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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Are You a Vessel or an Un-Vessel?

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Definition of a vessel according to the Miriam Webster Dictionary:


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How is Your Oil Holding Out?

                         Got Oil?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said:

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

And also:

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

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

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

In Jesus name I pray…

 AMEN

 

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

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

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

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

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

More Words for Your Journey

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The Undefeated Soldier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m tired Father…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Modern – Yet Very Old Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No one sir,” she responded softly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Deception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She struggled to free herself, entangling herself further.

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

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

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

“Pray,” came a whisper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking a deep hesitating and shaky breath, she prayed:

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

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

“Now clothe yourself in your spiritual armor.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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No Matter What, God’s Got You!

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

 This past Monday was my 4th year “cancerversary” (or so we survivors call it).  It was my 4th Year annual appointment from having been diagnosed with early stage, triple negative breast cancer.  I have been cancer-free for 4 years, but no matter how much time passes  these yearly mammogram appointments fill me with anxiety, fear and trepidation.  This time I was definitely concerned because I had been having painful sensations at the lumpectomy site; sensations I had not felt before and of course ol’ slewfoot taunted me with all kinds of horrible thoughts on what it could be…  Some cancer survivors like to refer to themselves in “remission” personally I have never liked (or used) that word.

I Googled the term “remission” and a Dr. Z’s medical report, Published May 17, 2006 written by Ed Zimney, MD (whoever that is…) popped up. He defines remission as such:

“Complete remission means that there are no symptoms and no signs that can be identified to indicate the presence of cancer. However, even when a person is in remission, there may be microscopic collections of cancer cells that cannot be identified by current techniques. This means that even if a person is in remission, they may, at some future time, experience a recurrence of their cancer.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but for me, I find the term “remission” to be insulting, offensive and inaccurate.  You see – I am *not* in remission, I am HEALED.  God has healed me.  To call it anything else is to belittle what He can do and what He has done and I refuse to belittle God and identify my cancer-free self as one who is in “remission.”  Now it is a personal thing, and many survivors fine with that term, I find it insulting and am quick to correct someone who describes me as such.  God has healed me, He has given me a second chance at life and for that I am truly grateful. I found myself thinking of the scene in scripture when Jesus calls Peter out to walk towards Him upon the water.   Matthew 14:22-33:

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.   After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.

“It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”He said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.   Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I didn’t want to focus on the taunts the enemy was whispering in my ear, because I knew just as Peter had – I would begin to sink.  So, with my mother by my side, my back straight, my chin firmly set I went to my appointment at the Dana-Farber holding on to my promises.

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

“I have made you the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you.…” (Isaiah 49:16)

This is why God tells us to hide His word in our hearts so that we can find strength in His promises. Unlike people, God does not make promises He doesn’t keep, we can trust that if it is written in His Word – He meant it.  He is not a God that He would lie. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith – He knows the beginning of the story of “us” as well as the ending, so who better to trust???!

The memories of my cancer experience always hits me a new when I walk into the doors of Dana-Farber.  The confusion, the shock, the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what’s to come all come flooding back.  I guess it is a natural “knee jerk” reaction.  Once again, I went through my check in, my blood work and next – the dreaded mammogram (dun dun…) this huge machine that would give the radiologist the knowledge of what was going on beyond the surface… 

This is where most of us Pinks are found sitting in the waiting room, bitting our fingernails, holding our breathes, only to release them when the results (prior to leaving the Imaging Department) are handed to us.  It is the waiting that is the hardest part, the not knowing.  This time around when I was told that everything was normal, I burst into tears. Tears of relief and gratitude.  According to my oncologist, nerve endings can come back to life anywhere from 10 to 20 years from a lumpectomy post surgery.

I cannot tell you what I would have felt if the report had been otherwise, I can only draw upon my previous experience of receiving a phone call saying, “you have cancer…”  But I can tell you this – I believe that God would have given me the strength to face whatever I needed to face as He has done throughout the course of my life and my walk with Him, things may come as a surprise to us – but they are never a surprise to Him.

I have come to realize more and more that each day – EACH day is a gift, a blank sheet of life for us to write upon, one that we will never get back again.  Somewhere along the line we humans began to take each day for granted, to treat each new day as if it were “owed” to us.  The truth is – it’s not.  We were originally created to live forever – before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden bringing sin and death into the world.  But most people never feel like “they’ve had enough life.”  Have you ever noticed that “old” is something that is 15 years older than what you are?

Life is a precious gift.  What are you writing upon the pages of your life? How do you wake up in the morning?  Do you rejoice?  No one knows what the future holds – but instead of worrying about whatever will be, why don’t we just rejoice and praise God for what He has given us today?  When you wake up tomorrow visualize the day as a blank sheet of paper.  What will you write upon it?  What memories will you make?  How will you view things? What difference might you make in the life of someone else?  Write well dear reader!  You won’t get these moments back… See? Another has just passed… Make every moment count because make no mistake about it – each one is a precious gift from God.

 

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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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Humpty Dumpty Moments

Pride Before a Fall (Proverbs 16:18)

Humpty Dumpty moments… Have you had one? Come on, be honest with yourself… I know I have…

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

We have all heard the story of Humpty Dumpty, haven’t we? 
Ask yourself this – How close are you to falling off the edge of the wall of your own life? And are you even aware of the fact that you are sitting on the very edge?

In one shocking moment, you’re free falling…

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses,
All the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.
 

There you lay waaaaaaaay down on the ground looking up at the distance of how far you’ve fallen. You are absolutely incredulous.

“How did this happen? Why did this happen? What happened?”

Your thoughts are as shattered as your being.

“This can’t be happening to me… Things like this don’t happen to me, they happen to someone else. I must be dreaming. That’s it – this isn’t real. I’m dreaming…”

You lay there with no idea of how much time has passed, willing yourself to wake up from this dreadful dream so that you can just shake it off and laugh over it by sharing the “dream” with a friend. Yet the dream doesn’t go away and you don’t wake up. It’s not a dream, it’s real and you don’t know what to do.

Soon you can hear the rumbling of the ground, even from as far below as you are, the sound of hoofs hitting the pavement above. Before long the King’s men peer out at you from over the top of the wall.

“Help me!!!!” You cry out, relieved that help has finally arrived.

They look long and hard at you from waaaaaaay above.

“Help you?” The leader responds.

“Yes! Help me!” You cry out somewhat exasperated wanting to stamp your foot if only it wasn’t over there… Somewhere…

“Well if I help you – who will help ME?” The leader questions eyeballing the distance from the wall to the ground, “What if I fall because YOU fell?” He adds, backing up. And in following his lead the others back up as well.

“Well if you don’t help me, who will?” You cry out in despair.

“Clearly you brought this all on yourself.” One of the King’s men calls down. “This is your fault. You did it; you fell and now look at you.” He waves his hand in disgust at your scattered pieces. “What an absolute mess!”

“It serves you right!” Yells down another, “Why should I lower myself down to your level and risk my own life to help you out? No thank you! I have my own life to consider!”

“Maybe you were pushed!” Another King’s men suggests. “What did you do to make someone push you off that wall?”

“You must have done something to deserve this.” Calls down another, “If I were you, I would sit there and look back on my life and see what I did to find myself in such a predicament. You must be being punished for something you’ve done.”

Oh how the taunts and jabs continue, on and on they went looking down their pompous noses at your scattered pieces, not trying to help, not caring that you could hear every single word they said.

One by one the King’s men turned their horses around and go about their merry way. And although you can no longer see them from your lowly position of below the wall, you can imagine the slander, gossip and stories that will be told throughout the town of the state they found you in.

If not for the noisiness of your own thoughts, all would be quiet…

“Maybe it is my fault… Perhaps I was over confident in my life. Perhaps I became too cocky and prideful and maybe even judgmental and so sure of myself. Never in a million years did I ever think this is where I would be… No one can help me now, it’s hopeless, I don’t see a way out. I suppose I shall lie here and die.”

“You will not die. The number of your days shall be fulfilled.” (Exodus 23:26) “I can help you.”

“Great, I’m really losing it now.” You say out loud. “I’m losing my mind on top of everything else…”

“Are you ready to listen to me? Or will you drown me out as you’ve done in the past by covering my voice up with excuses or with the noisiness of your life? If you had listened to me up there on the wall, you would not be in the physically broken state you are in.”

“Go ahead! Taunt me as the King’s men have! Kick me when I’m down! There is nothing you can say that is any different from what I’ve already heard!” You cry out wishing you had arms to fling out in frustration but they are located way over there somewhere…

“How about, I love you? How about, though your sins are scarlet I shall make them white as snow.”(Isaiah 1:18)

The words are healing. They begin to soothe you, like a mother soothes a fussy child. You’re fully listening.

“I came so that you could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10), yet you thought you knew better than I what that abundance in your life should be. So against my better judgment, I let you. I wanted you trust in me with all your heart and not to lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), I wanted you to acknowledge me in all your ways. Yet you never made time for me. The more I tried to show my love for you, the more you allowed the noise of your life to drown me out. There have been many times in your life where I have had to sit back and watch you – fall. I’ve been waiting for you to call upon my name. Yet you didn’t. And the louder your life has gotten the quieter my voice has become.”

It’s true, you think. And so obvious, there is no denying it. “Okay.” You say. “What choice do I have?”

“You have always had a choice. You just haven’t chosen the wisest ones.”

“I’m listening…”

The Holy Spirit continues to speak words of love and healing and direction over you and as you lay there intently listening, receiving and nodding in agreement with the words He says, your pieces start to fly together from where they are strewn and hold fast until all of you is as you once were, whole. As God had originally created you to be, yet there is something that is now a part of you that wasn’t before…

His peace.
His wonderful, beautiful peace – that passes ALL worldly understanding and comes only from Him.

You rise up a new creation.

“Remember all I have said to you,” The Lord says. “The truth is Humpty, you were broken on the inside before you even fell off that wall. You just didn’t know it. Sometimes I have to allow situations in your life to happen, because it is the only way I can get your undivided attention; bring you to a point where you can truly see that the only answer is ME. For without Me, whether you admit it or not – you are broken. You are lost and there is NO ONE who can put you back together again. Not yourself, not anyone else – only ME. To try to find another way is useless. For I am the way, the truth and the life; No one comes to the Father, except by Me.” (John 14:6). It takes some people their whole life to realize the truth of My words – if at all.  There has always been a plan for your life and all you have ever needed to do – is acknowledge me and heed it.”

Psalms 18:33-36 fills your head as you walk back up to where you had fallen off that wall and peer down at the distance you had fallen.

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.”

And you rejoice and thank God for His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His patience and most of all His love and that the best, safest place to be – is in His presence in His good and perfect will. With that realization you also realize that life is a journey and during those times when you feel “broken” all you need to do is call on His name and He will restore you.

“I will restore to you the years that the Locust has eaten.” (Joel 2:25)

He calls you “His Beloved” because He loves you, and whether or not you are aware of it – you belong to Him.

 

 

 

More Words for Your Journey

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The Worries

The worries woke me up this morning… They are the ugly black creatures that wait until the wee hours of morning to harass you and wake you up from your sleep whispering in your ear… “How are you going to resolve this problem or this one…. or this one… or this one…”  They steal your peace and fill you with fear and well – worry.  The more of an ear you give them, the louder and more aggressive they become.  Their biggest trick is to taunt you, often times repeating 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…”  They get louder and louder because they are “faith drowners.”  If you listen to the worries, the voice of your faith becomes a whisper until it blows out like a fire that becomes nothing more than an ember and if you’re not careful they can totally blow the fire of your faith out until all that is left is smoke.

Worries  can only become as big as you allow them to get.  If you give them your undivided attention they grow, bigger and bigger and bigger!  They make your heart palpitate and ruin any enjoyment you might get from a day.  They drown out everything around you until you are consumed with them. Like a tornado they can destroy everything good in your life.  Wiping out family moments, or enjoying the small things in life because all you can see is the darkness of the worries and the more you give them room – pretty soon they are all you can focus on. All you can see is their blackness, they choke out anything good around you and rob you of the simple things in life. Their job is to steal from you – peace, joy, love, contentment, happiness.  They fill you with stress, heart palpitations, health issues and sometimes turn you into a person full of bitterness instead of one of faith.

How do you combat the worries when they come flooding into your mind? Sometimes having someone to share them with helps to make them shrink down into the little itty bitty things they really are. Two heads are better than one, sharing your worries helps sometimes helps put them in perspective. 

The most powerful slayer of worries, is the Word of God.  The best way to combat the worries is to quote scriptures out loud.  Sometimes the louder you quote your promises, the bigger your faith becomes and the worries shrink.  Lift EACH worry up to the light of your Heavenly Father in prayer, because He is BIGGER than ANY worry that can harass you.  How to handle worries are even addressed in the bible:

“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? (Matthew 6:25)

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:26)

“I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from ALL my fears.” (Psalms 34:4)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) 

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)

We choose how we live life.  We can allow “the worries” to overwhelm us and take over and live our lives in worry and fear – or we can choose to recognize those worries, sort out the things we can change and pray about those things we have no control over.  The choice is ours. Worries are thieves that try to enter our mind and rob us of all the good things in life.  John 10:10 tells us that “God came so that we could have life and have it MORE abundantly.”  Who do you choose to listen to? The Author and Creator of life? Or the worries that are nothing more than annoyances that try to deplete us of the enjoyment of life that God has so abundantly given us?  

L’Chaim – To life!  Choose life!  When the worries flood your mind – combat them by “changing your mind.”  Watch them dissipate as you concentrate your mind on your blessings instead of on your lack.  Darkness cannot abide with light.  As you begin to think of all the many ways that you are blessed those little dark “worries” will run in fear, for they cannot stand when you replace them with recognizing ALL the blessings you have in your life.  They will flee. Try it and see and watch God as He blesses you with an increase of faith, mercy, grace and appreciation for ALL the good that is in your life.  

“Worries – be gone! I’ve no room in my mind for you today as I concentrate on all that is good and right in my life. I give you no more power over my mind. You may not steal any more moments of my life or take away my peace of mind! Be ye gone! I cover you with the blood of Jesus. In Jesus name! AMEN!”             More Words for Your Journey

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Are You in the Middle of a Jonah Moment?

What Does God Have to Do to “Capture” Your Undivided Attention?

 

I wonder what Jonah thought as he sat in the belly of that whale. I imagine him sitting with his back against a side of the belly wall resting his head in his hands wondering how he had gotten into this “fine kettle of fish.” Did he sit there berating himself for all his past mistakes that led up to where he was? I’m sure he must have felt hopeless as he sat there, incredulous that he was actually in the belly of a whale. No human answer to appease the situation.

 Although I have never found myself in the “belly of a whale” I have found myself in situations that no matter what angle I looked at it – seemed “hopeless” and like there was no way out.   Ironically, most of those “deep belly” situations are situations that we have allowed ourselves to walk straight into. I often wonder if God watches us like we watch a movie… Like the scenes in a movie where the person is about to face danger or make an unwise decision, do you think God watches us and says, “No! No! Don’t take that left! Don’t go in there!” But stupidly blind we do just that, and then we wonder how we got where we were in the first place…

 I’m quite sure that all Jonah could do while he sat in the belly of that whale, was pray. He couldn’t run from God anymore – there was no place to run! He was at a point where all he could do was reflect on what had gotten him there and pray that God would deliver him.   Can you imagine what it was like? No doubt it was wet, cold and dark and probably very lonely. I imagine he could feel the body of the whale moving as the creature moved throughout the depths of the sea. I’m sure Jonah was incredulous that he was still alive. I imagine the only thing he could do to keep his sanity was to pray – to talk to God. And God obviously wanted Jonah’s undivided attention to use one of the earth’s biggest creatures to capture him so that he would finally be still and listen!  What does it take for God to capture your attention?  What does He have to do to bring you to a point where the distractions and noise are at a minimum and you are finally willing to listen to what it is He has to say?  Sometimes we are surrounded with so much noise from our lives that we are missing what it is God has to say to us because we don’t know how to “be still and know He is God.”

 There have been times in my life when I have “run from God.” Either because I’m being wayward and like a spoiled disobedient child who “just wants her way” or because I have wandered off the pathway and gotten lost – like a dumb sheep. So lost that not unlike what it must have been like for Jonah – all I can do once I’ve gotten tired of going around in circles, is to sit down, get quiet and talk to God. The talking to Him is sometimes as difficult as the wandering. Sometimes I haven’t known where to start in the conversation…

 “Lord? It’s me… Ummm… I’m kind of lost… With my words and in my walk… I’m really glad you know my thoughts before I even think them because – I’m not sure I even understand them myself at this point… I need your help Father. I don’t know who else to turn to… Please help me. Please forgive me. Please guide me…”

 I believe God honors prayers that come from the heart. No matter the situation or how we got to that point. I believe that God allows us to be “dumb sheep” and go through a situation because it will humble us and make us even more aware that we need Him.   Perhaps He just wants to hear it from us.

 I have no doubt that even as Jonah sat contemplating his fate, not knowing what was going to happen, speaking most likely from his heart to God and finally ready to listen, that unbeknown to Jonah that whale was already on route towards land, where God would have Jonah vomited up upon the earth – with finally a clearer understanding of what God wanted, and the right mindset to go forth with the calling God had chosen him to do.

 God has a calling on each of our individual lives. We can either “go with the tide” or fight it every step of the way to still come back to the point where we realize that true satisfaction, peace and well being comes with obeying what God has given us to do with our lives. Even in writing those words, I see it so clearly – there is a plan for your life, as there was with Jonah’s and it is one that God has given you gifts to achieve.   He is a patient, loving Father who wants the best for you and being your Creator, knows what that “best” is. Isn’t it time you stopped running from God? It may not be the actual “belly of a whale” you find yourself currently in – but discouraged, depressed and with a lack of peace. Probably all of which Jonah felt himself (and more!). It only takes a conversation with your Heavenly Father to turn a situation around, just as God turned the whale around. Who knows? He could be turning your situation around even as you read these words. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and He loves you.More Words for Your Journey

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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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What Exactly IS Good Enough?

 The doctors all tell me I should cry. But I am like a faucet that you turn on and the water doesn’t come out.  All you hear is the “squeek” of the metal as you try to turn the water on…. They tell me that with all I have gone through in the last year… Breast cancer, chemotherapy, emergency room visits, a marriage that has fallen a part, fighting for my life, loneliness…. That I should cry. But I can’t.  I just CAN’T.  Why is that?  I’ve wondered that a lot lately – but I think the truth is that if I start crying – I don’t know that I’ll ever stop.

I thought that chemotherapy was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through. But what has actually been worse – is the devastation I see of my life from all that has happened over the last year.  You see – when you go through chemotherapy – they give you premedication that makes you sleepy. That keeps you from feeling overly nauseous.  But after treatment – the pain of all that has occurred is raw. Its numbing, its mind blowing.  And all of a sudden you don’t have physicians, oncologists, nurses, radiologists all around you.  You’re no longer a “specimen on a petri dish.”  You’re standing there by yourself and for the first time YOU FEEL THE PAIN. The emotional pain is worse then the actual physical pain itself.  The awareness of the people who have shown not to be your family or your friend because a lot of people don’t know how to “deal” with what you went through. And there you are picking up the pieces of your life.  Wondering how you go on from there.  You’re not the same person you were before cancer and you certainly don’t know the fullness of the person you’ve become… You only know that your bs meter has no “pre screening” that you look at people who complain about tiny little nonsensical things and you want to say – “REALLY???” “Really???!!!”  And all the things that you had before put on the back burner of your life – have come front and center because you realize you JUST CAN’T GO BACK.  You can’t.  And its not a question any more – its just you know you can only go forward – only you don’t KNOW what forward is.  And your life feels overwhelmed with fires that you are trying to stamp out with your bare feet. And the tiredness is worse then the tiredness that came with chemo – because its no longer a physical tiredness – but an emotional one….
You feel like God isn’t there. Maybe because of things you’ve done. Maybe because what you’ve experienced in your life isn’t all “cut, dry and clean” like many of your brothers and sisters in Christ like to act like it SHOULD be.  Why is it that some brethern take such “pleasure” in the fact that you’re struggling? Does it give them a sense of powerfulness? Why are there so many of us Christians HURTING in the church? And afraid to talk about it because fear of judgement FROM OUR OWN body of Christ?  And so we quietly stew in our own pain, not certain how to get close to God again.  Forgetting that “He knows our thoughts before we even think them.” Forgetting even that during the time when WE FELT GOOD and WORTHY that we never really were???! Not one of us have ever been WORTHY. It is only through the blood of Jesus that ANY of us are able to come up to the cross.  I was reminded of that tonight.  That there is NO good enough.  That is only through the blood of Jesus that I can boldly go before His throne.  And so on top of everything I pray – “Father – forgive me. Forgive me for way back when things felt good and felt right before You that somewhere in my head I must have felt as though I was “good enough” but I am a work in progress. It is only by Your strength, Your grace, Your mercy that I can stand before YOU at all.  Maybe its the realization of that that will draw me closer to You.  For I can do nothing in and of myself.  It HAS to be You. It always has been YOU.  Forgive me for not seeing that until now.  I can NEVER be GOOD enough. But I don’t have to be. Because YOU ARE.  Thank you Father.  In Jesus name I pray.
Amen.
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