Thursday, December 22, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
This movie and it's accompanying effects and emotions, are not for everyone, for few will know how to handle the rush and multitude of the reactions responsibly...I am unsure of whether or not I may even be one of them. It comes at a time when we cannot cry "#blacklivesmatter" loudly enough, yet still receive resistance and apathy, pathetically enough, sometimes from our own. But what this movie has helped me to recognize is that with every battle, there will always be Benedict Arnold's and Judases, willing and unwilling. I can no longer blame them. They, like Patty Hearst and countless others, have been brainwashed so completely that they actually believe the filth that their captors are spewing. I will leave them to their own paths, and pray I am elsewhere when they experience their inevitable, unenviable end.
But still, I am left feeling this feeling that am at a loss to define. I want to do something, but am at a loss as to what. I have so much to do, but am at a loss as to where to start. I have so much to say, but am at a loss as to how to convey the depth of it all.
I wish I could explain this feeling...
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
I replay wrongs over and over. I revisit situations over and over. I rehash arguments over and over. I "re..." over and over...
|Just let it go!|
I want so much to let it go, but "something" keeps me holding on. I now recognize that that "something" is a tactic of the enemy. He is only able to do it because lately I haven't given my mind anything better with which to replace those ungodly thoughts. Philippians 4:8 says: "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." I haven't been doing that; I've been foolishly going back to "my own vomit," as Proverbs 26:11 lays out, and falling prey to his schemes that try to lead me toward depression. I haven't "fixed" my thoughts, I let them come and go, flittering away like a butterfly. Isn't it funny how the things I should hold onto I easily let go of, while the things I need to let go of, are caught like in a steel trap? Hmmmmmm...
I say to myself that I have every reason to be angry. I have every reason to be upset. I have every reason to be hurt. I have every reason to react the way I do. I have every reason to "rage against the machine." BUT that does not give me the RIGHT! Because I gave my life to Jesus (coming up on 43 years ago), I gave up that right to be ruled by my own feelings and distorted perceptions. Because I made Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, He rules my life, and that includes my feelings and perceptions. I gave Him my heart, the seat of my feelings and perceptions, I gave Him my mind, the origin of these thoughts and perceptions, I gave Him my soul, the vehicle for those feelings and perceptions. After all this time, I'm supposed to have a better handle on things, right?
I am still clothed in flesh and so still struggle daily with temptations and distractions, but if I keep my mind stayed...
Wait, wait, wait a minute, I'm doing what I hate to hear other Christians do, spouting scripture when faced with a real, everyday issues. I'm like a lot of you: I know the scriptures, I've read them numerous times. I've heard them numerous times. I've written about them numerous times. They are imbedded in my memory, but I don't always remember that they are there. As I get older, if I don't constantly find a way to keep these reminders at the forefront, I will fail, and that's a fact.
Here's some practical advice given to me at various times along my own journey:
1. Start the day in prayer. This sets the tone for the day. Prayer doesn't have to be long and drawn out; it can be as simple as "Good Morning Daddy, thanks for letting me sleep and awaken, let's get this day started!"
2. Keep the dialog going all day. Talk with Him at every opportunity about everything, whether internally or out loud. Ask Him about your wardrobe for the day, the accessories, have breakfast/lunch/dinner with Him. Point out different things to Him (it's not like He didn't see it, but it keeps the "line" open).
3. If during morning devotional time, a particular scripture is given to you, write it down (put it in your phone's notepad for quick reference), or somewhere where you can get to it quickly throughout the day. Refer to it periodically as a reminder of the day's thought and focus.
4. Because prayer is a two-way conversation (imagine that?!!?! You mean it's not the time to be mesmerized by the mellifluous tones of your own voice? No. It. Is. NOT! It's the time to speak to God and to be SPOKEN TO BY GOD!), be prepared to quiet your mind enough to hear an answer or an acknowledgment of your greeting. God loves our conversations, He longs to talk with us, but too many only want to talk, and not listen. Sometimes we want to blame our overloaded schedules, but if we had placed the schedule in His Hands and asked Him to put things in their proper place, maybe we wouldn't feel so overwhelmed and rushed, and unable to "make time" for HIM. Hmmmm...guilty...
5. Meditate on HIM and with HIM at times during the day. Find that morning focal scripture and place it before you. Speak it out loud. Pepper the atmosphere with it, and then focus on it. Let it's relevance wash over you. Weep if you need to. Laugh if you have to. Dance if you want to. Let it do what it's meant to do for you.
6. If a crisis arises during the day, don't panic. I know, your flesh wants to go screaming into the street, "Why me, LORD? Why now?" But that is another distracting tactic of the enemy. Try to refocus on Jesus. Maybe that's why you were given that particular focal scripture today, to prepare you for what He already knew was heading your way. Focus your attention on The Answer, not the crisis.
7. End the day in prayer. Talk over the day's happenings with Him. Laugh about the laughable. Cry over the upsetting. Talk over the upcoming solutions. And let it rest in His Hands. I once heard it said that "A day hemmed in prayer, is like a quilt; it unravels without it." That is quite true. Starting the day without it allows the day to meander wherever without a set direction. Ending a day without it allows the day to spill over into our dreams, or worse, the next day. At the end of the day, hand it all over to Him, and, here's a novel concept, Go. To. Sleep.
Now you may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with forgiveness? Well, I'm glad you asked! Forgiveness is often wrapped up in "me, myself and I." "They did that to me, and I can't forgive them!" "I can't believe they did that! They knew that would hurt me!" "Why would they do that, after all I've done for them?" The focus is on yourself. When we start, continue and end the day in prayer with and to the Lord God, it takes the focus off us and puts it where it belongs, on HIM.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
You are important!
You are worth so much more than your mind can conceive right now!
God already calls you the "apple of His Eye" (Jeremiah 2:8) and "His workmanship" (Philippians 2:10). So why are you calling yourself anything else but the treasure that you are? Why does your face look like a gloomy day?
Don't you know that you mean the world to someone? No, seriously! Here's your "It's a Wonderful Life" moment. You may not have recognized how many lives you've touched as you've gone throughout your day, but there's someone out there who may owe their very life to you, simply because you may have glanced their way. To you, it was just another moment out of a million other "insignificant" moments, but to them, it may have been that split second that saved them from stepping in front of a speeding bus. Or someone who was feeling invisible and your glance let them know that someone actually "saw" them. That child that you smiled at may go on to produce the cure for AIDS simply because they felt like they mattered enough for you to smile at them.
Don't take yourself for granted. God created you for a purpose. Today may feel like a struggle just to get out of bed, and there are days like that, but trusting and believing in the God Who knows you matter, makes all the difference.
Say to yourself, "I matter! I am important! I hold significant value!"
Keep repeating it until you believe it.
Now walk in it!
The dictionary defines “normal” as “conforming to the usual standard, type, or custom.” But then we take a look at the definition of “conforming,” which is then defined as “behaving acceptably, following standard, or being, or making, similar.” Ergo, being or making similar to the usual standard, type or custom of what or whom? Hmmmmm….
God defines those of us who are His children as “a peculiar people, a royal priesthood.” That, in itself, goes against the dictionary’s definition of normal; peculiar being, in essence, the antithesis of normal, if not its direct antonym, and royalty setting the standard, not conforming to it.
So just remember, the next time someone tells you to “act normal,” ask them, “according to whose or what standard?” If they say, “according to the standard,” tell them, “if it’s not the Lord’s standard, no thanks, I rather like being on the Lord’s side.” If they say, “well, normal according to everyone else,” then remind them that “ ‘everyone else’ died in both the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, I like the Lord's side.”
Going against the grain is my “normal.” I’m your sandpaper, baby! ‘Nuf said…
Friday, September 2, 2016
In essence, just because I can, doesn't mean I should, because I might get used to doing it and become convinced that it's the right thing to do, simply because it's become a habit.
Examine some of the things you're doing in the light of the Word. Is it really the right thing, or is it because of custom or habit, or because "they" told you to? Often, even our mentors give us bad advice, not because it came from a bad place, but because it's not the right thing for you. It may have worked for them during a crisis, but it should not have become a repeated "go-to" solution.
Examine your own solutions and make sure they are what you're supposed to do, not because it's what you thought you were supposed to do. We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all miss the mark. The key is learning from those errors and veering back onto the straight and narrow.
Being mindful of what we're doing at all times can be exhausting, but we are not told to do that either. We're told to "keep our minds stayed on Him (Jesus), and He will keep us in perfect peace." We're told to "cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us." We're told to "trust in the Lord with all our heart, leaning not to our own understanding. But in all our ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct our path."
This walk could be a lot easier if we stop letting the enemy crowd our minds with legalistic conundrums and wasteful doubts. Trusting God takes time and practice if we're not used to it, but the benefits are so worth it. However, a child trusts implicitly, and we're told to be like little children. So maybe, some of these "myths" of what adulthood should be came out of someone else's misguided notion from a habitually wrong practice? Hmmmm, something to keep in mind when considering whether what you're about to do is really right, or just right for now...
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Originally published October 2, 2009
Many wonderful lessons have been taught from this scripture on the woman's faith in the healing power of Jesus, and her temerity, and many of us have benefited from those lessons. Today however, I would like to shift the focus a little and go back to the beginning of the story rather than focus on the end so that some of us who are currently struggling may finally turn toward the Holy Spirit's tapping on our shoulders, trying to redirect us.
The Bible tells us that not only had she suffered from the hemorrhage for twelve years, but she also suffered at the hand of the many doctors she has visited, seeking help. How many of us use Jesus as our last resort for help? (I know, I know, if you can't say "Amen" say "Ouch!"). Some of our problems today could have been solved a long time ago if we had not only gone to Jesus first, but followed the instructions He laid out for the solution.
Many of us feel that just because we live in a certain neighborhood, work in a certain type of environment, send our children to certain types of schools, run with a certain type of crowd, that these surroundings give us the excuse to become "undercover" Christians. We don't shout like we used to, we don't dare praise God openly, and to dance for the Lord in the open, in the presence of unbelievers, has become unthinkable.
Some of us are running from the very commandment we've all been given, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." We feel that just because we don't have the official title of preacher that this is not our responsibility. Do you realize that just openly thanking God for a sale price on a necessity is a form of preaching the gospel? You're letting those around you know that you serve a God Who is so into the little details that He set aside an item according to your current situation (your manna, if you will), and you are letting Him know that you are grateful.
We are letting the world dictate to us how we should praise the very God who created it! We, who have insight into how amazing He really is, are allowing those ignorant of His grace, mercy and love to tell us where and when we should show our devotion and appreciation. We're allowing the "doctors" of the world to drain us of the very power Jesus left for us to use to heal the sick, free the captive, and deliver the bound. We're turning to the atheist for advice on how to word a prayer "politically correctly." The devil is a liar!!!
When are we going to realize that Jesus is passing by and standing by looking cute is not going to get it? Follow the example of the woman, who said, in essence, "Bump all o' y'all, I'm gon' get mine!" Following the world's example and living by the world's rules for so long, only got her so far. In truth, the Word says, that she got worse. How many of our situations (now looking back with 20/20 vision) have gotten worse just because we did "what the doctor said" instead of "what THE DOCTOR said?"
Saints, it's time to become disentangled from the enemy's web of lies. We must extricate ourselves from those who seek to keep us in a downtrodden state simply because they're afraid to praise God openly. We've been given the victory in Jesus and denying Him openly is denying this very victory. It's been given to us; it's a gift, so why would we forfeit a fabulous gift just because it doesn't "go with everything else?" Please, get a grip!
Get a Life! And you know I'm right!
Boldly going in Jesus Name, where none have gone before!
Originally published September 3, 2009
(originally published May 8, 2009)
Been there too many times to count, yet today, here I stand ready to face the world again, despite the numerous times I've allowed it to push me to my knees. My secret? Letting it push me to my knees and not onto my back. See, when I find that I'm weakening, and can't stand up under the pressures anymore, I go to my knees, and the Lord invariably meets me there. Whether I'm on my knees literally or figuratively, My GOD knows when I am in need of a tangible bit of evidence of His Presence. I've read, heard and said so many times that "He promised that He would never leave nor forsake me," but too many times my focus is pulled away from that promise and doubt tries to take over and make me believe that He's left. But I KNOW that's impossible, 'cause I'm His child and this Daddy doesn't leave!
Friday, August 12, 2016
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Although what we do all boils down to obedience or disobedience to God's Word and Voice, our faith in that Word and Voice will often determine our level of obedience or disobedience. Take the example of that kitten on that rope. Picture yourself in that kitten's place---barely hanging on. Now you can do one of two things: you can tie a knot in that rope and hang on for dear life, or you can let go. The only way you're going to know beforehand which choice is better is by asking the Lord for His Help. Only He will know what the outcome will be and which outcome is best for you. See, there's the wisdom (yours for looking to His).
You may be wondering, okay, that's really easy looking in from the outside, but no, really, think about this...since God knows what's going to happen anyway, and He only thinks good thoughts towards us, then He always has our good at heart. Now don't get this twisted, the outcome may be for our good, and the actual journey may be extremely painful, but that doesn't mean the decision was wrong, it just means it's going to take tenacity to get to the other side.
Anyway, back to our "kitten" situation. You may think that just letting go may be the best solution, I mean, kittens land on their feet, right? Well, the poster didn't show what was below the kitten. For all we know, there could have been a pool of sharks swimming around below, just out of frame. We also have no idea how long the kitten has been hanging on to that rope, so fatigue may be a major factor. Regardless, we can't just happen upon a scene and make snap decisions about decisions; there is always more to "it" than what our eyes can see. My point is that only God can tell us what we really should do, and to find that out, we have to ask Him. This is where our faith and our obedience really kick in. God may tell us that although we see a pool of sharks below, He wants us to let go. Or, although there may be soft grass just inches below, He may tell us to hang on. The directive offered may seem absurd to our natural eyes, but faith doesn't look through natural eyes.
Remember when I said that our level of obedience or disobedience is all determined by our faith or lack of it? If we believe God, believe on His Word, believe in His Will for our lives, then we'll be obedient. If our faith and belief waver, so too will our obedience. Our level of commitment to follow the teachings of Christ will affect our faith and therefore our level and immediacy of obedience. Not saying it's easy, never will I claim that, but it's easier than making decisions on our own, with no insight or assistance whatsoever.
Yeah, decisions to 'hang in there' or 'just let go' are often life-changing decisions, no doubt, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus Christ, our decisions don't have to be "blind." If we ask God for help, we hear His Answer, and we follow what He says to the letter, we can't go wrong. Others may not get it, but the decision isn't theirs and they don't have to live with the consequences of disobedience (well, maybe they do, but that will be their decision). No matter what it may look like from the outside, as long as the decision is God-led, the outcome will be glorious. Now that's wisdom!
Monday, November 3, 2008
I have been getting over a sinus infection and wasn't feeling very well, so my plan for my day-off was just to stay in bed and nurse my aching head. Besides the pain, I've had no appetite (which, if anyone knows me, that's when I know I'm really sick!). This is relevant because, out of nowhere (so I thought) I suddenly had this craving for biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns and scrambled eggs. This is highly, extremely unusual because 1. when I'm sick, I usually crave soup, 2. when I'm sick there's no way I'm in the mood to cook or eat any of this kind of stuff, and 3. I am not a breakfast person. Also, it was around 11:00 in the morning, well past breakfast time (but who out there knows that when you crave something, time of day doesn't matter?).
Anyway, since I wasn't in the mood to cook, but this craving kept hounding me, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to go out for a late breakfast. The dilemma was, who served breakfast this late and wasn't too far away from home? Bob Evans! They were about five minutes from home and they definitely did sausage gravy! Okay, that should have clued me in right there, because I haven't been to Bob Evans in about two and a half years, even though it's on my way to and from almost everywhere.
Okay, so I'm at Bob Evans and beginning to peruse the menu. Now remember what I was craving? Why is there something called a "Country Biscuit Breakfast" with everything I wanted, nothing more, nothing less, for under $5?!?!? Hint number 2--okay, that one helped me clue in that something wonderful was going to happen. So I just sat back to enjoy my breakfast and wait for whatever it was. Sure enough, as soon as I took my first bite, the woman in the booth across from me said, "Excuse me, but my granddaughter just looked over at your table and said, 'Yum, Grammy, yummm.' " I looked over and there is this adorable toddler beaming at me. Well, she (the grandmother) and I struck up a conversation throughout our meals and came to find out that she is starting a movies-with-a-message ministry, called, get this, "Steel Magnolias," only my favorite movie in the whole world!
Now, those of you who don't know me yet, I am a real movie buff, and my outspoken nature about the content of most of the movies out there has more than gotten on the nerves of many, yet I know there are more like me who feel the same way. What goes in, comes out, and that definitely goes for movies! Why would you want to pay good money to watch a movie that curses at you, shows you enough gore to make you want to never eat again, and flaunts that which is sacred for all the world to see? You're offended by it (or should be) when you see or hear it on the street or in your everyday interactions for free, so why pay for it??? I have written movie reviews that either recommend or dissuade viewing. I try to be as honest as possible, not hiding my feelings on whatever the subject matter of the movie...but I digress...
This woman and I sat and talked after we had finished eating for another half-hour or so about the goodness of the Lord and the various ministries in which the both of us were involved, and the only reason I left was because I was still not feeling well physically. My spirit was so refreshed and there was a genuine smile on my face that hadn't been there for a good minute. She prayed for me and promised to contact me, and invited me to their next gathering. I know where her church is, so I definitely intend to visit. Now you tell me, was that a set-up or what? There you have it, my period of encouragement brought to me by none other than the Lord Himself!