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

            Are YOU Reading the Directions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How is Your Oil Holding Out?

                         Got Oil?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said:

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

And also:

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

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

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

In Jesus name I pray…

 AMEN

 

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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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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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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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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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