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!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
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. -- Philippians 4:8 NLT
I have always had an issue with letting go. Whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual things, I have a hard time giving them up. I've sat in seminars, read books, studied Bible chapters, prayed, fasted, journaled, you name it, I've tried it, and yet, for some reason, as the Bible says, "like a dog returning to its own vomit," I go right back to it, the old habit, the old hurt, the same way of doing things. Don't get me wrong, some things have changed, and I have managed to get rid of quite a few vices, but there are still some things on which the Lord is working out in me.
Let me make it concrete - I have a hard time letting go of past hurts. I used to have a problem with forgiveness and all that went along with it, and now I'm to the point where I can forgive and even allow the people who committed the offenses back into my life, but right now, the Lord and I are still working on my revisiting past hurts. Small offenses, of course, are easier; I'm talking about the deep rooted pain that came from misdeeds against me in my childhood on through my adult years.
There are some people I've encountered who tell me it's so easy to forgive, who say, 'you have to forgive because Jesus says to,' that they don't have a problem with forgiving. These people I approach with caution, simply because I have a hard time believing them because often their actions speak otherwise. I do know that there are some people who forgive more easily than I and they are able to get past the past more quickly than I. Because I see how they are able to do that, I believe not only what they tell me, but I pay closest attention to their advice because, frankly, they're walking their talk. It's the other ones who spout so much advice and their walk belies their stories I stay away from.
See, I'm like most people, I like practical advice. If I hear you say it's easy to do something, yet I see you struggling with it yourself, I'm not going to believe you. On the other hand, if you tell me that you were able to get through something that you thought was going to be easy, that you encountered some obstacles along the way, that you cried or fought, or basically acted like the human being you are, and then you tell me how you did it, and how you are able to still forgive and get past the pain, then I'm more likely to listen to your story and advice.
So here I am, back again, struggling to get past some hurts that were perpetrated against me some time ago. I have gotten to the point where I can pray for the offenders and I can actually say (and believe) that I forgive them. Now, because the offense had such a profound effect on my life, I am trying to actually get past the hurt. I know I eventually will; it may take many years, or it may take a few months, but I am confident that it will happen.
This post came about because I was reading a book and a familiar phrase came up in one of the final chapters. It said, "if you hold on to the hurt of the past, you're just allowing that person to hurt you all over again." I've heard that phrase so many times before, but in that moment, it really hit home. I'd allowed the pain to get so deep that it affected every area of my life. And to make it worse, I kept revisiting it over and over and over again, even to the point of vowing that I would never forgive the perpetrators.
Well, now that the incidents are in the past and I no longer have any direct association with the perpetrators, I am trying to heal, and the forgiveness was the first step. I've taken that step, and now I have to stop revisiting the site of the hurt. That's where the scripture reference comes into play. Do you remember hearing some wise older person say to you at some point, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" Well, that's how I'm healing. Instead of thinking of the bad that was done and constantly spewing venom about it, I now counter those un-Godly thoughts and words with life-infused visions and phrases. When my mind wants to revisit those past hurts and I feel that familiar tightening in my chest, I either let the tears flow and keep my mouth shut, or instead of cursing them, I ask God to forgive me for my own vile thoughts and I thank Him that I made it through alive.
It's been a hard journey, but the Holy Spirit has been with me the entire time, weeping with me, holding me, encouraging me, speaking peace to me and walking me through it. One day, I'll be able to speak about the past without crying or feeling any anger or bitterness, but until then, "The Lord is my Shepherd...He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul..."