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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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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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.

 

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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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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 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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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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The Pathway (Part II) – The Way Home

 
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)


Walking along the road of life enjoying the warm sunshine on my back, whistling a joyous tune and carrying my rule book in my left hand, not a worry in my head, I encountered a sign mid –course in my journey:

 “CAUTION: DO NOT CROSS, DETOUR TURN RIGHT.”

Scratching my head, I looked around.  No one else was on this way for me to converse; I did not see any difference between the land I was currently following and the land to the right.  Why could I not journey forward? What harm would be done?  There was nothing that raised concern within me; clearly the sign must have been put there in error.  Tentatively I touched my toe to the grassy green ground in front of me, just as I thought it was springy and stable, crouching down I sniffed and touched a tuft of grass, nothing odiferous, in fact it smelled the sweetest scent of  green sun touched grass.  I stretched my neck to look as far yonder as I could, a beautiful clear blue horizon, billowy clouds, tall green grass, in fact as I inspected the grass I noticed a little red and black spotted lady bug perched on the edge of a green blade studying me as I studied her. 

“Don’t do it!” She said shaking a tiny little lady bug finger at me, speaking in a small little voice that I had to lean over with to hear clearly.  “Listen to the sign.  This pathway may look enticing and wonderful with its deep blue sky and ample walk way, but don’t do it.  For it will deceive you, lie to you, make you promises  it will never keep, use you and lead you down a way you never should go it knows nothing but deception and is full of self with no consideration to the feelings and heart of the traveler who travels its length. It will take and take and take from you, suck your feelings dry until you have nothing left to give.  It does not know how to think of anyone but its own needs and its own self.  It is a pathway of deception. Don’t be fooled by its outward beauty.  If you saw it with the eyes of truth you would see it as it really is – empty, broken, dark with nothing to offer any traveler, for it can’t even make its own path straight. Follow the right way to go, the one written in that rule book you carry.” She motioned her little hand at my book.  “This one is nothing but a mirage of lies that does not know how to tell its traveler the truth.  It gives you a pipe dream and just when you have travelled deep within its path it will shatter you into a million tiny little pieces without thinking twice. Its only full of self, and never gives thought to anything else but the way it wants to go. The sign is there for a reason. Heed it beautiful traveler of light.”  She fluttered her wings at me and looked up at me with her little face.

I Laughed in delight.  “Oh silly little ladybug, you act as if it were a wayward man.  It is but a beautiful, sweet, darling pathway!  Like none I’ve ever known.  What stories you tell!” Then I whispered to her, “Lady bug, lady bug fly away home…”  The lady bug looked at me a moment with a shake of her head and a shrug of her red and black dotted shoulders, “I tried to warn you, but you will do as you will.  You will come to regret it and my words will come back to you someday.”  She flew off into the sky.

I looked at the pathway to see if I could see what she saw and again was tempted by its enticing land.  I let my back pack fall to the ground so that I could tuck my rule book safely within the confines of the bag and decided that while I was at it, I would kick off my shoes and place them in my bag as well.  I wanted to feel the soft, springy cool grass against the soles of my feet as I went forward on my journey, my mind made up.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained. An exquisite day, birds singing, sun shining and all was right with the world.  “A caution sign.” I scoffed, “Absolutely ludicrous.” 

The scent of honeysuckle permeated the air and my heart delighted at the lovely little fragrant blossoms that clumped sporadically here and there. 

“Come walk my length,” the pathway beckoned.  “I promise you, I will show you beauty you have never encountered.  We will walk this journey together, you and I forever.   I will take you places where history has occurred and we will enjoy going back in time and learning of its people.  I will never leave you.  I will show you love, satisfaction and true contentment.  Palm to palm I will never deceive you or let you go.  I promise… Come beautiful traveler, we were meant to be together – travel my way, there is much to be seen and we will journey together.”  It beckoned to me like an invitation from a lover.  I was captivated, I believed it, I wanted it, there was no way I would go any other way, except the way this path beckoned.   I followed it a ways, stopping at one point to lie down on my back on the sweet fragrant green grass and breathe in the intoxicating scent.  Stretching out my arms luxuriously behind my head to feel the cool smooth grass against my palms and stare up at the clear blue sky and bask in the rays of the sun.   “This is absolute Heaven,” I sighed in delight. The best way ever! The greatest decision I have ever made! I should have torn that sign down, to think I would have missed this lovely little way because of it.  I wonder how many people have missed out on such a scenic site due to that horrid little misinforming sign?!”  I was of a mind to rise up, turn around and do that very thing, but decided against it.  “I am a knowledgeable, intelligent being.  Capable of making up my own mind and choosing what is right for me!” I mumbled to myself,  reluctantly rising up to leave and continue on my way, in doing so I passed by a small pond to filled with scenic flat brown lily pads.

“Are you now?” croaked a response, “Are you sure about that?”

I stopped mid-step and looked around to see where the remark had come from. “Who said that?”

“Me that’s who,” was the response. 

My eyes spanned the ground around me and finally located the source.

“So full of yourself, it’s a wonder you saw me at all,” He huffed blowing up his vocal sacs with air, causing his throat to balloon out.  I dispersed of my back pack, dropped down to the ground to see him better.  There upon a lily pad sat a dark green bullfrog looking at me with disdain in his black little eyes.  “Doesn’t it say something in the rule book about “pride before a fall?” He asked.

“What exactly does that mean?” I asked insulted, was this tiny little green creature judging me? 

“It means that perhaps you should consider the fact that there may be more to things than what meets your eye. Perhaps you don’t know as much as you think you do.  Maybe there was a reason beyond what you could see for that caution sign warning.”  He accentuated his remark by extending his tongue and capturing a fly who had mistakenly thought could fly by unnoticed.  “Point made and perfect timing.  Just as that fly thought he could sneak by me unawares, he was sadly mistaken, to his demolish and to my satisfaction.”

“I beg your pardon!” I said with great indignation.  “You are just a little green bullfrog, what could you possibly know that I don’t?!” I rose back up rocking on the back of my heels.

“Is that a fact?” He replied as he watched me rise.  “I wouldn’t be so sure of that if I was you, I would try to be a bit more open minded…” With that he extended his long green legs and did a flying leap off the lily pad with so high a jump that the water splashed me full in the face.

“What audacity!” I exclaimed wiping the pond water off my face with the edge of my sleeve. Picking up my back pack, I turned my back to the pond and stomped forward to resume my travels. “Wretched little frog!  I hope he gets eaten by a snake!”  Onward in my journey I went.

MY life, MY plans, MY schedule, MY way.  I had made a plan for my life and I was going forward, confident in that plan.  I had made the right decision and as I walked all of my senses delighted in the world around me.  Who knew where I should go better than I? Proud of myself and looking forward to my destination, I continued on.  If things felt this right, they certainly could not be wrong, or so I thought…

As time went on, my travels began to feel a bit too long, the pungent smell of honeysuckle which once had smelled so appealing, began to smell sickeningly sweet.  As the sun began to sink behind its horizon, mosquitoes appeared buzzing annoyingly around my head and nipping at my feet, try as I might, I could not get them to leave me alone.

“Oh you dratted bugs – why must I have been blessed with such sweet blood!” I complained as I tried to swat them as I continued on my way.   “I should be at my destination now.”  Wearily I looked around me.  The pack on my back felt heavy now and was beginning to chafe the area between my shoulder blades, taking it down; I took out my shoes and put them back on my bug bitten feet. I sat against a large boulder, raising my knees up to my chest and wrapping my arms around my legs.

“Regretting your choice of actions yet?” said a quiet voice.

“Oh no, not you again Mister Frog,” I groaned trying to adjust my eyes to the dusk locate the annoying little amphibian.

“I’ve been called quite a few things in my life, but frog is not one of them,” the voice chuckled.

If my sense of hearing was correct, it was coming from somewhere above me, finally I saw it and when I did, I wish I hadn’t.  I backed away from the boulder as quickly as I could.

“Oh come on now,” it exclaimed watching me with little red eyes as it twitched its whiskers. “I’ve no intention of spraying you, I’d say you’ve already made quite a stink of things, wouldn’t you agree?” The skunk twitched her tail as if to toy with me, and laughed in amusement as I cringed and closed my eyes. “Tell me something,” she continued, “why do you have a rule book in your bag if you chose not to follow it? Do you find comfort in just the carrying of it?”  She tilted her head to the left to look at me.  I could see her red eyes glowing in the dusk of the evening.  Once in my own travels I came across the belongings of a camper who had gone out upon a hike.  They had left upon their sleeping bag the same book of rules you too carry.  I was curious about it, so I meandered over to take a closer look. Opened the pages to a rule which said, in a section entitled Psalms Chapter 32 verse 8: “The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway of your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.”  I’m curious, or maybe just a bit nosey – but I have to ask, have you listen to His advice? Have you allowed Him to guide you or have you chosen to guide yourself?”  The skunk rested her chin upon her paws and waited for my response.

“What I do, how I do, why I do, is no one else’s concern, only mine.  It is why it is referred to as a “personal” relationship. That sign was clearly there in error.  Someone should have taken it down a long time ago.  I only wish I had done it before I travelled forward.”

“Interesting…” commented the skunk.  “This is only my two cents worth and you can take it for what you will; but it seems to me that a relationship consists of more than just one.  Yet I have not heard you communicate to this Lord of yours in any way.  In fact, I have only heard you talk to yourself about how pleased you are with you, with the decisions you have made…  Look around yourself.  Have you gotten to where you wanted to go? Have you eaten? Are you cold?  To me you look disheveled, lost and irritated far different from the girl I saw set out this morning.  Whose rulebook are you following if not the one in your sack?”

Her words stirred up within me a great irritation and without thinking, I took off my right shoe and flung it at her, hitting her right upon her left hind quarters, which caused her to release the most pungent and smelly sprays which caused my eyes to sting and I began to choke at the stench.

“That was simply cruel, “she said turning around with a limp. “More than cruel, it was mean.  It was cruel and mean.”  She looked over her shoulder at me with a hurt expression on her black and white striped face as she limped off into the dark. “It seems to me, I once saw something else in that rule book you never read, about a person reaping what they sow… You’ll have to tell me how all this worked out for you if ever we meet again.” And she disappeared into the dark.

I was alone, alone with only one shoe.  Night had fallen and now I simply wanted to be done with this part of my journey. I could barely see two feet in front of me and I reeked of skunk.  This was not going according to my plan. This was not the way things were supposed to be, and there was no one here for me to talk to, what should I do? Not knowing, I decided I had no choice but to settle in for the night. Tomorrow I would find a place to bathe and continue on my journey, which surely must be soon coming to an end.

“Don’t listen to any of them, ” the pathway beseeched me. “We were meant to journey together. Keep going.  I will never leave you, we belong together.  You are my one true love, beloved traveler let me take you down a way you’ve never been. Look at my picturesque background, like what you see and tell me you do.  The beauty of may way is solely for you.”  I snuggled closer to the ground.  I loved this pathway like no other I had travelled, I was going to stay on it forever.  I was committed to its way.

Even as I thought that, a feeling of uneasiness crept over me and for the first time, I began to feel a niggling of doubt, doubt that what the pathway was saying was true.  What if they were right? What if I was being deceived?  What if the pathway was lying to me and taking me down a way I didn’t know? I tried to shake the thought off.  I loved this pathway and had forsaken all other ways to follow its trail.  Taking my remaining shoe off and putting my backpack against the ground I lay my head down upon it, like a pillow, the words of the ladybug, frog and the skunk replaying through my head.

“It will deceive you, lie to you, make you promises  it will never keep, use you and lead you down a way you never should go it knows nothing but deception and is full of self with no consideration to the feelings and heart of the traveler who travels its length. It will take and take and take from you, suck your feelings dry until you have nothing left to give.”
Does not your rule book say pride before a fall? Perhaps you should have more of an open mind, there may be more than what you see…”
“Why do you have it in your bag if you choose not to follow it?”

Was not life filled with making decisions? The way seemed straight and I didn’t want to go another. It was my choice and with that last thought inside my head, I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

My own stench woke me up. I’ve got to get cleaned off! I thought as I scrambled up and ran my fingers through my hair.  I’ve got to get clean! The smell of skunk had permeated my clothes and I knew that I would have to bathe clothes and all, so off I went searching for water.  

“Come, I shall show you where you can go,” the pathway said lovingly to me.  “I shall take you where you can get cleaned off and where we can be as one forever.”

I came to a high rise of land and as I reached the top, I could see a river below.  In my relief and excitement I hiked up my backpack and started to run, barefoot down towards the water, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake.  As I got closer to the shore, I encountered sand.  Not just any sand, quicksand.  Only I didn’t know it until I had reached it.  I started to sink.

“Oh this is not good! Not good at all!” I cried trying to get out.  But the more I struggled, the more I could feel my body sinking deeper. “Oh my! What should I do?!  Oh no!” I said trying to remain calm.  What a pickle I had gotten myself into. “Pathway, where have you taken me?” I cried out.

“This is not my fault but yours.” The pathway said sternly in a disciplinary tone of voice.  “People blame me ALL the time for things that are not my fault.  It is YOURS. You had no intention of ever staying on my pathway, did you? Did you wonder about paths that you had not ventured last night as  you slept? Did you listen to the creatures and their accusations around you?”

The more it accused and spoke, the deeper I began to sink.  “What are you saying?” I asked astonished, trying not to fight against the pull. “Happily I would have journeyed down your pathway all the remaining days of my life, for I have loved every moment of this journey.” At that same moment I noticed a troll walking over the side of a hill. 

“Help! Help! Help!”  I yelled trying to yell without thrashing around. The backpack which I had had no my back felt like a millstone around my neck. Oh that I had removed it from my body prior to running towards the water!

The troll stood far from the sand I had so stupidly and willingly walked into and looked at me and laughed.

“What have you here my darling pathway?” The toothless troll questioned. She was about 300 pounds, stringy greasy hair, a polyester dress hung loosely around her pudgy form. Then as she leaned closer, she noticed me and her expression changed to one of anger.

“Who is this that you have allowed to venture upon our land?” She bellowed to the pathway. (If I had had both feet planted firmly on the ground I would have felt the pathway quiver in fear.)

The pathway was afraid of this troll? What power did she exhort over it?

“No one dear, just a wayward traveler.” The pathway responded, voice shaking.

Oh so now instead of “beloved” I was a “wayward traveler?” The revelation shocked me as I fought to keep my head above the mire.  For the second time I thought about all the warning signs that had come my way.  Signs I had chosen to ignore.  

“I’d like to keep her if I may.” The pathway stated to the troll.

“Cover up her head and kill her.” The troll said, waiting for the quicksand to cover my head.

“Ahhhh but then she would be one with my land and with me forever,” the pathway said quickly.  ” You wouldn’t want that now, would you my trollness?” He said it seductively.

The troll tapped a big fat stubby finger to her chin.  “That simply won’t do at all… You cannot keep her – expel her from the mire right now and then follow your own path home for we shall discuss this further!” She stamped a fat little trolly leg, turned around and marched back the way she had come.

The pathway obeyed her and I felt a suction that carried me down at first, covered my head in its slimy, muddy waters and then I was lifted and propelled high into the air, falling on my backside so hard that my rule book, surprisingly undamaged by the mire fell out on the ground beside me.  I landed hard, covered in filth, smelling like skunk and nasty pond water.

My heart was shattered into a million little pieces and at this point, I could not focus upon anything but the pain.

“I’m sorry I deceived you,” The pathway said after a moment. “I wasted so much of your time. I am unworthy of your loyalty and your love.”

My heart hurt, it was hard to hear what the pathway was saying because the loudness of my pain reduced its words to a mere whisper.

“I should never have come this way.  I should have obeyed the sign and ventured the way it indicated. Had I known I would be in so much anguish I would never have turned down your way.” My eyes filled with tears, as my backside smarted, my heart hurt and I felt very alone and lost.  I no longer trusted my own discernment.  “You have hurt me more than I have ever experienced in my life. But the truth is, you poor pathway are the one to be pitied, for the truth is, you go in only one direction. I saw you and loved your way and would gladly have walked upon your path until the end of time.  I saw the beauty in you for who you were, while everyone else just saw a “way.” You are the one who will have to hope that people will ignore the sign and venture upon your pathway and discover the beauty I saw in you. It may take me some time, but I will recover and I will go on.  You will remain, stagnant and stuck and look what you have to contend with?  All the days of your life. I am shattered into a million little pieces, but my God will put me back together and I will rise more beautiful, more knowledgeable and wiser than I was before because I take responsibility for my actions.”   I picked up my rulebook, my back pack, wiped the slime as well as I could off my body.  “I renounce you and this pathway I have innocently, willingly, wrongly followed in a love which could never be returned.  Go away from me, for you paid my love back with deception – back to your old life, your old ways and your old habits.  I shall not journey with you anymore.”  I turned my back on the pathway I had loved to detour a different route.  Broken, but not defeated. Heavy hearted, yet at peace because I was finally going the right way.

“Lord, you say things for a reason.  Forgive us when we do not heed Your voice, but choose to listen to ourselves. The louder our own voices get, the softer becomes Yours because You are a Father who gives us free will.  We can be wayward children, yet still You love us.  Still you patiently await our return to Your way.  I ask that You meet me halfway, for my heart is shattered and I am having a hard time thinking straight and I doubt myself. Forgive me my sins, wash me with the blood of Jesus.  I repent.  I renounce anything that might hinder me from hearing Your voice and following Your direction for my life.  Cleanse me from the filthiness I have gained upon my journey.  My hurt is my own, I own it, I acknowledge it.  I ask that you would heal my heart and bind it back together. Forgive me for not guarding it better, for it is the well spring of life. I ask you this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ my Savior. Who died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Amen.”

As I stood in the middle of I-don’t-know-where, the sun came through the trees and landed upon my form.  It’s light stretched out to touch my sodden, dirty clothes and made them white as snow. My stench was gone. The grime was gone. I was clean.

I could no longer hear the pathway – it was in the past.  It’s voice was gone.  But I was not alone.  A new clearer voice filled my head.

“My precious daughter, how I rejoice upon your return, you see? I am meeting you halfway.  Though your sins were scarlet, I have made them white as snow.  Here I AM, I AM the one who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.  Surely I will bind up yours and heal you, for I love you. You are mine. I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Lift up your head – child YOU are MINE. Come, lets go forward in my love, my grace and my mercy – I have work for you to do.”

And so another chapter in my life closes, do I still hurt? Yes.  I imagine it will take some time for that pain to wane.  For I loved that pathway and I pray that at sometime, it will become a pathway of light instead of one that hurts and crushes and destroys what was meant for only love.

At the beginning of the pathway stood a wanderer – observing the sign and scratching her head… 

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The YOU Plan

One day God got an idea in His head… One that He couldn’t wait to begin.  Oh how excited He was… He is the Creator, and creating is something God loves to do.  This special day, He had the plan of YOU.

Gently He molded YOU, a pinch here a pat there.  The Potter lovingly kneaded the special ingredients of YOU.  In His mind’s eye He already saw YOU in complete formation.  Each kneading with His hands lovingly done.  Caressing the makings of YOU.  You see, YOU were being created in the image of Him, formed in God’s image.  How excited God must have been over the creation of YOU.  He knew YOU would be one of a kind.  Lovingly He filled YOU with the breathe of life, floating around in amniotic fluid YOU were surrounded by His Holy Spirit, no matter the situation of how YOU came to be – YOU came to be because He chose YOU to be. YOU were never a mistake.  YOU were a plan.  A God ordained well formulated plan.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

YOU were not a mistake.  YOU were not a surprise.  No matter your conception – YOU were created in love by God.  Oh how proud He must have been as He stood back to see the results of His work in YOU.  Watched YOU grow in your mother’s womb with joy and expectation and pride and a fatherly love.  He took joy in the creation of YOU.

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.: (Psalms 139:2-4)

God developed YOU.  He knew the day YOU would arrive into the world.  Like an expectant Father, He watched as YOU took your first breath.  Your entrance a gift to the world.  How hard it must have been for God to release YOU into the type of world He did not originally create it to be.  Your birth was not into a Garden of Eden type of environment that God had originally planned for YOU to exist in.  But into a cursed world full of dangers and temptations and experiences that God originally never intended for YOU to have to face.  But knowing that in advance, He put into action the plan of Jesus, a chance for YOU to be reunited through Jesus back to Him.  Did He kiss YOU on Your forehead before You were born and whisper into your being that along with all the other gifts He had created in YOU for YOU to discover along the course of your life – He had given YOU the gift of free will.  Oh how hard that gift must have been for God to give each one of us… Free will… To choose Him or to deny Him.  He has loved YOU since He created YOU and in that love given YOU the choice as to whether or not YOU in turn will choose, in the course of your life to love Him in return.

“In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” (Luke 15:10)

It is not easy for a parent to allow their child to journey on their own, knowing fully well the dangers they may encounter along the way… But your Heavenly Father allows certain things to come into your life that will give YOU the opportunity and the knowledge that YOU need Him.  As long as YOU have breathe in your body – breathe that He originally put within YOU, He gives YOU the chance to recognize Him for who He is.  He is your Father.  He created YOU, He loves YOU, He believes in YOU and the only thing that He wants is for YOU to love and believe in Him.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

There are no words to be able to describe that no matter what YOU go through in life, what comes your way – the absolute joy and knowledge that God is with YOU.  He has been since your creation.  Even during the times when YOU have been at your lowest moments and those times when you have felt the pain of loneliness.  YOU are not alone.  You are His precious child – even if  YOU don’t recognize it, it doesn’t change the fact that the One who formed and created YOU loves you beyond any adequate words I could write.
Deep within your being – is a part of YOU that He reserved to be filled with Him and Him alone.  There is a cry that is within your soul that desires to be filled with one thing – HIM.  Nothing that YOU try to substitute in that spot will quench the thirst that is as much a part of YOU as the color of your hair, the freckles on your nose, your lopsided grin… There is a part deep within YOU that was made to be filled with a love so amazing, so transforming, so fulfilling that nothing can compare to it.  YOU just need to choose Him and see for yourself.  YOU see, it is called a “personal relationship.”  It is between YOU and Him.  It has always been just between YOU and Him, YOU just never recognized it.  
“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
 
Quiet yourself for a moment… Listen… If you quiet your mind and listen, YOU will hear.  He is summoning YOU.  YOU will recognize the sound of His gentle voice – for it is one He spoke over YOU when He formed YOU.  Listen – deep within your heart YOU will hear a voice you previously may have drowned out with the business of life.  He loves YOU.  He always has.  Every tear YOU have cried, every disappointment or hurt that has come your way.  He has wanted to reach out to YOU and let YOU know that YOU have never been alone.  He does not love as the world loves.  He does not disappoint as the world disappoints.  He longs to show YOU His original plan of YOU.  For YOU to love and be loved in return.
Those are the blueprints for the plan of YOU.

“Lord, I hear you – and I choose You this day because long ago, when You created me – You chose me.  I love You, I need You, I want You to come into my life and to be my Lord and Savior.  I believe You were born, that You died for my sins and that You rose again. I choose You Lord as You chose me before my days even came into existence.  I choose to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.  Please come into my life and guide me.  I love You Lord – and I choose YOU.”

More Words for Your Journey

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Are You There God?  It’s Me, (Add Your Name Here)…”

When I was a child, I read one of author Judy Blume’s books entitled, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” It is the story of a 6th grade girl who is coming of age and how she converses with God. It is what began my own childhood conversations with God.

When I pray, I talk to God like I talk to you – readers of my blog. I speak my mind. I am honest and transparent. I am REAL with God. Why? Because the Bible tells me:

He knows my thoughts before I even think them.” (Psalms 139:2)

So why not just be honest and forthcoming? Besides God desires a relationship with you, a relationship requires communication. My own personal opinion is that God loves it when you have “conversations” with Him.

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13)

The above describes being “religious” having a personal relationship with God is communicating with Him, having a relationship with Him. Your heart is in your conversations with Him, it is a one on one conversation and yet because God looks at the heart of an individual, while we can only see the outside – it is up to God to determine whether or not it is a “personal relationship with Him.” It is between that individual and God.

Any “relationship” requires communication. A relationship should be a two way street – even one with God. I have had many a conversation with God that is similar to that of a child having a temper tantrum on the floor of a store aisle with some of my prayer requests, like a child who wants their parent to buy them a piece of candy and the parent says, “no” there are times when I have brought a request before God and He has said no. No child wants to hear the word “no.” But in looking back at my past prayer requests I can see times where God has compassionately shown me why He has said no. (He doesn’t always show us – He doesn’t have to – He is God). But the one thing we can keep in mind is that:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

We don’t see the FULL situation but God does, He has our best in mind. The Bible tells us:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

If you are a parent you can relate. There are times when you have had to say no to your own children – maybe it’s that they want a cookie before dinner and you say, “no.” And while all they see is that they want that cookie and you have said no! What YOU see is that if you give them that cookie before dinner, it will lessen their appetite to eat food that is more nourishing for them. If we think that way, how much more so does our Heavenly Father who sees oh so much more than we do?

I have come to the conclusion that it is all about the issue of trust…

Trust… What a small word with such a significant meaning…   The definition of trust according to Webster’s Dictionary:

Trust – Reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed.

Who is your confidence placed? Who do you trust?

Trust is something that makes us vulnerable. Who we trust or how we trust is pretty much based upon our past experiences. It also makes it difficult when we have been let down to confidently; walk by faith and not by sight. When people have let us down, it is hard to confidently trust in a God who says He won’t. It is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn in our walk with Him. He desires us to trust Him. Do you trust Him? When you find yourself in a situation where it feels “pitch black” and you can’t see two feet in front of you – do you feel as though God has your back? Sometimes God allows you to be in those situations just so you can place your trust in Him. When you are out of answers and your head is in your hands – Who do you trust? Do you believe you can trust God?

Sometimes we can make trust a “head thing” and not a heart thing. God wants us to step out in faith and know without a doubt that we can trust Him. This is hard to do because while we have God desiring us to trust Him, there is ol’ slewfoot standing by our heads whispering in our ears:

“You are certainly in a fine kettle of fish. You are here because of fault A,B,C – all of your own doing…” Or he taunts me saying, “Yeah – look at Suzy Q over there. She has A,B,C, while you – well you are lacking in D,E,F, G. God must love her more than He loves you…”

Those are lies from the pit of hell. The devil doesn’t want you to trust in God – even when you don’t see an answer. Remember he is the author of lies and confusion. The very last thing he wants you to do is trust in God.

Trust… Sometimes we don’t even “trust” our own selves to make the right decisions. It’s enough to make you want to cross your own eyes. Do you second guess yourself? We all have weaknesses. We all have our “Achilles heel.” And the devil knows how to rub salt into wounds that need to be healed. “Why would God want to help you???” The taunts go on and on hitting those nerves that either push us into depression, despair or are used to push us farther away from believing that God is concerned about us and really cares. Instead of believing the promises we have, we believe the author of lies who (if you recall) deceived Eve and caused sin and problems and death to enter into the world in the first place… His tricks are still the same, they haven’t changed, if they were good enough for him to use on those “REAL” people (notice they were not characters – but real people like you and I) in the Bible, why would he not try to use those same methods and tricks on us now? Remember, he even tried to boldly tempt Jesus in the desert. If he was bold enough to try and tempt Jesus, what makes us think he won’t try to do the same with us?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

God desires that you have life – abundant life. Who are you going to believe and trust? This is one of the ongoing lessons we continuously have to decide throughout anything that life throws our way.

Communication is an ongoing element in a relationship. Relationships in order to be successful satisfying and in order to grow require nourishment. If you are mad at God – Tell Him! He knows! Nothing you are feeling surprises Him. He is your Father. If you need guidance or clarification, tell Him! If we take time to quiet our souls and listen, we will hear Him speak. If we can quiet down the noise of our worries, concerns (and sometimes ourselves even!) You will hear God’s steady, soothing quiet voice. In my own experience God has never once “yelled” at me. Disciplined me, yes – but His voice has been one that is calming and soothing and personal. It takes time to form a strong relationship, but a relationship is something that requires two individuals and God has already said:

“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)

God already desires to be in a relationship with you. To reveal His plan for your life, to reveal how much He loves you. It requires trust which is an ongoing element and difficult to do at some moments in our walk with Him. But when we do trust Him, even when we don’t understand the “why” of a situation, we can experience “the peace that passes ALL understanding” (Psalms 4:7) that comes only from trusting that no matter what we are experiencing, God is in control. Because whether or not we “feel” or “believe” that He is. He is.

 

Hi, are You there Lord? It’s me – Kelly… I am going through a situation that I have NO clue as to what to do. Which way to turn, but I trust that my steps are ordained by you. (Psalms 37:23). I know that you have given me certain promises in the Bible to cling to and believe in when I don’t see a way. I trust You. You tell me that “You have engraved me in the palm of your hand.” (Isaiah 49:16), while I don’t understand or fully see all that is going on around me – I know you do and I know that I belong to You. I need You. Thank You for being an ever present help in time of trouble. Help me to rest and trust in You. In Jesus’ precious name I give this situation to You. I drop it at the foot of your cross knowing fully well that you are more able to handle it than I. Knowing fully well that You have my best interest in mind. Knowing that my steps are ordered by You. I thank you for Your provision, Your help, Your love. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen”

 More Words for Your Journey 

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The Pathway Continued (Part III)

 
A gentle reminder – some of life’s most precious moments happen when you least expect it…

As previously referred to in another wrote (see post from March 2013 entitled “The Pathway)  – I was traveling down a beautiful  road, one that I thought I was destined to travel upon  all the days of my life only to have been chased off the road but the fattest, ugliest, sexless looking of trolls.  It was a private way and the disgusting troll had reminded me that the road belonged to her, pulled out her ownership papers, barked at me to be on my way off her property. Heartbroken – I had no other choice but to change route and cross over upon another path.  Looking behind me at my beloved road one last time, I realized that the road was subservient to its troll and would always be.  The pure natural and vibrant beauty of the road would remain unrecognized, unappreciated and neglected – its location taken for granted –all the days of its existence,  which was a shame for its beauty was such that had I been able to remain upon it, I would have danced and frolicked and appreciated its natural beauty all the days of my life.

My head downcast, and being such, I did not see the different kind of beauty in the new path I’d taken. Different from whence I had come. Golden sunshine peaked down in between tree leaves; birds sang joyfully, honeysuckle pungent and thick filled the pathway with a natural wild sense of beauty.  Yet, I missed it all for my gaze had gone to my feet – not in front of me, and my shoulders were slumped in defeat, I cared not where I roamed.  Like a leave flitting about in the wind, I went mindlessly forward, all that had been vibrant and full of color now in my present state of mind, had become black and grey. I couldn’t venture on the road I longed for, so I no longer cared, the beauty had dissipated in the world around me.

Walking with downcast eyes and a heavy heart I did not see the tall oak of a man until I bumped right into what apparently was a set of trunk sized knees, it  startled me (so lost was I in my own thoughts of sorrow).  Like a startled deer poised for flight I froze in the headlights of this unexpected intruder. (Although truth be known, I suppose I was the intruder, since I was the stranger upon the path).

“Whoa…,” Said a strong steady voice.  He stretched out a solid arm with large hands to keep me from toppling over.

I lifted my head up. This man was so tall I had to lean back and stretch my neck waaaaaaay up to see. Hazel eyes in a heart shaped face looked down at me with amusement.  A red beard handsomely mapped his lower rectangular jaw. He looked like a combination of a woodcutter and a leprechaun gone giant, but there was a gentleness that exuded about him that looking upon him, made me feel unafraid.

“Why are you so downcast?” He questioned, raising a large pointer finger to lift up my chin so we could be eye to eye.  “You should be looking ahead of you, not down.”

“I suppose I should,” I responded with a sigh, “yet I care not where I go.  I am journeying wherever it is my feet choose to lead me…”

“Such a lovely face should not be wearing such a solemn look.” He stated.  “Come, no doubt you are hungry and I am pleased to share my lunch with you along with some words of encouragement to make it all the more palpable.”

He led me along the pathway to a small flowing stream.  This gentle giant of a man sat cross legged on the ground and encouraged me to do the same.  Sighing, I obliged. He opened a lunchbox, which I had not noticed was beside him; broke off a piece of bread and a chunk of cheese and handed it to me.  I was about to decline except for the dead giveaway sound of rumble from my stomach, so I decided to partake of his generosity.

“Tell me your story,” He said encouragingly, leaning forward to listen attentively. His face so close to mine I could count freckles that danced upon his nose.  His red well groomed beard gave him an almost regal look, and the kindness in his eyes encouraged me to share my tale… About the unexpected beauty I had fallen upon, the temptation to proceed, which I gave into, the joy and love and completion I felt walking along what I had thought was my own little beautiful road… How I got chastised and commanded off by the horrible troll and found myself alone, discouraged and at a loss as to where to go. When I was finished, I rubbed my hands together to free them from the crumbs and looked up into the face of this gentle giant to see his reaction to my tale.  How astonished was I when I saw eyes filled with tears and compassion.

He was quiet for a moment, this giant of a man. When I gazed up at him I saw a range of emotions cross his face and it seemed as though he was trying to gather his thoughts.  Why should one feel so strongly for the journey of a stranger?

 He was quiet and I was uncertain whether I should stand and leave or sit and stay.  And then he spoke…

“In life you will encounter many various roads and pathways… I have found that the best ones are those that travel wide enough for two and go “both ways.”  Even those that are not easy on your feet teach you endurance and perseverance; and though you may not realize at it the time, strengthen you for the journey ahead.  The most important thing is not the beauty in the surroundings around you or the context of the road itself – but how you travelled it… Life is a journey down many roads.  Think on this – what did you learn from this last road you took?”

I listened to his words and thought long and hard before I answered.  “I learned of love and friendship. I learned that life is much better when shared.  I learned that there are many more meanings to “unequally yoked” than what I had been originally taught.”

“So you see,” said he. “Although you no longer journey down that road (and not at your own choosing) you have gathered a lot of insightful treasures along the way.  Hence, the roads that you travel end up coming together and forming a map called, “YOU.”  Think now, what else did you learn?”

I tapped a forefinger to my lower lip as I recalled my journey through the road that I loved.  “I learned more about myself.  Humbleness, compassion, mercy… I learned forgiveness and most importantly of all that each person’s journey is their own and not to be judged by the observer.”

“Well then,” he exclaimed, “It seems to me that was a road worth traveling no matter its end… You are a better, wiser person for it. Or so it would seem to me.” He rose from his sitting position and once again loomed high above me. He reached down to extend a hand to me to help me up.  I could not help but notice how small my hand was in his immense larger one.

“Who ARE you?” I couldn’t help but ask, curiosity taking over and then blushed with embarrassment at my straightforwardness, for surely it was not my business.

He grinned at me – such a boyish grin for a gentle giant and responded, “Just a traveler like yourself.” He gathered up the remainder of his lunch box, closed it shut and tucked it under his arm.

Looking around at my unfamiliar, yet beautiful surroundings – seeing the newness of the path for the first time, shyly I asked, “would you journey with me a while?”

He looked at my shy expression and laughed a deep laugh, his hazel eyes filled with amusement.  “It seems as if we already are – for you stand upon the same path as I.”

“Very well, “I said my own laughter ringing with that of his. “Lead the way…”  And, although he took up most of the pathway with his size and his girth – He did.


The moral of the story is to always try and find the beauty in whatever path life leads you. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” The choice is ours, it may not be the pathway you imagined you would journey on – maybe it’s not the one you wanted or perhaps the choice has been taken out of your hands, not yours to make… It just might be better than anything you would have chosen for yourself…

“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.” (Psalms 3:5)

 

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Are You Captivated?

He Came to Set the Captives Free – And That Freedom Includes YOU Too!!

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)

There He is, Jesus – with the key to your jail cell.  I have a vivid imagination, as I read that scripture, I picture one of those large old fashioned skeleton keys – you know the kind, you see them in every old cowboy sitcom or movie.  There Jesus is standing there, outside your cell, unlocking the door with a key only He has.  The door creaks as it opens wide, Jesus is telling you to come forth! That you are free!  What is your reaction?

You have been in the dark for so long – You think you are having a mirage.  There stands a man, in blinding white light outside your cell.  You can hardly look upon Him for the light surrounding Him is blinding. You say to yourself: “This is not real, there is not a man dressed in white with a beard and a key outside of my cell.  I’m having an illusion.”  You blink your eyes from the brightness and turn your head to face the wall which you have faced for many a season…

Or…

You run out that door as quickly as your legs will carry you, stopping only at the opening to throw your arms around the man who has rescued you, throwing your arms around Him and say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!” Tears of joy and relief and thankfulness streaming down your face…
Or….
You look at the man releasing you with a look of distrust wondering what is in it for Him.  What will this cost you? Thinking that this is another trick.  “No thank you, the devil that you know is better than the one you do not…”  
Jesus came to set the CAPTIVES free!  He can set us free, but He cannot MAKE us accept that freedom!  The cost was His life for YOURS.  He gave it willingly, obediently and with more love than we will not fully understand until we truly stand before Him.  What are you going to do??
I understand all of the above reactions – because I have felt them.  Have you?  I say that humbly and with shame.  Often times when we don’t walk out of our situation thankful for Jesus having made the ability for us to do so, is because we lack enough faith… (Ouch…)  Faith to believe that God is BIGGER than any situation or problem… Or that He even cares enough about us to do anything about it.  If we don’t become discouraged or depressed we become mad at God because we think He doesn’t “love us enough” to help us get through whatever situation we are in.  Even if it is a situation that is of our own doing… And yet that is another reaction we have.
“Lord, this is my mess… I made it.  It is my fault – Mine! Mine! Mine!  I deserve whatever hell I have allowed myself to be in…” 
That is an absolute LIE from the pit of HELL.  There is not ONE of us worthy! Or Righteous! NOT one!!!  The Bible tells us:
“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
and also:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
 
There is no degree of sin.  And all of us sin!  (Oh yes…) But the good news is that Jesus took those sins upon the cross with Him! He died for forgiveness of our sins!!  The problem that we have is that we dishonor Him by believing that that is not ENOUGH to get rid of them!  We believe we deserve to be miserable or to stay in the cesspool we have probably created ourselves.  And that is simply not true…
If you were in the ocean drowning, and you were to be rescued – say they threw out a floaty to you.  Would you reach out and take it? Or would you continue to drown, thrashing your arms and yelling, “Help! Help!”
Your help is right before you!  Take the hand of Jesus and allow Him to pull you out of whatever mire you are in.  It doesn’t MATTER the reason.  The Bible tells us:
“You have searched me and known me.You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.…” (Psalms 139:2-3)
Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  He knows you intimately.  Let Him love you, let Him heal you, let Him deliver you.  He is there at this very moment that you are reading this.  You may not be able to see Him physically with your eyes.  But if you soften your heart, and just quiet your thoughts – you will by the Holy Spirit feel Him.  TRY IT. Don’t just take my word for it – experience it for yourself, what do you have to lose? Listen…
“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)
Do not allow your own captivity to keep you from experiencing the freedom that Jesus bought with His own blood…  Do not allow doubt, or sorrow, or depression or self-hate to get in the way of allowing Him to free you.  He is BIGGER than your situation.  He loves you.  Truly loves You.  Don’t hold yourself back.  Walk through those cell doors that Jesus has opened – rejoicing.  Thankful.  it is WHY He gave His life.  He gave it for YOU to walk freely away. 
The price is to turn away from whatever it is that held you captive previously.  Believe that God has better in store for you…. It is true you know.  He wants you to walk through those gates or doors that have held you captive so that you can live the life that He has created you for!  You have a purpose!  You have a reason for being!  Isn’t it time that you found out what that was?  There is nothing more satisfying than walking in the purpose that God has for your life!  Take time to discover what it is, if you don’t know already!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Now that is a loving Father, don’t you think?  You are consecrated!!!
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Take His hand. Talk to Him.  You don’t need fancy words – just talk to Him.  Share yourself with Him, it is not as though He doesn’t know you already, He does… But He likes to hear you share your mind with Him.  It’s called “having a personal relationship.”  And that is what He desires.  The Bible says:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalms 34:8)
It is the only way that you can discover it and enter into a relationship with Him.  Just like that floaty, you have to reach out and grab it.  It is there – just receive it! Accept it! And when you do – cling to Him.  He is your forever eternal life line.  Once you have tasted and seen that the LORD is good – you won’t ever want to let go!  And guess what?  If you find yourself walking back into that “cell” – you’ll stop and turn around and say, “No!  I have been there and done that! No!  Once those God has freed are free indeed!!!”
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
You will reach a point where you know – whatever place you are at in your life that what God has for you is so much better than what you had for yourself!  And no matter how many times you turn around – God will be there directing you, strengthening you, encouraging you, loving you, believing in you…
Go! Be Free! Walk out of that cell that has held your mind captive!  And believe in your freedom that He has bought with His own precious, precious blood.  
“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
Look! The door is open! Fly high! Glide! Soar! Walk in that freedom and don’t look back!  The best is YET to come!
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Are You at the Point of No Return?

 

 

What are you running away from?  Or headed towards?  Have you even really thought about it – or do you just find yourself running and you don’t even know to where?

There are several different ways of escape.  If you are looking for one, you will surely find it, but before you open that door – whatever it maybe, perhaps you should stop for a moment and collect your thoughts and think.  Just quiet your mind and try to gather up your thoughts.

Try and think about what has brought you to the point you are at in the first place. Is it a traumatic event?  Is it a family upset?  Do you feel lost and like you just “want to run away from it all?”  Do you feel as though God let you down?  Or perhaps you thought you had heard the voice of God and things didn’t turn out so well and now you are confused.  Maybe someone has disappointed you and you are hurting and all you want to do is run away from the situation.  Everything inside of you is screaming out, “ESCAPE! RUN!!!” And you know you are in flight mode.

Stop in your tracks. Calm down. Breathe.  This is when you are at your most vulnerable. This is the point where most Christians become prodigals.  Instead of running towards God, they run away and become disoriented, confused, angry, sad, frustrated and lost.

Watch out! You are headed right towards one of ol slewfoot’s traps and you are getting ready to step right in it! And once you step in it you’ll become all tangled up.

How do I know? Because it happened to me.  Sometimes unexpected situations occur in our lives that we didn’t see coming.  They are outside of our comfort zone or realm of understanding.  No matter how much we try, we can’t seem to make heads or tails of it. “Why Lord? How? I followed Your rules, I did what you asked – WHY did this happen to me??!!”  We lose faith in God and be it in anger or confusion or sadness we step away from Him instead of towards.

What has been your escape?  Perhaps you entered into it and you weren’t even aware that you were taking that first step into the unknown.  You didn’t see the “Beware” or “Danger” sign – maybe it was your own ignorance or maybe you were so tuned into your own emotions that you didn’t even see it as you passed it by.  You entered a realm that was not meant for you to venture into.  Perhaps at first it felt soothing.  It took your mind off your situation or your problems.  It seduced you and made you walk deeper still into its escape.  There are so many different kinds – one for every personality.  Was it drugs? Sex? TV? Alcohol? Work? A pretend world? The Internet? These are just to name a few.  Like entering a spider’s web, did you get stuck in it?  Did it disorient you and give you a euphoric sensation?  Did you feel accepted? Loved? Did you feel as though you were able to escape who you were? Or where you came from? Like you entered an oasis.  Maybe the farther you entered into the escape the less you wanted to return to reality.  You were cajoled, enticed.  Usually a form of escape has some appeal to it – it just depends upon your personality, your likes and your dislikes.  Deeper you walked into it until even if you looked over your shoulder, you couldn’t see your way back.  The way you once knew was gone.

Maybe it didn’t happen to you but someone you love.  Maybe you saw them become less and less who they were and right before your eyes they were disappearing and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t reach them.  The fact is – they couldn’t see you anymore and they didn’t want to be reached… Sometimes the only one who can reach them – is meant to reach them is the One who created them. Not YOU.  But here is the thing, God has given us free will.  He has given us the ability to make choices.  Good choices and bad and sometimes He sits back and watches us and allows us to make mistakes.  It is not the path He chose for us but He allows us to walk it.  Knowing fully well it will bring us pain and regret and sorrow but hopefully more importantly it will bring us growth.

It couldn’t have been easy for God to watch Adam and Eve make the worst decision of their lives.  How much sorrow and pain it must have brought to God, knowing fully well that the choice they made would not only affect the two of them but everyone throughout the course of history.  He made them out of love and they turned their back on Him.  We could get mad at Adam and Eve for what they did – but the truth is we all turn our back on God at one point or another in our own walks.  (Ouch – that one hurt to write…)

Yet all the while God had another plan in place.  He knew what was going to happen and while I’m sure it pained Him, He already had a plan in mind of how He would unite us once again to Him. This time for all eternity.

Adam and Eve when they sinned tried to hide from God.  We try to hide from God.  We try to hide from situations we create.  The truth is – we can’t.  It’s (pardon the pun) “fruitless” to even try.  Whatever escape you are trying or have walked into – it is only temporary.  You can’t run from or escape from God.  The consequences are not those that He intended you to experience. Guilt, sadness, regret, confusion, embarrassment – to name just a few. How many times along the pathway home did the prodigal hesitate and want to turn around and not face his father?  Yet he knew that there was no going back the way he had come.  He also knew that he was a different person than the person who had left his father’s house with his inheritance at hand.  Hopefully he was wiser.  I’m quite sure he was humbled beyond words.  Every step back home must have felt heavy.  How many times did he play what he thought would be the reception he would receive in his head?  (And more than likely it was not the one he ended up receiving!)  I’m quite sure he did not expect to see His father running down the pathway to meet him halfway!  I’m quite sure he did not expect his home coming to be celebrated!  He probably wanted to just disappear into the woodwork of the house due to shame and embarrassment.  How shocked was he at his Father’s joyous embrace?  How long did it take him to be able to receive the forgiveness and acceptance his Father so freely, graciously gave him?  And how many things that his brother said to his father about him had he himself not thought?

Making your way back home is harder than any words I can write.  But for every prodigal I say, keep trodding.  Keep stepping.  Keep walking.  Keep praying.  Keep looking ahead and not behind.  The journey back home includes having to walk in forgiving yourself for your own transgression.  There may be things along the pathway that would try to tempt you and pull you back – but they will have no hold on you, for you know that their escape is really not one of escape, but pain, regret and falsehood and entrapment.  In order to go forward in life you have to walk through the pain.  Pain caused to you or pain you have caused.  In order to walk forward to where God wants you to be you have to realize that there is ONE reality and no matter how hard you’ve tried to hide from the reality, the reality has always been the same.  It has never truly gone away.  Instead of trying to escape a situation – face it! Head on!  Has someone disappointed or hurt you? Forgive them!  Communicate with them, they may not even realize that they have hurt you or made you feel rejected.  If they DO know that they have done it and don’t care – then know that you are not responsible for someone else’s actions – only your own.  This is where we learn to walk in forgiveness.  When you release someone – you also release yourself. Sometimes the only thing we can do is release them into God’s good and capable hands.  Its not easy to do – but sometimes its the only thing we can do.

Here is another thing… God can turn things around.  Use our mistakes and bad decisions for His glory.  Through my prodigal period I have learned that it is truly nothing but God’s love, His grace and His mercy and His forgiveness that has saved me.  The truth is – I was NEVER good enough to earn redemption or Heaven.  It is totally by His grace and love.  I think on some level, I felt as though I had “never done anything bad enough.” But the truth of the matter is there is no degree of sin.  Sin IS sin.  The prodigal in the Bible found himself eating pig slop.  I’m sure in his eyes it wasn’t possible to get any lower than that.  God can take your lowest moments and be glorified through them and when it happens, you will realize that it is TOTALLY God and not anything YOU.  I think God allows us to make our “bad” choices because He knows that we will grow from the experience and will be able to extend the right hand of fellowship once we have arrived back home from that journey and help someone else or have compassion and not judgment upon someone else who is going through a similar experience.  So what ol’ slewfoot meant for trouble – God uses to for His glory and to draw men closer to Him.

Next time I feel like running – I will run towards God and not away, like a child who is afraid and runs into his/her parents arms for protection, I will run towards my God because the only TRUE escape one can find, is in Him. Isn’t it time you stopped running? Stopped trying to make an escape? And ran to the One who can give you what you truly need? Who knows what you truly need? He is a balm and will provide you with the peace that passes ALL understanding – just run towards the LIGHT – the light is HIM.

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The Pathway (Part I)

I was walking down a path on an otherwise unremarkable day, when I came to a bend which led me to a fork in the road.  

I stopped. I hesitated. I contemplated.

Knowing fully well which pathway I should choose…

To my left  – a familiar, well-worn path, predictable, more of the same on which I had already tread, a ho-hum kind of travel, familiar and reliable yet unexciting and if more of the same – tedious.

To my right – a path that drew my attention by its intoxicating scent of blossoms.  Its pathway surrounded on both sides by  long rows of weeping willow trees with such thick branches they formed an arch as far as the eye could see; and oh how they swaying in the wind as if to entice me. 

 “Come, girl… Come down our way.”

I hesitated again.  Should I stay on familiar, unchanging ground or dare I step upon this beautiful path of unfamiliarity?

Tucked deep within the bows of one of the Weeping Willows, hung  small, wooden white painted  sign, whose letters had been painstakingly engraved with a wood burning tool; carefully created  with the precision and care which only a feminine hand would have taken the tedious time to do. It read, “Private Way.”

The sign was clearly meant to dissuade, yet caused within me the opposite effect.

“You have no business going down that other road. Don’t do it.” A quiet stern little voice whispered in my head. “Don’t do it. Stay on the pathway of familiarity. It is your safest bet.”

“What can the harm be?” I scoffed, stamping my foot.  “I deserve to walk down this pathway. How splendid it is and I can’t help but wonder where it leads? Perhaps it is even a short cut?  I’m sure it will be fine.  An adventure, what harm will be done?”

With that my decision was made.  I took a bold if not rebellious step onto the path. 

Sheer heaven

Each step lovelier than the next, my heart felt full.  My well-worn shoes did the pathway a dishonor. Leaving me no other choice…  Feeling somewhat naughty, glancing quickly around me, I knelt down and removed my dusty shoes and socks and lowered my bare toes down into the springy velvety softness of green grass which cupped around my feet lovingly.

“Ohhhh…” I sighed.  What harm would a moment of rest do? I lay back looking up a the blueness of the partially seen sky between high treetop limbs.  Allowing my palms to face down so my fingers could caress the softness of the dark earth beneath them.  How heady and captivating were the fragrant flowers lining the way;  turning only my head to admire the breathtaking view I wonder what lay beyond the horizon? Could there possibly be any sight more splendid than this? Rising back up, I felt light-footed and danced along the pathway, skipping in and out and around the long trunks of the trees giddy at the thought of more to come.

Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! My pathway! Made in love for ME, meant for ME! For my feet alone.  Mine to cherish! Mine to love. Mine to adore! Mine to walk!

So enchanted and self-involved was I that I did not see along one side, a woman’s straw hat flung and forgotten, off in the grass – or the initials of a couple, encircled in a heart engraved upon the trunks of one of the trees. 

On I went, following this oh so splendid path. The longer I trod upon it the more I wanted to continue.  Before long, the sun began to set, and I wrapped my arms around my chest beginning to feel cold. Cold and very much alone. Rubbing my arms, I hesitated for the first time. Looking far ahead, I could see way in the distance a stone cottage, with a warm yellow light shinning from its windows.  How lovely, I thought as it came closer and closer into view.

To my surprise a very robust, unattractive and heavy set woman flew out of the house. Indeed, if not for her voice, I would have thought she was a he.  

“What are you doing on our pathway? Did you not see the sign?”  She said furiously.  Eyeballing me with contempt her hands furled tight in fists. An angry tick twitching within her right cheek.

“You have defiled it! You had NO business continuing on property that is not yours.”  The more she looked at me, the angrier she got. “What business have you here?” 

I glanced behind me at the way I had come.  Thought about the day I had experienced, looked back at the pathway I had come to love, and realized, no answer I gave her would suffice.

“I have none,” I admitted honestly. “I just happened upon the way, and noticed this lovely, lovely path…without giving it much thought – I took it.”

She looked incredulous for a moment. Spittle forming on the outside corners of her lips. “Lovely way?”  She said. “Lovely way???”  She looked behind me at the path as though she was trying to see what I saw.  “This way has not been lovely in many a year! It has been a hard pathway.  A relentless pathway, and exhausting pathway.  I have had to beat weeds down. What once was lush and vibrant and full has become hard and unforgiving and unyielding.  I have tried to grow many a vegetable upon this soil – yet it has withered and died. It has become cold and hard and unyielding…Yet this pathway has been mine since I was 18. I know every grain of its soil.  For 38 years it has been mine. I know its every mood. It is MINE not yours and I will not allow you to come prancing down the way as if you owned it. You do not, no matter what you may think.” ”

Listening to her I stood astonished, my mouth gaping.  How could she not see what I saw?  The land she described was not that of which I stood upon.  It was lush and green and vibrant and seductive.   Calling my name like a lover – tempting me to become one with it over and over again.

She stood defiantly facing me. Braced for war. A fight I could not win. I had only known this pathway for a short while – she had known it for years.  I did not see what she saw – and I actually felt sorry for her because somewhere along the way, she lost the ability to see the beauty in the path.  Her perspective had changed. Her appreciation for it had grown cold. I did not see what she saw before her and yet she was right.  It was not my pathway.  It did not belong to me. It belonged to her.  There was nothing I could say.  I hated her at that moment. Hated her because she had everything I wanted and I wanted to stay there.  Make her be gone! It was my pathway! Created for ME in love. Mine to walk, mine to enjoy, mine to cherish, mine to love! – Yet it wasn’t.  The pathway belonged to her.  I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay!  Yet, it wasn’t mine.

Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a paper.  “You see?” She said shoving her big man size hand under my nose for me to see it.  “Proof! Proof that this is MY pathway. Not yours. So be gone!”

I had no words. For what could I say?  She smiled an ugly smile, turned around and headed back through the door of which she came. I heard the door slam behind her.

Reaching down to caress the mossy ground, I was at a loss for words.  It seemed like it should be mine. It felt like it should be mine.  Yet proof stood within the walls of that house that it was not. The sorrow I felt was immense. It filled my soul. Turning around I didn’t know which way to go. Should I go back the way I came? Yet I could not. Should I go forward? How? I only knew that I could not remain in front of that house for fear she would c

 

ome out again.  How could she not see the beauty I saw? The love I felt? It was all around me. How could I be without it?  Yet as long as she remained, she was proof that it was not mine.  This most beautiful and gifted pathway.  How could years be spent upon it not relishing in the lusciousness of it? When had her eyes dulled? Or perhaps she had never seen it for what it was. How very sad…

Sighing, I dusted off my hands and continued forward finally understanding the weeping willows lining the way.

 

 

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Are You Becoming Contagious?

Wherever you are in life – don’t let the weeds of worry choke out the joy. Rise above it and allow yourself to bloom and be a blessing. Roses have their thorns but they are NOT their thorns. Lift your face up to the SON and allow yourself to blossom in the manner He created you to. Once you do, you will experience in the midst of whatever storm you are in what it means to have “the peace that passes ALL understanding.” It is a daily doing – one that we must practice until it becomes a habit. I’m ready, are you?

 

Worry, WoRrY, W O R  R Y, WORRY!  Ever notice how worries reproduce themselves in your head?  Maybe you start out with just one teeny weeny concern that leads to another and another and another until they begin to drown out all the good things in your life.  Until they consume you.  Until you can’t think about anything else except your next concern.

It can become habitual!  Worries spread!  Worries are contagious!  They can infest your head until they become so big that they are no longer little “nitpick” thoughts but big ol’ anxieties that make it difficult for you to even see past them anymore.

For the last few weeks, I have found myself waking up early in the morning with a worry in my head. Believe me when I say it is *not* a fun way to start the day.  This morning, I woke up with a worry – and I decided. NO MORE.  I am not waking up like this ANYMORE.  The best way I know to combat things that I feel I have no control over and am “worried” about is to PRAY.  So today I woke up declaring the Lord’s Prayer.

 “This is the day the Lord has made I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!!!”

When I said it – it was more like I was commanding myself.  I WILL!  If I have to wrestle a worry to the ground and roll around and straddle it and contain it – I WILL!  As I lay there having this wrestling match with this worry – I got to thinking about Jesus.  The thing I love so much about the Bible is that it is the “living” word.  It may have been written in the past – but it is very much present and useful for today.  The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9  “There is nothing new under the sun.”

I’m quite sure the things I worry about are things that other people worry about. And here is the thing about worry – sometimes we spend so much time worrying we spend less time concentrating on what we can do to alleviate the worry.  We give “glory” to the worry!  Have you ever noticed that most of the things that we “worry” about don’t even come to pass? Worrying can become an addiction! -And I decided, that that is one club I refuse to become a member of!
Problems are real.  Situations are real. Concerns are real.  I am not “belittling” them- they are all parts of life.  We acknowledge them for what they are, we do our best to work through them and we PRAY about them (put each one into God’s more than capable hand) and we learn to release them.  We recognize that there are things that are out of our control. We work on the things we can resolve, we seek help over the things we cannot figure out how to resolve on our own – and we try to have the wisdom to recognize the difference between to the two.  There is a very well known prayer called “The Serenity Prayer.”  It goes like this:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We all have weaknesses and strengths.  Certain “worries” may  be the results of areas that God is trying to strengthen or teach us.  Skills we need to learn (for instance for me – it is the area of finance). Things we need to work on to better ourselves.  Those things take time.  In a microwave society – such as we live in, we can be impatient especially with ourselves.  Our impatience can expand our worries like someone blowing up a balloon.  Think about it… The worry is a tiny little balloon, but as we put more worry and thought and energy into it, as we get anxious that little flat balloon gathers air in it and gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER!  Until it fills every corner of our life – pushing out all the good things that are there.  There becomes no more room for anything other than that “worry.”

I don’t want to live like that – do you? I don’t want to look back on my life and think, “yep – I lived from worry to worry…” Because guess what??? Problems ARE a part of life.  But they SHOULDN’T BE the main dish!  When I woke up this morning, I realized I’ve been living worry to worry!  Crossing off worries from my list and moving on to the next one!  Are you doing the same?  It’s time to stop.  It’s time to take the power back from your worries. And contrary to popular belief a person who is an optimist CAN still be a worrier!

I got to thinking about Jesus’ life.  He is suppose to be our example, right? So maybe His life is a good thing to examine.  Here is someone who was born with a calling like NO OTHER.  From day ONE. If anyone had caused to worry – Jesus did.  People were trying to kill Him from the day He was born! Yet from what my Bible tells me – He was filled with peace. He is referred to in the Bible as the “”Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)  If anyone had cause to worry – Jesus did!  But time and time again He would look at people (with wonder it seems) and ask them:

“Why do you worry? Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. What you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-34)

What did Jesus do when He was concerned? His concerns were unselfish – they were about others and not about Himself.  Yet, when He came to the garden of Gethsemane and the worry of the cross weighed Him down – He didn’t “sit there worrying.” HE PRAYED.  Jesus knew that regardless of what He faced, His Father’s will would be done. He was born for a reason. WE were BORN for a reason. As I thought about Jesus, I thought about how He had a purpose.  His life had real concerns. But I can almost bet that Jesus took pleasure and joy in the things in His life too.  He went to weddings, He ate at people’s houses.  He played with children. I can bet you that Jesus found enjoyment in life. He never lost focus He kept His eyes on the path before Him. 
He walked in grace, mercy and love. Maybe He’s telling US we need to do the same.
This day I am *choosing* not to walk my life in a thick mire of problems and worries – I’m not going to give them any more power than I already have.  I will acknowledge them, and do the best I can to work through them  – but I will NOT allow them to rise up like weeds, wrap their cords around me and choke the enjoyment of life out of me.  I won’t let them be my focus on living anymore.

How about YOU?  Will you look back on your life and see it in terms of what you worried about? Or will you look back at your life and see all the sweetness of the things that made life worth living? And all the lessons that you learned because of it?

Don’t sit there worrying about – give it to God. Release it. Pray about it. Realize that you are only ONE person. You are human.  There is very little that we have control over in our lives. A lot of our worries are over those that we love. Recognize that as much as YOU love that person – that God loves them more. He created them!  He really does! Give that child that husband that wife that situation to GOD.  He is much more capable of taking care of it than YOU are.  Trust Him.  He has your best interest at heart (and also their’s. Here is something for you to remember – you can’t out love God!)  Also, remember that sometimes God allows situations to come into our lives to mold us into what He wants us to become.  It’s not meant to destroy us.  It’s meant to help us grow.  Sometimes our problem is that we fight Him every step of the way.  Like a child dragging their feet as they go. Maybe our situation is one that He is telling us to trust more in Him.  He is our Heavenly Father – remember that we only see in part – but HE sees in full.  He knows SO much more than our little minds do.  We need to trust Him. As those worries come to our minds we need to recognize them, acknowledge them and give them to the One who knows.

He didn’t give us life to live “worry to worry.”  Life is suppose to be a gift – not a burden.  It’s time to live it as such, don’t you think? 

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The Way Back Home…

*This is a post that I wrote June 29,2010 four days after I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. God does not cause illness, unfortunately it is part of the curse that our world fell under when Adam & Eve chose not to listen to God’s instructions and age from tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as depicted in the book of Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Sunday, June 21st I held a moving sale with my family. Hardly did I know that day would be the end of a chapter in my life as I’ve known it for the last 43 years.  I came in the house, got ready to take a shower – and noticed a lump the size of a nickel on my left breast. It was just “there.” I ran down to show my husband and we called my mom.  My mom suggested that I be cautious and I make an appointment with my doctor for the next day – I did. Oh how quickly this whirl wind of events took place. Seeing my doctor she sent me for a mammogram (only the second one I’ve ever had) and an ultrasound. There it was – I needed to come in for something called a “core biopsy.” I came in the next day had the procedure.  Now I know no one is fond of needles – but especially needles put in places that they “normally” would NOT go.  However I went visualizing the Lord holding my hand.  The song “Jesus Take the Wheel” going through my head. They told me it would be a 3-5 day wait for the results.  THREE TO FIVE DAYS.  It felt like eternity.  I started thinking of my life for over the past two years… And I realized that no matter what – I needed to begin my trek “back home” to the Lord. No matter what the results.

I thought about Shepherds – how when one sheep is missing they leave their “whole” flock to look for it. I’ve been “missing” for the past two years. Away from the safety, the warmth, the peace the comfort of the Lord. Like a rebellious teenager saying “no Lord! I don’t wanna!!!” I’d gone my own way, looking for – I don’t know what.  And knowing the whole time that I was “looking for I-don’t-know-what.” The ironic thing about it – is I realized during the whole time I waited for the results – that all I need my Father supplies.  And you know – He gives so much better so much more ample, so much more generously than I can provide for myself.  Does that make sense? These past two years – I’ve done things I’m not proud of and probably will only reveal to my inner circle of prayer partners – and you know – I think it is important for each of us to be as transparent with our walks as we can.  Because the fact is – so many other brothers and sisters in Christ are going thru similar situations.  This blog is NOT a confessional blog.  You see – the only one I really need to confess ANYTHING to – is the Father.  And the most ironic thing about it – is HE KNOWS EVERYTHING ANYHOW.  He knows!  You can’t hide ANYTHING from Him. So why do we even try? Like Adam and Eve in the Garden – having eaten the apple – God knew it. He knew what they had done – but still – they tried to hide from Him.  We haven’t changed all that much. (LOL) we are STILL trying to hide from Him.  But here’s the thing – here is what I’ve learned – if you know the story of the Prodigal son.  You know that he realized how MUCH he needed his father.  He got to the lowest point in his life he could go and realized – He needed… He WANTED to return home.  And when he did – his Father was there – looking down the pathway – waiting, hoping for him to come home.  The Bible tells us his arms were open WIDE. WIDE WIDE WIDE.

I ran into my Father’s arms on June 24th. My doctor called me at work and told me – the results were positive. I have breast cancer.  My world has changed.  My life has changed – but you know what hasn’t changed? My GOD.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I gave my life to Him at the age of 21. That was 23 years ago. I have run back into my Father’s awaiting arms – and you know what I’ve found? PEACE. I found security, I found comfort. I found love.  What was it I had been looking for before? I don’t even KNOW.  I only know – that my arms are wrapped around Him TIGHTLY. TIGHTLY TIGHTLY TIGHTLY.  How would you be if your child was ill? If your child was hurting? You would wrap your arms around them and hold them close to you.  Kiss their head.  The Bible tells us “If we being evil give such good gifts to our children – how much MORE will your Heavenly Father give to you?”

I won’t lie to you – I’ve been bewildered.  I’ve been scared. I’ve been shocked. A week ago – I was FINE. Well no – I wasn’t.  But you know what? Ironically I am now.  I’m FINE.  Okay, so I have a Goliath in my life – its called breast cancer.  But you know what? This morning as I read my Word and I prayed.  I thought of David.  I thought of how his knees must have been shaking as he stood infront of this giant.  I thought of how the other soldiers must have been watching on – mocking him.  This shepherd boy. Waiting for him to get pummeled by this Giant of a man. Can you imagine their surprise when the Giant fell? Can you imagine Goliath’s shock what his last thought might have been before he fell? David stood before him with one weapon – his faith.  His trust.  His love for the Lord.  He knew He was real.  He knew the battle wasn’t his. He knew the LORD would win.

This stupid little nickel size tumor came as a huge shock to me.  But you know – it didn’t to my Father. I and many of my Survivor sisters – who btw I’m just beginning to meet – are having/had a “Goliath experience.” But the fight is NOT ours.  And our weapon – is our Faith. I don’t know why my Father is allowing me to go through this – but this I know.  He is in control.  My eyes are on my Father.  My weapon – my faith. I’m standing before the Giant – and I know that as David did – I will win this battle. And my Father will be victorious and I will use this experience to extend the right hand of fellowship to the woman behind me (as women are doing now to me). 

Everyone in their lives goes through a Prodigal experience at some point. Its what you choose to do with what you learn that makes the difference. There is mercy and grace and love in my Father’s arms. In YOUR Father’s arms.  He is no respector of persons.  He has no favorites. He loves all of us – just exactly the same. In the midst of the battle – there is PEACE.

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