Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crazy In Love

Today I became oh so aware that God is all that I need. I believe He loves me, despite me.

Hosea 3:1 " The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."

The book of Hosea was, at first, such an odd read for me. Here is this prophet of God, a righteous man, who is married to an adulterous prostitute. Over and over she betrays the marriage bed; over and over he brings her back to him and loves her. No matter how many times she sinned against him and their marriage, he still loved and pursued her. Was he crazy? ~ maybe... crazy in love.

God's love endures. Despite me; despite you. Just like Hosea's wife, we sin. We sell ourselves short and commit acts, no matter how small, that separate us from a loving God. But His love endures. . . His mercy also.

Hosea 11:7-9 "My people are determined to turn from me.
Even if they call to the Most High,
he will by no means exalt them.

"How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.

I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come in wrath.

God I am so thankful that your love pursued me. I take joy in Your mercy. Today I took the time to open my eyes to your favor in my life. I am blessed; yet I have sinned. I have been rebellious and stumbled in Your ways (Hosea 14:9). But You have picked me up each and every time. You have paid the ultimate price for me. Your love endures even when my choices are sinful.

No matter what I have done, He says all His compassion is aroused! "How can I give you up?!?!?" SO thankful that He was not and is not willing to give me up. He comes with compassion; not wrath. He comes with love!

Thank You God!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Level paths. . .

Probably one of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. I remember reciting one of his better known works for a sixth grade English class, "The Road not Taken"

"TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

I love thinking about the paths I take! I like to think I have taken "the Road less travelled; and that has made the difference" in my life! But what about the path I leave?

Hebrews 12:13 says, "Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled; but rather healed."
Proverbs 4:26 states, "make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."

I think it is not just taking the road less traveled that has and will continue to make the difference in my life. My dream is to make a path that leads to healing.
I don't want to cause the hurting to stumble and become disabled.

God that I can daily give my life to you as I travel. . .Help me to leave a level path for those that come after me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Junk Food Junkie :) ~ Again!!!

Wow, just want to thank you for the prayers! It was really hard at first; however, I feel better physically and spiritually! I still have about two weeks left in this fast so remember me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Always and Forever?

I can't remember a time in my life where I didn't have a worry or a care.... So often even the day to day droning of life's progress seems almost unpleasant. I was taken aback this week when I read (for the umpteenth million time) the book of Philippians. Specifically Chapter 4.

Philippians 4: 4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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." I was even more concerned when I had flipped over to 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and read "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ."

Always God? All circumstances? Really?

In the mid 1600's a Christian Pastor named Martin Rinkart lived in a small town called Eilenberg in Germany. He wrote the most beautiful song. I think we have all heard it... ~Now Thank We All Our God.~ This was a trying time for this tiny town. The city was facing problems of over crowding, hunger, plagues. . . But ponder on this verse:

"O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next"

Ever joyful hearts! Guide us when perplexed! I can get a little perplexed everyday. When I am sick, have problems with my finances (aka debt), people stressing me out, my car not wanting to run. . . But Martin Rinkart was perplexed for a different reason. He wrote this song at about 1637. That year alone he conducted around five thousand funerals... Including that of his beloved wife.

With an ever joyful heart? Blessed peace to cheer us? How can this man have blessed peace to cheer him? 5000 funerals in one year. That is about 14 a day. How? Because he knew the Lord was near. Again.... He knew the Lord was near (Phil 4:5). No one man (or woman) can face these trials alone.... "But I will never leave you or forsake you." "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou are with me." Thank God we are not alone!

I said I can't remember a time when I didn't have a worry or a care. . . until I met Jesus. I worry not! He is with me. This week I read to rejoice always; to give thanks in all circumstances. This week, I praised Him. For I know I am a city on hill (Matthew 5:14)... I praise Him knowing that all will see the storm He is bringing me through. They will see my God working in and through my life. Because I have this blessed peace to cheer me, I will have an ever joyful heart. A heart that gives Him praise...even when I am perplexed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Sure Smell Purdy!

I am not sure if it is proper. . .Maybe, maybe not; however, I am not afraid to walk up to someone and just ask them what fragrance they are wearing. In the 1980's, I remember a national newspaper columnist, Dear Abbey. People used to write to her (they may still, I don't know) and ask her opinion on so many random questions. Someone once asked her this question...."Is it proper to ask a lady what perfume she is wearing?" Her response? "Little things. Don't underestimate the power of the sense of smell." She went on to say that fragrance is important to attracting the opposite sex in all animals. Even human animals.

As a lady, I like to smell good. I have my preferences and I wear some sort of lovely fragrance everyday. I am not worried about attracting the opposite sex; I simply want to smell nice for all I come into contact with on a daily basis.

Why this random thought of mine? There is a method to my madness. . . :o)

God likes smells. Unlike us, He doesn't care about our bodies being fragrant in this fleshly realm. I doubt his nostrils have had the pleasure of entering bath and Body Works or Nordstroms fragrance counter... He cares about our spiritual aroma. How we smell in the spirit.

Throughout the Old Testament we see different instances of how a burnt offering was a pleasing fragrance to our almighty God. But don't kill the family pet just yet! In the Old Testament we were under a covenant of blood. It is different now. The ultimate sacrifice was made in Jesus! No longer are we required to torture and murder Innocent farm friends! The sacrifice of Christ has been made... through Him a new fragrance fills the air. . .

2 Corinthians 2:15 "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

How sweet it is. When we accept Christ, we become an aroma pleasing to God. How many of us know how quickly a lovely smell will get our attention and bring us running! Don't believe me? Watch me walk by a bakery... You will have to drag me away from the smell!!!

That being said, do you need God right now? What perfume are you wearing?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bright, Shiny Objects

I was at a wedding about a week ago and I sat with the most adorable, older couple. He was in his late sixties and she her early. As we spoke, I couldn't help but to notice how the glittering sequins seemed to dance across the black background of this beautiful lady's blouse. It was quite captivating.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9; "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Paul spoke of a thorn in His flesh. It tormented him. No matter how many times; or how desperately he pleaded, God refused to remove this thorn. I don't know what this thorn was. Could it be the lust of the flesh? Cancer? Depression? A chemical imbalance? It doesn't matter. What matters is it caused Paul to recognize the beauty of the Grace of God.

Kind of like the black background makes me notice these beautiful sequins. Without it, the full brilliance may be lost to my eye. But thanks to it, my hearts sees it as beautiful to behold.

Oh God that I will always notice Your grace!

Junk Food Junkie ~ Follow-up

Ok, day three.... PLEASE pray!

This is tough. I have given up the Spiritual Junk; however, I WANT CHOCOLATE! AND CAKE... and a CLOWN COOKIE!

I keep telling myself that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And calling out to God, "Turn, O Lord, and deliver me (from this sugar addiction), save me because of Your unfailing love. ~Psalm 6:4"

WOW. It is not supposed to be this hard. Keep praying! I will post again later.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Junk Food Junkie!!!!!

I LOVE junk food! I really do! I work out at a gym in Concord nearly everyday and in the same building is the most wonderful little bakery called Chef's Choice. PERFECT placement for a bakery if you ask me :). Yes, I love junk food! But it does not love me!

See, I have a slight sugar allergy... slight. It makes my face break out and causes acid reflux. This is my body's way of telling me, "hello! Stop with the junk." My body was set up to run off certain types of fuel. Yes, food is fuel. My body needs it in order to sustain life and function properly.

The Spirit also requires fuel in order to sustain life.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 4, Jesus was hungry and being tempted by Satan. Satan suggested that He (Christ) use His power to turn a stone into bread. Jesus simply stated, "It is written: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:3-5 . . .The man's spirit feeds on the Word of a Living God. In the book of John, Jesus goes on to say that He is the bread of life! Anyone who comes to Him shall not go hungry or thirsty (John 6:35).

Why am I bringing this up? Well... conviction mostly. See the Spirit has recently cautioned me about my negative eating habits. To feed my physical body, I am eating mostly junk food. Thus the twenty pound weight gain and constant breakouts. . .Not to mention I am tired all of the time!

I am also feeding my Spiritual body junk! Now, do not misunderstand, I am reading His Word daily. I am getting some nourishment. However, I am also on the Internet all of the time looking at YouTube and Facebook... I haven't watched television since January; however, I watch movies quite often and many have terrible language. So my spirit is being fed junk. . .

This is where you come in :). I need your prayers. For the next thirty days, God has called me to give up the junk. No more candy or late night ice cream runs... No more action movies packed with violence... Nope... I am giving it up! For the next thirty days the music I listen to, the songs I sing, the books I read, anything I look at on the Internet. . .It HAS to uplift Him. The foods I eat have to be healthy :(. PRAY FOR ME!!!! I started this yesterday and it is terribly difficult. So, lift me up! I will blog about this again soon to give you an update. Love you all!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Take My Life and Paint it Right

The Master Painter! What imagination an artist must have to envision a masterpiece in lieu of a blank canvas! Me? Well, I see a big white sheet of paper. I can't imagine the thoughts of those who viewed the Sistine Chapel prior to Michelangelo. To them it was just a 12000 square foot building. A chapel designed for worship and nothing more; however, to the artist, it was a masterpiece in the making. He saw the total picture.

The book of Micah was written by the prophet Micah sometime between 742 and 687 B.C. It was a time of absolute mayhem in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Both kingdoms were skipping from one horrible king to another. The armies of Babylon had torn down the temple. The people lived in constant fear of being murdered, tortured, or taken into slavery. But in chapter 4, the prophet Micah begins to speak of a coming peace. Not just peace, but prosperity and restoration of the kingdom. Wow! Was he out of his mind? Was he blind to the destruction around him?
No. It seems that Micah had gotten a glimpse of the whole picture. He believed in the promise of God and knew, despite what was going on around him, God would deliver. Micah 4:12
"But they do not know
the thoughts of the LORD;
they do not understand his plan,
he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor"

God's ways are unsearchable. We will never be able to understand.
Romans 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!" Why is it that I do not understand what is going on in my life? I believe it is because I cannot see the whole picture. When I look at me, I see an empty painter's canvas. Here and there are a few brush strokes of color. But by no means a work of art worthy of display. Nope. Museum quality it is not. But then again, I am not the painter... just the canvas.
See there is an artist whose works are beyond beautiful. His imagination is more than any could hope to duplicate. No one can fathom His mysterious ways; however, they know His art is oh so beautiful to behold. Sometimes, people question His work. What is it going to be? How can He make beauty out of this mess of paint? When will He finish? But He sees the total picture. In His mind, there is no mess...only beautiful colors to work with. And, with a lot of patience, in His time, a master piece develops. Breathtaking in its own rite...

Wow that I could only catch a glimpse of the painting of my life! Sometimes, the promises He has made to me seem so far away. But, knowing it may be a brush stroke or two before it is complete makes the problems I am facing this hour seem so insignificant for my life time. I have to remember that some strokes of the brush are more difficult and some colors are darker than others. But those thumbnails are so tiny compared to the complete picture of my life.

God that I will have the strength today to make it through the uncomfortable minutes of my life; help me see the beauty of the hour. I love you God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Trust You. . . Really. . .

Trust is defined as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. . .

But, I like how defines it: "Trust is both an emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people, but believing they will not take advantage of your openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss, calculating expected utility based on hard performance data, and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner."

In essence, when I open myself up to trust someone; I also expose myself to the possibility of pain. It leaves me vulnerable. I put faith into someone or something to give me a desired response. Maybe the reason trust is such an issue for me is because people let me down. People fail. It happens. However, when they do, these failures make me less likely to put faith in another person in the future...

Now, children are trusting little creatures...
I am rarely around children; but, when I am I am absolutely amazed at how they will just believe anything an adult tells them. It is intriguing...sometimes scary! ! !> > > and I have to admit I am just a little jealous. I have a hard time trusting.

I began writing this post early last week; however, I was unable to finish it and post it on the day I had planned.... My mom had a massive heart attack Thursday of last week. I was going to post this on Friday. Glad I did not. I thought I knew trust; but I have learned so much in the past few days.

Those of you who know me personally or who follow my blog know that I have so often hurt or been hurt by life in these short thirty years. Sexually abused as a child, let down by the court system, hurt in the school system, It is a wonder that I trust anyone. But God has never hurt me. He is my friend. Christ even states clearly that He calls us friends (John 15:15).

So as I sat in the hospital room with my mom and dad last Thursday; I called out to my friend. My one true friend. Someone who has never hurt me... never taken me for granted... never wants to see me in pain. I boldly approached my God and begged Him to "heal her." = Super woman (a.k.a mommy) is home today refusing to eat healthy or take it easy... That's my mom!!!

I said I learned so much more this week on trust. . . I have always been told to "trust in the Lord my God with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding." There is a reason we must do this. The book of Romans tells us in chapter 11 that His ways are untraceable. We will never be able to comprehend who He is or How He does what he does..... God had mercy on my family this week. He allowed my mom's heart to function until she reached the hospital at CMC Northeast where a group of gifted and caring staff members managed to clear the way for her blood to flow again. I say allowed because her artery was 95% blocked. Then He gave me peace. He comforted my Daddy. He is good. He is merciful. AND I trust Him fully.

When I am weak; He is my strength. I do not understand His ways but I see the effects of my faith in Him. It is so hard to make yourself completely vulnerable. But after the life I have led; I know that it is so necessary. Recently God asked me if I trust Him. I said yes of course. He led me to quit my 6 figure job and simplify my life. It was not an easy transition for me. But it has been worth it! I have been doing odd jobs and contract work for the last few weeks. I have time to write and my bills are paid. Most importantly, I have had so much more time to spend with Him. I don't understand His ways; but I know they are best for my life. He is my friend. True friends would never want any pain to come to those that they love. He is my 100% true friend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Horse is a Horse. . .Of Course

In horse riding, horse bits and bridles work on the horses head and mouth to control the direction of the horse. A bit has a distinctive purpose; to transmit messages from the rider to the horse. Using the bit, the horse can also transmit messages to the rider. It is a form of communication. Communication is a way of reaching an understanding and is a two-way process. Again; if you can control the mouth, you can control the direction of the whole body.

James Chapter 3: 3-10
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be…”

Some of you probably think you know where I am going with this; however, bear with me. I am going to make bare my soul for a moment.
My mouth is, and has always been my worst enemy. It would take far too long for me to confess all of the abominations committed with my mouth; however, I have to dispel a few.
First and foremost, I complain. I whine about my situation and refuse to acknowledge the blessings in my life. I have more than an abundance of love, provisions, and material things; yet, it is all I can do to stop myself from mentioning what I lack. This is the first sin that I must confess to you today and repent of. God forgive me. I have been given much by you; however, I have slighted you the praise you deserve for my many blessings. God I am sorry. I thank you for your mercy and I honor you for your grace in this matter. Lord God, you are my provider. It is with much gratitude that I now thank you for all that I have.
Next, I have the most explosive temper of any woman I know. I am so slow to reach the boiling point; but, once I do, my mouth destroys my character. I repent. God I repent for the hateful things said out of anger. I am sorry for the pain that I have caused by harsh words. I thank you for your forgiveness.
Also, I talk. I may have the best of intentions; nevertheless, it is wrong of me to repeat rumors or slander that I hear about others; especially given the fact that I may not know the entire situation. It is not my responsibility to educate the World on others wrongdoings. God, I am sorry. Please remove this board from my eye and help me to see others more clearly. Not so that I can talk about their private sins; but so that I will know how to pray for them. Or, so that I can plainly see if I am the one, all along, needing the prayer.
Last, with my tongue I can mislead. This may be my greatest sin of late. It is wrong of me to give the wrong impression to another simply to satisfy my ego. Not only do I repent to you, Father; I also repent to those that I have misled. Give me the strength to go to those and end what I have begun.

God I realize that I cannot tame my tongue. I fully understand that this is impossible for me to do. I no longer fight this bridle. I give you praise for this beautiful bit of the Holy Spirit. It is communication with you! Use it to hold my tongue so I can hear what you are saying; then move in the direction you would have me go.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pull Back Your Curtains

I never even noticed that he was different. His hands were normal to me. How many fingers are you supposed to have anyway?
My brother…. Aaron was born with a handicap. Actually, it depends on who you were and how you looked at it. I just remember when I was really young, a little girl telling me that normal people had four fingers and a thumb on each hand.
But my parents raised us to look past the differences. We were taught not to be uncomfortable around others who had disabilities or just were not like us. No, we did not pretend that they did not exist; just that people are different and our differences are what make us special.

What makes me think of this? Glad you asked . . . <3

Luke 13:10-17

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.....

So often we look at this beautiful story as a story of yet another miracle performed by a loving Christ. It has always represented healing. But if you look closer, you will see it clearly. For eighteen long years this woman was crippled… her worn out body shaped not much differently than a question mark. I know that there were those who pitied her; others stared and mocked; worse yet, some pretended not to notice her. They acted as if they did not even see her as they went on about their business in the markets and the temple. She was not worth even a glance. . . .
Yet when He saw her, He did not turn away. No. He looked at her and spoke to her. He touched her. He healed her. What must it have felt like to, after 18 long years, be able to stand up straight and tall and stare into the eyes of love!
I think reading this makes me ask myself, “Do I look at them?” And when I do, do I see a human being or a deformity. Is it the person that I look at, or is it their differences? If they looked into my eyes, would they see love or discomfort?

We need to look. Then we need to speak. Even if it is just to talk about what a beautiful day it is. Most importantly we need to be able to touch. We need to shake a hand, touch a shoulder, or even give a hug when it is appropriate. Just like Christ, we need to be able to put aside the differences and let others know they are valued. Let them know that they are children of an almighty, loving God and that makes them so significant. They are worth it. Who knows, you and I may be the only window by which they catch a glimpse of a loving God. So pull back your curtains.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am Shameless :0) ~ In the Right Way

There was a time in my life where I felt worthless. I had sinned. I was ashamed. I felt undeserving of God’s love because of the sin in my life. I thought I was unworthy to be in His presence; to be given His love; undeserving of His forgiveness. I understood my faults. I knew I had sinned. After accepting His love, I needed to understand God’s Mercy and Grace.
Ephesians Chapter 2: 1- 5, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the World and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those that are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
God did show me mercy. Through His grace my sins are forgiven. I am a new creature in Christ. Ephesians 4: 22-24; “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” God’s love is unfailing. But, immediately after accepting it, thoughts of guilt and feelings of shame about my life surfaced. Shame is a painful feeling caused by awareness of one’s shortcomings or guilt. I stress PAIN-FULL….full of PAIN… Ok, you understand.
Now, shame is not always a bad thing. Some shame can be healthy. When I do something wrong, it is healthy for me to feel some shame. It causes me to be remorseful and want to right the wrongs in my life. Like when I was a child and ate all of my mom’s candy. I lied and told her that it was not me. But it was; sorry mom. Forgive me?
But shame can be very harmful. It can lead to guilt; and, guilt is destructive and critical. I have to remember that in the book of John, chapter 3, it clearly states that Jesus did not come into this world to condemn this world. He came to save.
Some of the shame that I have held on to in my life was never mine to begin with. I was, for so long, ashamed of the abuse that I endured in my childhood. I owned the guilt for what had happened. If you have not been abused it is hard to understand how a victim can blame themselves.
Throughout my life, as I made mistakes the guilt would become stronger and stronger. I hated the guilt and shame I felt. I hated it because it made me hate me. I struggled. I wanted purity. Through the Holy Spirit, God took me to the book of Isaiah. In the 43rd chapter, verse 1: “But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you (Rebekah Lynne), he who formed you (Rebekah Lynne); Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”
Redeemed! To make amends for; to compensate for; to make good; to atone for…. God had redeemed me. I was His. Not only was Christ the atonement for my sin; but He was also giving me back the innocence of my life. He was healing my broken heart. He was releasing me from the oppression of guilt (Luke 4:18). I was oppressed from the years of guilt…. Guilt that was never mine to begin with. But through Christ, I received freedom.
“But God what about the mistakes I have made,” I asked Him. His reply? “What about them? I have righted the wrongs. I have given you righteousness!” Romans Chapter 3: 22-24; “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit reminded me that Christ came to forgive and to heal. Not to point out our shortcomings and further our guilt. So then he asked me, “When are you going to accept my forgiveness? You have asked for it. I have offered it. But you do not accept it. You continue to allow yourself to feel guilt for your past sins. Sins that I have pardoned.”
As always, he was right. I asked for forgiveness; I accepted his love! But over and over I told myself that I was not worthy because of the immense shame and guilt I carried in my life. It caused me to again and again try to be good so that I could deserve his love. But I can’t always be good.
I let it go. It took time in prayer and time in the Word. I asked God to remove it. Remove this painful emotion. I understand, God, that you have redeemed me. In Christ, I am free from the burdens of guilt and shame. Galatians 5:1; “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Through Christ, I have been made free of the guilt and shame. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Yes, I am shameless......

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heaven's Cliques

There are times for peaceful words of encouragement then there are times for a harsh rebuke. . .I just read the book of Jude; so guess what time it is.....

clique - noun - "a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set."

I don't want to give the wrong idea here. . . I think relationships are important to God. Hebrews 13:1-3 states, "Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."

Relationships are and will remain` very important to God. He created us to have a relationship with Him first and second to have relationships with one another. The Bible even goes on to tell us that others will know whether our Christianity is true by looking at whether or not our love for each other is genuine (John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."). *Note that it does not say they will know if we are true in our faith and that we love God by all of the volunteer work that we do.

It is easy for us to love those we know. I love my family, SOME of my friends (I will let them figure out whom is loved :0)= joking), and the people I work with. But what about those who are different than myself? What if they don't look like me; praise like me; eat ketchup on their french fries; drink Pepsi instead of Coke, or (Heaven forbid) have clothes like mine?

Ideally I should have quoted all of Chapter 13 in the book of Hebrews. In it the apostle Paul gives us as Christians specific instructions as to the relationships we hold in this life. He points out that our sacrifice of service to others is directly linked God.

I bring this up because, after a long and interesting conversation with a very dear friend she explained to me why she will not attend a church and has no desire to be linked with "crack pot, fundamentalist Christians" (no offense to me - and no, I do not take offense to this. This crackpot still loves and prays for you). She talked about every time she graced the doors of a church and how she was received (or really not received). How everyone would form their own groups and, God forbid if you weren't like them... Like if you smoke or drink or if you have made mistakes. . .then they would turn their self-righteous noses up at her.

So, I hope you are reading this.... There are a couple of things I need to point out to you. First of all, there were cliques in Jesus' time. They were called Pharisees and Sadducees. The religious "elite" of the bible times. Not different from our modern day, church cliques. Actually, one and the same. They too would not associate themselves with "less than proper" people. But let me point something out to you. Jesus called them for what they were: Thieves and Vipers. People who based their salvation by works they did. Showing up wherever the crowd was in order to pray the loudest and make a show. Being most righteous when in public or around each other.

Jesus Christ was quite a bit different with whom He associated Himself. He showed love to the thief, the prostitute, and the sinner. By proving His love true, He was able to win them over. In short, Jesus had relationships. He had an earthly father and mother. He had siblings and friends. No, sweetie, His friends were not least not when they met Him. But when they discovered how true and real His love for them was, it made them want to change. They wanted to be more like Him.

Christ true church has no cliques... no walls... no closed doors.... It was and is open to all. Most of them did not even know each other. Yet they DID love each other. They DID NOT judge each other. 3 John 1:5-8 "Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth..."

His true church welcomes the sinner, the drug addict, the liar, the thief. . .His true church wants them to see His love so that they would desire to change their ways and live in His love. To quote a popular Brit Nicole song, "That's how the lost get found." And trust me when I tell you, Heaven's cliques do NOT exist. I hope I see you there. Cheers to a clique free Heaven!

I love you and hope you see His love in me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

SEX ! ! !

Well, I am sure this is going to get a lot of hits...
I was so fortunate to be able to attend a service at a local church here in Concord, NC to hear the thoughts of the pastor there as he spoke of sex from the pulpit (talk about going where few men have gone). I took away a lot from what he said (I believe the podcast should be up on; however, I want to give you my thoughts in addition to what he so clearly pointed out.

God intends for us to have sex.... Seriously.... He invented it.

To begin with, I do believe in love. I know, it is hard to believe given my track record.... However, I do believe in love. I believe in one flesh (Genesis 2:24)...and, I believe in a man's unquenchable desire to be with his woman and she with him so much so that the absence of either in the other's life causes physical pain (Song of Songs Chapter 3).

I also believe in sex (by the way so does God). I Strongly believe in sex. I believe in the type of sex that last from dusk til dawn. Tantric sex between a man and a woman that leaves the body physically drained but wanting more (Song of Songs chapters 2 and 4). I believe sex should be fun and pleasurable for all involved (by all I mean the husband and wife).

What I don't believe in is the media's portrayal of sex and morality in today's world. I don't believe in sex with strangers, meaningless sex like that in a pornographic film = objectifying women, sex outside of the boundaries of marriage, sexual fantasies and online sex with strangers. The media states that sex is "OK" if you are "in love." Or even worse... that it has nothing to do with love.

I agree that women are responders and that a man IS to set the spiritual tone of a relationship. Furthermore, when a man looks at a woman, he is to look at her as a beautiful child of the Most High God. He should avoid looking at her with lust and should not entertain any form of sexual immorality with her (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). A man should be courteous and respectful of the woman he is dating.

A woman should never lower her standards and sleep with a man in order to keep him in a relationship with her or to gain his love. Real love does not have conditions. Keeping in mind that love has everything to do with sex, marriage, and commitment. If you are truly in love, get married. Then you can have sex....It is a pattern... man + woman + MARRAIGE = sex :).

I also believe that sex outside of the boundaries of marriage will complicate your relationship and cause inner pain. The Bible tells us that sexual sin is the one sin that will directly harm the body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."

I BELIEVE IN ... the mercy of a loving God for all those who have made mistakes!!!!! Psalm 103:8-12 talks about His love and how He literally delights in sparing us our due punishment! So. . .I urge you, if you are having sex outside of the bounds of a married relationship... then stop. REPENT! Make a commitment with your partner to be pure until you do marry.

I remain pure. I have committed myself first to Christ. So when and if I do remarry, God's will, then I will have no regrets in my marriage. I commit to make marriage my commitment... not sex.

And true to the word, it all starts with friendship (Song of Songs 4:8-15). "Capture my heart as a friend...." the rest will be a bonus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fire Extinguishers

One day in 1950 in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, an operator in one of the fire towers spotted smoke and called the location into the nearest ranger station. The fire ravaged thousands of miles of forest and animal habitats. A little bear cub had been caught in the path of the same fire. He had taken refuge in a tree. His climb had saved his life but left him badly burned on the paws and hind legs. Some soldiers who had been helping fight the fire removed the little bear cub from the burned tree and gave him to a local rancher who was also there helping. A New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Ranger heard about the cub when he returned to the fire camp and drove to the rancher's home to get the bear. The cub needed veterinary aid and was flown to Santa Fe where the burns were treated and bandaged. The cub healed and grew and quickly became the face of Fire Fighting. . .taking the name of his cartoon predecessor Smokey. His motto? "Only you can prevent forest fires."
This fire in New Mexico destroyed 40000 acres of forest and land. The cause? Simple negligence on the part of one man. One man destroyed property and life with just one little spark.
The book of James chapter 3:1-18 talks about these sparks. Verse 5 says "the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." I wonder how many of us (really I wonder about myself) even see these sparks? Sparks are so tiny! Repeating gossip, saying words in anger, jumping to conclusions. . . James 1 verses 19 and 20 tell us that Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring the righteous life God desires." Great advice!!! If we follow James' simple instruction we can eliminate most every spark.
But how does one put it out once the fire has started? First, there is freedom (from the fire) in truth John 8:32. Speak truthfully. But there is an additional resource. . .a few words that can put out most any flame. Consider them little fire extinguishers.
Thank You
I Am Sorry
I Love You
I am praying for You

Monday, June 15, 2009

Can I Shine Your Shoes

I once read a story about a man who was killed in a traffic crash leaving behind a young wife and two kids. The young mother had never worked. Her husband had been the sole financial supporter of the household. The man was well liked and the entire community considered it a tragedy. They pulled together during the wake and the funeral offering their assistance. Days after the man was laid to rest, so was the help that had been offered. The young mother found herself daily looking through the want ads and looking for childcare. Then one day, several weeks after the funeral, there was a knock at the door. She answered only to find an old gentleman in tattered clothing looking very disheveled. He looked at her and plainly said, "let me have your shoes." Rather confused and thinking him mad she responded with, "What !?!" He pulled out an old dirty can of shoe polish and with tears in his eyes replied, "Ma'am, I ain't got much. But I want to help you. Please let me have the honor of polishing your shoes for you."
What has happened? Everyday on the news I see unemployment numbers rising. I hear of foreclosure notices hitting entire communities. Our food banks are running dry. Collectively we sit back and think about these sad situations and "wish" there was something we could do to help.
Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Proverbs 19:17
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

I am not a wealthy person; however, I give. I know that giving does not always mean to give money. It could be sending a card of encouragement to someone who is hurting; visiting shut ins; taking a meal to someone sick; babysitting for the single mother who just needs a night alone. Today I challenge you. Shine some one's shoes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Redemption is Complete

Psalm 31:5, "Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth."
I want to start by pointing out exactly what redemption is. . .Websters gives the definition of redeem as to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom.
Now, I was in need of redemption. I had lost things in my life along the way. Some things were taken from me against my will; other things in my life I freely gave up. I thought I would never get back my childhood, purity, self worth; however, the Word clearly states this: The LORD redeems His servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him (Psalm 34:22). Nearly 2000 years ago, on a hill called Calvary, a ransom was paid. Galations 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
I am complete. In wholeness I write this to tell you that you can receive the same redemption by accepting the high price that was paid. You can be restored. You can be released.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hope for the Hurting

Is there help for the hurting? 11 years ago you could have asked me that question and really been offended by my response. Why? Because I had just buried my oldest brother. It was so painful for me. Then to make matters worse, I could not bear to see the hurt on the faces of my Mom and Dad. It was more than I should bear.
Missing him still hurts. I see him everywhere; In my memories. Some days I think I even hear his voice.
I wouldn't talk about it. No one understood. No one could. I refused to pray about it. . .Really? What did God know about my pain? What does God know about pain? He let this happen, right?
God let me think this way for a time. Blaming Him for all that is wrong with life. I should say, He was merciful enough to let me live through the hurtful things that I accused Him of. But one day, He taught me about pain. . .
2000 years ago a tiny baby was born. A beautiful child who came into this World in the most unusual of all circumstances. Humble beginnings. . . He grew into a wonderful man. A righteous and pure man full of compassion for this World and its people. People who did not share in His love. This man had a Father. A Father who loved Him dearly. Matthew 3:17 tells us that the Father loved the Son and was pleased with Him.
This Son devoted His entire life to the people of this World. . .then, one day, those people decided they no longer needed or wanted Him in their lives. They took this young man and, although He had done them no harm, tortured and beat Him. Only to murder Him in the end.
The Father of this child hurt. His Son did not deserve to die! Let alone be tortured to death. And, although He could have stopped it, the Father sat back and allowed it to happen. He allowed it so that we could have help when we hurt. The Father allowed His Son to die so that we might live. And not just live, but experience His love. So that we could once again be reunited with Him. His death, although painful, broke barriers. His death has given life. The Father's pain has become my hope.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Alphabet of My Prayer

I am reading in the book of Hebrews currently (more specifically Chapter 7:1-25). How great it feels to know that I can go to the Father with my concerns! But lately, my needs seem so many and my words are so few. I am at a loss on how to begin to lay my burdens at His feet. Today, I am giving the letters to Him. He knows my thoughts. . .I am letting Him rearrange the characters to form the words. God, give me words to speak....

A= ALL things God, I give to you.
B= Help me to understand the BEATITUDES and remember them daily
C= CHRISTLIKE... Lord make me more like you
D= Help me DIE everyday to sin
E= Help me to be ENCOURAGING to others (Romans 12:8)
F= Help me to consider it joy when I FACE trials and temptations
G= GUIDE me with your Holy Spirit that I may not sin against you
H= HONOR my parents, this is Your command
I= Let me praise your INSPIRING beauty
J= Give me JOY unspeakable and full of glory
K= Help me to show Your KINDNESS to all
L= LOVE! You are LOVE. Unconditional LOVE. Let me speak of Your LOVE forever!
M= MAKE me more like you
N= Supply my NEEDS according to Your riches in glory
o= Make my life an OFFERING, holy to you
P= PROSPER me, Your child, in love~grace~mercy~joy~patience~provisions
Q= give me the unfading beauty of a gentle and QUIET spirit~ 1 Peter 3:4
R= Give me REST in You
S= let me give thanks always for my SALVATION
T= THANK YOU, for all you have done. Always I give you THANKS
U= USE me, according to Your perfect will
V= Show me my VALUE in my Heavenly Father's eyes
W= Make me WISE in Your ways
X= XANTHATE! I am the salt of the Earth Matthew 5:13. Help me retain my saltiness.
Y= Let me be YOURS and YOURS alone
Z= Give me ZEAL always in Your presence.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A New Song

Psalm 96:1
"Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth". . . What is the song you sing? I remember as a child singing tunes in Sunday School. . .Father Abraham; Jesus Loves the Little Children; I am a C; Jesus Loves Me. But my song today is very different.
Psalm 40 is one that I have taken to heart.
Psalm 40
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods. [a]

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced [b] , [c] ;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll. [d]

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

15 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

For what seemed like ages, I waited. And this Loving God turned to me. Physically facing my direction. He listened. He heard me. He raised me out of the depth of despair and set my feet upon a Rock. Jesus is my rock. He is my cornerstone. In Him I trust. I will never be put to shame (1 Peter 2:6). His love and mercy and grace have overwhelmed my life! My song I will sing forever.
My song plays the melody of His grace, the intonations of His love, the rhythm of His ways. I cannot name it... What would I call it? Amazing Grace is already taken; Thy Loving Kindness as well. . .It is Well Part 2? Or maybe Jesus Loves Me the Remix?
I will forever sing My New Song. . . It will remain in my heart and on my lips.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Living God

He has created me and breathed life in me. He lives and He lives in me; 2 Corinthians 6:16, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
Not only was He alive in the days of Daniel; but He was also made flesh and lived and walked the streets of Jerusalem. John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
So what does that mean to me? Unlike a statue or an idol, God is alive! That tells me that He can hear me when I cry out. He can touch me when I hurt. He can hold me when I feel alone. He can catch me when I fall. I can turn to Him when I am in need. I can thank Him for my blessings. I can talk to Him when I am excited! My God has feelings. He can hurt. He can be happy or sad. He can grieve (John 11:35. Jesus wept). He can laugh. He is jealous. He can get angry. He can find pleasure (1 Timothy 2:3). Most importantly, He can love me. No other god/idol can do that. Can money love a person? Can possessions heal your heart? Would they want to? Can they show you compassion? He can be devoted to me if I give myself to Him.
My God loved me so much that He sacrificed the life of His only begotten Son to save that which was lost (Eph 5:2). He loves me so much, that He calls me child. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1. No they do not know my living God. But I want them to.


He is alive. He is my rock. The Rock of Ages! “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He (Deuteronomy 32:4).” “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock, except our God? (2 Samuel 22:32).” Psalms 18:2; “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). He is my rock. My foundation. The center of who I am. He protects me and He defines me as His child.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remove Me

"Open up my heartAnd You will findThis fire burns so deepIt burns so bright for You"

It starts with me.

Romans 8:27 states, "And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." God, is my heart the issue? Then remove me....I keep reverting back to the conversation several of us began on Sunday night. Our visions, hopes, dreams, desire to see a movement of God greater than this World has ever witnessed. I want to behold it! God it is my desire ... Psalm 73:25, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Every night we pray.... I have been asking daily.... and He has given me this answer:It starts with you. "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God ." You want to to see me? Then know this, "I will break down your stubborn pride ." You will humble yourselves, and seek My face...... Then will I hear you."You will love one another, as I have loved you ".... Honoring others above yourself ..... "if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully ..... Your words are bitter and they tighten the chains of your brothers and sisters..... Speak words to encourage their hearts and unite their love so that they may know the mystery of ME.....Ephesians 4:31, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice...." Titus 3:2, "to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men...." How can you confess your love of others while standing face to face; yet, speak hatred when they are not near?Submit yourself.... Hebrews 13:17, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." Above all, submit yourself to me....James 4:7..............It starts with me..... If in pride, I have set myself above you, I humble myself today. If I have failed to encourage you, then today I start. If I have slandered you, know that I am sorry..... I love you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Your Brilliance

You are the light of the World
The flame that illuminates
You separate my life from darkness
Your glow lights my path
I do not stumble

You are the light of the World
Only by Your glare can my sin be made obscure
Shine before me so that I may see Your deeds
So that I may praise You

You spoke to darkness
In Your flash came confusion
Raining down upon the Earth
Never more to enter Your realm.

May Your lamp continually burn
In my heart and in my soul
That I may walk upright
And never be hidden from You.