Sunday, August 16, 2015

let God be God.

As I have been called to prayer the last few days for friends, family, friend's families, I have had such an overwhelming urge that the Spirit of God was saying to me "Let God be God".

Trying to fall asleep the thought kept going over and over in my head, let God be God, let God be God. Knowing the Spirit well enough to know He wasn't telling me this without reason, I kept contemplating what He was saying. After 3 days of hearing this and trying to LISTEN to what I felt He was saying I knew I had to share.

How often when we pray do we pray what we think is GOD'S plan? How often when we pray do we give God our idea of what we think will be best? DO we ever tell Him, "Lord, I know you are able to do ANYTHING, but since this is a terminal disease, then just make their days peaceful and give mercy". Is that letting God be God or is that putting God in OUR box?

Is God truly able to do what the scripture says "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ASK OR THINK?
Are we allowing Him to do what HE wants?
Are we saying :God your will not mine? are we praying for that? truly praying for that?
Even the Son of God, Jesus prayed, Not my will but Thine.... wow. He knew His death on the cross was inevitable but He STILL prayed for God to take the cup from Him if he could.
Here is what I got out of God telling me "let God be God....
Let him do as he sees fit. Let him do His will and His plan because it is "to perfection".
He will do what is right for us aurora loved ones.... always.
It may not be what WE want, but it will be what is best.
That's a bit hard to take at times, but I am trying and learning to ....

written  2012 .. never posted... not always for the good

      My life (as a friend and I discussed tonight) feels like it has been un-raveling for over 2 years.
I have dealt with the uncertainty of a-fib, the surgery, the reoccurrence after 13 months and then again after another 13 months. Which brings on fear, depression, anxiety and Lord know what else. I am a changed person after having this become a part of my life.
You don't wake up every day saying, woohoo! Let's hit the ground running and see how much we can accomplish. Rather you wake up and think, ugh am I going to be weak and tired today. You think, will it happen again today? Will I have a stroke? Will I die? My grandchildren really do need me.
But then you think, what person as they lay dying doesn't say to themselves: My family needs me?
What makes me special. Absolutely nothing. I am a child of the King.  I am a beloved daughter.
But, the Bible doesn't say anything about not having trials, in fact it is the opposite.
So this is mine.... Why is that? I've asked a million times. I have high blood pressure, probably because of my type A (which I refer to as 3A) personality type. Stress and anxiety effect it horribly and they say adrenaline can affect the a-fib... Well, now looks like I am the perfect candidate.
My doctor (one of the most highly acclaimed in the US) says he only has to go back and redo these 20 percent of the time... I'm one of the lucky ones. I am supposed to get another in October. A totally different kind this time.
What a roller-coaster.  It's not just the heart issue and having someone say to you "you are a heart patient". It's all the other things that pile up.
To see your friends and family suffer. To see your friends process cancer and death of those they love.
You see, I don't process things like other people do. I'm a clinger. By that I mean I "cling" to the hurts of others. I absorb them as my own. I don't let them go as easily as I should. If I say I'll pray for you, I do... Like for months. I pray the Lord will bring you to my remembrance months later if you need it.
I also don't quit worrying about myself.
I've been told, don't think about it. Pull yourself up by your boot straps, "can't you talk you self off a ledge", you're the only one who can keep you from being depressed or dwelling on negative things, etc., etc. etc. until I WANT TO SCREAM and crash my head against a wall. Do you not think I would change my thinking if I could?
Do you think I LIKE feeling like I am loosing my mind? Do you think I like crying on a whim? Do you think I LIKE being afraid to be left alone in my own home at times because of fear? Do you think it's been fun calling 911 at 3:30 am over the years just for them to tell you it's a "panic attack" an you will be fine, eventually?
OH YES, I love all of this. It's great for a 60 year old to be afraid of EVERYTHING!
But what has made it worse, is that as a Christian, my entire life I was taught to "rely on God" Psychiatrist and "those sorts" were for sinners and weak people who "didn't know God". That any kind of medication for nerves or anxiety was almost of the devil. And we didn't talk about it.
But I take BOTH!!!!! YES! I am coming out. My doctors have informed me that since I have crossed the threshold into being "post-menopausal" a LOT of things will change.
I believe I can eventually work myself out of this fog, hole, hell I live in now.
But for now, I am taking them.
Do I believe God could heal my depression, anxiety and a-fib: YES! Have I been prayed for: YES. Have I begged for healing: YES.
I know God hears me. I know He answers my prayers. Just recently, I prayed and asked Him for a very specific thing.. VERY SPECIFIC for his help to do a trivial thing but VERY important to me.
I ask for HOLY SPIRIT power to help me remove a lock that was stuck in a nearly impossible position. It happened. INSTANTLY...

At times, I feel alone in my walk with the Lord. I feel I am taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back somedays. I feel like I am making progress and then I re-gress. I'm sure this is a "personal problem". But I put this into every part of my life. I am NOT good at making and keeping friends.  I LOVE people. Love to be around people. But I have gotten gun shy over the years. I've been told I "march to the beat of my own drummer" just before being dropped by a friend, I've been called spunky, fun, quirky, self-absorbed because someone standing within 6 inches of my face and me looking away made her mad. I have been told I intimidate everyone by my talents.
WOW! What a joke that is. I can do lots of things mediocrely. But I do nothing well.
I have quit at everything I have ever started. I decided in my early 30's to go to college, but a friend said to me, "it will be interesting to see if you ever finish". It was such a blow, I never tried.
I play the piano. But I learned in the 60's and 70's so I play by ear mostly because it's easier.
I sing, but not any more, because lets' face it. Who wants a middle-aged woman on their worship team. And  solo's are a thing of the past.
I have not stayed in touch with people from high school. Not because I didn't love many of them dearly, but simply because I got too caught up in my own life. Doing what I thought was important. Raising my own children. And now, I'm even questioning that.
Did I scar them for life? Because of the mistakes I made, will their children have difficulties because of what I did to my children??? Will they pass their insecurities on because of me....
See why I take pills!  (insert laugh)

I have run 3 businesses: like real businesses. I owned a floral design shop....whew!
I  STARTED and ran a Bridal Salon and no it isn't fun. Women are crazy.
I owned  a hair salon by the time I was 19.
I had my first baby at 22. (well I was married at 17) My second at 24. Done.
And that doesn't count the number of times I've had a real-estate license and sold Mary Kay, Tupperware, Southern Living at HOME, 2 kinds of jewelry and who knows what else.

Through all the years, now at 60, I am re-thinking everything I have ever done. WHY? Because you let your ticker start acting crazy and you start to analyze what you have accomplished in life and if it MATTERED!.
When I had my four wheeler accident 8 years ago, I felt very certain I was here for a reason. God had a purpose and a plan. I still believe it.
I try to say every day: My later shall be greater. My best is yet to come.....
But, If I can't do the things I love the most, it's not necessary.
 Several of the  things I love the most are not a part of my life any longer... I grieve them.
But, even now as I pour out ( literally) of my heart and emotions let me just state this for the record:

my best IS yet to come!

Friday, June 7, 2013

What we need to watch out for..follow up: We have to quit blaming Obama for America's problems!

This was a blog I wrote the day of the Inauguration of the President. I thought it had posted. Here it is for those who weren't sure about my thoughts in January...

No, I didn't lose my mind  when I said we have to quit blaming Obama for America's sins.
So today, I will expound on what I think we can blame him for or better still what I do realize he is for and is pushing on "We the People"

His speech yesterday (which by the way, I did not even turn on the television. I'm kinda like the guy holding up the sign leaving the inauguration, 'not my president') showed his liberal agenda about as good as anything he has done lately. I have listened on the Internet and read it online.
He will continue to push the gay rights agenda as long as he is in office. He wants everyone to be treated equally. He tries to tie it to civil rights, i.e. black/white agenda.
But truth be told, gay/lesbian rights are a sin issue with me. We were created by God Almighty to be joined with a person of the opposite sex to pro-create. THAT is the natural order that God intended.
I don't believe in adoption by gay couples. I don't believe they should be promoted or allowed to marry. If someone wants to name someone of the same sex as their life insurance beneficiary I have no problem with that. That is not a moral issue. But sex between people of the same gender is.
It is not normal or natural. How do he and Michelle explain that to their teen age daughters?

Michelle "the Jackie Onassis of the 2000" (gag me) rolled her eyes at lunch with Senator Boehner yesterday... How classless was that! She along with her husband is showing what they are really about.
The great thing is, it was caught on tape and has been an "internet sensation". Love that she acted like a brat at the inaugural lunch!!  Again, classless.
Today I see that Newsweek has called  Obama's re-election the  'second coming'.  People better be prepared for what this man and his band of idiots have in store for OUR America over the next four years. It is not the second coming of anything. Except trouble!

I am now and have always been very opinionated. It has been said I don't have a filter.
Whatever.. This is what I see.
We are moving farther and farther away from what our constitution says and what this country was founded on.  We are becoming more like Sodom and Gomorrah and less like America was intended to be. I believe that our president not only doesn't care about most of the people in America, I believe he does not care if he destroys America, as long as he can remain in control . I do not believe that if he runs America in the ground, making us weak and vulnerable, he will not see that as a problem.
I believe he is so blinded by satan and his lies that he really and truly believes he is right.
I was a tiny bit relieved to see that he turned around as he was leaving the podium to look at the mall covered in people in his honor and said I want one last look, because I will never see this again.
Whew!! At least he knows  he's done in 4 years.  As much as that makes me feel better, it also makes me keenly aware that now the move is on to push as much through as he can. Because let's face it,
once something becomes law, it's a lot harder to repeal that it is to get it approved.
Gun control is another issue where I have a problem. We have always owned guns. But we have used them for hunting game. It has been a family tradition. We do not use them to hunt people. They were a necessity for our fore-fathers. I do not want them to be a necessity for me or my children or grandchildren.
I do not like how he is leaving us open to terrorist attacks. The Chinese, Koreans, Iranians...
Everyone is building nuclear weapons, don't kid yourself. Osama Bin Laden was the tip of the iceberg.

"Obamacare" as it is so affectionately called is a huge problem.
I do not believe I should have my tax dollars pay for illegal immigrants medical care, although it has for the last 50 years. I do not believe I should pay for anyone's abortion or morning after pill. I do not believe that it should be mandatory for Christian companies like Hobby Lobby to provide that kind of benefit. I appreciate them taking a stand. I do not believe that to make small businesses provide health insurance that they can't afford to the point the make everyone a "part-time employee" to avoid having to provide insurance is the answer. His plan to help the uninsured makes more people uninsured. And as we all know Ms. Pelosi said 'let's pass this bill, then we can read it'.. Wow!! Now that's brilliant! I won't even get into what it will do to healthcare as we know it. Ask people in countries who have national healthcare about it.

I do not believe my tax dollars should go to public schools to pay for illegals children to be educated when that takes money away from other important things. Our teachers are too busy trying to teach these kids English, which their parents refuse to learn. Plus, the quality of education in America to compare with other countries is a joke! Taxes play a big part in education. Tax law is governed by the federal government.
The fiscal cliff is more than that. It is a cliff that will leave us to where our government will be broke and cannot pay the millions who are on social security. You could see thousands die of starvation or be homeless because their only income is that and they have no way to eat or nowhere to live. We are owned by the people we have borrowed money from. I do not want our national language to be Chinese. We can't keep just printing paper money. It might as well be monopoly money.
We have enough oil and natural gas on our land and out in our oceans to take care of America for hundreds of years. But it is more important to this administration to protect some bird that is about to be extinct than owing millions to the Saudi's.. Why is that??

At the risk of droning on and on about what a joke the last 4 years have been, let me say, I have TRIED to give the man the benefit of the doubt.
I have read excerpts from his book  "The Audacity of Hope" where he professes to have walked the aisle to make Jesus his Savior. I REALLY wanted to believe that. I truly want to see the best in everybody.
But how can you say Jesus is your Savior and allow thousands of babies a year to be killed or promote unnatural sex between same sex couples? But there again, Bill Clinton did the exact same thing.
I prayed for Clinton. I prayed that every time he touched a bible it would burn his hands! Because of the liar that he was. I haven't prayed for Obama. I have disliked him to the point that it has almost been hatred and that is wrong too. I have to pray for him. It is my Biblical duty. But I am torn as how to pray. Yes, I will pray for his soul. But I am concerned it is too late for that. I am now at the point of  praying for God to spare us from whatever evil is beset us. As Christians, I believe we need to be diligent. Watching the news, not necessarily listening to doomsday forecasters, being wise, listening to others who are of the same mind and whom you are in one accord with. Being more in-tune to the Spirit of God than ever before.  Trust our instinct. I believe the Spirit will speak.

Be prepared. For anything and everything. war, on our soil, between your neighbors. Marshall law. I don't know. I just think we could see anything because I think it is about rendering the American people helpless. Even non- Christians are preparing for troubled times.
I also believe it is time for our church leaders to address coming issues and not to ignore what is going on around us.

Since I wrote this in January other horrific events have happened on American soil. They blame guns, not gun owners. He called a "gay" athlete and congratulated him on coming out. But he has no time for a Christian athlete who does good everywhere he goes. He called the gay man an example to all? Really, Mr. President. Is that what you want your girls following. Someone who practices what the Bible refers to as an abomination?
 The left wing is bound and determined to take away as many of our freedoms as possible and to make us dependent on government. I am still convinced the church has a job to do and they are shirking it.  I still believe there is hope for America.
That hope is found in Christ alone!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

We have to stop blaming President Obama!

     Last night as I was trying to fall asleep this nagging thought kept going through my mind.
I KNOW!! Shocked me too. I am the first to admit, I'm not a big fan of our president. Actually, I'm not a fan at all. The 'right' has tried for the last 4 years to put everything on him. But, I'm afraid we have it all wrong. It's not his fault.
Most of our issues as a "Christian" society and I don't mean as a nation, because it is obvious we are not a Christian nation, blame the president for everything that is wrong with America.
Let's look at this.
Obama did not legalize abortion. That happened in 1973. The president at that time: Richard Nixon. Republican. Does Obama support abortion, yes. Does he believe in federal funds to pay for abortion for those who can't pay for it, yes. Do I agree with that, NO.
But this was a supreme court ruling. We have had how many presidents since 1973 who claimed to be born again Christians who have done nothing to change this. They will say they don't like it, but they don't do anything to stop it. The "SUPREME COURT" has ruled. Therefore, it is law.

Obama did not legalize same sex marriage. This issue started in the 1990's. Long before any of us knew who Barry Obama was.  In 2004 the house passed the marriage protection act. But, states began to challenge the law and make their own laws, according to what they wanted. Massachusetts was the first to say that marriage only between a man and woman was not constitutional and they changed that law in 2003. Connecticut soon followed with civil-union and a gay marriage act in 2007. Under pressure, from a lawsuit. Does Obama support same-sex marriage, yes. But as of now, he has not mandated that it be the law, he has not put executive order in place  making it legal. Do I agree with same-sex marriage? NO. Everything within me screams no! It goes against everything that the Word of God teaches on marriage.

Obama did not take prayer out of schools. We all know where that came from. There are very few people over the age of 40 who don't know who Madeline Murray O'hare was.

The problem with us is that we don't believe we can be the next Madeline Murray O'hare. We say
"look what that one woman did. She took prayer out of schools."
IF... IF... if we would rise up and stay after something, like a bulldog, like MMO did, maybe we could see changes. The Tea Party had a great idea. But there were no laws changed. No real progress was made.
Our president has made some major changes to our nation. None of which I agree with. But the changes he has brought are not issues of sin. They are political issues.
He is reducing our military at an alarming rate. Yet our congress and senate, including the republicans, are letting him. At the rate we are going, we will not be able to defend ourselves against attack in just a few short years.
He got his health insurance bill passed. Do you know how many democratic presidents have tried that?   That bill says we must pay for abortion, for morning after pills, for those who are not able to afford it. OUR congress passed that bill.
He is issuing executive order to control guns. Assault rifles are only just the beginning I am sure.
No, I don't agree with this either. Because I know that this IS only the beginning. I believe in our right to bear arms. For protection. Because I am beginning to wonder if the day may come when it is necessary to protect what is ours.

The National Cathedral in Washington D.C. has decided to preform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
It is an Episcopal church. That is their doctrine/ruling. It came in 2006. The National Cathedral was waiting on "the right time, right leader" to decide to further the gay-lesbian movement.
This is not Obama's doing either. He supports the gay agenda, yes. But he did not make this happen.

I heard someone say the other day that they had heard (you know, he said that she said) that a group of pastors at a conference said they believed God had spoken to them saying He (God) had taken His hand of mercy off America. (this was a few months ago) I'm sorry. I don't care who said it, I don't believe that statement to be totally accurate.
I believe that if and when God takes His hand off America, we will have about 30 seconds before annihilation.

Do you understand why I am saying, we can't blame him for everything that is wrong with America.
Our issues have been many years in coming. Our issues are SIN issues. America started to turn away from God long before Barack Obama or even Bill Clinton came on the scene.
In 1977, Richard Nixon resigned as President for his involvement in a robbery and break-in at the democratic national committee's offices. Today, if that same incident occurred, the president would probably get his hands slapped and a pat on the back.
WE have lowered our standards. Barack Obama did not lower Christian's standards. We did just fine on our own.
Look at television, movies, commercials, bill-boards. ALL of these things are a sign of a deterioration in moral values.
The very fact that 3, yes 3 Christian denominations in America are debating or have already placed same-sex marriage rulings into their doctrine or bylaws tells me our problems run very deep.
Electing a republican president won't change these things.
Because of the constitution that we are so rabid about defending part of the amendments, these things have been allowed to happen. "Freedom of speech" says to the movie makers and television producers that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want without fear of censorship.
It also says I can stand on any street corner proclaiming the gospel. But I am the one who will be looked at as a lunatic, not the guy who wants to portray the "modern family" as having at least one same sex couple in it. I'm sorry, but that is not family.  It may be popular and it may be modern, but that doesn't keep it from being sin. Do you know how many Christians I know who watch this stuff and talk about how hilarious it is? When you watch television shows on cable/satellite, they know!
That's how they get their ratings. They know how many televisions are tuned into particular shows at that particular time. You may not support gay marriage, but if you watch televisions shows that support the gay agenda, YOU SUPPORT GAY RIGHTS.

Do I have an answer to our problems, America's problems? No. I so wish I did.
I have 4 wonderful, amazing grandsons whose whole lives are ahead of them. Am I fearful for what lies ahead? Sort of. Not fearful, more anxious.  But as our pastor said and I've said for many years, because my Daddy said it, I've read the back of the book and I know what happens!! YES, WE WIN~
Am I concerned about what our future looks like between now and then? Absolutely! You'd be foolish not to be concerned.
I do know that there is only one solution that will help America. SEEK GOD..
Prayer has always changed things. And is still does. It's not God Bless America: it needs to be AMERICA, Bless God!!
2 Chronicles 7:14 says: IF my people who are called by MY name (that's us) will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. 
Do I believe that there can be a radical shift back towards God in America, YES. Do I think we can bring it about, YES. Do I think it is likely, not really. I believe we don't believe in ourselves! We don't think one person or even a group as big as the church I attend can make a difference. But things happen when God's people pray!! Do I believe that the return of Christ is eminent? Yes. Maybe that's why I'm not sure I believe we will see a lot of change in America. We are watching the clock tick down on the world as we know it.
I do know this: to quote Zach Neese: God isn't looking for a girlfriend! He's looking for a bride!
Without spot or wrinkle.
We will stand before a HOLY GOD! I think for too long we have heard grace and we don't remember that GOD is HOLY. He is righteous. He is without fault, without sin. And He is coming for a people who revere and worship Him in that holiness.
What am I going to do? I am going to pray that God shows me how to be a better citizen, who supports my religious freedoms and who will have a voice to fight and stand for my convictions. I am going to pray for America and it's leaders, even when I am not in agreement with them. I am going to pray against every wicked principality in high places and against the spirit of anti-christ that seems to be ruling our nation. I am going to beg God to not take His hand away from my home (America) to continue to give us another chance!  I am going to pray that when He comes He will find me without spot or wrinkle. Ready to be the bride that He has waited 2000 years to retrieve!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Gift

Have you ever received a gift that when you opened it you were totally and completely shocked.
No, I mean REALLY surprised? Do you remember as a child asking for something that you really, really wanted, maybe you were testing the whole "Santa" thing to see if "just in case" he was real?
Sure enough, Christmas came and there it was. Or the thrill of your own children or grand children when they receive that special gift they were truly longing for?
I have had several of those experiences in my life. Maybe not on Christmas, but definitely the experience.
Like when I gave birth to 2 daughters. That truly was an amazing gift. One that has continued to give to me daily for the last 34 years. The days each of my grandsons were born. Each of those moments are recorded in my mind and I can replay the waiting and the fear as I paced the floor and prayed while my daughter Summer was in surgery giving birth 3 times by c-section. The utter JOY that overcame me when I saw those precious boys and then even greater joy still when I saw my baby girl doing well after the ordeal and the happiness on her face.
I especially remember the third time when Walker was born on January 25, 2008, I asked to be able to go to Summer (after all she is MY baby) and the shock she was feeling because God had entrusted her and Matt with yet another son. She was overwhelmed at the fact that they had another boy. Mainly the responsibility of raising a son to be a mighty warrior. Summer knew even in recovery what having a boy meant. Raising up Godly men is not an easy task, but one she knew God must think she was up for. She felt overwhelmed and honored that our Father thought she and Matt were up to the task.
Thinking back on all that made me remember another very young mother 2000 years ago. Her name was Mary. She was all of 14 or 15. She was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. But one night the Spirit of the Lord appeared to her and told her that she was going to be pregnant before she and Joseph married and going to bare a son. Not just any son but the Savior, The Messiah, the PROMISED ONE! Mary, did you know?
Can you imagine what must have gone through Mary's mind immediately following the visitation of the angel? Why me? What is so special about me that God, the one true God, who made heaven and earth is trusting me to bare His Son as a human to bring God to Earth. What will I do? How will I know how to raise Him. Who will help me? I am but a child. I can't know how to raise the Son of God... It's impossible.. I can only imagine all the sleep she must have lost wondering if this was real let alone true.
And what about Joseph? Don't you think he must have had a little bit of doubt in his mind about what his betrothed was telling him. "Ok, let me get this straight, you are going to have a baby, we are to raise Him and He is the Son of God and you are pregnant by the Holy Ghost?". I imagine the thoughts of what others might think, say or even do to them must have tormented Joseph as well.
And what about Jesus, do you think that when the Father talked to Him and told Him that He was going to Earth, as a baby to be born and raised as a human that His Father didn't warn Him about what was ahead? Do you think that when Jesus left Heaven the conversation between Him and His Dad went something like this: "Oh, by the way, once you have been raised by these humans, I'm going to send you to a cross to die a brutal death and you will be resurrected again after 3 days and come back to live with me. But other than that, do all that you can to show people who You are and why I sent You and what Our love is all about."
No, I don't think the cross was plan B, C or D. I believe the cross was the plan before the first Christmas!
I believe Jesus knew He was going to die and rise again to give us the most amazing gift of all: eternal life.
I always say Christmas is wonderful, but without Easter, it really wouldn't have mattered! You see, Jesus could have been born and died just like all other humans. But because He was GOD in man, He died and rose again on the first day of the week to give us what God had tried to give us from the Garden: Eternal Life with Him.
We were created for one reason and one reason only: to have a relationship with God. He created Adam to have communion with Him. Not that God was lonely. He just desired fellowship, just as He created us to desire fellowship with Him and others.
Do you realize the value of the GIFT? The gift of Jesus?
He came and lived a very normal life (if you take away the part of Him teaching the elders in the temple at 12) and worked as a carpenter, maybe he built furniture or cabinets, I just know that Joseph taught him the family business even though Joseph knew that his first born was the Messiah. Jesus had siblings, he had a family life, just like you and I, but always, always there was the knowing in his mind that his mission was to be fulfilled with His death and resurrection.
He came to give me, you and every human that has been born in the last 2000 years the same gift. ETERNAL LIFE with HIM and a home with Him and the Father in Heaven forever.
This was the most unselfish act anyone could ever perform. He knew those 2000 years ago that someday there was going to be a little brown eyed girl who claims Arkansas as home that would love to sing and would need a Savior. That she would someday meet a boy who called Oklahoma home whose parents and her parents had served in the same church some 16 years prior and they would make a home and a life for 2 daughters who would marry men of God and give them grandchildren who also needed a Savior.
I love my children and my grandchildren enough to die for them. Without a doubt, no questions asked. But to say I would die for Charles Manson or the men who caused 9/11 or Jeffrey Dahumer, probably not. I owe these men nothing.
But Jesus owed me nothing!! And He said, Yes, Father, I will go. I will die. I will sacrifice my life for this person and all others before and after her to make sure they can have a home here with us forever. Where there will be no more pain, no suffering, no heartache. I will go Father. Send me.
Do you think when Jesus was in the garden and He prayed "Father, if it be Your will let this cup pass from Me" , He was saying God is there any other way to save mankind? He was proving He truly was human. He didn't want to bear the pain of the cross, but He was willing and He did.
I am trying even now to wrap my head around the gift.. THE GIFT! Eternal life. Just what is that? It is eternally being with God. Never separated again from Him, our loved ones and family, the saints who went before us. The joy of being with not only our family forever but also being able to talk to Jesus, David, Moses, Peter, John, Abraham, Mary, should I go on?
No cancer, no diabetes, no heart trouble, no illness of any kind. No death, no separation. I try to imagine this by putting it into perspective as to how long my Dad has been in Heaven. Dad has been gone over 5 years. To me it feels like a very long time. But to him, it isn't supposed to feel like time at all. How can he not miss us, when we still miss him horribly? THAT is what makes it heaven! There is no concept of time. We can and will enjoy the beauty that God created and all His creations forever without ever having to give it up or say goodbye. But even when I look at it from the time Dad has been gone, it still doesn't really come through. We don't use enough of our minds to be able to understand God.
He not only numbers the stars, he NAMED them. He set them into place by blowing them out of His hand. When astronomers find new planets and galaxies, I just smile, because I know my Father is ever expanding. He isn't bored, I like to suppose He just like making things!
We humans aren't so much for Him that He is too busy to be creative!
Do you get it? Do you understand that the creator of the universe wants a relationship with you like NONE you have ever experienced before? Do you understand that your Daddy owns the cattle of a thousand hills and that His children have never been forsaken. That He (this same creator) actually is still pursuing you. Yes, you.. Little insignificant you. And Me. He pursues us!!
We are His children and He wants us to get "the Gift"!
Mary, did you know that the baby you bore that day in a cave or barn, wherever it was would someday SAVE the entire world? Did you understand that the gift you gave was "THE GIFT". Did you understand that this was the answer to the world's problems? Did you know that 33 years later you would be required to watch that Son die on a cross for you and me?Did you know what would be required of Him? Did He share with His Mother about what would happen to Him?
I don't know any of these answers but I do know that He IS the "GIFT" and that those who ask can freely receive.
I don't understand all that I know and I don't know a lot. But I know I trust Him. I know that I have chosen to serve Him & worship Him even when I don't understand.
If He could do what He did by dying on the cross for me, then I can do what the Word of God says in Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you brethren, in view of God's mercy , to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God , this is your spiritual act of worship."
As I try to comprehend what Jesus did for me and try my best to comprehend His GIFT, I realize I'm not ever going to be able to in this life or with this mind. He is more than amazing, more than my mind can conceive. I'm so grateful.
As the season of Christmas winds down for another year, I am doing what I always try to do. Keep the true meaning of Christmas and the GIFT that Jesus brought with me on a daily, moment by moment basis. He came to bring me eternal life. I have chosen that life. Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD!
Thank you Jesus for "The Gift".

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Plumb-line

For weeks there has been a subject nagging at me and no matter how hard I've tried I can't get away from it. It is something you don't hear mentioned alot from the pulpit of most churches these days.
Righteous living. Exactly what is "Righteous Living?" Is that where you try to impose your ideas, opinions, rules or own convictions on someone else? Or is it really where you live a life according to what the Biblical translations for righteousness are? Let's hope it's the latter.

I lead a ladies Bible study group through my church. For a little over 6 years I have talked to them about the "plumbline" of righteousness. I see that as the Bible. In Amos 7:7 God talks about the plumb wall he is standing on and the fact that He is going to extend a plumbline over Israel because of their sin. He is tired of sin being rampant so he is giving them a chance to "clean up their act" as it was. Matthew Henry's commentary says God's patience was about gone. But the prayers of Amos stayed God's hand from totally destroying Israel. He just sent the plague of locusts instead! (But if you read it, He waited until the spring fields were harvested, so that they wouldn't totally starve. Even then, when His patience was gone, God was merciful, because of the prayers of the righteous)

I contend that there is a "plumbline" today that as a "Christ-follower" as Brady Boyd likes to call it, we should be observing. I believe that the Bible, the Holy Word of God is that plumbline. I tend to make reference to that in my weekly Bible study. I will extend my arm out straight holding my bible and explain that the Word is our plumb line and I see too many Christians these days who are out dangling around in left field. They are not adhering to the principals and commands of the Word because we have become so lax in our thinking about sin and the reprocussions of sin. We live under grace. I'm good... God is good. everything is cool.
But that's not exactly right. The promises of the Word come with a few provisions shall we say. We must adhere to certain things for the promises to be fulfilled in our lives.

The Word of God has not changed. It is unfailing. It is as He is. The same, yesterday, today and forever. No one has gone in and removed the 10 commandments and said, "oh, those don't apply in today's society". They are still there.

As a Christ-follower, we would never commit murder, rob a bank, steal a car, etc, etc.
These are acts that we KNOW are wrong. But what about the little things?
Does the bible not tell us to "abstain from the very appearance of evil"? (1Thess. 5:22)

In the verse previous it says, "test everything, hold on to that which is good".
It doesn't say just to stay away from evil. It says that that APPEARS evil.
What appears evil to you?

A friend of mine made a comment a few weeks ago that spoke to me literally at my core.
She was talking about grieving or offending the Holy Spirit of God.
If the Holy Spirit of God lives within us and as a Christ follower I believe it does, am I willing to subject Him (Holy Spirit) to things like movies where His name is used vainly, where sex outside of marriage is glorified,where homosexual lifestyles are shown as the norm.
If I am at a movie and the previews are of anything that would seem demonic in any way, (yes, vampires and even aliens in some instances) my spirit immediately rises up and is offended.

I believe that is the "plumbline" that the Father has placed in me to live a life that is consecrated to Him.

I know that in today's society many Christians have become less "offended" shall we say at the things of the world than we were when I was a child. Television shows today are so much more sexually explicit than they were even 10 years ago, it is staggering. We are desensitized to sin on so many levels.
Is it a sin to watch a movie where they use the filthiest language over and over and use horrible terms for another person or use the Lord's name in vain? That's not my place to say, but for me it would offend the Spirit of God living in me. So yes, for me it would be wrong.
We wouldn't THINK of cheating on our husbands, yet we fill our minds with images of people doing just that and call it entertainment!

Is it a sin to drink? Probably not. Is it a sin to get drunk, yes. (biblical ref. 'be not drunk with wine, wherein as excess' Eph. 5:18 - that's the new testament, in case you are wondering, so it DOES count) Is it a sin for me to offend my brother or sister and cause them to stumble? Absolutely.

There are people God has placed in my life who look up to me for spiritual guidance and they are under my leadership. For me not to TRY and live a life that is pleasing to God is unthinkable to me. I take the role I have very seriously. I believe that I am called to a higher standard than the world, because of my personal relationship with God, the creator of Heaven and Earth. The one who SPOKE the universe into existance. HE knows my name. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knew long before my parents were ever born that my life would happen and that I would have a burning desire to follow Him all the days of my life and make a difference whether it be great or small for the kingdom of God.

The bible says in Luke 12:48 whom much is given, much will be required.. This is the parable of the unfaithful servant. It talks about the servant who is faithful to do the work he has been set forth to do, but that the man who is not doing what he is called to would be beaten with 'many stripes'. This particular passage is where most people get the "called to a higher standard" speech.
I prefer to use as my "called to a higher standard" scripture Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable to God, which is your "REASONABLE SERVICE" (emphasis added) And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. CONFORMED according to the NKJV bible I have says ; to conform oneself to an outward fashion or appearance as in 1 Peter 1:13-16 where it says.. gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not 'conforming' yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct , because it is written: Be holy, for I am holy.

Wow! It doesn't get any more plain than that, does it?

And what is this "renewal of the mind" that it talks about in Romans? It is a restoring to freshness, to an original state. It intimates the potential of redemption's power to God's original purpose for us, His creation. It means a change in your thought process. Redemption power instills Godliness in us, it is a power that literally TRANSFORMS!!
Christ like living is not complicated. We have a "plumbline". It just calls for submission to our heavenly Father's provision and His ways!

What do we receive in return? Only eternal life and the joy of knowing that we are indeed presenting ourselves to Him to use as He would use us.

Isn't that after all our "reasonable service"?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sister Friend?

Proverbs 18:24... but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I saw a movie with my youngest daughter tonight about girlfriends. You know, the kind that have been best friends since second grade and are always there for each other. Like sisters. Except not.
I don't have a sister. I have an older and younger brother. I always wanted a sister, a female soul mate. A confident`. Someone to share my deepest, darkest secrets with. But it never happened for me. There were times when I think I came close to having a 'best friend'. But invariably something would happen, and that bond would be broken, strained, severed. I have come to realize in the last couple of years that most of the people I felt close to didn't reciprocate. Not in the same way at least. Their friendship meant more to me than mine did to them. Again, they already had a "best friend".
I think I'm friendly. I think I am easy to talk to. So why is it not in me to let people in? Why do I not have friends? Close friends, 'heart' friends.
I'd never heard that expression "heart friends" until 4 years ago. I went away for 5 days on a retreat of sorts with a bunch of women. With pretty much a guarantee that my life would be changed and I would come back "sisters" until we died with these women. Nope. Some of them, I haven't talked to since we got off the bus. Others, that you felt close to the first 30 days.. now, you are lucky to hear from. Don't get me wrong it wasn't that way for everyone, but it was for me.
Growing up, my Mother, a preacher's wife (who is one of 7 girls) always said "familiarity breeds contempt" and always warned me about the evils of getting "too close" to people outside the family.She would warn me about not trusting others with my secrets or deepest thoughts (what she was saying was: my weaknesses) She would tell me: Everyone has a best friend and just because that may be your best friend doesn't mean they are yours so if you want to keep something a secret, Don't tell anyone. To this day, she is still very careful about whom she trusts. She has no "special friends".
I have the wonderful blessing of having 2 daughters of my own. I told them numerous times how fortunate they were to have each other. No one will stick by you like a sister. How do I know this? I have a sister in law who had 3 sisters. The 4 girls would meet at least 4 times a year somewhere between where they all lived. They would shop, play games, work puzzles. Whatever. Just be sisters. It is a ritual that makes me jealous and long for a kindred spirit such as the one they share. Their baby sister is gone now, but the three remaining still meet every quarter. It is more important to them now than ever before. I have laughed and said someday I would crash their party, but I won't. I would know it wasn't the same. I don't belong to that "club".

My high school is planning a reunion this year for several classes together, including mine. I have been gone from the town I grew up in 30 years. Have not talked to most of the people I went to school with in that entire time unless by some fluke chance I would run into them when I would be home for a visit.
Because of the upcoming reunion, I decided to reach out to some old friends that I had found through years of searching to see if they would like to reconnect, just through email, etc. and catch up on each other's lives. Two of the women I was especially close to in high school are already gone, so these connections would have been even sweeter. But no luck. Not even an acknowledgement. It makes me wonder, was it me? Was I so unpleasant that people still remember that insecure girl who only knew she wanted to sing and stay pure for her husband. What was I like? Was I obnoxious? Was I difficult? I just remember that I tried to be nice to everyone and hoped everyone would like me. Hey, I was 17. I know that's unrealistic, but I was a kid!! Problem is, I still want every one to like me!
I've had a lot of things said about me in the last 20 years. It's been said that I "march to the beat of a different drummer" (whatever that meant) that I don't have a good filter (not sure about that one either) that I'm perky, opinionated, generous, nurturing, a control freak (that came from me) wise...You name it. But am I friendly?
I open my home every week 9 months out of the year to other women. I love on them, I nurture them, I pray for them and try my best to make them feel what I want to feel: loved, respected, important. I know that most of these women love me. They tell me I'm like a second mother, that I'm warm and hospitable. I love these young (and older) women with my whole heart. But as far as being close "heart friends" we aren't. When Bible study morning is over, they leave and some of them stay connected all week and me..well, it's hasn't happened.
Why has that blessed friendship been something I have never been able to attain? Because I have a guard on my heart? Why is it so hard to be vulnerable and open up to other women? Is it a lot like the love between a man and a woman? When we get hurt, we put a guard around our hearts to protect us from further hurts. Yes, I believe it is!
Where is this going? What is the purpose in all this? I am saying: LADIES: get out there, open yourself up. Don't be like me! If you get hurt, don't close yourself off. You have to keep trying or you will one day wind up with children who are grown, have moved away, have their own lives and you have no one to have lunch with, shop with, share a cup of coffee with. This is the voice of experience.
My daughters are not like me. (well, they are both rather opinionated, so in that way they are like me, but not when it comes to friends) They both have at least 1 amazing friend that is what I would call a 'heart friend'. Someone that I believe will be there for them as long as they live. Someone to share "life" with. Jesus has been the ultimate friend! And I know He always listens and He knows my hearts desired. I think maybe that is why the desire for a heart friend is still with me. He knows the intentions of my heart. Even now as I write this, I think, do I really want to let other people read this? Will it sound insecure and pathetic, am I making myself too vulnerable.
Don't get me wrong, my life is FAR from empty. It is extremely full and busy.
I don't have time to hang out all day, drink coffee and shop with someone. But, I'd like to know there was someone to call just on a whim to grab lunch or even a coke.
Now, don't everyone feel sorry for me and call me at once. I'm not looking for sympathy friends. (I'm wise to that) I'm telling you to avoid this place if possible.

I haven't given up. I'm still looking and waiting. As I walk the halls at church or even some public places, I catch myself looking at other women and thinking: Could she be the one that Father has picked for me? Does she need a friend? Is it her?