The Little Lighthouse Who Could!  Shine Bright!

You are called to shine forth the Light of Christ. How’s Your Shine?

Remnant, in a world that is getting darker and darker by the hour we are called to be lighthouses for the Lord.  Think about it, it is the whole reason why Jesus went up to Heaven and the Holy Spirit came down.  In John 14:26 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “The Advocate.” 

Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one goes to the Father except through me.”  He then says in John 14:12 “I can guarantee this truth:  Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing.  They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.”  We, Remnant are called to shine forth the light of Christ like little lighthouses that are safety points for those that are in this dark world.  He says in John 14:25 “The helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything.  He will remind you of everything I ever told you.”  The Holy Spirit is the light within us that shines forth and allows us to radiate the love of Christ.  THIS is what we are SUPPOSED to do.  THIS is HOW we are SUPPOSED to be.  We are to be about our Father’s business, as Jesus was about His Father’s business.  Imagine, if you will large numbers of us “shinning forth the light of Christ” in a world deceived and filled with darkness.  We ARE CHRIST’s Lighthouses.  How is your light shining?

Is the light of Christ within you strong? Shining brightly the Way?  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to you?  To strengthen you?  It is not a “battery” tucked deep within you, but the Holy Spirit who brings to your heart and mind the things that you need to share with others.  The things that you need to do to grow brighter in Him that has called us.  The power is not anything that is within or of ourselves.  It is ALL Him.  The light within you is only as strong as you allow it to be!  The strength is not one that comes from self but comes from Him who dwells inside of you!  Lighthouses are beacons of light in the storms of life.  We are called to BE lighthouses leading others to the Lord – who is the TRUE light.  How bright are you shining?  How proud are you standing?  Is your structure built upon the One who generates the light within you?  We can do nothing in and of ourselves, we are completely dependent upon He who lives inside of us without His guidance our light grows dim.  The more you submit to what He is saying to you, the stronger the light of Christ radiates from your life drawing others to you so they themselves can see His light within you.

Be that beacon of light Remnant calling others home to God.  Letting them know of His grace and His forgiveness and His mercy and His love.  Stand tall and proud and with praise and with joy and with love help others to become lighthouses for it is not God’s will that ANY should perish, which is why He has called you by name!  Recognize and rejoice that God has called you to be a beacon of His light to others, leading them to safety wrapped up in the light of His love.

Our source is HIM.  Our strength is in Him.  Our light is His light which radiates deep within us.  The days are getting darker as it is getting closer and closer to Christ’s return.  God is calling you to be a lighthouse for Him.  Are you ready?  Then say with me, “Shine bright within me Holy Spirit that God made be glorified! My life, my heart, my body, my soul, my being belongs to Him!” 

The light of Christ which takes away the sins of the world and resides in you leading others home.  No greater calling, no greater joy. 

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Just a Spoonful of Sugar – Or is it Salt???

            Are YOU Reading the Directions?

This is literally such a little thing that it is HUGE to write about, something worth sharing…  Yesterday we all stayed home as a family, Johnny had come down with a bad cold and both Matty and I were concerned.  Friday, I had left work early to take a reluctant John to an urgent care appointment, just to make sure he didn’t have the flu or strep throat.  Thankfully, the doctor tested him for both and both tests came up negative.  He indicated that a very bad cold virus was going throughout Austin and that it would probably take two weeks for Johnny to get over it.  He looked at me and told me that it was “highly contagious” I raised an eyebrow in response more determined than ever to take care of my husband, and to NOT get the virus.  He prescribed a couple of nasal medications for our John to take, and after getting him situated comfortably at home, putting a crock pot full of the makings of homemade chicken soup, Matty and I ventured off to Walgreen’s to pick up our Johnny’s prescriptions.  Someone had told me about something called “Airborne” a medication high in Zinc and other herbal ingredients that I had been told helps keep a cold or virus at bay, so along with Johnny’s prescriptions, I purchased it.  I looked at Matthew and before leaving Walgreen’s I popped open the tube containing the Airborne tablets (which were about the size of a half a dollar) and gave one to Matty and one to myself to chew.  We popped them into our mouths as we grabbed our bags and headed out the door.  Then horrified at the taste, we looked at each other.  Honestly, if we hadn’t been in a public place, in a store, we probably BOTH would have spit the chewed particles out just as quickly as we could get the offensive taste out of our mouths.  It was the most disgusting thing I had ever placed in my mouth.  I looked at Matty and said, “I’m going to throw up… We gotta get outta here.”  He responded, “Oh my gosh Mom, what is this? It is drying up all the spit in my mouth.”  A citrus, sizzling tablet that made you think you were going to foam at the mouth.  We both chewed it up as quickly as we could, gagging but swallowing it, commiserating at how horrible it tasted and swearing that we would never ever take it again.  Matty solemnly swearing that he would rather get sick than eat another one of the tablets.  I prayed that wouldn’t be the case, while agreeing with him at the same time.

The next morning, we all woke up.  Matty and I made sure our John was fed breakfast, given cold medication, situated comfortably on the sofa where he and Matty could play TV games and we could spend the day taking care of our John and I could get household duties like cleaning and laundry done and we could keep our John company while he recovered.  I brought out the Airborne medication and looked at Matty and said, “Matt – you know we have to have another one.  I cannot afford to be out sick from work at this time and you cannot afford to miss school.”  Matty eyeballed the medication and looked at me stubbornly and said, “Mom, there is absolutely NO WAY I am going to put another one of those things in my mouth.  I’d rather get sick.  SORRY but it’s just not going to happen.”  Johnny looked at us inquisitively.  We explained to him what had happened, and amusement filled his eyes.  I looked down at the tube of Airborne wondering how I was going to get both Matty and I to put another one of those tablets into our mouths.  Reading the directions, I started to laugh.  Matty and Johnny looked at me questioningly, I had a hard time containing my laughter while trying to get the words out.  “Put tablet in a glass with a small amount of water to dissolve before taking medication….”   Our John looked at us both and started laughing, “I thought something was wrong with what you were telling me, but I didn’t want to say anything,” he said continuing to laugh.  Matty looked at me accusingly, laughter filling his own face.  Going into the kitchen, he took a glass out of the cabinet filled it with a little bit of water and plopped a tablet in there watching the fizz begin and the tablet dissolve.  “I can’t believe you Mom!” He said and then proceeded to quickly drink the medicine down.

Moral of the story… We make life so much harder for ourselves when we “assume” that we know what needs doing.  We make it harder (and often times less pleasant) for ourselves.  If only, we would take time to read “God’s directions” which He has given us in His Word, to HELP US.  To GUIDE US.  To BLESS Us life would be so much easier, a lot of discomfort and pain that we experience is because we think we know MORE than Him.  We think we know a “better way” or a “short cut” and Our God in Heaven shakes His head at us (and I’ll bet that head shaking is full of amusement – sometimes along with frustration.  “If only my people would listen to ME.  Would follow MY directions which were written in love, in wisdom with guidance to get them through EVERY life situation.  IF ONLY…”

Are you hearing what God is saying to you today?  I pray God blesses you as He has blessed us.  Hear Him, His direction, His Word is the BEST medicine you will ever take… with or without water. 

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What Does Being “Christ’s Ambassador” Mean to You?

My kids, when they attended Christian private school, were taught to sing a song called “We are Christ’s Ambassadors,” that memory came to my mind today as I found myself thinking that each day, we are given a choice – to use our lives to represent the love of Christ to our family, friends and those God puts in our daily path, or we can live in the flesh, ruled by our thoughts and our feelings and allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to be turned down to a whisper as go about our day.

I’ve come to see at 30 years in Christ that one of ol’ slewfoot’s BIGGEST victories is when I respond to situations that do not glorify the Lord by remembering that I am one of His called Ambassadors.

Throughout the Bible we can see examples of how Christ responded to certain social situations that rose around Him. There were plenty of times where Jesus could have just thrown His hands up in the air and gave up on us!  But He didn’t!  We are not to look at others as our example – we are to look at Jesus!  This is something that is very important because many times instead of keeping our eyes on Jesus, the disappointments and short comings of others have made people “walk away” from God.  What a horrible thing to think that something I did or did not do caused someone to walk away from God.    As a Christian, that makes me wince.  Poor God gets the blame for someone else’s shortcomings and actions. 

The Bible tells us

Everything we experience in this life, Jesus experienced Himself.  He doesn’t expect perfection from us, but the Word of God is full of examples in how Jesus handled many of the same situations we go through today.  The Bible tells us:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Nothing surprises Him.  I think that we must pain Him though… 

Are you walking in a manner that would make Jesus say, “Look at my child _______________ (put in your name) she is doing honor to my name by… _________________” (Fill in the blank):

Walking in the forgiveness.  JESUS FORGAVE.  JESUS LIFTED UP. JESUS HEALED.

Jesus’ love is healing.  Are you healing or hurting someone?  Are you showing the love of Christ?  Because often times the healing that occurs in the life of another because of us being “Christ’s Ambassador” helps someone draw closer to God and emotionally heal.

The opposite of that is “tearing down” – even in hurt or anger.  And when we allow ourselves to be curt, or cruel or judgmental or unforgiving or assumptive it is NOT God who gets the honor, but the devil.  Jesus did NOT tear down.  Jesus did NOT hurt.  He loved. 

I find myself thinking about the people that Jesus came in contact with – the adulteress,  the demon possessed, the lepors – through everyone Jesus came in contact with HE SHOWED LOVE.

So you are reading my words and you are saying, “Yes Kelly, but THAT is Jesus.  He is part of the Trinity and I am NOT.  And by the way – Sister-so-and-so did THAT or Brother-over-there did THIS.” And you begin to point fingers at people you feel justified in responding in a certain manner…  My response?  (Because there are days when I do the same thing – so I am pointing the finger at myself…)  “Yes – Okay, Yeah, I get it.  Yeah in a worldly kinda sense I hear ya!  But here is the thing… YOU have been given the Holy Spirit inside of you.  What is He telling you?  Who are you listening to?  Is your voice or your mood or your situation or your flesh getting in the way of what the Holy Spirit is saying to you?  Because  He won’t raise His voice.  You have free choice.  You can choose to respond like-minded and “give tit for tat” or you can rise above it and respond in a manner that glorifies God.

I can’t imagine anything worse than knowing when I am standing at the throne of God that if I had responded in love and not “in hurt” or “in anger” how MUCH of a difference it would have made in someone’s life if I had put my angry feelings aside, “ate crow” and showed the love of Christ REGARDLESS of how wrong I felt treated.  Imagine seeing a scene where you see that you were the cause of someone else’s pain?

God FORGIVE US.

And satan laughs.  And He says, “Take a look at your creation God.  Why, I don’t even have to lift a finger because they are doing the work FOR me.  See how that one is seething over THAT one over there?  All because I put miscommunication and confusion between them.  It was SO easy to mess up their testimonies.”

Is THAT YOU?  I know sometimes that is me…  And it hurts the heart of God.

Think about what being “Christ’s Ambassador” means to you and each morning that you wake up, put that badge on thankfully, humbly and with lots of love.  See who you can touch with God’s love.  The way that He used someone to touch YOU.

Pray with me.  “Father God, please forgive me for my sins.  Please forgive me for the times when I haven’t represented You in the manner You, Yourself have shown me in Your Word I should represent myself.  Please forgive me (and help others to release me and forgive me for my mistakes, shortcomings or anything else that I might have done unknowingly to wound or injure them.)  Please help me to realize what a precious price You paid for us and help me to walk in a way that honors the love and sacrifice You gave for me.  Help me Father to represent You in a way that glorifies Your name and draws people to You.  Your Word tells us that “they will know us by the love we have for one another.”  And Father God, right now many of us are doing a disservice to that scripture.  Forgive us, help us, heal us, use us and most of all, please be glorified through our lives.  You call us to walk by Your Spirit and often we lose sight of that and find ourselves walking according to our flesh.  Help us to truly be “Your Ambassadors” to wake up every morning that You bless us with and remember that title that we wear.  Thank You Lord for Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your mercy and Your love.”  In Jesus’ precious name I pray.  AMEN.”

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More and more I am convinced that we are living in the last days, we are living in times where we need to utilize spiritual discernment as the world around us grows darker and darker.  This not only goes to dwelling around the unsaved, but also amongst those who profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Bible tells us:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:1-17) 

For some of us, this is hard to do because we think with our hearts, with our guard down instead of protecting our hearts and walking carefully and with wisdom and discernment.  Hurt people hurt people, it is very easy to become one of the “wounded walking.”  And I’ll take it even a step further – when you are a wounded walker, it is very easy for ol’slewfoot and his minions to take that open opportunity wound and make it become infested with seeds of bitterness, hatred, mean spirited attacking your own body – the body of Christ, instead of walking in love, forgiveness and understanding. 

Have you become infected?  Careful – because the infection of bitterness is one that can quickly spread and become infectious.  Instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit and the love of God, you spew seeds of anger and hatred and unkind words and accusations and inuendos and all of a sudden, the fountain that God desired you to be overflowing with His love and His Spirit becomes a drain that not only drains your life – but causes hurt, pain and suffering for those around you.  And the absolute WORST part of it, is that the results are confusion, discord, pain and division within the body of Christ.

Notice the signs… You can notice them the most when someone’s words of hurt wounds you and instead of walking as Jesus has shown us, with forgiveness, love and compassion, we respond back in like manner.  Who gets the glory for such actions?  

This is where it becomes like a quick spreading cancer – instead of walking in forgiveness, understanding and love we wound someone with accusations and anger not acting in ANY way the manner that Jesus as our example would have acted.  We act in the flesh.  Each one of us have buttons of responses within us based upon our experiences, places that we don’t know are still in need of healing.  Is your fountain plugged up?  Are you filled with the fruit of the Spirit? Love, Joy, Peace, forbearance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  and if you are not – it is a sure sign that the fountain God intended you to be, has become clogged and you need the Holy Spirit to fix the clog.

When someone hurts you, how do you respond?  Hurt people hurt people…  Maybe stepping back and reassessing the situation through prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit is the best course of action.  Maybe recognizing that it gives the devil a tremendous amount of satisfaction to see discord within the body of Christ – or even within the reaction someone saved has towards a wrong that someone unsaved has caused them.

What does the Bible say to do? PRAY.

As I write these words, I write them because I noticed within my own self a need for healing.  My fountain had become clogged as I recognized my love and patience for people (both saved and unsaved) was turning into sheer dislike.  I was beginning to have negative feelings towards everyone around me.  Hurt people were hurting ME.  Hurt people were misjudging me or had misconceptions about me (planted by ol’slewfoot either known or unbeknown to them because that is what the devil in his demons do in the warfare that takes place in minds susceptible to his verbage).  Sometimes, there is no trying to clear it up because misconceptions or miscommunications become holes of division and discord.  There are times where we need to just PRAY for those hurt people and ask God to bring the truth to the forefront.

Many people start out as fountains and over a period of time – become drains.  Take a look at your life.  Is this you?  As i said at the beginning of this post, you can be a fountain or a drain.  You can know a drain because once you are around one for a period of time you FEEL drained.  They have no joy.  They complain a lot, they gossip a lot, their views on who they talk about are negative in the hopes that you too will feel negative.  They tear down and instead of build up.  They see life as problem or negative situation after negative situation and cannot see God in it.  As I write these words some of you are having people come to mind.  The BEST way to STOP a drain – is to let your fountain flow.  Speak the promises of God. Speak words of encouragement!  Build up, lift up.  A drain cannot tear down or be negative around someone who radiates the light of Christ.  They will either walk away from you (filled with resentment, spewing out words of hostility) or by overflowing with the Holy Spirit and love of Christ, God will use you to unclog their drain.

Again I state what the Bible tells us:  “Be very wary of how you live – not as unwise, but as wise – making the most of EVERY opportunity because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15)  God’s intent is for you to be a fountain of His Holy Spirit – one that draws people unto Him.  A well-spring of life that causes healing, nourishment, forgiveness, love, peace and draws others either to Jesus or in a deeper walk WITH Jesus.  That is how God meant us to live.

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There is a Purpose for You

     

Wherever you are, what ever you are feeling, whatever you are going through or doing – I feel led to tell you, YOU are NOT a mistake.  God knew what He was doing when He made you.  God made you with a purpose in mind, whether you know it or not. God has a plan for your life.  Part of your life’s journey is recognizing and discovering just what that plan is, you just have to believe. God tells us in His Word:

No matter your situation, God wants you to know that He knows you intimately, He made you, He loves you and you can bet He has a plan for your life. 

If you don’t believe me – ask Him and He will personally show you that it’s true.  You can also search your Bible and find out for yourself.  (If you don’t have or can’t get a Bible, message me privately in the comments section below, and I’ll see if we can find a way to get one to you).

I know, because He is doing it with ME and God is no respecter of persons.  I was born 3 months premature at a time when the hospitals didn’t have all the “fancy” medical equipment they have now, I had to stay in the hospital for forty days and forty nights.  They thought I was going to die – but God knew otherwise.    It is one of the reasons why my mother named me “Kelly” (which means warrior or fighter).  He has a plan for my life and He has a plan for YOU.  He has no favorites.  But YOU can bet, He loves YOU special.  It’s true, He does and if you are going through a prodigal time when you are journeying home and wondering how you are going to make it – know that He is right there with you, encouraging you and even though you don’t know it – directing you right back home to Him.  The Bible says:

“There is NOTHING that can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38)

He directed you to this page because you needed to receive a Word from Him, for whatever it is you are going through or experiencing.  I have dedicated this blog to Him for Him to use as He chooses – and He chose to bring you to it.  Allow Him to guide you, to love you, to fill your heart with peace and to direct you – because you are important to Him.  He has called you by name.

“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)

God is not a God that He would lie.  The truth is in His Word.  We need to believe it, believe Him and allow Him to mold us into whatever it is He wants us to be.  Believe me when I say that there is NO greater joy than to be used by God.  To realize the gifts He created you with and the fact that He wants you to use them!  That’s why He gave them to you in the first place!  If you don’t know what your calling is, PRAY.  He’s not purposely trying to hide it from you, but He is a God who gave you free will – which means you have to seek Him on it because You want to really know what that plan is.  And as you do seek Him, He will reveal himself to you and will open up doors.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
and
“Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.…” (Psalms 139:13)

He’s your Father, He loves You – He has called you by name.  You have a purpose  – find out what it is.  You’ll be ever so glad you did…

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Growing Pains – It Does The Body Good…

It is no mistake that God has you reading these words.  He has a call on your life.  Are you ready to listen?

 This is going to be an “ouch word..” Oh yes… Well, it is not directed at anyone person but if the Holy Spirit causes you to wince, just remember I am only a messenger and this word is one that has been kicking my butt because I haven’t wanted to be obedient and write it, but now the Holy Spirit is pushing me forward to do so.

Some words that God gives us are used to help us to grow in Him.  Words that cause growing pains and help us to move forward in what God wants us to do.  A lot of people tend to like to hear things “sugar coated” but I am not one to do that and the word I am writing today is one that even I need to pay attention to for myself.  So here it goes…

If you fit the definition of someone who is part of God’s Called Remnant (as described in the home page, you saw it when you first came on here).  You are someone who hungers to be in the center of God’s will for your life.  you are hungry to move forward into ALL of what God has for you… You love Him with ALL of your heart… That’s REALLY GOOD.  But in wanting to go forward, there are somethings that if you haven’t already found out – you WILL find out.  Being called by God in a world that is fallen is not something that is a piece of cake.  Jesus even said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

That is something that you would think would cause us comfort, but the truth of the matter is, it is painful.  It hurts.  It is something that if you are following Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have to accept – but it doesn’t take away the smarting pain of rejection when people look at you, sneer at you, mock you, hate you, turn their backs on you, label you “politically incorrect” because of your love for the Lord and for the Word of God.  IT HURTS.  Especially when you are ostracized by family, close friends or other people important to you.  James who was an actual brother of Jesus, said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:2-5)

Jesus went through it, the apostles went through it and yes – we go through it too.  When you think about it, it really shouldn’t surprise us, because it is only those who we love MOST in this world who can hurt us, so of course those are the ones that ol’ slewfoot uses to cause us the most amount of pain.  What is the answer to that?  KEEP WALKING.  KEEP PRAYING.  KEEP READING YOUR WORD, KEEP BELIEVING.  KEEP YOUR EYES FOCUSED ON JESUS.

I know from personal experience that it is NOT easy.  He never said it WOULD be easy.  What He did say is that He gets it, He knows.  He experienced it firsthand ALL the way to the cross.  Jesus could at ANY time have changed His mind and said, “Okay, Father – ENOUGH.  I’m fried, I’m done. No more! This hurts too much!  I CANNOT do this any more!”  But He didn’t.  He had a calling on His life.  He knew that He IS the way, the truth and the life.  The only way for us to be reconciled with the Father.  He didn’t focus on His pain, He focused on the Victory. He focused on His calling.  Jesus knew that He would be our example.  Jesus knew that He had to love us HIGHER than we could understand.  Remember that Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:42-44)

You COULD be the only “Jesus” someone sees.

You COULD be the only voice calling to someone in this wilderness of a world…

There is someone who may only learn about salvation through you – and you have no idea who that could be.

It could be a family member who doesn’t know Jesus… 

He could be a co-worker or a complete stranger…

If YOU don’t allow God to use you, WHO will?  It’s not that God can’t use someone else – it is just that He has chosen YOU.

So you look at me and say, “but Kelly, I don’t know what God is calling me to do….”

My response – “SO ASK HIM…” My calling is one that I did every day, not even realizing that it is what God was calling me to do.  God’s exact words to me (and I’m seriously quoting what he said).  “What I have called you to do is as plain as the nose on your face… I have called you to write.”  I actually laughed out loud when I heard that.  (I really did).  Not once did I ever think of “writing” as my calling.  It was just a hobby, something I did.  But you know what? The things we are good at are what are called OUR GIFTS.  We often take them for granted because we are just so use to doing them.  They are our “go-to” place.  

Maybe what God is calling YOU to do is “as plain as the nose on YOUR face too?”  Maybe if you haven’t given this any thought, you might want to grab a piece of paper and a pencil and sit down and think about what you like doing.  What you feel good about doing.  Can you bake? Can you sew?  Are you good with money?  Do your friends come to you for help and advice?  Really think about yourself and take a good hard look at who you are.  God has given you gifts for a purpose.  FOR HIS PURPOSE.  He is only asking you to step out on faith (and yes, sometimes that could be stepping out of your comfort zone) and walk in HIM.

I never set up a website before. Are you kidding me??? But when God told me He wanted to me to take my writing to another level, it caused me to get out of my comfort zone and step out on faith to find out HOW to go about doing it.  He stretches us, He grows us we only have to be open to it.  You have to ask yourself, “Am I open to it?”  I will tell you that ol’ slewfoot will put doubts in your mind.  He will have you come up with 101 excuses on NOT stepping out on faith. “I can’t, I need this, I have to that… I’m not this…” Don’t listen!  God wants to work THROUGH you, remember?  Because really, it is ALL HIM.  It is just our willingness and obedience to to say, “YES LORD.  OKAY…. HERE I AM.  WHAT’CHA GOT PLANNED?!”  And with that submission He opens doors.  We are vessels of the Holy Spirit, it only takes a willing spirit.  Are YOU willing?

There are times in our walk when God is calling us to go further than we have it within ourselves to go  We have come to the end of ourselves.  But if you ask Him, He will strengthen you.  The truth is, that is when God is able to really show forth His power in our lives because we come to the realization that whatever we are going through, it is not our own strength that can get us through, it is His.

Maybe He is asking you to be still.

Maybe He wants you to know that “It is Not by power, not by might but by HIS Spirit.”

And if you think about the examples that God gives us of the people He has used and as you think about it, realize (if you haven’t already realized this) they were people that no one would have suspected God would choose to use in the HUGE roles that they ended up having.  God has a role for you. It is a role meant JUST for you.  And it may very well take you outside of your comfort zone, but in the end if you are open to what God wants you to do – it will glorify God and bless you because of it.

He didn’t say it would be easy – but what it will be is rewarding, fulfilling and oh so worth it, because honestly there is NO GREATER feeling than walking in the center of His will… Now is the time to stop, look and listen… Your Father’s got a calling with JUST your name on it… Take that first step – it’s called faith.  

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Are You a Vessel or an Un-Vessel?

  The Bible tells us that God knew us when we were formed in our mother’s womb, actually the exact words are as follows:

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.”


God made YOU.  He formed you.  He knew you.  He had in mind what you were to be.  You are His masterpiece.  You are one of a kind.  You were chosen.  How special does that make you feel? If it doesn’t it should.  You are a creation of the Utmost High God.  He knows every part of you.  You are unique.  You are special and whether or not you acknowledge it or are aware of it, or believe it – You are HIS.


“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well…” (Psalms 139:13-14).


I can visualize in my mind God creating you, with such excitement and pride and joy.  Think about it.  If you are a parent, a father or a mother – think about the joy you experienced when you found you were going to have a child.  As a mother myself, I can remember laying a hand on my stomach, talking to this little tiny peanut of a being with such love and joy and happiness and hopes.  I remember saying to my firstborn Joseph, when I found out:

“Oh how I rejoice in the fact that God has given me YOU.  You are answered prayer.  You are special, you are a blessing.  In fact, I use to a sing a song to him it was called, “God made you special” Sung by Denise Williams.  I spoke blessings over my unborn child, even though God had not yet formed his outward ears in completion, I know Joseph’s soul heard me.  I nourished him not only with that from my own body, but with my words of love and blessings.  If I did that with my own children – how much more so does God do that with us as He forms us?  He has great desires for you.  He has plans for you.  The only thing you have to do is choose.  He has given us free will.  We can choose to be that vessel He has called us to be, or we can choose to be an un-vessel.

Just as surely as God has created our physical bodies – He has created you with a desire that is to be one in communion with Him.  There is a part of us (whether or not we choose to acknowledge it) is hungry to be one in communion with God.  Originally it was our sole purpose in being created to have fellowship with God.  I often think about what the Garden of Eden must have been like before Adam and Eve’s fall…  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the outdoors.  I love hearing the birds sing, seeing God’s nature in the different plants and flowers that He has created, I tend to believe that Adam and Eve communicated with the animals in the garden, because when the snake deceived Eve, she was not surprised that he spoke to her.  How peaceful it must have been, sheer joy and love and harmony and abundance – such as we won’t know until we get to Heaven. All around us is the witness of God.  In the hustle and bustle of daily life we get so caught up in activity or family or problems that those things that speak so clearly of God’s being get drowned out and often ignored or taken for granted as we live our lives.  Live our lives not realizing or identifying or acknowledging the true reason of why we were created.  When God made you, He made you with special gifts, special talents that were yours to be used  to glorify Him.

You can choose to be a vessel or an un-vessel.  

Definition of a vessel according to the Miriam Webster Dictionary:


” A vessel is a vein or artery that covers blood to the rest of the body” or “A vessel is a hollowed container for holding liquids” or “A vessel is a ship or large boat.”

An “un-vessel” (a definition a new friend just introduced me too recently) is someone who is a vessel and doesn’t know it… Maybe they try to fill themselves with things other than what God originally intended, but true satisfaction can never be found without filling it with what God intended it to be filled with – HIMSELF.  Even Jesus said:

“Whoever drinks of the water I give him shall never thirst.but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14-15)


You were made to be a vessel.  A very rare, special and dear vessel unto the Lord.  You choose what you will be filled up with – discovering the true purpose that God has for you or living a life as an un-vessel, filled with other things that will never give you the satisfaction or the completion you would receive if you realized that you were created to be filled up with God’s purpose; that is where the peace that passes ALL understanding described in Philippians 4:7 comes from.  I can’t adequately find the words to write to explain just what that feels like, it’s something you have to experience for yourself and here is the thing – just like our fingerprints are individual and unique – so is the calling God has for you.  It is better than ANYTHING you could have chosen for yourself, part of life’s journey is figuring out JUST WHAT THAT CALLING IS.  I can only compare it to a treasure hunt – with you being the treasure.  There is such a peace that comes about when you realize that God created you, He made you, He formed you SPECIAL.  That He has a purpose for your life – and it is not a contest, nor is it one where you are in competition with someone else.  God has no favorites.  He loves us each individually for who He created us to be.  He made you.  He knows you.  He loves you.   You were not made by mistake – no matter how you were conceived.  God knew you were coming.  You were no surprise to Him.  Maybe you were made to feel as though you weren’t special, maybe you were born into a situation where you felt unloved.  However you entered into this world, you need to know that YOU ARE LOVED.  Greatly, truly, wonderfully, completely loved.  Hear my words – for I am only a vessel unto the Lord, my calling – to write for Him.  To allow my fingers to fly over my keyboard and deliver whatever words of encouragement I can give you to allow you to know that God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  Whether or not you acknowledge it – you need to know, you were created to be a vessel. God desires to be glorified through your life with the gifts He has created you to utilize.  He loves you enough to give you the choice – to be a vessel or an un-vessel.


Look at the example of Jonah.  God told him specifically what he wanted him to do and what did Jonah do?  HE RAN!!!  He thought he could run from God and for the purpose that God had for him.  You can read about it yourself in the book of Jonah in  your Bible.  To get Jonah’s attention God had to have a whale or “great fish” swallow Jonah up, what a way to get Jonah’s undivided and complete attention.  I have written a post about it in my blog – you can look it up on the side of my page, under my blog entries from 2013, the month is October and it is entitled “Are You in the Middle of a Jonah Moment.”  The point is – God will continue to capture your undivided attention for as long as you have breath in your body.  He loves you, He knows that the purpose He created you for your life will bless you more abundantly than you can possibly imagine!  There is no greater satisfaction or joy than to be used as a vessel by the One who created you – God.  So maybe God hasn’t swallowed up someone by a whale or big fish in these current times (or maybe He has and we just haven’t read again about it yet… hehehehe…)  But if you think about it – what point in your life do you keep coming back to?  Someway, somehow God is trying to capture your attention.  Only you can determine if you think long and hard about it how He is doing that… 


“Here I am!!! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”  (Revelations 3:20)


Listen – do you hear it? Quiet your soul. Quiet the noise around you. LISTEN.  It is God knocking on the door of your heart.  Open it. What do you have to lose? You have only to gain.  Try it – see what it is God is telling you.  I know that as you read this word, that desire that God instilled for Him within you is crying out.  Maybe for the first time you are recognizing that you were not created to be an “un-vessel,” but a “vessel.”  You won’t be whole until you recognize and fulfill the purpose that God has for your life.  And here is the thing – YOU are the VESSEL. HE is the provision.  He wants to be used in YOU, through YOU, by YOU.  So let Him in…

Here is the thing about vessels.  They come in all shapes and sizes, they are not all the same.  We are an imperfect people, God is in the business of using those imperfections to draw people unto Him.  I think about my own imperfections and it makes me realize all the more – I am called to be a vessel, yes that is true… But here is the beauty of it – God fills me up.  God makes me beautiful. The beauty you see in me – is Him.  Without Him, I am an un-vessel, incomplete and not used for the intent in which I was created.  The beauty you see in me – is HIM.  

I think there is very clearly a reason why throughout the Bible God has chosen to use people who you would not have thought He would use.  They were not the strongest, they were not the most beautiful or perhaps they were the last people you would expect to be chosen for “Team God.”  Yet they opened themselves up through their faith to allow God to use them.  Mary did, David did, Jonah (finally did ) as did so many others that you can read about in your Bible.  When you read about them, remember that these are not a made up bunch of characters – but real individuals like you and me – who decided upon their own free will to be vessels unto the Lord.

God created you for a purpose.  A beautiful one of a kind purpose.  Will you be that vessel unto Him?  Listen… Do you hear it?  He’s knocking… It’s time for you to stop ignoring the knock and open the door wide.  You won’t be sorry…

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalms 34:8) More Words for Your Journey

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I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know This About Yourself…

This post is dedicated to a true warrior of the Lord – Rhonda, who goes from “divine appointment to divine appointment” and I’m so glad I was one God scheduled you to meet. YOU are a TRUE member of God’s Called Remnant. This post was inspired by the Sister you are…

  I’m about to tell you something you may not already know… If you have made Jesus Christ Lord of your life, if you have given your life to Him, you have a new identity.

(At the moment that you are reading those words, I trust the Holy Spirit is playing the Superman theme music into your head). Now I want you to do three things… Ready?

If you are not already standing up, get up onto your feet. Come on! You can do it!  Rise up!

Now that you have risen up, stand with your legs apart and place your hands on your hips!

Raise your chin up and try to look majestic because YOU are a warrior for the Lord. Oh yes you are! I kid you not!  When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you also received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that was your seal of superhero dome.  YOU are a super hero for the Lord.

Oh yes…. YOU have been accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven and you are now officially a superhero for the Kingdom of God. Yep! YOU are part of God’s Called Remnant!  Mightier than a Marvel Superhero!  And if you allow yourself – you will surround yourself with other Superheroes that God will align you with because YOU are part of the body of Christ!  And you have a significant contribution to make in His name!  And the only one that you stand accountable to – is the LORD!  Your instructions come from Him!

Visualize this – on the outside people just see the person that you are. Your character, the things that the world defines as who they think you are.  Just as Superman and Supergirl and all the superheroes you were taught of as a child have disguises.  YOU are disguised in your every- day persona life.  What they don’t know (unless you choose to reveal it) is that a change has ensued and now you have a calling on your life.  YOU are called to live a victorious life.  You are called to intercede for those who are walking in darkness.  YOU are a SUPERHERO for the Lord.  Your weapons?  They are so much more powerful than any that you have read about as a child.  YOU have the Word of God!  You have the power of prayer!  You have ministering angels and warring angels encompassed all around you.  As long as you remember WHO YOU ARE IN HIM you can wield your weapons with great strength!

And as you do, it is important for you to remember that “It is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.” Says the Lord.

Oh we can do nothing in and of ourselves. It was never us.  It has always been Him!  And ol’ slewfoot and his dominions know that with God’s power behind you, YOU are a force to be reckoned with!  And that is why it is important for you to remember a few things:

  1. Pray without ceasing! Even as you go through the mundane task that seems to take precedence over us doing the every day tasks in our daily life. It can be annoying when all you want to do is bask in the word of God and in the presence of His Holy Spirit – but Superhero! But there is work for you to do! Rise up!  God has a calling on your life.  YOU have become part of the Called Remnant!  God is calling you by name. (Isaiah 43:1) He has plans in store for you! Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and more importantly – plans to glorify His name!  (Are you surprised? Did you feel as though you had no worth? – THAT is one of the biggest lies of the devil.  When God formed you in your mother’s womb I can picture Him excited over you!  Speaking promises over you!  Delighting you!  You are a work of art! YOU are created in HIS image! (Genesis 1:27)  He has called YOU by name! (Isaiah 43:1)
  2. Read His Word! The Bible tells us to “study to show ourselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) – That really is not for God’s benefit – it is for ours! The Bible also tells us “that man cannot live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4)  In order to grow in Christ and to know the fullness of our promises and also to learn from what others have gone through (Oh yes – those are REAL people just like you and me that you are reading about in the Bible!)  You need to immerse yourself in God’s Word.  The beauty of that is it is really God’s love story for His love for YOU.  As you read God’s Word you will grow and the Holy Spirit which resides inside of you will bring those words and promises to your remembrance as you read it.  You will hide God’s Word in your heart.  I cannot tell you how often I hear the whispering of the Holy Spirit bringing forth what I have read to the remembrance of my mind when I have needed it most!  Also the Bible tells us that God’s Word is a double edge sword! (Hebrews 4:12) You will NEED this as you go forth on “divine” appointments that God will set your life.  It is your greatest weapon!
  3. Sweet Fellowship – Link arms with those who God puts into your life – He has not called you to be an island. You are a Warrior for the Lord.  Those that He places into your life He may just place for a season or for the rest of your life.  You never know!  But you can bet that the people He places into your life will help you grow!  And will help them as well!  There is a saying that I saw a few months back that has made me laugh!  “You are either a blessin’ or a lesson’” And that is true of the people that you will encounter in your life!  Pray that God will give you the wisdom to be able to recognize which one they are!  Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my walk  over the last 30 years has come from spiritual growth.  Be open to all that God has for you!

The realization that God has called us to be his earthly “superheroes” is one that came into my mind while I was in the middle of a work meeting. There was the person who was conducting the meeting speaking, and all of a sudden as I listened, he started to sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  “Wahhhh wahhhh wahhhhhh!”  And all of a sudden everything in that meeting faded in the background as I came into the realization that one day all earthly things WILL fade into the background and all that will remain is the spiritual realm – which really IS our reality.  The Bible tells us that “only what you do in Christ will last.” The devil has blinded the eyes of humanity to thinking that reality is what they see before them – in the world.  The news, events – but the truth of the matter is what is going on BEHIND those events.  Not what you see with your earthly eyes.  Ask God to open up your spiritual eyes to see clearly so that you can function affectively in the spiritual realm.  Jesus is our example. 

As I sat there I had the realization that I was annoyed… I was annoyed because ALL I wanted to do was to bask at my Father’s feet and enjoy Him and I felt as though having to go through all the daily life things that I had to do was an annoyance from what I really wanted to do.  Then God revealed it to me that underneath my wordly persona – a wife, a mother, a worker and all the titles that go along with our life – was a superhero for him.  And I almost wanted to giggle as He made me think of Clark Kent hiding his true identity behind a pair of glasses and a business suit – only it was me as the world knows me.  But any of those people who REALLY know me know that behind the every day grind and daily duties that make up my life is a superhero (and at this point He showed me ME ripping off my daily clothes of which behind I am clothed in my spiritual armor as described in Ephesians 6:10-18).  My head covered with “the helmut of salvation.  My breast covered with the breast plate of righteousness.  Around my waist the belt of truth.  My feet shod with the preparation of the gospel.” (Again as in Ephesians 6:10-18) Heck! I am a Wonder Woman replica for the Lord!  (Okaaaaaaay, maybe that is a bit of exaggeration but you get my point!)

What does the world see when it sees you? What is it that you see within yourself?  Because truth be told – YOU are God’s earthly superhero!  So now it is time for you to jump up, back straight, legs a shoulder’s with apart, arms on hips, head held up, chin high.  YOU are a child of the MOST HIGH GOD – royalty!  You represent the Lord if you call yourself a Christian.  Get in tune with God.  What is it He wants you to do this day? Listen… Do you hear the cries??? Those are souls that need saving!  Hear that?  It is the Holy Spirit prompting you WHO to pray for! Where to go! What to do!  Open up your spiritual eyes to see and your ears to hear!  God’s got work for you to do!  Go in Him! Go glorify His name!  The world needs God and He’s sending you!

 

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How is Your Oil Holding Out?

                         Got Oil?

I thought I had been prepared… I had anticipated this day for as long as I could remember. What could I have done with it? Where could I have put it? HOW could I have forgotten it????

There were ten of us, you see… When we heard He was arriving, that the wedding banquet was prepared. Oh if you could only know how fast my heart was beating in my chest. I had waited for this day… Some days had been easier than others. The years had flown by and there were times in my life where I lost faith. Where I had thought He had forsaken me. There were times when I was grateful for God’s grace that He had not yet arrived.

You see, patience is not one of my strong suits. There were days that I cried out to Him, begging him to HURRY up and come! Days where I raged at the fact He was not here already.

Where was He? Why wasn’t He here already? How much more evil could these days get? And then there were days when I was disappointed with myself. Where I knew that it was clearly His grace, forgiveness and love that kept Him from coming. There were days where I was actually part of the problem… (And more then likely part of the reason for His graceful delay…)

Now He was coming and we were on route. Where had I placed my oil for my lamp? In my rush to get out the door had I forgotten it? In my absent minded mind was He arriving on a day where my faith had grown as dim as the lamp before me? Now my heart filled with trepidation.

Oh the horror of the thought that I had waited so diligently and with joy anticipating His arrival, was all that to be tossed away because He was arriving on a day where my faith was weak? Where I felt as though the Holy Spirit had left me? A day where my eyes had been removed from Him and on to my circumstances? Oh woe is me!

“May I have some of your oil?” I asked tapping the back shoulder of the virgin ahead of me.

She turned her head and threw me a look of genuine pity and shook her head. “If I give you some of mine, I may not have enough, I can’t risk that – I’m sorry…” She proceeded to quicken her steps anxious to get to Him.

My shoulders slumped, I tried to think back to where I had placed it, but the worries of the world, worries of my life had crowded in and I had been consumed with them instead of walking in faith and believing that He would supply all my needs. Fear, worry, anxiety, depression had all taken up residence in my heart and had made me lose my faith, my trust in He who is greater than any concern. I had placed importance over that which was most important above all things. I had allowed the things of the world to overtake me; consume me and turn my head to that which I had been warned not to. I was in a place I never expected to be. He had warned me over and over again to be prepared.

 The fault was mine. My faith had faltered and I had allowed myself to be weighed down with the cares of this world.

 We can’t allow ourselves to be “that girl or “that guy” – I have written from my heart because I have felt like her, honestly – more recently than not. I thank God for his mercy and His grace. Sometimes it is easy to fall in the “People-Around-the-time-of-Noah” mentality that Jesus isn’t coming back. But He’s prolonging His return BECAUSE of His grace.
  “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)

It is so easy for us to become desensitized. I have felt that way myself. This world grows with its problems and demands and there are days when I myself am wondering HOW to get through them. But we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord – like Peter did when he was walking on water. It was when Peter took his eyes off of him that he began to sink.

Are you sinking???? Cry out to God for help. Ol’ Slewfoot would have you believe that God is not listening, that you are not important enough for Him to hear your cries. That is a LIE from the pit of hell!

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It is so very easy to allow the oil of our faith to dry up. To stop believing, to become discouraged or distracted or bitter or envious or jealous of others – all those feelings are *not* of God. Cry out to Him. Talk to Him, Pray to Him.

Jesus said:

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

And also:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

We need to not leave nor forsake Him as well… And if we do – the very first step is being honest with your feelings and talk to Your Father who cares so much about you how you feel. He will revitalized your oil and make it flow like a running river.
 

Thank GOD for His grace, His mercy and His love. Our Lord is coming we MUST be ready. Help us Father. Forgive us! Guide us that ALL of us may enter the Wedding Feast and not let one of us be shut out.

In Jesus name I pray…

 AMEN

 

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Zombies really DO Exist!

 I have been thinking about Noah a lot lately… God told Noah to build a boat – and not just a tiny little boat but an Ark!  Oh how his extended family and neighbors must have ridiculed him.  They laughed at him and mocked him, yet what did Noah do?  He stayed focused.  God had given him an assignment to do and he remained focused keeping his eyes on Him.

Times have not changed all that much… What has happened in the past, still happens now.  If you are a Christian living in this day and age (especially in a liberal area) there is a very good chance that YOU have been laughed at or mocked for your faith.  Maybe you are the only Christian in your family and God has given you an assignment – the assignment is to intercede on behalf of those you around you who have not yet had those scales removed from their eyes.  They are walking in the dark.  Modern day Zombies who are existing from day to day not aware of what they don’t know.

Still you go and “build that boat.”

What has God called you to do?  Whatever it is you can bet you are part of a puzzle that we will not see the fullness there of until all is said and done.  Remember that we only see in part, while God sees in full.

Next time you are being treated badly by a modern day zombie, just remember that there was a time when YOU were one too.  The only difference between you and them is that God brought you into the knowledge of Him and the scales were removed from your eyes.   You awoken to the knowledge of what Jesus had done for you and of God’s loving grace.  As you sit there reading these words, reflect upon how you came to know Him.  And rejoice and praise God for His love, forgiveness, mercy and grace which is the only difference between you and someone who has not yet come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Remember, there ended up being  a time when that Ark God had Noah build was finished and the animals and Noah’s family were all tucked safely away in it when the rains came pouring down.  All of a sudden the mocking and laughter of those who had ridiculed Noah turned to fear and the realization that he had been right!  But it came late, for God had closed up the doors of the ark and all those mockers were lost.

The thought of that should make us more compassionate towards those who persecute us for our faith.  If Jesus was persecuted, and the apostles were persecuted there should be no surprise that we are persecuted as well.  PRAY for all those you know who are the “living zombies” and are unaware of it.  Pray that the scales will be removed from their eyes and that they won’t be lost like those in the flood.

God has called us to PRAY.  God has called us to LOVE the unlovable.  YES it is hard to love someone who hates you for who you are.  But if when dealing with them you look at them realizing that you are looking at someone who is in a spiritual war and isn’t even aware of it. PRAY FOR THEM.  Intercede for them.  Look beyond their hateful actions and think about this.   Just as the rains DID eventually come and all at that time realized that Noah’s prediction was true, Jesus IS coming again.

 

 More Words for Your Journey 

 

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God Said it – Believe it!

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

Everything within us is connected.  We are made up of a body, spirit and soul. They are connected.

The body is our outward package which houses the spirit and the soul.

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

 

The  soul connects our mind, will and emotion to our physical heart and is what makes up our personality. The soul not only is connected to our physical body (which is like a container, because the body houses both the soul and the spirit which are intricately  woven together.) but also goes hand in hand with our spirit.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

The spirit – is the very core of who we are and houses our need and dependence upon God.

“and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Those who are spiritually blind and have not come into this spiritual awakening are constantly trying to fill this void with other things (i.e. approval from people, addictions, money, prestige, etc.) The Bible talks about the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) Which only occurs when one comes into the knowledge of their salvation and the spiritual blinders are removed.

 

Learn More

The body as one grows older, goes through transformation, one passes from babyhood to childhood to adulthood.  Parents refer to this as “growing pains.” Just as our body goes through “growing pains” so does our spirit and just as we feel them within our body as we grow in Christ, God stretches us spiritually as well.  This stretching grows our trust and our relationship with the Lord and it can feel painful.  But spiritual growing pains are what help you to mature in your walk with the Lord.  God desires us to go deeper with Him.  Part of that requires dying to our self. And as we daily choose to die to ourselves (our will, our emotions, our desires) and choose to grow in Christ (His will, His desire) we flourish in all three body, soul and spirit.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Growing pains  can hurt – be it physical or spiritual, but the end results create maturity and also helps us to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.

As long as we have breath in our bodies and desire to grow in Christ we will experience spiritual growing pains.  The older we get in Christ the more we are able to look back on our walk with Him to see where He has taken us and to share our growing experiences with others that God brings into our lives.  We are able to extend our right hand of fellowship to those who might be at a different spiritual place of growth than we are, which glorifies the Lord and encourages someone else that they are not/have not gone through what they are experiencing alone. 

We are beautifully and wonderfully made by a God who has loved us beyond anything our minds can comprehend. Let us love Him with everything He has made us to be, body, soul and spirit which is the reason we were created in the first place and in doing so we fulfill our true purpose in Him.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

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Go! They Said… LIVE!

*Artwork Created By My Very Talented Pink Sister, Ria Goudswaard

“The cancer is gone! I declare you cancer-free! Go live!” The oncologist declared over me, the support staff applauding. I simply stood there looking at them blinking.

The nightmare was over? The fight had been won? Go live? HOW.

HOW

For almost seven years I have tried to “Go live” but on the grounds where the battle occurred – the scar tissue of a fight hard fought and won unbeknown to me began to grow seeds of anxiety.
  How does one live after cancer? How do you put the fear and terror aside? How do you go forward knowing fully not only has your body changed on the outside, but you yourself has changed on the in? Your life as you knew it is not the same. Almost seven years later I am still trying to go forward.

There are days when I just want to burst out in tears of frustration.   Feeling like I’m on an escalator and I don’t know where it is headed. Feeling like I have no control. How does one “live” when they are afraid? Living with fear is a cancer of another kind.

Feeling the responsibility of being given a second chance at life but afraid to make mistakes… When you go through cancer you are more keenly aware of all the mistakes you made in life.

How do you get past the fear? Life has changed as you know it. You are not the same person. The cancer is gone – but YOU remain. All you can pray in your head is, “God help me to live. Help me to know how…” I don’t KNOW how… And you think that the knowledge will come in time – but the truth of the matter is it doesn’t go away… You learn to live with it. You choose every day consciously to become better and not bitter. All of a sudden you feel like a different species of human. Those who have gone through the battle understand. Those who don’t – can’t, you haven’t been where we have (and thank God you haven’t).

There are days when I wake up and I look around my life astonished that it has changed so much. It all seems so surreal… Like I’m living a very weird unexpected dream… A failed marriage, millennium children who think differently than the children of my era; how do you get through it? By it? Around it?   You have become a different person. The people you feel closest to are other survivors who have gone through it. You cling to each other’s hands like a lifeline.

“Don’t let go! I might sink without you!”
“I won’t – don’t let go of mine either!”

Strangers that have become closer than family.

You second guess every choice you make and you live in fear or uncertainty that life will ever stabilize. You feel like you are looking around every corner because once you were taken by surprise and now that you know how that feels like, you sleep with one eye open.

You love deeper and more passionately – it happens naturally because of what you’ve been through.  I call it “bear hug love” – that’s the only way you know how to those who are important to you and remain in your life… you try not to stifle or smother those you love because you are afraid of losing them or afraid of having them lose you… They can’t fully understand…

Before life everything was in water colors – now, post cancer everything is in vibrant hues.
Such an oxymoron of becoming stronger, yet feeling so fragile…

How do I live this life with so many emotions warring inside of me? The truth is none of us is promised tomorrow – but how can I NOT let that fear influence how I live today?

How do I fit all my living into each moment? How do I not allow the fear of “what could happen” ruin my here and now? HOW?

Tick tock goes the clock… Not to be taken for granted… What’s around the corner? Don’t think about it! Walk by faith and not by sight… Okay… Tick tock – what’s around the corner? Even unspoken the thought goes…

LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!

I’m TRYING.  I  put my hands over my ears.. I hug myself closer to try and rid myself of the fear… I quote words of scripture God’s promises to wrap around me… Picking up the shattered pieces of my life, trying to make sense of it all… Who am I? Why did this happen? How do I go forward?  Stepping out on faith.  If I take your hand will you hold it forever or will you simply let go? Tick tock…  7 years have gone by – how did they go by so fast? I’m on automatic pilot.  Life has changed so drastically.  Good things have occurred but still the uncertainty and fear and surprise of having had cancer never goes away.  It NEVER fades away.
 
And my body temperature is cold ALL the time… “I’m cold Father… Help me…”

Anxiety, fear, depression – emotions you didn’t expect to feel after the battle. I don’t feel victorious. I feel timid. I don’t feel like a winner, I feel small and afraid. Like a deer who is caught in the headlights of a car and cannot move out of the way.

I look toward my Pink sisters, other women who KNOW.  Other women who understand.  We are a sisterhood of survivors.  We are a pink rover line holding each others hands we do NOT have the ability of letting each other go.  We simply can’t.  We didn’t ask to be in this line.  We were drafted.  The line is so long it seems unending.  We CRY out together in unison, “We NEED a cure! God help us and every survivor.  WE NEED A CURE.”

God help me. This is not how life was meant to be. Help me not to be afraid. Take my hand. Calm my soul. In my head I know that NO one is promised tomorrow – but please don’t let that fear take away my joy of today. If I allow that to be the case then regardless of whether or not the cancer is gone – it has won. Because with it has gone my innocence. My carefree sense of being, please renew a steadfast spirit inside of me and return to me the joy of my salvation and my healing; the joy of LIFE.

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How About That Noah?!!

 

What a day we live in!  I have been thinking of late how we forget that the Bible was written to be a guidebook for us, to help us, to encourage us to teach us, yet often it is the last place we look for wisdom and for strength.  I think back to when I first became a Christian at the age of 21, not having grown up in a Christian family, once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was introduced to the Bible, the words would jump off the pages and I would be so into what I was reading there would be nights when my head would fall asleep with my face right in the Bible!  Twenty-nine years later I am chagrined at thinking how it has become difficult to find the time to read the Word of God and how, especially at this time in history it is the answer to so many of the questions we have because it is very much the LIVING Word of God and as the Bible says:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

Also it is spiritual food for us and I have found myself discouraged, depressed, depleted and anxious when I don’t take time to read it.  It is spiritual food for our soul.  It was written for a purpose and the purpose was for us to grow in our relationship with Him.

The fascinating thing I have found is how as I have grown in my walk with the Lord what I have read has been stored within my heart.  Reading the Word of God helps us to hide his Word in our heart and often time we don’t even know that is occurring until a scripture just jumps out in our minds! I get tickled by this because it is the Holy Spirit bringing forward a word of encouragement to my remembrance when I am praying for answers.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  (Proverbs 3:5).

The Bible is also a map for us.  I was thinking this week about the days of Noah, how often we forget that that is a TRUE story, one that can be applied to our lives today.  As I have thought about the world today and how many do not choose to follow God’s Word or believe it I think about examples of such times as are written in the Bible.  The people in Noah’s time thought he was insane.  Building a boat when there wasn’t any rain.  They laughed at him.  They mocked him, they made fun of him, they went on living, working, marrying, carrying on with their lives (such as we do today) not heeding God’s warning or Noah’s words.  Then the day of rains came.  Can you imagine the shock and horror of the people when they realized that all along what Noah had been doing was right?  It was too late!  The world hasn’t changed.  The Bible talks about the days to come, yet still we go through life not believing, not giving it much thought that what God’s Word says will come to pass.  Just as in the days of Noah.  Just as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Even as a Christian I can see my own faults, weaknesses and sins before me.  It is so easy to get discouraged – especially during the times when God feels so far away.  Ol’ Slewfoot and his dominions would have us really believe that God IS dead.  That He is not concerned with us, our needs or our lives.  He would have us doubt God’s promises and turn away. He would have us be discouraged or disheartened.  But the TRUTH of the matter is that God LOVES us.  That He is NOT dead.  That He is very much alive.  That He CARES.  We live in a day and age where people are looking those of us who are Christians and struggling and they mock us and laugh at us and wonder WHY we would serve a God who clearly makes us suffer.  And sometimes, as a cancer survivor who is struggling to make ends meet for my family – I DO question God.  I ask Him WHY.  When it seems like what is such a big problem for us is a little “ant hill” to Him.  WHY doesn’t He just alleviate the difficulty I have. WHY do I go through the things I go through when I have a Father who could just snap His fingers and take away my burdens like He was flicking a piece of lint off His shoulder and honestly there are times when I rage and I cry before Him and I ask Him, “Lord HOW do you receive the glory in my being burdened by A,B,C??? Why won’t you help ME??? Your Word says, “If I being evil give good gifts to my children how much more so will you help ME?” (Matthew 7:11)  There are times when I cry out to Him, “Abba Father!!!!” And He seems quiet.  He seems distant and far away.  That is when the scripture promise I cling to:

“I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

And I have to remind myself that regardless of whether or not I understand what I am going through.  The Bible also tells me:

“The steps of the righteous are ordained by God.” (Psalms 37:23)

Remembering that my righteousness is NOT my own – that I have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ – who loved me enough to die on the cross for forgiveness of my sins.

I know without a doubt within my soul – that also as the Bible says: 

 “He is the way, the truth and the life.  The ONLY way to Heaven.” (John 14:6)

He is: 

The peace that passes ALL understanding.”(Philippians 4:7)

You see?  In reading His Word, I have hidden such scriptures in my heart.  The faith part comes with BELIEVING them.  STANDING on them.  Holding FAST to them.  Not to go by my feelings – but to know that my Heavenly Father cares.  He’s There.  The Word also tells me:

“He is an ever present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

He is:

“The lifter of my head.” (Psalms 3:3)

I can trust Him.  He knows what He is doing.  Jesus even said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

We are living in a time where we have to choose who we are going to believe.  satan or God.  We have to decide who’s voice we are going to listen to.  It is NOT easy.  It is so easy to feel as though God is far away – especially when we look around at ALL the things that are going on in the world.  There is NO common sense anymore.  There is NO common courtesy.  Even Christians are not living and walking in the manner that God intended them to walk.  The Bride is NOT ready.  We have become wordly – and we need to ask God to forgive us and to help us be ALL that He intended us to be. 

The Bible talks about the days to come.  The last days. 

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2nd Timothy 3:2 – 3:5)

It is SPELLED OUT right on the pages of the Word of God.  So WHY does it come as such a shock to us when we hear about it in the news, when we see it happening right before our eyes?  When we find OURSELVES acting in a manner that does not glorify God? 

When I look on my life over the last 29 years of being a Christian.  My answer to those who see me struggle as a cancer survivor, a divorced woman raising two of her three children on her own.  My answer is – don’t look at ME.  Look at HIM.   I am not IN this life because of what God can do for me – although daily I hope He will help me with the burdens I carry and the things I go through in life.  But the fact of the matter is I love Him and have become a Christian not for what he can DO for me, but for what He has DONE for me.  He died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins.  He made a way for me to be able to enter into a relationship with God the Father because of His obedience.  He made a way through His shed blood for me to be able to go to Heaven when I die.  NOT because of anything I have done but because of WHAT HE has done.  I am in it because I love Him.  I am in it because I trust Him – even when I rage and have temper tantrums.  I am in it because I know that His Word (regardless of how in frequently I have taken time to read it myself of late) is TRUE and the Words written in God’s book – The BIBLE WILL come to pass regardless of those who think is nonsense.  Just as in the examples He has allowed those God inspired men He used to write it, write it for us to read.  He wrote it as a love story for us – so that we would be encouraged.  So that we would SEE how MUCH God love us.  The choice (which he also gave us – free choice) is OURS.

As you look out at the world and the things that are occurring around you – what will YOU choose to believe?  Where is your hope? How do YOU go forward in life in a world that often times seems as though it is growing darker and darker.  (It is…) But if you read the same Word that I read – you will be encouraged to know that Jesus said:

“He is the Way, The Truth and the Life.” John 14:6)

  We only need to walk in it… I’m going to continue trying – how about you?



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Time to Fight! – You Are At War Soldier, Pick Up Your Weapons and FIGHT!

 
You can either use the weapons God has given you to fight this war you are in or you can be defeated – which will you do? The choice is up to you.

I often wonder what God thinks of us… Does He sit up there in Heaven shaking His Head? Thinking, “I’ve given them a guidebook – The Bible. I’ve given them the tools – prayer and STILL they run around like turkeys with their heads cut off?”

How does God tolerate us? We are (as the Bible has indicated in the Old Testament) a “stiff necked” people. We should rejoice and praise God for His patience and grace with us. I include myself amongst that number. Sometimes the answer is so obvious we don’t see it! Last week my chapel had a movie night – they showed a movie I had not had a chance to see called, “The War Room.” How appropriately entitled it was because the truth of the matter is – WE ARE AT WAR. We are in the middle of a spiritual war and even if we choose not to recognize the truth of that matter – it is occurring and happening ALL around us. We can choose to acknowledge it and participate on the winning side – the side of the Lord or we can choose to hide our heads in the sand like ostriches and act as though nothing is going on around us. This does not mean that in doing so you will not be choosing by not choosing, either way – you make a choice as to whose side you will be on. The fact of the matter is we ARE in a spiritual war and just because you cannot see the spiritual side of what is going on does not mean that the war is not taking place.

God has given us the weapon and tool of prayer to bring those things that concern us to His attention. We are able, through the shed blood of Jesus, to come boldly to His throne by way of the cross and submit things to God through prayer. The War Room Movie portrayed in a very effective manner how God hears and answers prayer.

I felt convicted and greatly encouraged at the same time after watching the movie. It is a movie I highly recommend! It made me excited to pray. I have always “talked to God” but this movie lit a fire underneath me and furthered my desire to pray. You see, prayer is a two way conversation with God. It’s not a soliloquy – it is bringing those things that are on your mind and in your heart before God for His attention and answer. The Bible tells us that God knows our thoughts before we even think them – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek Him through prayer. I find it exciting to see when I have brought things before my Father and He answers! No matter what that answer is, I know that God cares and that He is listening! He desires us to come to Him in prayer.

I think one of the biggest attacks of ol’ slewfoot is our not believing that God cares enough to answer prayer – God does! And I have found that my peace and encouragement has come through being submissive and obedient through praying. I can do NOTHING in and of myself – but when I bring the attention of things that concern me, trouble me, bother me or things I just plain want to know what God would have me do – I pray! Prayer should not be a drudgery, it should be a time of conversation with your Father. If you find prayer to be a drag – you simply need to find a better way to approach it! You don’t have to be sitting in a pew to approach your Heavenly Father (although that is a place of quiet and I find it to be a place where I can be alone without interruption before my Father). You can talk to God ANYWHERE. Perhaps go for a walk? Go for a drive – I will say that working two jobs and being a divorced mother with two children, there have been many a day when I have (while caught in traffic) had long conversations with my Father while driving in to work. I’m quite sure that people seeing my lips moving and an occasional hand gesturing while in traffic, driving have probably thought I was insane – but some of my best conversations with my Father have been at times such as these.

The truth of the matter is you can pray ANYWHERE. In the movie The War Room the women cleaned out there closets and used them as “prayer closets.” I thought that was a creative idea. I opened the door of my walk in closet and got totally distracted by ALL the junk I have folded up and stored in there and not liking small enclosed spaces, I decided instead that I would use my bedroom as my “prayer closet.” I grabbed a notebook and began to write my prayer requests down as I brought them to the attention of my Father. It is amazing how quickly time goes by when you are focused on praying and communicating things that are important to you, things that you are seeking an answer from with your Heavenly Father. Two hours quickly went by and I had only touched the surface of all the things that were in my mind and on my heart. Next to each item I had brought to God’s attention I drew a line. A line to which once I have received an answer from God I will fill in next to that item. God ANSWERS prayer. I want to record when He answered as well as what that answer was. It is exciting when you see that God hears you. That He cares. I find it greatly encouraging when I have received an answer from the Lord, even if the answer is one that I did not expect. There is NO GREATER JOY than being in the center of God’s will. Even being sure of what God’s will is. There have been so many weeks lately, where I have thought about Moses, and how He was focused upon going up that mountain and seeing and hearing from God. He came back down with His face radiating the glory of His time with God. I want that! I want to have the assurance that I know what God wants for me! That He and I have this amazing relationship – communicating. I want that! With the knowledge of what God’s will is comes that peace that passes all understanding and that is something that in this day and age we badly need.

Do you believe in prayer? Have you tried it? Of course the first step is making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior – the first prayer you should be praying or an example of one is that which allows you to come before the Father and the only one who provides that bridge is Jesus. He died on the cross for forgiveness of our sins and the ONLY WAY to come to the Father is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In order to do so, you have to pray a prayer such as this:

“Father God, I come before You through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ who has made a way where previously there was no way. I believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, that He lived and was crucified on the cross for forgiveness of my sins and that He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I ask, Jesus that You would come in to my life and be my Lord and Savior. I thank You in Jesus name I pray. AMEN.”

The Bible tells us:

“God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

There is NO greater joy than being in a relationship with your Creator. I have fallen tremendously in love with my Father over the last 29 years I have been a Christian (since I myself prayed that prayer). I have had struggles and victories that have come only because of Him and through Him. I believe that life is a journey for each of us. Each of our journeys are as unique and different as our hand prints. God has NO favors. He loves YOU. He wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants you to know Him. The best way to do that is through His instructional book (The Bible) and through prayer (conversation with Him). You don’t have to believe my words – just TRY what I have written and see for yourself. When I came to Christ and prayed that prayer my conversation with God was, “Okay Lord – IF you are REAL YOU need to reveal yourself to ME. IF we are to have a relationship as I am being told we can – I need YOU to prove it. Not because of what people tell me – but because of what YOU tell me and what YOU do.” In the 29 years since I have said that to Him – He has shown me that He is real in only a way I can receive it. He WILL do the same for you. As I have said throughout my blog – I don’t have all the answers, I am FAR from perfect and there is much work that God is doing with me. BUT I DO KNOW WHO IT IS WHO HAS THE ANSWERS and I can direct you to Him. We were created to have a relationship with God, throughout our lives we constantly try to fill it with other things – but the truth of the matter is – the only one who can fill that void in us is God. We were made to be in a relationship with Him, it is only when we realize that and acknowledge our need for Him that we are able to be filled with that peace that passes all understanding that can ONLY come from being with Him. The Bible tells us:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

Honestly, there is no greater joy. No matter the turmoil and spiritual war that is around us – and as you can hear from the news our world is in turmoil. The only One who can restore our peace is our Creator. Prayer is our greatest weapon against confusion, discouragement, depression, anxiety and all the things that would bring you down. TRY IT. See for yourself. God is good, He is real, He loves you and He cares.

Posted by The Prodigal Daughter

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The Me You See – Dedicated to My Pink Sisters

I was never a fearful person before cancer.  I think when you go through a life threatening illness at the time you stoically go through it because you have no choice. I had no choice.  Treatment is so regimented it is like you have been drafted in an army… 

Actually, I was drafted into an army – a Pink Rover Line that is so long and so wide that it would surprise you.

Cancer is no respecter of persons, it doesn’t matter your financial status, your race, your religion, your age. Once you get drafted, you are drafted and the drafting will leave you shell shocked but before you can even wrap your brain around WHAT is happening you are enrolled in a regimen that you have no choice but to be an active participant in.

I suppose it is a good thing that it is so regimented because it doesn’t give you much time to really think.  You go from doctor to doctor to oncologist to nurse, to surgery, treatment, radiation – in such a manner that it physically wears you out.  Chemo is no walk in the park.  I remember my first round.  I was a newbie, doing what I was told to do.  I came armed with books, my cell phone, my laptop. It was going to be okay, I was use to multi-tasking. Holding out my arm for the IV I said, “Here I am!  I got this!”  And then came the first dose… It takes hours… And the chemo I had is nicknamed “The Red Devil” for a reason. That chemo is NO joke – it means business as it runs through your veins.  Six years later I can still recall the taste, the smell the feeling of that chemo going through my body.  It hit hard and like a red tidal wave rushed with my blood through my veins to every part of my being.  I couldn’t read, I couldn’t type, all I could do was feel and what I felt was exhaustion.  It was like something I had never experienced before and would not have known what to expect.

That first night, I could taste it, I could smell it, it was in my pores.  Exhausted I went back to my childhood home and collapsed on the bed.  That night I had nightmares, I dreamt of hell and heat and sulfur and woke up scared out of my mind, my heart racing, my skin drenched in sweat.  No matter what I did during that time of treatment with Adriamycin, cytoxan and Taxol – I could not get that smell out of my nostrils.

The thing about treatment is this – that in a sense it is so regimented that you don’t have much time to think – you just go through.  For me, that was my saving grace – I followed a treatment schedule, I was in the Pink Army now.  “Deal with it Soldier! You don’t have a choice!”  So I did.

Early detection is key – I cannot say that enough.  After rounds of two different types of chemotherapy (I hope I remember this right… Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol) and then I endured 35 rounds of radiation.  Radiation – a crazy thing that takes what looks like a red laser to your cancer site location and burns the absolute hell out of your skin in the matter of minutes. But it works… It’s role, to make sure it obliterates any cancer cells that *might* have survived those rounds of chemotherapy. Honestly, worse than any beach sunburn (while using baby oil) that a person has ever gone through, but you do it because you are in the army now, it is part of the regimen AND it works. And really, you don’t have a choice.

The second hardest part (and I say second, because the first hardest part is hearing you’ve been diagnosed with cancer) is post treatment life.  This is the time when you have done your time in the Treatment Service and all of a sudden – you are done.  You are cancer-free.  Some people choose to use the repulsive term “in remission” but those are the people who are sitting there “waiting” for the cancer to return.  I was not part of that delegated group.  Nor will I EVER be.  I was declared, “cancer-free” with a shake of the hand and a congratulations, I was released.

Released.

What next?? Actual time to think? What happened? I looked around and all of a sudden a flood of feelings hit me like a tsunami.  WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT NOW?  HOW? WHY?

All those feelings came upon me like a floodgate. Not only did cancer affect my body – it affected my life.  I became keenly aware during the time I was in the Pink Army Regimen of treatment of who outside my Pink world had abandoned me. People I NEVER would have guessed.  People who were close to me who while I was sick didn’t know how to talk to me.  I was still the same person, I hadn’t changed – cancer happened TO ME it wasn’t what I had become.  Yet in looking at me perhaps it made them look at their own mortality and they were “awkward” with me.   They didn’t know how to identify with me anymore. It seemed like there was a lot of “head nodding” and fake smiling and small talk which perhaps they didn’t think I could pick up on… But I did.  I don’t blame them, I get it – you don’t have common ground anymore.  You have never been where I was.  This is where the  bond between my Pink Sisters came in.  My Pink family, “the girls” the ones who got it.  The ones who knew.  We could just look at each other and get it.  We could act as goof-bally as we wanted or cry or scream or vent or laugh like crazy women and we got it.  WHY because we understood.  We understood that we were drafted, that this wasn’t our fault, that we had no control over it.  We were there for each other – holding tight to each-others hands – not letting go.  In many of our cases the holding of those hands (emotionally speaking) was what kept us fighting.  For those of us who experienced people we loved falling away from us – those hands became lifelines.  Holding on for dear life.

It’s been six years.  Some would say, “why are you still talking about it?  You’ve been healed! You are cancer-free! MOVE ON!” To which I would look at them with a mix of emotions – anger, pity, rage, sorrow and disdain because unless you are a survivor you have no idea how very difficult that is.  Each of our journeys have been individual, unique.  Each experience different.  The thing about the Pinks is that we understand that.  We allow each other to feel whatever it is we feel.  It’s okay if you’re angry, or scared, or sad, or whatever you  feel  – ALLOW yourself to feel it.  It’s okay.  That’s the difference between a survivor and someone who hasn’t been through what we’ve gone through.

I don’t say any of what I’ve written in bitterness.  God has given me a second chance at life, and I am every day thankful.  I have Pink sisters who didn’t make it and they were no less deserving than I. 

I’m not the same person I was prior to cancer.  My life has changed, my body has changed, my family has changed.  I’m still trying to come to terms with it.  Some days are easier than others.  Some not. I didn’t ask for cancer to happen to me.  I didn’t ask for my life to change – but I was drafted.  I have chosen not to become bitter – but there are times when I don’t know HOW to become better.  I hurt. Even as a Christian, I feel lost along the way.  There feels like there is such a responsibility to being given  the gift of a second chance at life – but there are added responsibilities that are due to the fabric of my life changing so drastically.  I did not sign up for this, I did not expect this.  The range of emotions I go through from gratitude to anger, to intensive fear is something I suppose will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I know that this is something that my Pink sisters feel too.  Cancer is not just about what affects the body, it affects all of what makes YOU you.

If I were to be truly transparent – I would have to say that more than the fear of going through it again (which a survivor worries about every time they go for that next oncology appointment, because you didn’t expect to get cancer in the first place – once bitten twice shy) – and that fear comes up every time you walk through those hospital doors. Even after 6 years the fear always comes up with every appointment.

But more than that – the fear of being loved and left again.  The fear of being hurt.  The fear of being alone is one that for those of us who went through it and saw people walk away from us is something that is a scar as real as any surgical scar. It’s the PSD following the Pink drafting.  The residue of what is left as you try to pick up those pieces (and even after 6 years I’m still picking them up) and move forward.

What encouraging advice can I give? The good that has come from cancer? The rainbow after the storm?  I can say that you learn to love deeper.  Like a tornado that unexpectedly comes upon the house of you – it rips the hinges of your bullshit meter door right off your house.  GONE.  You no longer have the capacity to deal with bullshit or pettiness or drama.  WHY? Because you realize how short life is.  You have had a crash course in what is important and what is not.  Many survivors have become just raw.  We have a tendency not to sugarcoat ANYTHING.  We ARE the REAL McCoy.  We tell it like it is.

That’s refreshing.  And if a survivor loves you – you are in for an intimate full blown love affair like you have never experienced in your life.  Survivors love completely, passionately with all their hearts because they know that no one is promised tomorrow. NOT ANYONE OF US – all though we all live like God owes it to us – He does not.  So being around a cancer survivor can be refreshing because they are honest and straightforward and to the point… At least most of us…

I choose not to live in bitterness – I choose to become better, but I am a work in progress.  I get filled with fear of the unknown.  I  get scared…  When you go through cancer, you learn to depend upon yourself because honestly – NO ONE is going through it WITH YOU.  It is happening to YOU.  It isn’t until it is all said and done that you are even able to think what it must have been like for your loved ones (the ones that chose to hang around) because during the treatment regimen it is taking ALL it can for you to get through it.  You don’t mean to be selfish or self-involved, it just leaves you no choice.

Six years later – my life has changed.  I can see the better now.  There IS a rainbow after the storm.  You just have to believe and wait and see.  And most of all – walk in forgiveness and love and trust that even if you don’t know the WHY of it.  God sees everything in its fullness.  After the worst of the storms comes some of the MOST beautiful rainbows.  I see it now – the rainbow… Sometimes it feels a lot farther off in the future than it actually is, but that is all about perception.  The fact is – it’s there.  You just have to look hard enough for it…    

 More Words For Your Journey

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The Rawness of Me – No There is No “Pretty Pink Ribbon” About It…

They say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… I don’t know about that… There are days when I don’t “feel” strong. There are many days since cancer, that I just feel plain vulnerable. Cancer took a lot of things away from me and stripped me of a naiveté I didn’t know I had. It showed me who would be there for me and revealed who wouldn’t. It left it’s mark on my body – but more than changing my body – it changed who I am. I found out about myself – I don’t trust easy, I don’t believe mere words, I know what it is like to believe people will be there and then they are not. I learned to grow dependent upon myself and upon God. I chose to become better and *not* bitter. Cancer (like a tornado)  took the screen door called bullshit clear off “the house of me,” what you see in me is a woman who is genuine, who does not play games, who does not get caught up in drama, who does not sugarcoat, who is strong because she had no choice but to become strong. The tide of cancer washed away a lot of things in my life that I honestly had thought were solid, stable pillars. It made me realize what is really important and what isn’t. My life use to be in beautiful water color type hues – but now it is in vibrant passionate colors.  

I know what I want, to live an uncomplicated  “Henry David Thoreau” simplicity type of life in the middle of nature  – writing for the Lord, building people up, loving wholeheartedly and being surrounded by those I love.  I love fiercely with ALL that I am because I know that tomorrow is not promised to me. Wholeheartedly without reserve, without pretense, without games, without stipulations or hidden agendas or expectations or “strings attached.” It sharpened my God given gift of having a discerning Spirit.  I can see through the crap and through games.

I notice everything (even if I don’t mention what I see). I think that having experienced cancer gave me an “honest strength.”  Yes, there is definitely a vulnerability within me – one that is so scared to screw up living. One can’t help but feel a huge responsibility when one is given a second chance at life. The only zombies I believe exist are people who are living empty lives. Chasing things like a “dog chasing their tail” people who just don’t get it – they want “MORE” and are never satisfied with what they have. They are superficial and one dimensional. They think there is someone or something “better” out there and what happens is they miss out on the blessing before them because they can’t recognize its right in front of their very eyes. They are living, but really – they are who the Jones’ really are – the walking dead.  It shouldn’t take a life threatening illness for people to wake up to what is important in life – I think most of us think that the bad things in life “will never happen to us” – but it can and it does.  Cancer is no respecter of persons – be it wealth, race or age. So think about what you really want out of life.  Someone once said to me as a child, “If you have your health you have everything” – I didn’t realize until after cancer how true that is.  Love double-fisted. SHOW people that you love that you love them – DON’T wait. SHOW THEM NOW. Tell them! People NEED to be told – and often!  If you have been hurt in your past, don’t allow that past hurt from keeping you from being loved.  If you do, the only one who is hurting you – IS YOU. Holding back could keep you from the very thing you have been longing for. Life is waaaaaaay too short for that.  Be open to allow yourself to BE LOVED.  You just *might* be surprised. 

YES, I can admit to feeling vulnerable but I don’t think that is a weakness. I think admitting it shows my strength. A person can be vulnerable and wise at the same time. What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger – no, what didn’t kill me made me wiser, took the pretenses off my life and showed me that all I want is to live a life of simplicity, honesty, and love and that I am not dependent upon myself – but on God who holds my life in His hands.  It also taught me to pay it forward in ANY way I can – I am doing just that because I know that the best is truly yet to come… Come “best” I’m ready for you.   

More Words for Your Journey

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The Undefeated Soldier

She was down for the count, face first into the mud.  She’d fallen for the enemy’s trick yet again! She should have known better, she had been trudging through the mud for the past 28 years.  Had it really been 28 years?  She could still remember when she had first received her shiny new soldier’s fatigues.  How she wore them with such pride.  How she had been ready, willing, determined and able!
“Yes let’s go kick enemy butt!” She had said courageously puffing up her chest and ready to spring forward.

Had that really been 28 years ago?  There had been a spring in her step and determination in her eyes.  That was when she hadn’t personally known that the enemy would not fight fair.  It had not occurred to her that he and his dominions had been studying her since birth.  Knew her every weakness and temptation, she had not thought the battle would be so vicious.  But the enemy did not fight fair.

Her army fatigues were faded.  She was weary, though still she pressed on.  She had to.  She believed in what she was fighting for.  She had loved ones that (although they didn’t know it) were counting on her. She couldn’t give in, couldn’t give up.  She had to stay focused. Her steps were ordained by God.

There were times when the mud on the road got thick, so think she had compared it in her head to what it must feel like to walk in molasses.  Sometimes it pulled at her body giving her the sensation that she was sinking, like that of quick sand.

Give in, give up.” The mud seemed to say as it pulled her body down deeper into it, sometimes as high up as her thighs.  There were times when she could hear the enemy taunting her, “Who do you think you are? Do you really think He can use you??? Your sins are ever before you.  Why remember when you did this? Or when you did that? You weren’t thinking of Him then were you?” And the enemy would laugh a malicious laugh.

“GOD!” She would cry out as the battle sometimes got too heated, “Abba Father! Jesus I neeeeeeeed YOU!!!!” Then she would feel the mud drop its hold from her.

She cringed at temptations she had given in to, the times when she had followed not what her commander had instructed, but had gone by her own feelings, times when she had lost focus and gone off course.   Those were the times where she had just wanted to stop and wallow in the mud.  But she couldn’t because the cost was too high.  She had willfully enlisted, on her own accord.  And even when she was at her weakest moment – she still believed.  Deep in her heart she knew that because she had given Christ her heart.  She knew that it wasn’t her strength – but HIS.

There were times when she just wanted Him to hurry up and call them all home, but she knew that was selfish.  There were still many who needed to hear the truth.  To hear the message and be set free.  The battle would continue on until God deemed it OVER.  It was already FINISHED, but until He said it was over she would keep going.  Keep praying, keep, fighting, keep believing.

She had her weapon firmly in her hand – The Word of God.  Over the course of the 28 years a lot of it had gone from the pages of the Bible into the depth in her heart for her to call upon her promises whenever the battle got heated.  Oh how the enemy cringed when she spoke out her promises out loud.

“I will trust in the Lord with ALL my heart and I will *not* lean to my own understanding.  In ALL my ways I will acknowledge Him and He will make straight my path!” (Proverbs 3:5) (Emphasis, her own for she had personalized it…)  After all, THIS was personal…

She had gotten to the point where she (more often than not) could recognize the enemy’s tactics, as they often resorted to the same tricks over and over again.  Sometimes they worked and she would have fall into the trap to regain her footing.  She was 48 years old.  She had enlisted 28 years ago, which still left 20 years of old habits and old ways of thinking to muddle through.  Never had it been easy.  She would get mad at herself for falling for the same trick and temptation over again.  She had always been for the motto, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice – shame on me.”  Sometimes she had literally walked right into it.  How humbling it was realizing she had fallen for the same trick yet again.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” (Psalms 51:10-13).

“I’m tired Lord,” She would state when the going got particularly rough.

“Not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)

“I’m tired Father…”

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) Would come the response.

Every step of the way her leader would speak words of encouragement.  Unbeknown to her was in the spiritual realm the angels that fought in front and behind her. She stood not alone.  To her right and back and front were others who had heard the calling and had on their own accord enlisted the same as she.   She knew the number of her days God would fulfill.  Her life’s purpose all about Him, although the battle at times got fierce, and she got weary, she would continue fighting as long as the Lord commanded her to fight.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess, 4:16-18). 

She loved Him, completely with all her heart, with all her soul with all her mind, in spite of all her faults and imperfections.  But it was never about her being “perfect.” No, there was only One who was perfect and that was Jesus.  How could she not love Him? He had given His life for her. The keys to winning the battle was to acknowledge that it was nothing but His grace, His forgiveness, His mercy, His love and His sacrifice that kept her going.  Whens he was at her weariest she would think on these words:

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength— he will make my feet like those of a deer, equipping me to tread on my mountain heights. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)

You see, it wasn’t until the scales had been removed from her spiritual eyes that she had known what real love was, the most unselfish love of all.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have ever lasting life.” (John 3:16)

With a new burst of energy, she picked herself up out of the mud, wiped the dirt off her face and stood with her back straight and her chin up.

“Okay satan – so you got me on that round.  You won that fight, you tripped me up in a moment of weakness and temptation –  but let me remind you of this – You *may* have won that round with me but YOU have already been defeated in the war.  Jesus DEFEATED YOU by His shed blood and the work He accomplished on the cross.  So laugh at the way you just tripped me up – but look at me?  STILL I RISE.  And I will go forward in His name and I will fight with every bit of strength I have within me.  And when I sin, I will confess my sin and ask for His strength so I will be stronger the next time around.  Because my strength is not my own – it is HIS.  I shall plead His shed blood down upon me and He will wash me clean! Because I belong to HIM. And every time I fall – I will rise UP again because my Savior lives! And just so that you know for me, to LIVE is Christ, to die is to gain because I know that the number of my days HE will fulfill and I also know that it is in Jesus’ name I pray! AMEN”

… Did you hear that?  It’s the sound of the enemy and his cohorts shrieking.  The fiery darts that they tried to throw her way have reversed in direction mid-air and they have become the target.  God is on His throne and in control… The thing is, He always has been, since the beginning of time. More Words for Your Journey

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The Battlefield

 (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

Waking up she sat forward, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes; with a yawn she stretched her arms over her head and then ran a hand threw her wayward sleep tossled curls and turned her eyes towards the stunning view outside as a new day began to gloriously dawn…
The field was perfect for battle, both sides positioned at opposite ends, ready to die for their cause – they stood upon the territory for which they battled, lines drawn. Just waiting for the signal to charge…
“Which side will you choose today?” The raspy voice spat out. “Make up your mind!” He tapped a toe in impatient exasperation waiting for the response.

The beautiful view quickly turned grey as the worries began to infiltrate her mind, like a rain cloud coming in to overshadow the sun.
She frowned. The worries were ugly black creatures known to wait until the wee hours of morning to harass and wake one up from their sleep, while whispering taunts in one’s ear.

“How are you going to resolve this problem or this one…. or this one… or this one…”

They were notorious for stealing a person’s peace and filling them with fear and worry. The more of an ear you give them, the louder and more aggressive they became. Their biggest trick, to taunt and repeat the same thing over and over again…

“You have to take care of A,B,C – but you can’t… Because all you have is this… How are you going to do it? You can’t.. There will be ramifications… You are in trouble…”

Louder and louder they became because they are “faith drowners.” If she listened to the worries, the voice of her faith would become a whisper, and eventually it would blow out like a fire that becomes nothing more than an ember and she knew that if she were not careful and let them multiply and over throw her thoughts, they could totally blow the fire of her faith, leaving a residue of smoke.

“NO!” She shouted covering her head with her hands. “Go AWAY in Jesus’ name!” She slammed her hand down on the covers of her bed.

One side of the army cringed and shrank back a step. The other side took up the step lost by the other side. Ready to move forward.

The worries scattered like roaches running from a turned on light.

She threw the covers off her legs and touched a toe down on the ground. It was time to get up. The armies waited in expectation – waiting to charge forward at the command.

She was opening her mouth, she knew what she had to do to eradicate the thoughts… Both sides stood poised like runners waiting for a gun to give off a shot to start a race.

“This is the day the Lord has made… I will rejoice and be glad in it!” She said it with confidence and determination and with authority. Both feet on the floor, hands on her hips.

The side that had lost a step, grimaced again and stepped further back. The side that had gained a step’s armor began to glow with a light. They moved forward raising their swords high and confidently positioning their gigantic shields in front of their chests. They moved foward in unison, line by line as the other side shrank back, also in unison another step with fear on their faces.

“Father God I give YOU this day. I thank you for it! I come before you and I give YOU all my worries! I place them each at the foot of your cross! I may not be able to do anything about them but I have a Father who can! Greater is He that is in me than he that is within the world!” (1 John 4:4)

Clank came the sound of sword against sword as the two sides began to battle. The radiating side growing more and more radiant with each prayer and scripture she quoted as she continued to pray.

“No!” Rasped the voice of the captain from the other side. “Stop her from praying!” He sent troops over to a side of the field which was not infiltrated by the other army.

“What are you talking about?” They taunted her back, sneering. “You are sinful and willfull and disobedient. God is not going to help you. Look at you, you keep struggling with the same issues over and over again like a dog chasing her tail. And it will be that way all your life! You will never have enough to do anything else but struggle, no matter what you do. You call your life victorious? Ha!” They shot off their fiery arrows into the sky trying to gain back the territory they had lost.

“NO!” She shouted. The battle was on full forced now. Army against army a full fledged battle. Metal clashing against metal.

“It is true, my righteousness is as filthy rags!” (Isaiah 64:6) “And I could never defeat you on my own accord. But I don’t come before you in my own righteousness. But in the righteousness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Who made a way for me when there was no way! I am fully clothed in the righteousness He has provided for me by the power of His shed blood! He came so that I could have life and have it more abundantly! (John 10:10), and I know that it is not by power, not by might but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) that I am able to do ALL things. He is my provider, He is my rock – He is my Lord! And I choose to believe His promises to me this day! Because I know that He is the same, yesterday, today as He will be tomorrow! (Hebrews 13:8). My confidence and faith is not in myself – but in HIM!”

Screams of pain came from the losing side as the radiating army’s swords met their mark, causing many members of the other side to fall and as they fell they to disappear in clouds of dark black smoke. As quickly as they fell the line behind them would take up position and rise to the front as the battle roared on.

“I dress myself in the helmet of Salvation!” She stated boldly, using a hand motion as if to dress and put an invisible yet powerful helmut upon her head. “I put on the breast plate of righteousness! Around my waist I put the belt of truth! I shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel, pick up my shield of faith and my sword of the spirit!” (taken from Ephesians 6:14) Although in the earthly realm these garments could not be seen, in the spiritual realm her armor dressed her body as fine as any soldier ever had. Glowing with the same intense glow of the radiating army that was currently defeating the other side. The fiery darts being aimed at her bounced off the shield that she had raised real high. “Lord, I choose YOU today in whatever I do and wherever I go! I give this day to YOU. I ask that You would be glorified this day. If there be any evil within me I pray that you would remove it. I ask that you transform and renew my mind and I thank you for the victory over every area of my life that needs Your touch. Forgive me for my sins, wash me with the precious blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Be glorified this day in Jesus name I pray! AMEN”

The radiating army shimmered with a glorious bright light, growing brighter with each word she prayed and crashed down upon the losing side with a holy fierceness. As members of the opposite side fell in defeat, they screamed in pain and disappeared in puffs of black smoke.

“She has chosen! Be gone! You are defeated with the blood of Jesus!” Shouted the radiating captain to the opposing captain as he pierced his chest with the sword of truth.

“Ahhhhhhh!!!” Screamed the defeated Captain in excruciating pain, clutching his chest with a black claw., spittle forming at his mouth, “You may have won this day! But we will return! of that you can be sure!” And he disappeared in a puff of black smoke along with each member of his line and the line behind him, and the line behind them, until none remained.

The battlefield was clear. The radiating army stood upon its ground. A joyous shout of victory went out. The captain raised his hands to simmer them down. “We may have won this battle, but the war is far from over. Take cover and be prepared, for the enemy will surely return and try to regain what ground they have lost. We need to take cover, wait and be prepared for they will return.”

One sneaky little enemy unseen by the radiating, rejoicing army peaked out from his hidden spot a short distance away. Clutching the inner part of the girl’s ear with a claw and whispering into it, “they may have won on the battlefield of your mind today, but tomorrow is another day and rest assured we’ll be baaaaacccck…”

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A Modern – Yet Very Old Tale

    How did I ever get to this point?”  She wondered as she stood there shivering, trying to inconspicuously pull up the strap of her shift, which had fallen off her left shoulder.  she shivered, scantily clad, not having been given the opportunity to put on a robe or cover herself with something of substance.  Never before had she been more aware of her life situation. Her gaze was downward, she didn’t need to lift her eyes to see the accusing and angry eyes blazing over her. The men surrounded her, poised to throw the stones they held in their hands.  Their aim directed at their target, which in this case was her.

It would be over soon.  She prayed that when the first stone was thrown, that it would hit her directly in the temple and knock her out, or quickly kill her.  She knew that she deserved what was coming, and received their judgment as justified.  She dare not lift up her eyes, for fear accusation would show in her own eyes for those who she knew had secretly partaken with other women for the same reason she stood before them now.  It was not her place to accuse, her own sins were boldly before her.  

Although she wouldn’t look up, she did allow herself  a quick glance sideways at the man she had been found with. He stood way off to the distance clearly begging his wife for forgiveness, promising her anything to come back into her good graces.  She knew this because he was actually groveling at his wife’s feet, his wife’s arms crossed against her chest, listening to his ridiculous pleas and promises with disdain.  Would his wife forgive him? Probably.  It was hard to believe that this was the same man who had sworn she was his “one true love” the “only one who ever understood him, believed in him or had accepted him for who he truly was.”  Yet was he there standing beside her?  Was he there defending her? Was he even willing to be stoned alongside her? NO. Fool she was for ever having believed him. Loved him. Now here she stood, her life on the line.  It was taking forever for this circle of men to kill her, couldn’t they just do it and be done with it?! Not one of them could hold as much disdain for her as she did for herself.  Would that she could throw the first stone at her own head.

“How did I get to this point?”  She wondered.  “How did I allow myself to participate in something I knew was wrong?”  As she stood there, waiting for the first stone to be thrown, she thought about her life. Ironically, the one thing she had sworn she would never do. She had done.  Her father had left her mother for another woman, and she had seen from first hand experience as a child the unhappiness that action had wrought.  She had sworn she would not become like him.  She had hated him with a white hot searing hate, yet, here she stood. She had gone against all that she had known was right – how? Why and when?  She had been a good faithful girl all her life.  Never in her wildest dreams had she ever imagined that here she would stand.  Ostracized, forsaken, guilty, alone and about to be stoned.  Still she waited.  It was taking forever.  There was a man, dressed in white addressing the men holding the stones.  He had their undivided attention, which for the moment was off of her.  She could run.  She wouldn’t get very far, she knew – but she could run.  But she didn’t.  She didn’t because she knew she deserved what was coming to her.

Why had she done it? The relentless question in her head tortured her worse than any stone throw could. WHY?  And then the answer came to her.  Really, it was nothing but a flimsy excuse. But it was the truth.  She had wanted to disappear, to go away.  She had wanted to forget,to lose herself… She hadn’t been able to deal with the issues occurring in her life, life had not turning out the way she had expected it to and it made no sense to her,  1+1 was supposed to = 2.   But it hadn’t.  So she disappeared into a life she believed was real. She had gotten lost in a lifestyle she had been convinced was real life.  Somewhere along the line the lines of reality and fantasy had become blurred and with it the ability to see things as they truly were. Any time reality would knock upon her door, she had become angry with it. She had denied it! “We shared a tent! We shared a love! We shared a life! He was mine! I was his!” No, she wouldn’t go back.  It hadn’t helped that her co-sinner had agreed and shared and encouraged her with selfish lies, love filled promises he had never truly intended to keep. She wouldn’t look at him again.  The truth had hit her squarely in the head, he had never truly been hers in the first place and she had sinned against God, she knew the consequences. It wouldn’t matter now, she’d be dead shortly.

“Oh why was it taking so long?!” She bit her lip in frustration, wanting to scream. “DO IT! THROW IT! I SINNED! I AM GUILTY.  YOUR JUDGMENT IS JUST!”  Yet she stood still, knowing it wasn’t her place to do anything than stand there allowing goose bumps to form on her body.  How could she be so cold when her heart was racing so fast?

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?”

Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

She had heard of this Jesus.  This man robed in white.  What was he writing? She strained her eyes to see, but she couldn’t tell.  

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone at her.”  Again Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time.  The older ones first, until only Jesus was left.

She couldn’t believe it, they were throwing their stones – down on the ground, not at her.  Her jaw dropped in surprise.  Though still she stood.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one sir,” she responded softly.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.  “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

(*Italic bold print taken from John 8:3-11)

I wish the Bible said more as to what happened to that woman.  How she moved forward with her life.  My hope is that when confronted with her lifestyle and when her eyes opened to show her how her life had been, that she chose to follow Jesus.  He was probably the first man to ever show her love. Yes, my hope is that she ran back to her tent, dressed quickly, grabbed a shawl and followed Jesus for the remaining days of His ministry (or her life).  She was a prodigal, as is anyone who chooses to go down a sinful pathway.  Perhaps she encountered others who had fallen as she had and was able to grow into a strong woman of God and extend the right hand of fellowship to young women and keep them from falling in the way she had.  Perhaps she found her own self worth because of the love, forgiveness and grace shown to her by Jesus.  More than likely her biggest accuser was her own self (which is often the case with ex-prodigals, no matter the sin).  But Jesus encouraged her to go forward, clearly we will not know the ending of her story until we are on the other side – but there is one thing that is clear.  Our God is a God of second chances.  Our God is a God of grace, and forgiveness and love and mercy.  The Bible tells us:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

No matter what your sin has been (or is) Jesus died for you. His words are the same today as they were yesterday, “Go now, and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).  It doesn’t matter WHAT that sin is – listen to Him.  Heed Him, the life He has for you is so much better than any life you could choose for yourself.  You just have to believe it.  As an ex-prodigal, myself I can tell you that the hardest part is the aftermath, the forgiving yourself and the moving forward.  As I wrote in a prior post, any ex-prodigal is in good company, for the Bible is filled with them:

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute 
David had an affair and was a murderer 
Elijah was suicidal 
Isaiah preached naked 
Jonah ran from God 
Naomi was a widow 
Job went bankrupt 
Peter denied Christ 
The Disciples fell asleep while praying 
Martha worried about everything 
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once 

Zaccheus was too small 
Paul was too religious 
Timothy had an ulcer..

AND Lazarus was dead!
(*Taken from rapturenotes.com)

What are (or were) YOU?  God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and love can take the worst of us and allow us to use our “mess” for a message and use it for His glory, now that is what I call – a Happy Ending… Or maybe, better yet – A new beginning? You decide…

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Deception

“Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive!” ~ Sir Walter Scott

Even if he did say so himself, the web was magnificent, translucent and large. The design beautifully created, although unless you were of his species you would not be able to appreciate its intricate design, the time it had taken and extreme care that had gone into its making. Now to sit and wait, it would only be a matter of time…

She was beautifully stupid. It didn’t occur to her that she should stop and think before proceeding. Like a mermaid’s siren, she was seduced by it and had to follow where it led.  Where was it coming from? Who was singing it? The song was lovely; it filled her with wonder and curiosity which over ruled common sense. It was magical and fascinating and beautiful all at the same time. She was mesmerized; willingly she followed it like a sleep walker only awake.

“What is your pleasure?” Whispered a seductive voice in her ear, “tell me my love and I shall give you everything your heart desires.” She believed it. She delighted in it, not once did she ever question the source. “What have you always wanted and never had? Come away with me…” It enticed her. She went forward. She did not see a web, she saw a beautifully intricate pathway that glistened like diamonds and silver, it filled her with wonder, delight and pleasure at the very sight of it. The closer she walked towards it the more dim the problems and dilemmas and disappointments of her daily life dimmed. Like a moth attracted to light, she walked towards it. It filled her with desire, it filled her with pleasure, and it filled her with wonder. “Yes, that’s it. Come to me my darling, closer still and I will reach out my hand to you.”

Red flag warnings came up in her mind that made her stop and hesitate for just one moment but the temptation to find out what was ahead was stronger. She had to touch it, as she reached out to touch it her hand got caught on the web and the harder she tried to free herself the more caught she became. First it was her hand, and then it was her wrist, her forearm. The more she struggled for freedom the more stuck she became and it reeled her in like fish caught on a line until there she hung upon the web, full bodied. The stars that had blinded her fell like scales from her eyes and she realized how ugly a situation she had allowed herself in.

Out of the corner he stepped out into the light revealing himself in his true form, which was nothing how she had pictured him to be. He walked over to her and laughed a diabolical laugh, delighted that his scheme had succeeded.

“Welcome to my web of deception.” He said, tilting his head to the side. “Truly the connotation of you each being like dumb sheep is accurate. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible you are. It is almost too easy sometimes… What is it the spider said to the fly? ‘Come into my parlor?’ and she did.” He threw his head back and laughed.

She struggled to free herself, entangling herself further.

He studied her with interest, “A fighter, are you? Unfortunately for you, you walked into this situation of your own good and perfect will and now you are truly stuck… I’ve a few other traps I need to check upon, so sit tight.” He barked out a laugh and melted back into the darkness.

Oh how stupid she felt to have fallen for such a farce. The more she struggled the more the web held her tight. Why hadn’t she heeded the red flagged warnings? What to do? What to do?

The spirit of depression came over her as she felt deflated like an airless balloon.  All her sins and faults danced before her mind, taunting her, cajoling and mocking her. 

“Pray,” came a whisper.

She hesitated and looked in the direction he had disappeared, she was afraid to respond out loud for fear he would hear her and return. “I feel so stupid; I don’t know what to pray.” She thought. “I knew better yet I never saw this coming. How something that sounded so beautiful could be so deceptive.”

“And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

“Did you think he would come in a manner you would recognize? That would have been too easy… “Came the soft response.  “That is why it says:”

“Be as wise as serpents as an innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) 

“Perhaps I should just give up then… I can’t free myself.”

“No you cannot, but the good news is He came to set the captives free. Pray…”

Taking a deep hesitating and shaky breath, she prayed:

“Father, I come before you praising you and thanking you that when I am weak you are made strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) and that greater are You that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  I’m afraid I’ve made a mess of things and can’t seem to find my way out.  You say in Your Word that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven. (Matthew 18:18)  I ask that you would loose me from these chains that hold me fast in the precious name of Your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Forgive me for my sins and wash me with His precious blood, please help me to put my feet back on the pathway I should be on. I thank you that I can call on You for guidance and for help.  I thank you for your mercy, your grace and your love which sustains me.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

As if sliced a part, the webs that held her released her, she was free.

“Now clothe yourself in your spiritual armor.”

“Lord, I put on the helmet of salvation and the breast plate of righteousness.  Around my waist I put the belt of truth and I shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel.  I pick up my shield of faith and grab my sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

At that very moment, he returned.   “Nooooooooo!!!” He screamed when he saw she was free.  He charged at her, but she raised her shield in front of her and he came to an abrupt hault.

“Get behind me satan. I am a child of the Utmost High God.  I am covered with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I belong to him!”

As she boldly stood with her legs a part and her sword of the Spirit waving in one hand, shield of faith in the other he disappeared in front of her like a puff of smoke… “We will meet again…” he threatened as he vanished.

God had given her the strength to get through it, as the devil disappeared, so did her strength and she dropped her arms to her side, exhausted.

“Thank You Lord for  never leaving nor forsaking me, for giving me the strength I need at the moments I need it most.”  Tucking her sword in it’s shield by her waist, and picking up her shield.  She wiped off the webbing residue from her shoulders and turned around to step back on the pathway she should never have departed, humbled but wiser and stronger in Him. And forward she proceeded.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called her heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

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