leg out. It doesn’t take long before you tire completely. Spiritually, we create mire pits when we stop believing what God has said is true. When we do not watch His character to always keep His WORD and work in a way that is for our good.

We create a problem or make a huge mistake and the first thing that happens if we are not intimately walking is that our natural selves take over and rationalize how things can not work instead of seeing the beautiful plan God has to restore and renew our faith by transforming our mind.  We become a dead man walking so to speak. You will stink if you play with dead things but every believer has the Holy Spirit who is always ready and willing to walk you through the situation.  Psalms 40:1-3

 
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

I love this passage!!! Really let it sink into your heart that sitting on your spiritual hiney is not only keeping you stuck in mire, it’s also keeping people from seeing GOD at work and fearing and trusting Him. It’s not all about us.  LOOK! and see that HE takes you out of the pit and He establishes our steps. Whew the pressure is off of us and on to Him. We just have to just follow the Shepherd. 

 Now don’t get the idea you will just sit there and wait for God to show up. NO! You wait paitiently but wail on! Wait on it to be God that answers but cry out to Him. He will incline and lift you up and put you on a rock, a solid foundation. If you know anything at all about walking in mire it is this, you are on shaky ground getting dirty and sucked in feet first. Your life is not too burned, it’s not over, it’s not done if you call upon your Father to lift you out. Dear ones I need to see that in you and you need to see that in me. Let’s let GOD hear us and get us out of the pit that keeps us hidden from the lost and dying world.

Why Crash Dummies are Smarter than Humans

Yeah this title may sound silly but lets explore this notion. A crash dummy is made for one purpose, to see how it can withstand the impact of trauma. It isn’t meant to survive the impact but to be evaluated after the impact. If it survives that is not the issue. A crash dummy is put into a situation to tax all of its makeup. There is no implied protection or escape. If the entire dummy is destroyed,  the forces that destroyed it are examined or the structure that was supposed to protect it. The dummy really is just along for the ride. Every crash dummy has a purpose in essence. Never has a dummy stood up and said this is unfair, I can’t take this anymore, I am outta here! This is too hard, life isn’t fair, why can’t I change? Nope, one sole purpose of the crash dummy without deviation is to be put in harms way and evaluate the stressors that come against the dummy and the product being tested. Crash dummies take their role and play it out daily. Day in and day out, crash dummy families are put in a car that is smashed to smitherenes and the damage is evaluated …

So why are they smarter than humans, because humans are not made to be crash dummies but we take our lives and put them in wrecklessly into vehicles that test our very existence and ram us  right into the wall before us. We become crash dummies when we know God’s vision, HIS WORD, His great compassion but play fool hardy with the very grace He extended to us. We are not as smart as a crash dummy when we sit day in and day out thinking life is hard but all the while we are making the very choices that make it hard on ourselves. Life isn’t hard it’s impossible in our own strength. You can’t sit and say “I can’t change or I would have” without being a crash dummy. You become a sitting duck for depression, fear, doubt, lack of personhood whether man or woman. You can’t choose if GOD loves you but you can sure choose how you walk in that love. Medicating yourself with pity and wiping your tears with bitter regrets. Give me a break, crash dummies don’t even  do that. They are smarer than humans, they take the beating and also are in subject to the ones who are responsible to put them back into action. Even crash dummies have accountability so to speak outside of their own existence. the follow the will of the researchers. Daily there are people who are being led away captive by foolish people who are not serious about their own lives or the lives of others. Mark it down folks who sit hours joking never exercising or applying the WORD of GOD are themselves the pitiful joke.

How stinkingly foolish to know the goodness of GOD, His character, His attributes and to just simply say, my life will be hard from now on but I can’t change. You got that right. Just as a crash dummy can’t change and be a toaster or golf cart, you as a created being, drawn by GOD, can not change anything. You were created and fashioned for HIS glory and pleasure . You can live from disgrace to His grace. Crash dummies are created for disaster they know their role. You were created to glorify GOD for His pleasure. Who will have the last say in your life? Will you pretend to be Godly where you can hide yourself and your reality?  WAKE UP!!! This life is real, GOD real, don’t waste it and die from a life of isolation as if you have no choice. Will you just get into your spiritual vehicle and keep crashing into the wall or will you really live?

You can’t lie to a crash dummy. Crash dummies do not change their role because of anothers words.  Humans are gullible thinking they know how to manage their lives and deciding prohpetically that there’s no hope. We tell ourselves that life is hard, we self talk our way into negative thinking, and hopeless existence. That is why GOD said our heart is deceitful.

So, what does a human do to be smarter than a crash dummy? We take all the head knowledge we have about almighty GOD and stand on it until the stars fall. HE is trustworthy, He is true, HE can heal, He can restore, He can deliver, HE can save, He can love, He can make all things new, HE can be all that HE has promised. IF HE can’t do one of the above… HE’s a liar and we need to close shop there is no hope.

Do you hear what I am saying. I am not your momma, I am one who was crashing my life until I realized GOD’s WORD covered my guilt, sin, shame, and pain. Romans 8:1, Ps 40:1-3, Isaiah 61:1-3 Psalms 91, Psalms 139, I would have to list the whole Bible to make the point! Get real, stop blaming,stop crashing, stand up be GOD’s man and leave the consquences to HIM!

Life in the fast lane with a GOD who is always on time.

Living in the fast lane with a GOD who is always on time We live in an age where everything is instant. The stress of an instant life spills over onto our relationship with GOD. Christianity is not something you do! Being busy for GOD is not as important as being busy WITH GOD. In my years as church pianist, high school teacher and cheerleading coach, mom to two active sports minded girls, score keeper for 2 teams, wife, seamstress, and when I had free time, (insanity I know) but when I had free time I loved to do things with family and friends. The thing is we wear ourselves out being busy for good that we Martha right into the fast lane and forget that we are in the presence of the LORD. I love the story where Martha is just busying herself taking care of and preparing for the meal to the point that she totally missed the Spiritual blessings in just being with Jesus. Luk 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. Luk 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. Luk 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. Luk 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: Luk 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Now you can just see this. Here Martha said, he’s coming to my house and I will make a meal for Him. She sent a text to her sister Mary and said, “Guess whose coming to my house to dinner, get over here now” Mary came over and it doesn’t say in Scripture that she went and even asked if she could help. From all I read here she just plopped right down at Jesus’ feet and listened to what he had to say. Martha had of course wanted to make an impression to the point she was “cumbered” about much serving. She was putting on the hostess of the year crown and pouring it on thick for Jesus. Finally, she lost focus. Here she was asking her guest to intervene. Jesus answered her I think in a remarkable way. He said Martha you are worried and anxious about many things. Let’s stop there. How many times have you been so worried and anxious when someone shared the Word of GOD with you that you couldn’t even remember what they said? Martha’s troubles were probably far more than getting another round of food on the table. She only spoke of serving but Jesus said worried about many things. He knows our heart and knows our troubles. We need to sit at His feet and hear his words. He said that very thing to Martha. Mary has chosen the good part and you are not going to take that away from her, this is what she needs. Dear ones, we need to sit at the feet of Jesus, intimately draw close to Him by His Word, leading of the Holy Spirit, and fellowship of others who worship Him in Spirit and Truth.

Whatever it Takes

I used to sing a song called Whatever It Takes. I remember a man in my church saying to becareful because God might just do whatever it takes. Within a few years I was divorced facing life alone after 20 years. That being said let’s look at this idea. Some people say after a long bout with trials and temptation that they would not have had it any other way.

Ok, honestly I would have had it a different way. My family would have been whole and my girls would have never had their heart broken. I would have never had to relearn almost my entire existence. I would have been close to God in the first place. Not that everything that has happened to me is the product of divorce.

I know our Father had in mind so many things when He revealed so much to us in the Word. I could go on and on but I want to say this with all clarity. Apart from the Word of God where He expresses His desire for our lives intimately, you will never get out of the mire.

I say that because even though I would not have signed on for this chaos I also know after regrouping and banging my head on the wall there is only one way. God’s Way. I can try my way but it always leads to destruction. Not because I lack intelligence or the determination, but because my ways do not always draw me closer to the LORD. My ways are on a good day very inadequate compared to the ways of the LORD for my good and HIS glory.

Cliche as that might sound, I have the tears and heartache to back up that what I am saying. I have memories of people telling me what I am saying to you now. God’s Word is what will bring you to a place where the storm doesn’t overtake you. Now you might say I have read the Bible and I am still stuck. You might read the Bible as I did but there came a day when I read the Bible looking for God instead of looking for bandaids  and solutions to the problems I created. Hope this helps,time to go to bed. Nothing more to say. Test me on it.  GOD bless all 🙂

Help I have been robbed by two thieves.

Help! I have been robbed.

 

For years anger and fear have robbed some folks of their life. The life Christ intended for them to have. It’s not always easy to define an angry person but some of the fruits left behind by anger are clear signs a person has let a root of anger foster in their lives. I have seen this in people and learned the hard way that if they don’t see it you really have a challenge on your hands to deal with them.
Fruits of anger and fear.

Resentment, bitterness, denial, confusion, selfishness, lost opportunities, insecurity, any of these can be the ruins left by anger. None of these are productive to have in our lives.

 

Webster defines anger as a feeling of extreme hostility; rage; intense emotional displeasure; aggressive reaction to wrongdoing or injustice.

 

The word anger conjures up a picture in our minds of a red-faced person blowing off steam in a loud manner.  This is sometimes how anger is displayed. Anger can be a wider range of internalized emotions that are not as hard to define and that are also dangerous.

 

Dangers of Anger. 1. Spoiled relationships 2. ruined character 3. poor testimony  4. distrust of others 5. ineffective witness 6. broken fellowship with God and man

 

Let’s look at a well known case of anger recorded in God’s Word. Genesis 4:1-16

 

 

I guess we can see that the lessons Adam and Eve learned about complete obedience from being cast out of Eden, were not evident in Cain’s life.  Let’s look a little more closely at Cain. He worked and wanted to give the fruit of his hands to God. He wanted to give the “works” that he had done in substitution of the required sacrifice by God. He wanted his way. Maybe this was pride or maybe stubbornness. Surely Adam made offerings during his life and Cain knew what God required.  

 

Before we get too righteous we can all identify with times we have thought so much of ourselves that we challenged God with our righteousness. Have you ever said, but LORD I was serving you and this happened to me? Have you ever been rejected after you have done your best and were angry?

 

Cain’s anger led him to the act of murdering his own brother. Anger can lead and keep us in places we never want to be. Many of us would never actually kill someone, but with a war of words we may wound and damage the people we love the most. We get so concerned with the injustice done to us that we attack everyone who seems to be a threat to our point of view. We go from being angry to declaring war.

Why do you think Cain smarted off to God. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” He was very wrapped up in Cain at the moment.

 

No doubt Cain was angry with himself too. He had killed his brother and was mad because he knew full well that God was possibly trying to get him to admit this act. Instead, he chose to snap back at God. Cain’s actions show an unrepentant heart. Have you ever wondered how this story would have ended if Cain had of repented of the murder and the sin of disobedience in offering the wrong sacrifice? How many times have we done something wrong and took it out on the people around us. Scary thought. Cain represents a person who has an expectation that is unrealistic. He represents a person who thinks he can control the outcome of a situation with his actions. I am sure as Cain brought his offering he had justified his actions in his heart.  So many times we justify our anger by actually placing blame. 

 

Often we wage war on everyone in our way when we are angry. We have gone overboard over killing the action of another with bitter words and hurtful treatment.  Sadly, we will act out toward a family member more quickly than anyone else.  Anger will foster the “I’ll get you back for this,” mentality. Once anger takes a strong hold in the way we deal with others we take out all the scriptural ways God wants us to handle things and wade through the situation on raw feelings. A key principle of this study is that our heart will lie to us. Feelings are deceptive!

 

 

Have you ever been angry and God softened your heart?

Can you remember a time when you were in full-blown rage and you calmed down before disaster struck? Of course I am sure you can remember when the volcano blew and those around you were left in ruins. I know I can. Bless everyone’s heart who had to deal with me.

 

Anger is an indicator of something wrong and takes advantage of us in that it makes us focus on our insecurities and fears. When we choose the path of anger we are like a ship without a sail. Any port is fair game. Unfortunately, our families suffer while we are drifting.  We suffer while we are steeped in anger. There’s good news.  There is so much here I could just take all of this apart and expound on it. I rather not though because I believe the Holy Spirit will speak to you in the verses below without my intervention. Open your heart and read them as food to the soul.

 

Ephesians 4

 1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  20But ye have not so learned Christ;

 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:  22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  27Neither give place to the devil.  28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

 

Walking Wounded, living beyond

It was so innocent. She had been sent for to care for her brother who was not feeling well. Nothing indicates it was anything other than an act of love by a sister. She arrived there to serve and help but instead found life changing violence. Regardless of how she fought, her half brother raped her and she was then discarded and even hated by him. In her day to be raped was a shame and often victims were ostracized from society. No man would want her, she was now worthless and an offense to her family.  Here this young virgin had been violated and was secluded away in her other brother’s house to live desolate and hurt. Tamar was one of the walking wounded. Her pain was immense and there was nothing anyone could do to satisfy her wounded soul.  Absalom’s interference in the matter prevented the right lawful response. His advice was to not let it eat her heart out. He promised that he would avenge the rape but regardless of what he did, nothing would ease her troubled soul.  I do know the message today that people give rape victims today will not bring them to a place that will heal them.  Telling someone that it’s not their fault is not going to take away their hurt and shame. The world is not kind to rape victims, the first thing the world looks for is how you could have deserved or brought it on. God is always kind and loving and knows the truth. The world doesn’t have answers for such a deep disturbing wounding. Only GOD was and is the answer.

 Tons of well intentioned advice comes your way in situations like this, but here’s the crux of the matter. God is our healer. Only God is able to renew the mind, heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. Anything apart from God based advice is counterfeit and can do more harm and keep you longer in pain than you need to be. Whether it’s rape, divorce, brokenness of any kind, strongholds, wounds that come from others, I don’t care what the problem is the answer is God’s Word and a right relationship with Him.  There is no magic wand, no catch phrase or clichés just plain old understanding God’s  intention and purpose for us through intimacy with Christ and by leading of the Holy Spirit though His Word. 

  Well I am sure that sounds high and mighty and you might at this point feel turned off a little. I know I was there too once. I heard the words I just typed and thought, yeah right what do you know?  I do know because I have been wounded and have felt my heart rip from my body, torn to shreds and handed back to me to put back together when the person I trusted abused me. Hang on with me and see if you find anything that might help you focus.

 From all indications Tamar was never restored or renewed. This could be due to her attitude or her inability to be led by the Spirit I don’t know because I am not Tamar. She was violated and hurt beyond words with many questions that repeated in her mind daily. Sometimes life has more questions than answers.  Sometimes consequences of another’s actions are part of our pain.

  I can encourage you in many ways and quote tons of verses to do so. I can patch you up with Scripture and even help you feel good for a moment. What I am asking you to do is turn your pain over to Christ. It’s not yours to cling to and will hinder you in everything you want to do. It will wash over to every person who is trying to reach out to you right now. Do not let your pain become an idol and your new normal.

 Pain will be like the distraction that hindered Peter when walking on the water. Get out of the boat of your own pain, keep focused on Jesus, and walk. Peter had great faith to get out and walk on the water. His faith was even greater faith when sinking not to try to swim to shore but to look at the one holding HIM up.  Are you getting that? Peter didn’t flail and slash around in the water when he began to sink he called on the Master of the Sea who can speak to the waves and say peace be still. He didn’t fight not to drown he reached to GOD to continue walking. Dear Ones, reach to GOD continue walking on the water.

What words are you hanging on to get this far into this post? When Jesus died on the cross He took, and was willing to take, not only your sin but the sins of others committed against you. If asked He would forgive those who violated you. That was so hard for me to understand, but when I did grasp it, I realized the overwhelming, powerful, great love HE has for us. His love is a love that does not violate and is safe and secure. Love that can keep my mind and heart sound when things around me are falling apart or chaotic can only come from one who can truly avenge the sin of this world.

Jesus repeated these words from Isaiah in Luke 4 of the New Testament. I want you to read them and take in what GOD is saying here.  Imagine if you will GOD who created the universe taking the mess, turmoil, things destroyed and ravaged by the world, your ashes and working in your life to do what is promised here.  Only the Creator can plant you as a tree of righteousness. That is what happened to my life. I traded my sorrows for the joy of the LORD as I let HIM bind my wounds and set me free.

Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isa 61:2  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Isa 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified

Your life is GOD’s beauty as HE is glorified in who you become in HIM.

You can’t make God feel bad about you

I was listening to a message and this phrase came up.  “You can’t make God feel bad about you” The message was on the Lord bearing our burdens. Now I have many times in my life looked around as some of you and wondered where is GOD? There is a song ” You can’t ask too much of my God.” Beth Moore says often “tell God he can take it!” Well……………………….. lets put all that into this evenings post.

Sometimes in the midst of a huge struggle we think NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE!!! Now a few months down the road life takes turns and poof  things change and you wonder if you will ever feel something that resembles normal again.

You look around and see all the destruction and feel as if a small nuclear bomb of the soul has gone off. You wonder  if you will see past your hurt and tears to know and feel something other than empty pain.  You wonder if you will keep the cycle going that has brought you full circle to where you vowed you would never been again. I have been in those places and the new turn in my blog is me digging out from the rubble.  Rubble? Yeah, I have messed up some things, I have made mistakes and like it or not mistakes have consequences. Once they are out of the box all you feel that you can do is damage control. Damage control leads to  covering up and denial but a real life assessments are necessary and reality checks in order. David was a heart searcher. He was a man after God’s heart but he too suffered under the world’s system. No wonder God said our hearts are deceitful and wicked. It’s the tricks that we play on ourselves that deceive us from the inside the most.

So lets look at life. Is life based on what I feel or what the truth is? Well anyone honest would say it’s based on the truth.  What is the truth? God is truth. Should I expect to find life outside that fact. Nope, but ah that is where I get into trouble. My filters are not truth based they are created by me and everything that happens without God’s truth gets filtered in a way that is flawed. That creates havoc on my inside and a facade on the outside. I can’t get away with that long without a melt down. Basically, I am a “one God gal” I come running back to my Father with my bruised knees.  I can’t live very long in darkness or shaded truth. I am not talking about legalism and I don’t like folks throwing that word around as if digging for excuses. There is no such thing as legalism to the believer. God’s truth is the standard and labeling His sometimes hard word to us as legalism is a cop out. Truth is Truth.  Grace is the undeniable expression of God’s love toward us. If you were to sum up the total bridge that Jesus provides us to God it would be girded with truth and covered with grace.  Ah, what a Savior, what a great and mighty God who loves us so. What an infinite well of water that we never thirst again.

My truth filters often are not subject to God’s truth as much as I would like for them too. I can justify just about anything if I am prideful and stubborn. That is why reading the WORD of God is paramount to understanding our Maker and Creator. My ways are foolish but His ways are noble. Even when I fail, my holy Father loves me, never leaves me, isn’t surprised, and doesn’t feel bad about me. He will not love me less. All praise belongs to him

Cross Bearing, ME?

What does take up HIS cross mean?

 His is a personal pronoun, might the cross be different for different believers? If this is the case then we better be sure to not envy those who have crosses that we think are lighter than ours. Sometimes the body of Christ gets out of focus. I can look at someone’s lighter cross several ways. I may be stronger than them and can take more, or more likely I have a misconception about what they are really going through. Pride and arrogance can sometimes take the cross out of focus. It may be that I am looking at it through my pain. Regardless I have MY cross to bear and it’s my job to bear it resulting in intimacy with Christ that is mine individually.

 

 

Will people who generally reject us take our lives? Not likely, we just feel dejected. They have only the power we give them. Our flesh will make us react to them in ways that are not at all in keeping with what Christ desires for us. We have to forget selfish attitudes where rejection is concerned. No one person will ever be able to meet all our needs or validate us enough to satisfy the flesh.

 

Is there any help? Yes, your identity in Christ to the rescue. Who you are when Christ is your life.

 

Colossians 3:1-16

 1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

VS 2 Keep your heart on kingdom things. This may seem like the kind of advice that we have a pat rebuttal of (but you don’t know my circumstances.)  Actually. there is no latitude here. It is a take or leave proposition.  Take it and you will have a daily walk that Christ intended for you. Leave it and you will always live in fear, doubt, insecurity, and worst of all in an insatiable flesh that will rob you of your peace and joy. Because you are part of the new life that Christ rose from the dead to give you where should your focus be?

 

VS 1 The word “if” can also be replaced with the word “because.”

 

Vs 7 Who are qualified to take this path in life?

 

 

 

*****Thought: Is it a rejection of Christ to think otherwise?  *******

 

Vs 4 How do we want to appear with Christ when he comes back for us?

 VS 5 Daily put on the new man

Mortify means to put to death.  Things listed here are fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Matthew Henry’s commentary summarizes this section in a way that is very enlightening and far more applicable than I could.

 

Partial quote from Matthew Henry 

 

“an inordinate love of present good and outward enjoyments, which proceeds from too high a value in the mind, puts upon too eager a pursuit, hinders the proper use and enjoyment of them, and creates anxious fear and immoderate sorrow for the loss of them. Observe, Covetousness is spiritual idolatry: it is the giving of that love and regard to worldly wealth which are due to God only, and carries a greater degree of malignity in it, and is more highly provoking to God, than is commonly thought. And it is very observable that among all the instances of sin which good men are recorded in the scripture to have fallen into (and there is scarcely any but some or other, in one or other part of their life, have fallen into) there is no instance in all the scripture of any good man charged with covetousness.”

 

We over value many things in life especially the relationships we have with loved ones. They are important but the power they gain in our lives is not in keeping with having Jesus first. That causes distraction from Him.  The rest of the chapter  in Colossians gives practical helps to daily putting on the new man. I challenge you to list them.

 

List the things we are to get rid of in our lives. Do any look familiar? Remember that “getting rid of” is killing off. Don’t resurrect the dead! Let this soak in and have fun with seeing yourself a whole new way-His LIFE.

Listen to the Rain, wash away.

Well the power is off and I am going to start this post with about 45 minutes of battery left. It seems GOD had different plans for my life tonight than I had planned. I am sitting alone in the dark. There are three candles burning but the light is very dull. Funny the light from my laptop is bright and my typing here doesn’t seem any different than usual. Yikes, that tells me something. I get here bog in and barely notice whether the lights are on or not around me. Ok, since it is so quiet I realize how much I tune out the world with this thing in my hands. Next observation, I can hear the rain. Usually I love to hear nature all around me but tonight I actually hear the roar of the thunder and the steady beat of the rain outside. I can hear the wind whipping through the trees. If one hits this house I wonder how long it would be before someone finds my lifeless body lol. (added my own drama) … The peace is so serene though even in the storm out there. I enjoy taking it all in. Ty LORD for this little stop in the road to be reminded of your glory even in things I take for granted. That brings me to a place in the road. Taking God for granted. You know, I love the LORD and have grown so much these past 3 years but I still have to be aware that it’s a daily journey. It’s not Deb on autopilot. I have grown into many things but still have to count on the grace of God daily. There are times I have to repent, times I have to grieve, times I have to restore and be restored. There are hard times when a friend tells me truth in love and I don’t want to hear it and times I myself have to speak the same to them. It’s a normal Christian life, ups and downs , ins and outs, seasons coming and going like the storms and the weather patterns. Today is much different than any other day. Why? Not because I have arrived or have infinite wisdom. I am becoming wise but acknowledge it’s a process and some final healing may take place on the other side of glory. Either way I am progressing, growing, loving life out loud, happy, free, and hope to embrace the new mercies of GOD daily as promised in HIS WORD. Especially those harder times when HE sees fit to take me through the valley, walking beside me so that I can see HE is my Shepherd and I shall not want. I am thankful that GOD sees fit to be stable, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. I am tremendously thankful that he treats each of us individually, as shown in how he dealt with folks in the Bible. What variety and surprise and anticipation we can have knowing that GOD is going to by His own divine appointment reach into our lives and fashion things for our good and HIS glory. That leads you to be careful in defining good and glory. I didn’t say it would feel good I said it would be good for you. Sometimes restoration is painful kind of like a shot at the physician. They are necessary but all the while still painful. Then there is HIS glory, we have an imaginative God who is able to use foolish things to confound the wise. How He might redeem what the locust have eaten could be so different than what you might expect. Expect with anticipation that HE will though. As I finish this last paragraph the power came on. This storm brought me a moment of peace to reflect, to rejoice in exactly what a mighty loving Father we serve. Take time to realize where you are and how deep the love of Christ is for you today. Listen to the rain, let it wash you away.

Pitching an ancient hissy fit. (nothing ever changes)

King Nebuchadnezzar was one walking talking self centered man. He has made an image to honor himself and was very indignant that anyone would refuse his command. In essence he just couldn’t believe anyone could refuse him. What pride he had. He offered three Hebrew children who had refused to bow another chance. They refused and had this wonderful answer. They basically answered that they didn’t even have to think about it. They were not going to bow whether God spare their lives or not. How many times do we bargain in our anger for an outcome? How much happier we would be if we could just trust God with the future. I am sure the king thought face to face these boys would back down. They were sure of God’s control of the situation and trusted him with the outcome. They knew one great fact, whatever happens you come out best if you chose God’s way in the final analysis. 

Well it wasn’t long before the King got word Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not going to bow. His face literally fumed with anger and it was one sure predictable outcome, rage.  Often we wage war on everyone in our way when we are angry. The king went off the deep end. He had the furnace heated seven times hotter as if that would burn more. How irrational, fire burns flesh period. It appears he wanted the punishment to equal the anger he had in his heart. We have gone overboard over killing the action of another with bitter words and hurtful treatment. Sadly, we will act out toward a family member more quickly than anyone else.

Anger will foster revenge and that is possibly what Nebuchadnezzar might have been thinking. The “I’ll get you back for this,” mentality.

Once anger takes a strong hold in the way we deal with others, we take out all the scriptural ways God wants us to handle things and wade through the situation on raw feelings. Anger makes us an obstacle and a new facet to the problem. Now instead of one offense we have two.

A key principle of this study is that our heart will lie to us. Feelings are deceptive!  Imagine the scene, eyes glued on the three boys. They are thrown into a furnace that is so hot the men who tossed them are fried. Then, 3 boys are walking around in the fire but not alone. Here’s a thought provoking question, how did the king recognize the Son of God since He hadn’t been born yet? Have you ever been angry and God softened your heart? As quickly as the king became enraged he also calmed down. The power of God in taking care of the boys had basically been a wake up call to him. I am not sure if his actions were out of fear or respect.

Can you remember a time when you were in full-blown rage and you calmed down before disaster struck? Of course I am sure you can remember when the volcano blew and those around you were left in ruins. I know I can. Bless everyone’s heart who had to deal with me. Anger takes advantage of us in that it makes us focus on our insecurities and fears. When we choose the path of anger we are like a ship without a sail. Any port is fair game. Unfortunately, our families suffer while we are drifting.

My All In All

 

         

  When I first was saved years ago I was taken in to a family that basically exchanged my broken family for a new one. I did not understand Christ living in me and I wanted to be saved for a reason that was not only about salvation but about family.  I wanted the love people seemed to have among God’s people. I wanted a God who would love me and make all my hurt go away. I was so hungry for that I ached inside. It was great at first, but you can imagine the hurt that came with that notion which is a very faulty perception of the family of God.  I remember praying and asking GOD into my life to be my Lord and Savior. I prayed that because that was what I was told to pray.  I had no real deep clue what that meant. I spent the next two decades trying to please a GOD who didn’t seem to understand me or seem to love me. I was wrong about that but I didn’t know it.

What a cruel joke I thought had been played out on me. Here I had gotten saved and my Dad was still an emotionally distant alcoholic. My mom was still weak in my eyes at that time,  suicidal and my brother was beginning to indulge in drugs. Nothing was fixed!!! I didn’t understand. Everyone talked about how wonderful this life would be.  Where was wonderful? I then started developing in my mind that I must be doing it wrong. I watched others who seemed to have no problems and tried to copy them.

 I wrote notes during the sermons and tried my best to do what was preached. Still nothing was getting better. I went off to PCC thinking Bible College would straighten out what I was missing, still more of the same. Misery, rejection, distance, God where are you?  I met and married someone in Bible College who was supposedly my white knight. He was going to be a preacher and seemed to love the Lord. He turned out to be a carbon copy of my distant dad with a porn addiction. It took 20 years for me to stop trying to fix him. I did everything I could do and went to every how to be a good wife meeting I could go to yet no change in him. Praise God there was a change beginning to take place in me. I was not able to see his true person or strong enough to kick him out, but an affair on his part caused me to finally get that courage, I divorced him.  His betrayal was the most significant event in my life aside from salvation and my children’s births.  It wasn’t significant  because of how much it hurt, because it did hurt like crazy but because of what it started in my life.

Early after my divorce I began to chat on yahoo. I was the most hurt I had been in my life and the most confused and vulnerable.  I felt that Christianity worked for people GOD loved and I was not one of those. Ironically, I still wanted people to know him. I would say that chat was one of the most damaging things I did to myself but I didn’t know it at the time. It filled the hurt like salve to a burn but the minute you were offline you were alone again.   I was far too naïve to chat with folks who were from almost another world that was foreign to me. I can’t believe how stupid I was about people, relationships, and the games people play. I met people who were wolves waiting for their next prey. You can’t go to even Christian chat and meet a God need. 

 I was desperately trying to stop the bleeding from open wounds of a life- long rejection and shattered dreams.   This is where it gets touchy. I would love to make amends and have a do over. I would love to reconcile with some folks I hurt, to undo some of the experiences I have had and learned the hard way. I am sure I simply can’t change the past. I can’t dismiss the hurt of others, but this is where it becomes even more hard to say but necessary. Please HEAR this!

 I am crucified with Christ and all of those hurts I caused are crucified with HIM on the cross.  I have said how sorry I am to folks and I have to leave it at the person’s feet to forgive me or not and also at the throne of Grace where I am forgiven and my sins remembered no more. I still face some of the aftermath of my early healing after divorce, in lost time with the girls, lost love, hurt feelings but that I will deal with head on by God’s grace each day I am given breath and life.  I will leave that at the throne of Grace for the Lord to restore as He is willing.

That is where my life picks up today. I was taught a lot of bad religion and never taught about relationship. I don’t know how many times I have said, “it’s about relationship not religion” when I no more had a clue either.  I was taught works salvation even though I was taught eternal security. The work was that you are blessed if you please GOD and not blessed if you don’t. What a shameful condemning way to live.  

The very best part of my story is where I am now. I am totally in love with and totally crazy about God, who He is, His Word, and His pleasure to be my Father and accept me in the gift of His Son.  I have grown up to know that GOD is sovereign, holy, patient, loving, and just. I could name other characteristics and many come to mind.  

The depths of God, the riches of His Word are life and breath to me. I am totally into knowing Him and in that knowing, I might feel lonely and even ache for human companionship but I know at the end of the day when the pen is put down, I am not alone.  I am not trying to sell you on where I am or who I am.

 I have more to learn and growing to do. I am trying to say that if GOD can lead me beside still waters and restore my soul…….. He can do it for anyone. I was a prideful, entitled, stubborn prodigal who was bent on doing it my way because of lack of trust of the almighty GOD of the universe who is and was and will be forever and ever.  

Beloved, turn to Him, cry out and seek Him while He may be found. He will love you and walk with you. I am not saying it will be a rosey posey life.  I am saying you can have peace in the storm. You can be forgiven. Nothing is too much for my GOD.

Ephesians 5:8-11
8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Don’t take the easy way out

This is probably for me more than anyone but here goes. We are living in hard and even harsh times. Sometimes the only good thing we know is that God is in control regardless of how it seems or feels to us. For myself, being in Dallas has been a necessary wilderness. I can’t begin to verbalize how hard and lonely life is here sometimes. Being away from my girls, yet being alone with God alot is sharpening me. There are still days it’s just painful though. I know I am before a great change coming in my life and sense GOD leading me but I am still not clear what will open up. There are some wise things I have learned no matter what wilderness I am in. One of the things I feel led to say is to be careful.

 Sometimes we say or do things under high levels of stress we would not do in normal circumstances. I know when stressed I have made some of the worst decisions of my life. If a loved one is stressing you, a marriage, a job situation, the challenge of being lonely, whatever is stressing you, just be still and know that He is God. We always feel as if we have to fix or do something and I am not proporting doing nothing at all, but I am saying, wisdom seems to be a slow steady traveler not a sprinter. Hasty, pain easing decisions often lead to consequences that cost more than the problem in and of itself.

 We all want to ease our suffering, but allow it to work for your benefit instead of against you. Understand your GOD is a loving Father who even allowed His Son to learn obedience through His own suffering. The molding process is working on your behalf to make you more like His Son. I would that my words would convey this to you DO not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to GOD Phil 4:6. I remember turning in papers to my teacher and leaving them on her desk. Never once did I think to take a paper off her desk and do more to it or try to change it. It was hers once it hit her in box. What was done was done and the grade would be given. Our prayers are somewhat like that, with the exception that GOD sees them through the filter of Christ finished work which was complete.

Leave your prayers with GOD, rest, trust, have faith HE will measure out to you what is best for you. Thank Him even for the hard days that teach you to trust Him more. GOD bless you all! and I would appreciate prayers of any leading you might feel.

Healthy Things Grow

Reposted from 2008

I have been learning and growning in the Lord. It’s amazing how my past has come full circle. I would love to say that I have been on a perfect journey that has always walked toward the Lord but that would be a lie. I lived 13 years of my life in legalism that I thought would save my marriage and keep my family from harm. When I divorced, which was to me a death sentence I found myself lost in the law of God. I didn’t know how to move forward and sumarily heal when I was expected to just get over it by those who keep check list and score with the law of God. Being alone for the first time in my life set things in motion that I had never experienced. First being my determination refrain from bitterness. I remember a conscious thought that if I became bitter I would sink into a mire I could not escape. I would not grow past the pain. It was some of the hardest days I experienced and all that I could do daily to resist the oppression of my situation. Even today with my ex neglecting the needs of his children financially and with my shouldering all of the burden of helping them get on the road to adulthood, I have moments I am angry more than I like to admit. Second I remember being overwhelmed. I didn’t understand the concept that I wasn’t protected from pain because I had served God. The third I think I was the hardest and that was the reality of it all.

What a long road I traveled. I had to learn of the sufficiency of Christ and who I was in Him. I had to understand a new Grace that I hadn’t been taught before because the grace I was taught was unmerited favor with God but it was buried beneath so many laws that you felt a thimble of it once in a while. It wasn’t what God intended for me to know.

I remember feeling free for the first time in the Lord to know the liberty of Christ. I remember the first time I reckoned myself to be found wanting in knowledge of God but also holiness of my own character. I know that well of life springing up in me is still being filled but I never before understood the grace of God in light of my life in Christ.

Divorce was not in my life plan, but when it happened God didn’t say “oh no now what will we do?” It has take me almost five years to be in this place of uncertainty but decidedly committed to press on. Discontent? Well my life isn’t settled and rosey yet. It might well never be. I would never promise anyone that life in Christ is picturesque.

There are decisions to make about my future that I have to settle daily. There are lessons to be learned to continue to grow in the Lord. The hurdle of loneliness is still a constant friend and sometimes ardent enemy. This one thing I know, God’s Word is forever settled in heaven and I will follow its precepts and grow to know Him more each day. That is something I can say that I aspire to and that I also know is as necessary as air.

There has been some progress and I would love to report that five years later God has restored my life to new heights but that just isn’t so. Not because God can’t do it but because the integral part of the equation, ME, has not always been a willing participant in obedience as I should. Yes, I have slowed down some processes that should be in place. I am sure I should be more healed and more mature, yet this is the precious beauty of God. Right where I am in life right now I can grow toward that restoration.

I don’t want to lie or paint pretty pictures, I want to be real and to say what is real. The real truth is Healthy Things GROW. If you are not moving forward or are not growing, there is a stronghold exalted above the knowledge of God in your life. For me it was my own pain. I hope you are honest with yourself. It was painful but so freeing for me to admit not only that I had a problem but that I was the problem.

I am excited about the future because of the solid basis I have to stand firm in the Lord’s grace and mercy and allow myself to be molded by the potter.

God bless and be a light.

Rats in my Car!

I have to tell you a quick story. A few weeks ago,  I went to my car for lunch as I do each day. It’s a great time alone with the LordJ ……. It was hot enough that I wanted to turn on the air to cool the car down before turning it off. The blower motor made a horrible noise, sounded like a washing machine out of balance. I thought aaack blown bearing. I turned it off and after work I rode home with no air. Funny the little things we forget to be grateful for.

 

When I got home I called mechanics who wanted around 250 for pulling and installing a new motor. I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have the money and because I always try to fix things first before spending that kind of money.

 

So in the evening I went to pull the motor myself. I got the motor down and it was hanging by its connections, probably should have disconnected them first. I saw a little fuzz between one of the squirrel cage blades. I pulled on it and out came a leg. I screamed aaaaaaaaaaack. Then after what looked like an end zone celebration dance to the neighbors Mr. Mouse  was out. Poor thing he had been beat to death. That was probably not a fair and just sentence for eating through the leaf guard above the motor.

 

I am reminded that Eve ate Adam out of house and home and brought death upon the world.  (that was a random thought lol )

 

 

My little adventure is over and I have only to replace the screen with some ¼ wire mesh. Thank you Lord!

 

Guess my little heart thinks about things even rats. That little fellow made his way through a maze of dark vents to finally get to the end of the road. Instead of seeing the mesh as a roadblock he ate right through it to his death. How many times have we persisted the same way? Instead of turning back to where it was right with GOD and safe in the Father’s care we plow through to our own way to be wounded even destroyed by wrong things.

 

Just a thot. I have been there.

X Marks the Spot

I was on my way to work  and I dove off of Woodall Rogers freeway to avoid slow rush. I proceeded to take the route President Kennedy took down Elm Street. I have been to the Plaza several times and it’s an interesting place. The fellow who consulted on the Oliver Stone movie is often there selling books. There is an Elvis impersonator there who used to be a Baptist preacher. There is also a crippled guy there who is part of the entourage. I have talked to all of them at one time or another and tried to talk  about my relationship with God.
When you approach the landmark you are bombarded with people who meet you to shed their knowledge of the event with ins and outs you do not hear in mainstream accounts, of course they have a $5 magazine to sell to support their 6 to sometimes 12 kids with. They seem to have inside information and a willingness to just expound on the inside scoop. All of which no one knows but is printed in their magazine.
When you drive through the Plaza there are markings on the street. There is a big white X marking the location of the car when the fatal bullet hit Kennedy. There are orange markings where other shots hit the street and bridge. The entire scene is the same with the exception of a sign directing you to the freeway. All that being said, before I got to the place where I knew the X was I thought. Hmmmm Prior to this point the President of the United States was alive. When I passed the X  mark I thought, and……….. he wasn’t alive after this moment.
This isn’t monumental and is almost a duh. If you ponder it you understand this though. We circumvent the sting of death because of the cross. There is a whole lot of living from point A to point B. I have had a whole lot of living. I am amazed I did survive. What I thought would kill me didn’t. What seemed like the end was a new beginning. As I passed that X mark I thought how many plans the President must have had. Meetings that never would take place. Presidential orders he would never sign, bills he would never pay, day in and day out necessities of life and day in and day out responsibilities that take our energy and attention. How much of it is really necessary?
Then I thought……sunsets he would never see, children’s laughter he would not hear, the pleasure of a cool drink on a hot day. We really get busy on the non essentials for the sake of the wonder of life. How many times does life get in the way of living. I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to strive and survive rather than serve and sing.

Please pray for me as I grow and consider this there is a day out there Lord willing if he doesn’t return that we are done in this life. I am truly ready to embrace my latter days doing things that are more Deb friendly. I don’t want to waste any time passing up the enjoyment of what God has planned for me. I had someone tell me that God may have planned for me to suffer…… hmmm jury still out there….  I can’t believe Jesus would die so I could be miserable…… I know some things happen to mold me and frame my being and gladly welcome anything that helps me that way.

Today when you see an X anywhere…. Remember how fleeting life is and this journey here we only get one shot at. Pray and ask God to show you how to live the life he gave you..

Psalms 39   ** smile I think of Psalms as David’s Blog**

4 “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end
       and the number of my days;
       let me know how fleeting is my life.

 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
       the span of my years is as nothing before you.
       Each man’s life is but a breath.
       Selah

 6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
       He bustles about, but only in vain;
       he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

 7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
       My hope is in you.

Forgiveness, I thought I knew what it was…

I thought I knew what forgiveness was….until………

I had always been taught to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. Easy enough? Boy, I was ever deceived!  Forgiveness isn’t always easy or the outcome. I had never been so challenged as I was recently when I wrote a letter of repentance to someone that I had hurt and who had hurt me. We both really did in a very serious way hurt each other. I am not talking about light offenses. I did not really bring up their hurts against me and just asked them to forgive me for my sins against them.  It was a lengthy letter trying to be honest and cover everything.  I really wanted them to know how sorry I was.

Yes, when we violate or harm another person in a disrespectful way it is a sin against them and it is a sin against GOD.  I had already talked to my Father in Heaven about it and come clean with my sin.  Praise the LORD that He does forgive.

I wrote this letter asking forgiveness and I am not sure what I thought would happen but it must have been much different from what did happen.   
My prayer was that Christ in me would come through in my words to restore what I had so badly damaged. I just knew it was something I had to face and amend but I did expect a Godly response because they are a believer.   I was surprised that not only had my letter been perceived in a way that the other person placed the blame on me but also that they took no responsibility for hurting me. They wished me well at the end of their response but respond to others regarding me in a way that is not truthful and even mockery. Ouch!  

Flesh, pride, self, all rear their ugly head when we are mocked.  Avoid the trap of allowing another person’s disobedience to be a stumbling block to you. There will be more about that in a future  article. The bottom line is once  you have asked forgivenes and made whatever restoration you can, they are responsible to God about the matter now, and I do pray for them daily. My heart hurts for them.  There must be something going on there that needs healing deeper than my saying I am sorry. God and your offender or the one you offend will need to work through it. 

This event sparked my desire to know GOD’s heart for the matter. I was hurt by the response and subsequent mockery. After a bout with bitterness in my life which distracted me from the Lord in the past, I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into that trap.  I also wanted to be sure that I had handled asking forgiveness the right way. I felt a deep sense of responsibility to this person because I loved them regardless of all that has happened. It was very uncomfortable to face my offenses and admit to them.  The most important thing is the other person in forgiveness, but the result is you find freedom in seeing the truth of some matters and dealing with them.

That leaves us with one choice, to see what GOD says about the matter and examine our heart and die to whatever this brings up. Small order and huge task!!  Oh, my flesh wants to cry for justice, but my heart knows God’s will is that we glorify Him and that what comes into our lives is to molds us into His image even if it is those who offend us.  We can’t do that if we do not handle these issues the right way.   Lord, help me to continue to learn this. Amen.

There is an inequality in human forgiveness. We might say we have forgiven people when we really don’t.  We might ask for forgiveness just because it is the right thing to do and we are not really repentant. So what does the Bible say about forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a supernatural response to an injustice. It is not being a doormat and does not absolve the person of God’s justice.  They are still accountable to God for their actions and reactions.  It is a choice and act of the will, not a feeling.  We offer forgiveness even if it is never received.  It is unconditional and a mandate from God who is our perfect example of forgiveness.  Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32, James 4:17, Matthew 5:23-24

Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you
Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
   
Matt 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you.
  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

 Forgiveness can’t be neglected in light of the Bible, but what do you do when you are so horribly offended? 

James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin

 Well it is clear God’s desire for us is to forgive. Your heart is broken, you are sometimes confused even not sure of why the person hurt you. Do you have a right to hold that against them?  You have said you are sorry and they won’t forgive you . They misrepresent the facts and events. All of these get tangled in our  relationships and we sometimes can’t untangle them all when  another is not in agreement with us about the matter.

We can only look at the Bible and see that God’s heart for us is to be free, to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and to not let bitterness settle into our lives as well as overcoming evil with good.  Again, tall order.

Heb 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
        

John 4:24

        

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 

Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

 20 BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Forgiveness is as we said in the beginning, supernatural. Being a new creature in Christ, I knew it was outside of my ability to forgive.  My flesh doesn’t naturally want to be forgiving.  This is a hard task sometimes when you have been hurt. I am not talking to you from the vantage of always getting it right. In the past I have not handled myself wisely and even now confess, I am still learning and growing. I wanted to understand my responsibility to God and those I have hurt.  Because Christ is in me, the grace needed to love and forgive and release another from any debt or repayment for their offense is also in me.  I have to understand God has forgiven me, and that the other person regardless of their repentance or restoration of the matter, has to be forgiven. My Father wants me to forgive as He does.

If that person wants restoration then you can again fellowship. Do not expect anything in return for asking forgiveness.  Being like Christ, being transformed, renewed, and restored will help you release another person’s offense for their sake as well as yours.  You don’t have to carry condemnation of another’s offense. God hates all sin, and if they sinned against you, God hates that. Just as you have been forgiven though, He is willing and ready to forgive them. That should be our prayer, to reflect Christ, and love them unconditionally. Again, I can’t do that but Christ in me can. I have to say I may never understand my situation and may never be forgiven. I just have to trust the LORD in times such as these when I can’t explain. 

 Phil 2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  

11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

When did revenge ever solve anything.

Revenge just the word conjures thoughts in our minds that makes us immediately say no not me. Well let’s look at the thesaurus and see some of the synonyms for revenge: retribution, settling of scores, payback, retaliation, and vindication. Oh, we are more at home with revenge than we thought. We want equality in all things and feel unfairly treated or unjustly wronged when things are not made equal. How many times have we longed for that magic day when the tables are turned and justice is served?  Longing for revenge keeps us in the flesh. It requires that we continue to look at ourselves and how we are being treated. Just like in rejection we lose focus of Colossians 3 and how we stand in Christ. Maybe by now you have noticed how hampered the Holy Spirit is by the emotions that make us focus on us. 

 There are two common threads as we look at  the negative emotions. Those are, first our own heart is deceitful and will lie to us, second, we let these emotions get a stronghold when we look at ourselves and become the victim instead of the victor. We have to keep our eyes on who our God is not what He is doing and HE must be the center of our world.

 It is a fact that if you take some large species of ocean fish, some that normally grow to over 6 ft and put them in a normal desktop aquarium, they will only grow big enough to suit their environment. Although I am sure many are thankful for this fact it represents a sad larger truth. This world system (Satan)  wants to shape your thinking and the course of your life and keep you in that aquarium instead of seeing you thrive and be the new creature in Christ you are meant to be. Every time you give in to the trappings of this world, you jump back in that aquarium and are controlled by those around you instead of the GOD of the universe who has wonderful plans for your life.

 Luke 9:51-55

51And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

 52And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

 53And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

 54And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

 55But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

The disciples wanted to wipe out those who had rejected the advance preparation of Jesus ministry in the Samaritans village. I really chuckle thinking how I would abuse that fire power if I were a disciple. It would be zap city.

 We have to look at what Jesus did when they responded this vindictive way to rejection? He questioned them to examine thier identity in Him. He said they had lost their focus on the task for the emotion of being rejected basically.

Jesus had to remind them don’t you know who you are? He rebuked them for thinking they should destroy people over trivial things. Rejection doesn’t end your life it only verifies that someone doesn’t accept you or your ideas. We don’t get our confidence from men so man’s opinion shouldn’t have life shattering affect on us. I like what happened after Jesus scolded them and refocused them on their mission. They went on to another village. WOW! If only we could just move on past things we can’t change or lessen the stronghold in our lives.

 Romans 12:17-21 

 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Once again when a sentence begins with a verb, the understood subject is you. We are warned to repay evil with good.  The phrase :as much as lieth in you” means to depend on Christ in you and do your very best to keep peace.  

Now these are hard words to swallow. Anyone divorced, or whose child has been killed by a drunk driver, or who lost a job due to someone lying, almost any violation you can think of seems to ignite a vengeful spirit in us. “I’ll get you for that!”  We can also have vengeful thinking “your day is coming.”  Do you know what this kind of thinking means in our lives? It means that we aren’t letting go of what was done and giving it residence by dwelling on it. It violates God’s best for us when he said to think on things that are lovely and of a good report.  What does God say to do with our need for revenge, allow him to exact it.

 Here’s a news flash, God knows exactly what circumstances and judgment to meet out on that individual that will punish them but in a way more like His mercy, lead them to His waiting arms.  That is what we should want for those who have harmed us. Their spiritual condition is more important than a relationship with us. 

This is where we all raise our hands and say. It’s hard to let go!

 I think God has a sense of humor, because knowing all things, He gives us a way to really get under the skin of those who wrong us. Read vs 20 and 21. He even indicates this will have an affect on them. 

I Thessalonians 5:

 14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

 15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

 16Rejoice evermore.

 17Pray without ceasing.

 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 19Quench not the Spirit.

 20Despise not prophesyings.

 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 22Abstain from all appearance of evil.

 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

 

I like this verse because it tells us something Christians too often forget. We are to never give evil to those who are not saved and just as important those who are the part of the body of believers. We are to trust Christ with the entire matter knowing that God loves that person and is working in their life. Be faithful stay the course. Expect to be misunderstood.

 

I Peter 2:23-25

 

 

So many times over my years of teaching, there were times I could have really blasted a kid caught in an offense. Yet my patience and kindness, even bearing their obnoxious attitude, always won them over. I don’t know how many in my life have later told me that they knew I loved them by my actions. I am not talking about letting someone violate you. I am talking about picking your battles with this thought in mind. How will this best glorify God and represent my Lord when I handle this situation.  This leads us to the next point. How do we handle matters that offend us.

 

I Corinthians 6:1-8

 

We have to be careful that the world doesn’t set the tone for how we handle matters with others. We live in a dog eat dog culture. The name of the Lord gets dragged through the mud every time anyone claiming anything to do with God fails to be careful in their dealings with others. How many times do we hear in the news that so and so was this or that in the church.

 

One of the first things a Christian needs to do is stop the score keeping. You will never be able to even the score by getting another person to act as you think you should. As a matter of fact this often backfires. Proverbs 26:27. Revenge really belongs in the hands of  GOD who knows mans heart and can justly give due recompense of reward. Proverbs 20:22.  Let God be your righteousness-dikaiosune.

Dear One, I love you and pray for you daily.

THE GAME NOT PLAYED

By Laura  (2001)

We’re on a team, and we must fight,

For we have a calling to do what’s right,

The Coach has faith, and He needs us,

So don’t quit and bite the dust.

Just remember players in the past,

Who didn’t quit and had a blast.

They didn’t quit, and why should we?

For I believe it hurts them, you see

For them to think that we don’t care

What they did in those games there.

And on top of all of this,

There will be a next year’s list

The players on this team need us, too,

For they will look at all we do.

God forbid if along the way,

They see a place where we don’t play!

This poem was written after she heard a message on Hebrews 12:1-2. “Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. She sent it to her dad….. hoping he would stay on the team….. if you are thinking about leaving…. remember little girls everywhere whose hearts will break…and lives will change.

Compassion- being moved by the heart, led by the Spirit.

Compassion is when as humans we get to imitate God’s mercy. It is unmerited empathy and care for another’s distress. Compassion doesn’t keep score and never expects to be returned. Jesus left us several great examples of His compassion when he healed and also when he dealt with the multitudes. His ministry here could have been so different. He kept it personal and intimate. Compassion is an intimate act. It’s kindness with heart and feet. Let’s look at God’s Word for some great examples of compassion.

Our first example comes from Psalms 103:3-14
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

In verse 3-14 we see that GOD extends all kinds of compassion on our behalf. We are able to experience at any given time His forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, satisfaction, righteous judgment, mercy, pity, grace. In verse 7 we also see that He makes His way known how compassionate not to make us doubt the clear way. In verse 8 we see his attributes of mercy, grace, slow to anger, and mercy is mention again as being plenteous.

In vs 9 we also see that there is an end to God’s mercy

I love vs 10. This is where we really see how we are to have compassion. Ever want to get even with someone. Have you ever wanted “their day” to come? Imagine for a second if we were GOD. How would we deal with that person who hurt us or disappointed us? The point of vs 11 is that GOD’s mercy is above our understanding or comprehension. His compassion is so intense that He removes our sins from His sight.

Compassion is very much like pity. We have all been in a position in which we were furious beyond sanity with a person but for some reason we reverse our need for revenge and extend mercy to the very person who wronged us. That is compassion. A compassionate person knows the person they are extending compassion on is needy. They know their soul is more important than their own feelings.

Matthew 25:31-45

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

We see how our Heavenly Father expects us to treat Him in verses 35-43. How do we do these things? By treating each other the same way he treats us, especially strangers. We can also see here that compassion isn’t a take it or leave it proposition. Many times we make optional things that GOD feels strongly about. Although He doesn’t say you have to have compassion He demonstrates the consequences of not having compassion. I think the premise here is that saved people will have compassion and those who have no compassion are more than likely not members of the body of Christ. An unforgiving heart is not a compassionate heart.

Galatians 6:1-2
Brethren is a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted, Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.


We have to be careful of the danger of compassion. We have to be careful having compassion about sin in the life of another believer. We all know friends and family who will not confront an individual and gives way too many chances to “do better.” This is misplaced compassion and can cripple someone who should get on with the business of doing what is right in the eyes of God. The world calls this behavior a form of enabling. By extended unwarranted compassion you give a person a safe haven from the conviction of GOD sometimes. We need to be frank with others in the area of sin in their lives. Lovingly telling them in a way that helps them rather than reinforces the sin. We need be supportive with our compassion and very careful. If they are in sin, we have no choice but to speak the truth in love. That is the most compassionate way to handle them. 

The book of Jude is rich in warnings of being ungodly but also in walking in the love of GOD. Jude 22 is a beautiful verse that sums up the whole purpose of compassion.

22 And of some having compassion making a difference.

Jude 20 –25 is basically encouragement to the believers who are walking in this earth.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

Quit You Like Men Be Strong, There’s no excuse to be a jerk.

However you were trained to be broken it will take an honest man to listen to or read the following message and be real with it. This message will be received one of 2 ways because it is true ,it will either offend you and you will despise it or, it will send you into prayer for God’s will. I am not a man and it sent me to examine even more of my life and seek GOD to help me with some more areas I am learning in. I don’t think you will be unchanged by it.

It’s time to for us all to wake up. It’s time to stop just sitting on our hands “woe is me”  Be brave, courageous, honorable to the LORD and to HIS will for your life, I dare you to hear this message in entirety. I dare you to be strong in the LORD and stop wallowing in self pity, self consumption, thinking life can only be hard like GOD doesn’t have a will, never wrote a word, and never made a promise. Sure life is hard, that is why we meet it head on with GOD. We don’t curl up, self medicate with mindless pursuits, or run away .. SOAR get out of the box, take one step toward freedom away from bondage. 

http://www.familylife.com/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=dnJHKLNnFoG&b=3789887&ct=6962121

Mark Driscoll: The first is Little Boy Larry. Little Boy Larry, he’s a total sweetheart. He’s a guy 20’s, 30’s, god forbid 40’s. Can’t keep a job. Forgets to set his alarm. He’s eight years into his undergraduate studies. Works part time because it stresses him out. Still lives with his mom. Maybe he moved out but his mom’s always worried about him so she brings him groceries and picks up his laundry and helps pay his bills. Little Boy Larry is a totally nice guy. He’s a real sweetie pie. So nobody ever kicks him in the batteries. He gets away with murder. Little Boy Larry really loves his mom because she’s always changing his proverbial diaper. And his hope is to meet a really nice gal with a good job and a house.

[laughter]

So that he can go from his mom to his girlfriend or wife. He’ll come up with dumb ideas like I’ll be the stay at home dad.
[laughter]

I’m really good with kids since I am one.

[laughter]

They really like me because we relate to one another as children. Little Boy Larry is a joke. He gets away with murder especially in the Christian church where he tends to be majority. Women who are attracted to these men say, “but I really love him.” Yes, you’re attracted to him as a mother is attracted to an orphaned child. But that’s not a marriage. That’s a mother-child affection. That is not a wife-husband affection. You don’t look at this man, ladies, and say, I respect him. I want my sons to be like him. I want my daughters to marry men like him. You say things like, “he has a lot of potential and no one understands him.” I do. He’s an idiot.

[laughter]

And, he’s fooled you.

Number 2—there’s sturdy oak, Owen. This is the dad who goes to work and comes home, pays the bills, turns on the TV and checks out. This is the dad who he is physically present but emotionally absent. He’s always working on his car, he’s always on the internet, he’s always in his study, he always in the garage, he’s always in the yard. You’ll say, “Dad, you were never there.” He’s like, “I was always there.” Yes, in a comatose state. There are some of you here your dad never said I love you. He never hugged you. He never encouraged you. And what he would say is, what do you mean I wasn’t a good dad? I put food on the table. I put a roof over your head and I came home every night and I was there. He was there. Present. Connected. Participating. That’s a coward. That guy is ultimately a coward. He’s afraid to get involved in the lives of his wife and children.

Number 3—there’s hyper spiritual Henry. This guy drives me insane. This guy drives me insane. This is the guy with Christian t shirts, Christian bumper stickers, always listening to praise music, always reading the latest trendy Christian garbage book. Everything’s about God but it never really makes any sense. He wants everybody to know how hyper spiritual he is to the point where his wife and children are embarrassed by him. Some of you had this dad. You’re out to dinner guy comes to pour the water and he’s like do you know Jesus is the water of life and he could have streams of living water come from you. The 14 year old kid grabs a salad fork and is trying to go under the table and find their jugular just to end their life.

[laughter]

Because their dad is embarrassing. Last name is Flanders. Terrible.

[laughter]
To be the spiritual leader, gentlemen, does not mean that you’re just a total freakish oddball.

Number 4—there’s good time Gary. Good time Gary. Everybody loves him. Life of the party. He is funny. He is charming. He is winsome. He is entertaining. There’s always a crowd of people around him. Everybody likes him. He gets along with everybody. And here’s the key. Everybody loves him. Nobody respects him. Because he’s a joke. That’s why he’s so funny. He doesn’t just tell jokes. He is one. Every time something happens in his life he just turns it into a joke. He doesn’t realize that his life is the joke. Can’t hold a job. Can’t pay his bills. Can’t get out of bed in the morning. Can’t follow through on a commitment. Can’t stay organized. Can’t see anything through to completion. Everybody loves him. Nobody respects him. He’ll draw a crowd but they won’t follow him because he’s not going anywhere. He’s not a leader.

A wife who is married to this guy eventually he becomes not so cute. Not so funny. Not so clever. He becomes profoundly annoying. She’s tired of the jokes and the good times and the everything’s funny and aren’t I clever and cute. She wants a real man she can depend on. She gets sick of it.

Men are prone toward chauvinism or cowardice. Too much. Too little.

Bob: I was watching you as you were listening to that. You were laughing sometimes but nodding and shaking your head a lot. You think that’s a pretty fair description of where a lot of guys are?

Dennis: I think we need to be speaking the truth in love. We don’t want to unnecessarily beat anybody up with the scripture or shame them or whatever but you know what. It’s time for men to be men who are courageous. In Joshua chapter 1 four times God commands the nation of Israel fear not, be courageous. Fear not, be courageous. And I think if there is a man listening right now and he’s going I was one of those four. Then you know what you need to find another man who is a real man. Who can help you step up and coach you out of where you are because you don’t have to stay there. Life is too short to live all wrapped up in yourself and that’s what all four of those are. Cowardly men who were not laying down their lives on behalf of others.

Bob: In that message Mark said that there is an opposite error to cowardice and that’s the error of chauvinism. It’s the error of being a dictatorial abuser. Well, he had four different descriptors for the chauvinist and not only did he have descriptors for them but he always has some strong words for them.

Dennis: And if you felt like the canoe just got placed in the white water we’re about to move into a class 5 rapids in the middle of the Grand Canyon. Now, some of you are going to recoil at the intensity with which Mark shares these points. But I have to tell you I felt like the intensity was right.

Bob: Well, here’s Mark’s description of the four different kinds of chauvinists that you find in the church today.

Mark: I’ve been dealing with men for enough years at this point and I’ll share with you some of these guys. The chauvinist don’t understand masculinity and how to treat a woman so there are four basic versions of this failure that I have witnessed.

The first is no sissy stuff Sam. This is the guy he doesn’t know what a man is he just knows a man is not a woman. So whatever a woman is he’s going to be the opposite. Right? Some of you guys have this dad. Mom hugs so he doesn’t hug. Mom says she loves you so he doesn’t say he loves you. Mom kisses you so he doesn’t kiss you because that’s girl stuff. This guy doesn’t understand that men and women are both made in the image and likeness of God. That they have the same emotions and passions and experiences and they tend to express them in masculine or feminine ways but being a man is not the opposite of being a woman that you are both made in the likeness of God and you express yourself in masculine and feminine ways. These guys tend to think that to be a man means this, you can belch the loudest, spit the farthest, and punch the hardest. That’s a man. That’s not a man. That’s a joke. That’s a joke. There is no woman here today praying God send me that. I want a real man.

[laughter]

But too many guys especially guys that a single too long and guys who put 27 guys into a one bedroom apartment so they can each spend $30 dollars a month on red and spend all their time just rocking out to guitar hero that’s what those guys think.

[laughter]

And they are idiots.

Number 2—success and status Stuart. This is the guy he defines himself the Bible says by what he has and does. He has this sort of left over hyper jock competitive mentality. Here’s how much I make. Here’s how my company is doing. Here’s my car. Here’s my house. Here’s my success. Here’s my wins. Here’s my victories. And he treats his wife just like another trophy. Her job is to look pretty and be quiet. Just make him look good as yet another notch on his belt. He doesn’t love her well. He doesn’t serve her well. He’s more worried about his income and possessions than wife and his children.

Number 3—there’s give em hell Hank. This is the guy he’s got anger, violence, short temper, rude, crude, mean. He’s harsh. He’s overbearing. He’s intimidating. He’s scary. He is scary. Are you this guy? Is your wife scared of you? What kind of man intimidates a woman?

Number 4—I’m the boss, Bob. This guy is just bossy. He thinks wherever he is that he is the king of the whole thing. He’s always telling everybody what to do. He stands back at a distance like a drill sergeant and just barks out orders to his wife and barks out orders to his children. He has a hard time keeping a job because he always is bossing around his employer and his employees and no one can stand him. He thinks that being a man means being bossy and overbearing. These guys are the worst when they show up at church. They want to be in authority not under authority. These are the guys who show up and immediately say, “I want to lead. Put me in charge of something.”

You’re in charge of shutting up. That can be your specialty. These are the guys when you rebuke them they just leave the church and they take their wife and children with them and their wife and children suffer because this is a guy who loves to be in authority, refuses to be under authority, likes to tell everyone what to do, and he himself can’t be told anything.

I’ve got a list of these guys. You can see it in their wife’s face. She’s miserable. You can see it in their children. They despise their father. And he’s oblivious because he’s an imbecile. And they go from church to church to church and evidentially it’s like well, we can’t find a good church meaning I can’t find a pastor dumb enough to take my orders.

That’s how chauvinism works itself out. Men, when you read the Bible and you read words like head of the household if you think it means something like this you’re an idiot. You’re abusive. You’re dangerous and you’re a fool.

Some of you guys. It’s so frustrating. Some of you guys have been coming here for years. You still have your hands all over your girlfriend. Some of you guys have been coming here for years and you’re still not praying with your wife. Some of you guys have been coming here for years and you’re still single and having sex. Some of you guys will even even as I’m preaching this sermon some of you will be sitting next your girlfriend, fiancé, or your wife some of you guys have already given her that look. Don’t cry, don’t let them know they are talking about me just hold it together. You’ve already intimidated her right here. Some of you guys have already whispered in her ear, “I don’t want to hear it. We’re not talking about this in the car on the way home.” Some of you have already whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, I’ll do better. Trust me. Let’s just move on real quickly.

How dare you? Who do you think you are? Abusing a woman. Neglecting a woman. Being a coward. A fool. Being like your father Adam. You’re not god. You’re just a man. You’re not an impressive man. You’re not a responsible man. You’re not a noble man. You’re not a respectable man. You’re not a responsible man in any regard. I don’t care how successful you. In this area if you are a failure it clouds all of your dignity. It robs all of your masculinity. There is no excuse for any man who claims the name of Christ to treat a woman in a dishonorable, disrespectable way. Some of you right now you’ll get all angry. How dare he yell at me. That’s the Holy Spirit telling you it’s you. I didn’t name you He did. You change now little boy. You change right now. You shut up. You put your pants on. You get a job. You grow and maybe one day you can love a woman. It’s for men not for boys. And those of you men who are here and your wives are suffering under your folly and failure. Shame on you. And shame on you if you say you’re a Christian. And shame on you if you’ve been attending Mars Hill. And shame on you if you’ve been surrounded by good men and have pursued none of them. And shame on you if you’ve not become a member and submitted to spiritual authority. And shame on you if you’ve not joined a community group so you can walk in darkness. And shame on you if you show up to put communion in your hands representing the body and blood of your murdered Savior and then go put them on your girlfriend or download porn from the internet or raise your hand in a threat to your wife. Shame on you. You guys are a joke.

And there’s a handful of good men that are tired of picking up your mess. So you step up. You shut up. You man up. You do business with God. You use all that anger you have toward me right now to repent.

Red Rover send a sinner right over.

Has anything ever knocked you so far off balance you have a hard time finding center again. I remember a couple of times as a kid playing a game of red rover where you form two human chains of kids and call one out at a time to break the chain. I remember Coley, we affectionately called “Coleslaw” who was the guy everyone was scared of at my elementary school. He was just a big guy. When he was called I knew my arm was about to be broken. Everyone knew Deb was “the weakest” link. So of course here comes Coleslaw, the playground felt like it was booming under my feet. Yep, he was gonna take the easy route and go between me and a guy who had a death grip on my forearm. Although my heart was pounding and I knew I was going to wind up on the ground. I held on tightly dreaming to be the one who kept coleslaw from breaking through this time. Yep, you guessed it. There I was in my little plaid jumper, steely eyed and ready to rumble………… then …………BAM……… there I was looking at the clouds. ……….. Man did that hurt!!!! I couldn’t breathe …… my arm was wrenched and yikes ……..now everyone is watching me …….. why not they watched it happen. Still can’t breathe trying to catch my breath. Seconds seemed like hours. Finally, a breath, a sigh, the pain…..yep the tears……. but not boo hoo tears just something in my eye. lol…….. ok lets line up and do this again. Such is red rover……but it’s not funny when you play red rover with your life. God did not plan for us to be knocked down and the breath knocked out of us all of our lives. …….. Time to grow,,,,,,,,time for grace……… time to read the Word…….. time to live………

We will only have the intimate good shepherd relationship with God that we should have by getting to know the shepherd’s voice which is expressed in His WORD.

The worlds wisdom is like Coleslaw……. headed to knock us off our feet. God’s wisdom……found in His Word is like Life, water, bread, ………..everyday we choose life or death…………

Are you calling Coleslaw to come knock the wind out of your sails???? Are you lying on the ground wondering why relationships don’t work and why you are wounded and hurting?

Stop playing with your life…… in the playground of the world…….

PS. Coleslaw  became a great godly man and father later……. I was honored to teach with his wife at a Christian School in SC and to see such a gentle giant.

Bitter? Me? *Shock Face*

I am here! I can’t believe it. I have let a root of bitterness settle in my life. I went to church today hoping to sing and lift my heart a little. It is Mother’s Day and the second one without my children. It’s been over 6 years since my family was intact as a whole traditional family. Four of those years we were surviving under the grace of God doing the best we all could to heal. Two little precious children were rocked when the “angel of divorce” ( added for dramatic emphasis) came knocking at our door. Not trying to be insensitive to divorce because it has been one of the most life changing factors in my recent life. Just able to be down the road knowing it will change your life but not end it. Pre-divorce I had a Mayberry existence and could have never entertained the idea of being single today. My bitterness came as a surprise to me. I had my own idea of who I was and how much strength I had. Never would I have admitted as a Christian that I was bitter. The connotation was one of a person who was very angry at life who didn’t have a voice in their circumstances and who now must put together what others tore apart with some of the pieces missing. Yikes! That is who I have become. My story will sound boring but you never know who is reading so I will give a brief synopsis. My Dad was distant I married a copy of him who was distant most of the marriage but I didn’t know any better because it was my normal. When he stated he was having and affair I divorced him. I haven’t had a successful relationship and don’t know if that is possible for me. That is a side issue. What I have discovered is that I am bitter from being rejected and held distant. I thought I was angry but my anger somewhere on the road turned to bitterness. I find myself angry at every person and everything. I think things I generally had a high threshold of patience for are now so annoying. My stomach is in knots and my spiritual life is AAAACCCCCKKKK!! I thought if so and so would just do this or that all would be right in my world. BUZZZZZZZZZZ nope that is not going to fix this. The root of bitterness has to go. It has to be excised. All the things that cause it have to go out the window. I had no clue it was there but now that I do, it would be pride and rebellion on my part to leave it alone to fester and infest all who are around me with my “wonderfulness” (sarcasm) I am not wonderful when I am in this shape. Never been here before but I know what wonderful is and it “aint” me. I am hard to deal with, restless, angry, short tempered, sick, hurt, frustrated. An ant crossing the 4 lane highway gets my attention just because my senses are on “full alert” Lord help anyone who gets a blast of me. It’s like meeting a flame thrower. Why would I post this? Because I want to be back to my cute and funny loving self. I don’t want to be so occupied with my pain that I forget to live the good times now. Here’s what happened at church today. I have asked God to help me forgive where needed, press the delete button on things that need to go, and to help restore what I have lost in this season of hurt and frustration. I have asked him to help me not strive, complain, and argue my way through this time of growth and healing but to put him first. I want to praise through this no matter how deep the valley or dark the storm. I am laying down my weapons and giving up my own strength to allow God to fight this battle. “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)

God in a box?

From learning and first hand witness I have understood that Catholics believe God is in a certain box until he becomes flesh during the Eucharistic ceremony. Hearing it and witnessing it is unbelievable. This belief is a matter of contention among Christendom. God in a box?

Well before I get too self righteous I am convicted that often I put God in a box. How do I do that? I put God in a box by thinking with my human intellect rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t want to reside in some of the boxes I create.

I was reading about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and I saw so much there that could fill many pages. I am always child-like amazed when I read in God’s Word about things. It just blows me away seeing how God did things then. Then? What about now?

Well, here’s what I felt the Holy Spirit say to me. That might be the first time I have expressed my sharing this way. At any rate lets ponder this.

Jesus says he is the same yesterday today and forever. So I limit God when I read all the wonderful stories about renewal, restoration, healing, compassion the list goes on in His Word, but I limit God when I read those wonderful accounts and in my own understanding reason that He isn’t the same, that he will deal differently with me. Is that adding to God’s Word? Hmmm

Jesus says come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Here I limit God when I keep striving in my own strength rather than resting in His. This is an open invitation to rest.

When we are told that he will never leave us or forsake us so that we can say that the Lord is my helper he means that. He says that we don’t have to fear man. We don’t have to limit God by going into the trials and troubles of life as if there is no hope. We don’t have to fear any earthly process that tries to test our foundation. There is a great abundant hope.

What am I saying? I could list hundreds of examples of what God says. Here’s the bottom line for me.

God is all He claims to be regardless of what is going on with me. His promises are true and the answer is still the same regardless of what my circumstance is.

In light of that, no matter what I have faced or will face, GOD is who He says He is. The only time God is limited is in my heart and mind!!!!!!! When I choose to keep leaning on my own understanding and choose to keep doing things my way I am saying NO to resources that God has provided.

I can do all things through Christ ………means all things. I can get through whatever is ahead……..THROUGH CHRIST……….. not through Deb.

Don’t limit God, trust Him. I have been at a state lately that has just overwhelmed my abilities. I have cried off and on because my heart has lost hope about a matter that is dear to me. The Bible says hope deferred makes the heart sick is what I am talking about. My story isn’t over and I am trusting GOD and believe HIS WORD no matter what my circumstances are or how they turn out. Sadness is a part of the journey sometimes but we have to let GOD work in those times to be who He is, to glorify Himself, and to grow us up in the Lord. Sometimes the future doesn’t turn out like we planned and dreamed, but God promises a future and hope.

Awakened Dreamer

Ever feel this way? I have no value in this life which I finally understand. No one loves me enough to love me forever except God. I resign to that fact and cease my quest for love. I have awakened from one bad dream to the next to find out that no matter how much you hope, pray, love, care, and give, folks who don’t want you just simply don’t and you can’t change that. It’s as transcendental as the love of God who won’t force someone to love him back. I should have known better but I dreamed past my head and heart.

Now they have caught up and I am a million miles from where I need to be at this time in my life. It will be a long journey back to me, the person I used to know. Praise the Lord, He will walk with me I will not be afraid. Dear Father, your child needs her shepherd to rest in the fold again and be safe. Trying to explain what God means to me and why I see His Love as an exchange which is exhibited by my submission and service. If you just hear the words to this song and let them sink in… especially the part that says……. MY CHAINS ARE GONE…. You would understand what my heart knows. I am free from the sting of death…….. Sin brings death…..physical for sure but also the death of life abundant the spiritual death.
Spiritual death is when the ravages of sin brings the death of right thinking, of dreams, of vision, of compassion, of right desires and actions.
I HAVE BEEN SET FREE BY TRUTH of who God is, what He has done, and who I am in HIM. >…. Not by what others think or this world defines.

Dear One ………….. I hope and pray you know the same so deep in your soul you can’t escape it. ………all power and strength comes by the grace of GOD. It’s all yours and has been since day one.

I understand that no one will love me enough to love me forever except God and that in this life I have no value except the value He gives me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXV6HJxUebg
Chris Tomlin

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine But God,
Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

God bless those who love and encourage folks. Great is your reward.

I love this song by Casting Crowns!
She is running
100 Miles an hour
In the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyons ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadverture just to find
she’s another 2 years older and she’s 3 more steps behind
Chorus:Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Lord does anybody even know she’s going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple
with all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in,to ride in and save the day
And then walks in her prince charming
and he knows just what to say
A momentary lapse of reason and she gives herself away
Chorus:Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Lord does anybody even know she’s going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeplewith all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Who can’t see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her
If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Who can’t see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her
Never even met her
Chorus:Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Lord does anybody even know she’s going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeplewith all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?

Learning to Walk

(still working on this one not complete)
I don’t remember learning to walk or talk but I do remember watching my girls learn both. They would look at me and try to take that step. Sometimes I would reach out and hold their little hand that would grip mine as they would take assisted steps. I would let go but stay near to see if they could balance on their own. Wobble, wobble, wobble, then poof right down they would go. Each time we did the exercise the wobbles were less and the time standing would increase. In my absence when I wasn’t there to offer assistance they would pull up to things but never let go to walk. It wasn’t long before they took that first step. I remember clapping and hugging and praising. We both had so much joy. Sometimes they would look at me and move that foot almost as if they enjoyed me enjoying them. I miss those days. That celebration transfered to each milestone they achieved. It was a celebration of many first to come. First bike ride without training wheels, learning to skate, academics, sports and then the best of all a relationship with God. It all was so natural to nurture and love and water their garden as they bloomed. They have bloomed to be exceptional children with room to grow as we always have.
Can you imagine how their lives would have turned out if when they first pulled up to something I sat them down and scowled at them? What if I said to them, you forced your way here and I am resentful dealing with your presence. Can you imagine me assisting them then letting go and watching them fall only to say it was their own fault for trying? What if I tore up the first paper they brought home from school or analyzed it for not being what I thought it should be. Imagine that first “art project” ending up in the trash. What if their eyes longing for the natural parental relationship and love that should be there, were instead met with disapproval as if they could or had to do something to make me love and accept them? Can you imagine telling that child that the way they are makes you reject them? Even worse telling them that something needs to change to be accepted but you have to guess what that is. A child like that would feel so rejected and would eventually stop trying to gain love and acceptance. They will usually look for it elsewhere in order to get out of the house as fast as they can. They wouldn’t know how win and would lose the desire to. They might see glimpses of hope but eventually the rejection would become so painful they would shut down in that direction.It’s hurtful to even write such imaginations because it hits too close to home. I have been that child in my lifetime in a few situations. I am that child right now.

Yesteday was my birthday. I spent it in silence at work digging in and getting things done. I then went home and prepared to go to the doctor for chest and arm pain. Sitting there alone was hard but necessary. I left there to go home concerned for what my medical condition might be only to further be torn to shreds to my very core. What I started out hearing in shock ended in pain. I can’t describe it all but can say that when nothing changes nothing changes. I have to learn to walk all over again. I feel rejected, totally misunderstood, and shut down which was what I was trying to prevent. I can’t describe how much this hurts, I can’t even talk about it. My art work was my dreams and they are all smashed.

Where’s God. Well that is the good news. God is right here being the first parent, watching me fall and helping me up. Seeing me cry and drying my tears. God is there celebrating whatever I salvage from this. I can look up in any direction and God is there. I need to let him heal this because this time it’s bigger than my ability.

I have become like that child that wants to give up. I have tried to restrain myself from that but can’t. I can’t and don’t desire to continue in the vein I have been traveling. I just want to go home at this point.

Water My Garden before I fade away.

Sometimes I think I am a foreigner and then I am reminded by the Bible that I am not of this world. I have by my own fault isolated myself from most of the folks I know, moved to a new town, and basically as a southerner would say “I’m whoopped” ( That is in my dictionary lol don’t bother looking it up)

I have never dealt well with rejection but have made great progress in unpacking the past and dealing with the hurtful times I have been rejected. A message by Charles Stanley did arrange the concept a little better for me but the pain is still there to some degree because it surfaces once in a while. I don’t guess that it would be an overnight event to have it poof away. I have matured past waiting for magic days when the world gets all nice again. I know there is a better city in a far country whose builder and maker is GOD. I am counting on that being the place my smile will never end.

My little head sometimes ponders things that to me just don’t add up. It never adds up to be unkind to someone. I do understand the power of words and actions.

This much I do know, I know my own limit. I am growing in the Lord, slowly but still growing, I am also a person who does try hard to be right with those I come in contact with.

I see myself as a garden of beautiful flowers. Some have glowing blooms that are steady and sure as each season passes. Their roots are deep and tap into a well-spring of life. These would be my undying love for the Lord, my joy in raising my girls and loving them, my calling as a Science teacher and loving my students, and my passion to work hard.

There are other flowers in my garden that are tender and although they have deep roots, they depend on water to sustain the best parts of me. These would be my need to be loved, hugged, and treated kindly. I need to belong in the lives of those who are closest to me. I seem to fade and become invisible for reasons I still have yet to learn.

I will just say it out loud. I just can’t stay planted where there is so much negativity directed toward me. The tender flowers of my personality just wilt and become unattractive to myself and to those I want to love and care for. I never am at my best when I have to climb a mountain of defeating actions and comments just for a crumb or two of kindness. My question is, who would be?

I hate and desperately despise it when people say things to me before considering how it sounds. Words carry weight and hurt. I have tried to be kind in return but as of late when I hear so much correction coming my way I think to myself, someone needs to find a perfect friend who can accomplish the long list of things I fail to do in a prescribed pre-ordained manner.

I am an intelligent, articulate, kind, caring, saved, sassy, simply funny ( corny) yet cute southern gal. I am the daughter of the living GOD who loves me so much He gave His Son’s life to make a way for me to be with Him forever. I can not be less than a joint heir with my adopted family in Heaven. Humbly yet with all confidence in who God is and what he promised I say all that.

There is no reason to re-invent the wheel here. If a person wants to be my friend, accept me for who I am. Respect my boundaries. I am not perfect and at my age I don’t have to explain or make excuses for that. By faith I have overcome some very hard things in life that appeared at my own hands and the hands of others. Whatever I can learn I eagerly anticipate learning with joy, what I can’t learn, eh. I know more than I will ever remember already lol. I simply am the best I can be at any given season, always seeking the Kingdom and growing to be as much as I can in the future.

This is my notice to the universe and this is my declaration incase the world missed the memo.

What you say and how you treat me does affect me period. My sticks and stones clause ran out years ago. If you want beautiful blooms water my garden. If you want weeds, beat down on me with the harsh wind and sun and more than likely the things you loved about me in the first place will turn to weeds. It’s not rocket science. It’s ministering grace as the Bible says.

I won’t let expressions stop me and if it becomes a choice between being myself or being a fabricated insecure person waiting on someone to accept me. I choose to say thank you but no thanks. Heaven is my home and I am eternally secure in God’s love for me. I can make it on my own but I would love to grow in grace with those I love.

I am going to love you instead of tolerate you by the way 🙂 so to the world. Bring it on. Christ in me knows how to hug you through me.

How does a Christian have a bad day?

There are some days that are just not what you want them to be. As a matter of fact to be honest, some days are plain rotten. Today was one of those days. I woke up with a fever and was trying to figure where it came from, a bad tooth, earache, bronchitis? All of them could have been a viable possibility. To top it off my tendonitis had flaired up and was giving me a hard time. I wrestled with going to the doctor and missing work or just sticking it out. These are the choices you have to make when your livelihood is totally dependent on you working. My job has been tenuous, being in a new city, learning the ropes of something I have a hard time grasping.

Seventeen years of teaching in a Christian school setting didn’t prepare me for the secular business world. I am ill equipped but catching up. I decided at lunch to possibly go home. That’s when a kinda eh day started to sink. I found out I needed to stay at work and so I decided to get some things done and kept at it. My fever broke at about 3:30 and I figured I had avoided a visit to the doctor which meant less money I had to pay out. That didn’t disappoint me but I still had to finish my day.

I have never been able to be heard in a particular situation and it presented again today. Somehow I have an ability to articulate the things I want to say but still be dismissed. I try to figure out if it’s a lack of respect or if I am portraying a run over me essence. Either way it made the end of my day emtionally draining. I seem to try to explain my position but without fail wind up being told I am manipulative or wrong. Sometimes I am wrong, I don’t have too much pride to admit that but manipulative is so far removed from my head. It actually hurts me to be accused of being manipulative because that would indicate that I want to cause harm and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I don’t want to do that. Maybe my definition of that word is the problem. To me, manipulative is when you trick or cajole someone either honestly or dishonestly into doing something for your own advantage or gain without considering how it affects them. I was manipulated by guilt placed on me all my life and it took a lot of work to heal from that. So it would be far from my mind to do that to anyone. I guess I am venting my frustration but it seems so aggravating to me to say something and be dismissed or judged for it or to not say something and be scolded for silence. How do you accomplish anything when both streets are dead ends.

I know something new clicked with me today. The first thought I had, and I know this is the first time I have ever thought this, that I am a victim. But the further thought was almost an ephiphany moment. I don’t have to be. Before when I became a victim I thought I was being tolerant or meek and I stayed in the role and just took it as it came.

Today, I looked around me and said, I did nothing wrong. Yes, I was emotional after I saw I didn’t matter, but I expressed myself, was told I was wrong and manipulative and I know I was just expressing a need the same as a person would say I am thirsty. I came to the conclusion. If you are a victim it’s because you allow it.

People on a day in and day out basis without words do treat you the way they want to. I used to think love would win the day but now I know it doesn’t. Some people don’t care if you love them or care about your contribution to their life. They make that clear when the me’s and I’s come out.

There is a limit. I have reached mine. From this day forward, rotten days are behind me if they are the product of someone else’s issues. 🙂 Time to sing of the great faithfulness of GOD who knows me 🙂 and my widdle heart.

I know God loves me and I will be sure to remember what is true, lovely, and of a good report.

God bless Thanks for hearing.

The Reckoning

(note this was written for a loved one but there have been times it applied to me, nothing to hide)

The depths of my soul were in despair

I framed excuses for my life everywhere

It`s not very hard if you`ll look you`ll see

My life is just not what GOD meant it to be

Wandering and drifting at every turn

Never making a change from lessons learned

Putting off the things that I should do

With the false idea that God will see me thru

Sure He can, He has has my heart,

But it`s so overwhelming, how do I start

I`ve been on the mountain and seen Him work  

Why am I whining and being a jerk

Cause it1s easier to give up from deep within,

Than to let Him work and overcome my sin

It`s easy to give in to my weak weary ways

Than to start redeeming the rest of my days

Just keep telling myself there`s too much to overcome

Look around at the chaos and get nothing done

Will this tortured and battered lifestyle ever end

Yes! The day I stop breathing as a slave to sin

How horrible the sound, there must be a better finish

Than to watch my dreams, soul, and spirit diminish

Sure there is, but I have to cry out loud

This is not for someone who is lofty and too proud

I must allow GOD to do what only

HE can And stop letting my life drift like grains of sand

Surrender and stop doing what I think is best

I will follow after GOD and truly be blessed

There is never a peace apart from His will

Either I make the change or keep doing the drill!

Joy Keepin’

As my life began to unravel, and my heart began to break.
Things were changing fast around me, and my soul began to shake.
The hurt over ran all reason, and my eyes began their weeping.
My father in His loving care, taught me joy keeping.
Many things I can never change in this journey now so hard.
So much damage was brought our way, as choices left their scars.
Two little lights once innocent, now know new hurt and pain.
What should’ve been a precious love, has now become a drain.
I kiss the tears and share the loss, as best a mom can do.
I share the blessed belief I have, that GOD will see us through.
When sorrow mounts and overwhelms, and trouble comes a creeping,
We hit our knees and pray out loud, ‘cause were joy keeping.
It’s all very simple you see, based on child like trust.
My Father wants the best for me, keeping joy is a must!

Yikes, Elijah!

Elijah Syndrome, lol. I thought the name was original with me. A quick web search proved me wrong but I am going to share this with you in that vein. I have been studying alot lately. I enjoy learning many things. One recent wow moment was when I looked at the phrase “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he” that Biblical phrase has so much truth. What we believe forms our actions. I am not talking about something mystical in mysticism or name it and claim it jargon. I do know that what we believe does determine our course. Look at Elijah, after an incredible victory he was reduced to fear, doubt, loneliness, and near death by an evil woman’s words. He has seen with his own eyes the work of God and knew God to be truthful and faithful but was afraid of a woman! Our thinking/beliefs do shape alot of things for us. If I believe I am a failure, I fail. If I believe I am hopeless, I become depressed. If I believe I can’t be loved, I attract people who won’t commit and love me. Are you getting the picture? I have seen this in my short 46 years played out over and over. No wonder God says to think on things that are lovely, of a good report, to take our thoughts captive, to cast down imaginations. The key is believing. We have to be careful what we say to others and to ourselves. Many things that stress us and down us are not of God. We can’t fix the world but we can be in a healthy relationship with GOD that is able to bring joy admist the storms and that brings us to a place where we grow past some of the immaturity that is part of our problem. We can also learn to walk in the Spirit and study to know God. God has announced to the world in His Word who we are in Christ. We have to believe it and live it. NOTE to self… lol this is a note to me too.
Take stock, ask forgiveness, ask for wisdom and understanding, but above all believe GOD who is true. Life won’t be rosey but it can be real, true, and in the grace of God headed toward the prize. GOD bless ………

Square peg in a round vacuum

You might remember being a little kid and getting a wooden bench with a hammer and several different shaped colorful pegs to hammer into the bench. I have such a fond memory. I had my little multi-colored pegs and would find the exact shape to hammer them into. The round one fit the round hole and the square one fit the square hole. Of course being the little thrill seeking kid I was I would try to hammer the square one into the round hole. It didn’t work but I would try. It wasn’t long before my hours of pounding away bored me. Because to a 4 year old with a hammer the entire universe is a nail, I tried to make other connections with my hammer. I found that although the square peg didn’t fit in the round hole of my workbench it would fit in the vacuum cleaner hose. I also found that it took about an hour to drive a nail into the floor with a wooden hammer. I must have hit it a gazillion times. I remember resting my arm thinking that I was doing real important work that had to be finished. Nothing else existed in the world but my mission to get that nail secure. After the nail was safely driven into my Mom’s hardwood floor behind the recliner I went on in search of bigger and better things. My next stop was to make a connection that would shock me into reality. I found that a slotted screwdriver and an electrical outlet are compatible in shape only. The sparks are neat but the bite was a note to self. “whew, that was scary but I liveded” Yeah I said lived-ed. That was how I said it cuz I was a widdle kid.

Even to this day sometimes that little chubby legged, wide eyed girl still tries to fit things in life where they don’t belong. I can only speak for myself but I pray this doesn’t fall on deaf ears. My sincere desire is to share things to spare people the pain of my mistakes and to shine the light of God’s grace so bright He is seen clearly for who He is and will be.

As a creation of the Master we are not made to be isolated,individual, islands to ourselves. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to rationalize that. You can see it evident in the fact that God communed with Adam each evening in the Garden. It’s evident that God saw the longing in Adam and created Eve. Now get this, God walked with Adam daily but still saw a human need in him that he knew he had to immediately meet. So he created woman. Now before you run with this because I don’t want to add to the Word of God or take away. My point here is that God met the need not that for every man there is a woman. I guess you would have to take that up with the Holy Spirit. So I won’t add that further on God said it is not good for man to be alone and that He also said He who finds a wife finds a good thing. Ok off the rabbit trail back to the point.

The little girl in me tried all my life to fit those pegs into places they didn’t belong. The first time I remember trying to make something work was trying to win my Dad’s approval. I always thought Dad shouldn’t have had kids. He was distant, critical, and not touchy feely. I always thought he was unapproachable. I wanted the kind of Dad that I could crawl up into his lap and feel strong arms safe arms around me that loved me. I went on to try to fill the empty space with accomplishment. For years I tried everything. I took dance and music lessons, was president of several clubs in high school and college, excelled at most things I tried. Whatever career I chose I found a way to make it work for me and did my best. Disappointing anyone was rare, extremely rare. Still I was invisible to Dad, so I moved on. My heart got to a place that it could no longer seek his love.

The next peg I tried to fit was marriage. This peg seemed to fit but something was different. I didn’t choose to be my Dad’s daughter, but I did choose to be my husband’s wife and he chose me. I thought the peg finally fit, I thought I had a win win situation. Marrying my college sweetheart, thinking he didn’t do the things my Dad did and to top it off was going to be a preacher. How could this not fit. Unfortunately I spent the next 20 years being invisible to my ex. It was Dad all over again. How ironically cruel. During the marriage I tried another peg. Children!!! Oh my, what a fit. I had two precious girls who are human like me but still on a good path in life. They have been my joy and privilege to raise for God. Still the fit was good but not complete. Something was missing. My marriage finally came to an unexpected end after 20 years and here I was. Damage was done that I had to work and am working hard to rise above. The future presented new spaces to fill, but with what peg?

The five years since my divorce have been bittersweet. They have been filled with my first experiences at failure, deep depression, intense hurt, and regretful mistakes that have wracked my heart and mind to utter exhaustion. They have also been growing years. I can still hear my pastor back home say. “Healthy things grow” I have found friendship in unlikely people and places and have gone outside my box to grow and become who I am becoming. (How deep is that?) Mistakes and all I am a more blessed person today than I was five years ago and have still a future to become more for the Lord, Lord willing. My situation right now is heart breaking and stressful at times. All my choices for remedy or relief are not very appealing and downright painful. I didn’t come to Texas to fail. I know this and I believe with all my being, there is a day out there if I trust Him that the Lord will restore what the locust have eaten. God will use his hammer to fill the pegs in my life. Cramming anything into a God only vacancy will lead to pain.

God according to Jeremiah 29:11 has a plan for my life, but I have learned something so significant this is what I want to share.

God has a plan for my life and satan has a counterfeit plan. Satan’s plan produces pegs that never quite fit. He has waged spiritual warfare against us to try to insure we miss the right pegs. It is warfare that is ugly and strategically planned. God’s plan produces pegs that fit and are permanent.

God’s grace separates us from the imperfect law in a way that gives us permission to grow and to understand complete forgiveness and imputed righteousness. God can’t and won’t love me less or more based on my circumstances or decisions. There are always consequences for what I allow or decide, but ultimately my justification is settled. Out of love and a thankful heart I serve and want to hear well done from a Father who loves me and covers me with his safe wings. He is there daily to give good gifts to His children.

God will never go against His Word to accomplish anything through or for me.

When I am doubtful, fearful, stressed out, overwhelmed, mentally exhausted and physically weary, I can be sure that behind those strong emotions there you will find my own flesh and the devil having a tea party at my expense. My bank account becomes empty and can’t keep writing those checks. I become overdrawn. When nothing changes nothing changes. People around me miss the best I have to offer. So I pray what David prayed, Create in me a clean heart (cuz ya don’t want sin to be in the way) and renew a right spirit within me (cuz the above is not right spirited thinking) cast me not away from thy presence (ok, this brings tears, I can crawl in Abba’s lap and be safe) take not thy Holy Spirit from me (I am never alone!!!) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation ( God is about upward and forward!!!)

I am not defined by a mistake, a moment, a failure or success, by anyone who loves or doesn’t love me, or those who stay or leave my life, no one gets to write my story but the God who saved me. I am defined by the pages in His book and what He has written to me and about me will be forever established as my story. I am His purchase and the price He paid I could never repay. I can only pray I grow and that His relationship with me will define me to others as a light.

So where do I go from here? Yikes what a novel. Well I am me, a dreamer, a happy ever after kinda gal. So I have to be careful with my life and set boundaries that don’t get me in so deep in the miry clay. I have to have feet free to move so I can soar like the eagles as God said. When I get away from reality I chase after pegs that for one reason or another do not fit my life. Then I sink. Please pray for me. I want to make the best of what time I have left. I know only the wisdom of God will lead me on the rest of my journey. I know there is pain around the bend before the next happiness.

Love you ALL!!!