Posted in spiritual

Have you ever gotten tired?

Have you ever been so tired, just tired? Where it feels like every time you turn around, every time, there’s just no place to go. No relief. No release. No hope. You live your days trying to try. So lost that you don’t even know how to start. You want to “Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light”, but you don’t even remember what it’s like to be angry.

Where do we turn? There’s always someone who says (without even knowing), “turn to Jesus”. And you sit there, so wounded. Inside, you feel a little more of you just breaking off and disintegrating and your sadness, your despair becomes just a little more overwhelming. You are all alone. In the middle of a happy family, a busy life, seeming prosperity, you feel all alone. In the middle of a vacant room, standing in the dark, barely any light around you, not even enough to see your hand in front of your face.

Where is hope? What does it feel like? Can you tell me? Can you explain it to me so maybe I’ll know how to feel.

God tells us, “Let me be your light.” “Let me be your strength.” “Follow me.” “Let me love you.” “Let me protect you.”

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says that we are the light of the world. I see us as the candle, the buildings in the city. We can exist for a purpose but if that purpose is never realized, if the candle is never lit, if there is no light in the house, how can we be the light of the world?

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul talks about a weakness, an infirmity, a continual irritation. He speaks about crying out to God to take it from him and he gives us God’s response to his prayer. We don’t know if God ever took or from him or lightened it but we do know that God told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” We know that Paul then joyfully acknowledges that though this his reliance upon Christ becomes more complete.

Throughout the Bible, old and new testament, God asks us to follow Him, to do as He asks. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us that He thinks of us all the time. That his thoughts for us are not condemning, not accusatory, not angry but loving, hopeful, full of good. In psalms 23 He is the good shepherd. He leads His flock, his children, to good places. Sometimes through hard places yet there is always someplace better on the other side.

God wants to love us. He wants us to see His love, He wants us to understand that it is real. It is not some temporary thing fueled by hormones, or need. He wants us to understand that, Yes, he knows the real us. The us we hide away. The us that scares us because it is so raw, so full of emotion, abandonment, sorrow, anger, jealously, fear.

He wants us to know He sees us and even though we are so vile, so worthless in our own eyes, _HE_LOVES_US_.

When we are children how do we know we are loved? When we are protected.

God wants to protect us. From His first commandment “Don’t eat of the tree”, to Jesus’ prayer in the garden, to His prayer for us on the cross, His promise of a comforter, His promise of power greater than His. Through all of this God has tried again and again to teach us that He loves us. That He will protect us. That though we feel that this will never end, it is only temporary.

So with on open heart I tell you, trust in God. If you have asked him to forgive you for your sin, if you have told him that you would choose him and follow him, even if you feel like nothing has changed, You have given God permission, freedom to begin making changes in your life. And yes, some of those changes are going to hurt, but if we never allow God to pull the knife from the wound, He can’t heal the wound.

Trust Him. For He does, O, so very much, love us.

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Posted in spiritual

What makes you light up?

What makes you light up?

And no, I don’t mean cigarettes. :)

I have a co-worker named Miller. Now Miller is a very “let’s get it done” kind of guy. Focused, hard worker, dependable, serious, all of these words apply to Miller. I’ve worked with Miller for a little over a year and never really developed a friendship with him. “He’s just a co-worker”, plus his seriousness can be a little bit scary.

Right around the time he moved this year, his coworkers in an expression of acknowledgement of the stress he was going thru, wrapped up a cigarette and hung it on the wall labeled “in case of Miller emergency”. They then took two cigarettes, took the filter off one and stuck them together, they hung it up on the wall labeled, “In case of extreme Miller emergency.” Funny. Yet, thru all of this, it wasn’t till the middle of October that I really started getting to know Miller.

What changed? He started talking about his wife.

I have never seen a man light up like Miller when he is talking about his wife. He told me tonight that when you finally get something you had given up all hope of receiving, you appreciate it more.

He’s right.

Some people light up when they talk about their fantasy football team, some their new video games, the latest episode of “the Walking Dead”, their music, their kids, the list goes on and on. What do we light up for?

What catches our interest? What keeps our interest? What are we passionate about?

In James chapter 1, God talks about things that come into our lives, distractions, temptations, lusts, that would turn our eyes away our walk with the Lord. In verse 2 He says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;”. Verse 12 ” Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Verse 14 says, ” But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of His own lust, and enticed.”

Every man is tempted. Every woman is tempted.

Merriam-Websters unabridged dictionary’s #1 definition of tempt is, “to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain: allure into evil: seduce

There came a point in our lives where we made a choice to do something, something that excited us, that made our faces light up. For some that was marriage, for some, the dream career. For others, it was children, purchasing a home or a car. Yet in each of these decisions there came a point where maintaining that decision became hard work. Maybe it just wasn’t what you expected. This is the time when satan will slip a little temptation into your thought processes or your world.

In the Bible, over and over, we are told that there are going to be times of testing, trials by fire. Yet we are told to “count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations”. How do we do that?

John 3:16 says, ” For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved us. He loved us so much that even knowing intimatly what Jesus was going to go through, he still sent him down to earth so that we could have a relationship with Him. Even with all the pain, sorrow and betrayal ahead of of Him, Jesus still actively entered into relationships with his disciples and followers. Why?

Because He is passionate about us.

Growing up I always believed Jesus was a very serious man who never smiled or laughed or cracked a joke (partly because that was the way I was becoming, partly because the bible talks about Him weeping but never about him laughing.) Not to long ago I watched the dvd “Matthew”, a word for word dramatization of the NIV book of Matthew. I realized, who would want to hang around someone for 3 years if they never smiled, never told (or tried to tell) a joke. If they never laughed or showed pleasure at being in your presence would you want to hang around them? I wouldn’t.

How did Jesus do it? He loved us.

In Revelation chapter 2 verse 4 Jesus speaks about first love. When we first fall in love everything is easier, we’re willing to bend more, sacrifice more, we are constantly in communication with the one we love, always wanting to be together, always talking about them. Our relationship with them lights up our life.

Does our relationship with Jesus still light up our lives? Do our faces still shine when we tell somebody about Him? Have we left our first love? If we have, ask Jesus for that first love all over again. Be intentional about spending time with Him. Do something different to make your time with him special. Start sending him little texts/twitters/snapchats (prayers) about your day, ALL day long, just like you did when you first fell in love.

When you delight to spend time with Him, Then you will delight to tell others about Him.

Posted in spiritual

Post-it Notes

We have all seen “accidents” that led to God’s plan unfolding in our lives in miraculous and near impossible ways. The story of the post-it note is the same. A series of “accidents” creating something that grabbed people and got their attention but seemed unmarketable, a losing proposition, far more costly to attempt than any projected return. ( http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/11/post-it-notes-were-invented-by-accident/ )

I recently attended a home group/church that means a lot to me. The closeness and family atmosphere has been making coming out of my shell so much easier. The family atmosphere, the fact that everyone knows that nobody there is perfect is allowing me to open up and share. After sharing a hard truth about how I am broken and how it has affected my life, my ‘God’s family’ prayed for me and 2 people told me God had given them an image of post it notes. (This meant nothing to me.) After a couple of weeks I finally asked one of the ladies what “post-it notes” was about. She said I saw you covered in post-it notes and God was taking them off.

The farther I get from this conversation the more God blows it up in my life.

Imagine: every sin you have ever committed, every name you have ever been called, every name you’ve ever called yourself on post-it notes. Now layer those post-it notes on a person as they grow up. Every post-it note created from or creating another post-it note. How many times a day do you call yourself idiot or another word because of something you’ve done or didn’t do? How many times have you chewed yourself out for failing to complete something in the time limit required (by yourself or others)?

Now, how many times have you ever committed a sin that seemed to spawn other sins to protect the first one?How many times have you tried to believe you are worth something but because of the sins in your past, you simply can’t see how to be different?

From inside my own eyes, I don’t see how anybody can love me. I don’t see why people call me nice, or competent, or faithful. From inside my own eyes, I see the things I have done that would push people away so they wouldn’t love me, I see the mean Esther that would feel pleasure to tell you “lump it or leave”, that was so consumed by anger that I didn’t even understand the word peace. I see my failures, my lack of discipline.

I see words engraved on me that can never be removed. They can’t be hidden because I’ve tried that, too. These words are tattooed deep into my skin. It seems the ink used, has sunk down to my heart and will never be erased. But, God…..

God sees me covered in post-it notes. He sees the me under the post-it notes and He is working to show me what He sees me to be.

God will and does, take us on a journey that will bring old scars, wounds, self-inflicted and otherwise to the surface. God wants us to face who we are. Not all at once. He measures out the realizations in small doses. They always seem too big, too hard, too deep to let anyone, even God, take care of it.

He wants us to see that He is the one that created us and these post-it notes are _not_ permanent. God wants us to see that when we let him show us the root of a problem, God can take away not only today’s problem but also the habits, the desires (temptations), the patterns of thought that keep creating these problems. Then it’s not just one post-it gone but a whole section.

There will come a day when I become post-it free. On that day I expect to see God face-to-face. And then I will know. I will know what God sees when He looks at me. I will know the beauty that he created me be. I will know who he designed me to be and how I bless His heart when He looks at me.

Don’t let Satan tell you, “You are too far gone”.  Don’t let him lie to you and say, ” You are worthless”. Look at Jesus. Look at Jesus and ask him to wash you clean of all these post-it notes, of all these sins. Ask Jesus to begin changing you into the person He created you to be. Ask him to let you see with His eyes. Let Him begin showing you just what He sees in people.

Then let Him show you that You are not a series of accidents. That no matter what the world or even your own family has told you, You, are worth far more than the effort and time God has invested in you. You are loved far more than the amount you have let yourself feel. God has always known your true value, now, He wants to show it to you.

Posted in Uncategorized

What is a warrior?

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day. A day set aside to honor our veteran’s and those currently serving in our armed forces. A day set aside to acknowledge that everything we have, all our “rights”, were bought with a price and the payments for keeping them are still coming due.

I have been blessed. There have been veteran’s in my life since I was born, both my parents tried to sign up and my son did. I will tell you now, this has completely influenced the way I look at life. Every day is training for tomorrow. A challenge is not a problem but a new way to see what I know and what I can learn. I am still learning that dedication is not a bad word nor is it a temporary thing, It is to the death. I am still learning that to love something, to dedicate yourself to protect it, is to make a commitment just like what our marriage vows used to be like.

In God’s word, He tells us in both the old and new testaments that there is a war going on. He tells us that we are valued in this war. One side values us as a way to hurt the other and One side values us because He created us. Satan uses people as pawns. While he sees their potential value as shock troops, he also sees us as disposable. He wants us, not because of any value we have to him but because of the pain and damage he can inflict through us an not just the people in our lives but also on the God who loves us.

The following was written by Paul Bradford a revivalist from Louisiana.

So,I’m picking myself up off the canvas again,the familiar taste of my own blood in my mouth.Looking across the ring at the mocking grin of and old acquaintance,Pain.Notice that he is not a friend,just an acquaintance.HIS friend,also in the ring with us,is “The Adversary” (these guys always gang up on you).Truth told, I wish I didn’t know these buzzards so well,but their consuming hatred of my calling means that we have danced this dance before and perhaps again until I depart this mortal coil.Funny thing about blood;it isn’t just a sign of the wounds you carry,it is also a secret weapon.Suddenly,the wicked jeering stops as their eyes adjust to a presence standing near me,towering above us all.Yep,I have a “Friend” too.He’s so much tougher than you and has the scars to prove it.He is “near” to me for I make sure I stay near Him.What’s that you say?”No Mas?” How about,”Let’s dance”? Isaiah 50:8 read all of it…Think I just heard my Ringman, H.G. “The Counselor”Spirit, laugh out loud.”keep you hands high Kid,watch his left,and keep singing…”

 

God sees us as sons and daughters. If we have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for our lives and accept Jesus, as savior and Lord, God becomes our Father. That means we become His family and His family becomes my family. And in God’s family we protect each other.

If you have never known this kind of family it can be so hard to trust that people will protect you, especially when we want the people in our family to be perfect, to always be there to protect us. However in this family God wants to grow strong warriors, warriors who will depend on Him.

[Isa 50:7-9 KJV]

7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 [He is] near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who [is] mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who [is] he [that] shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

God _never_ fails us. Maybe He doesn’t do things like we would like them to be done _but_ God never fails us. We are His family, we are the pieces of His heart that he has placed on earth to complete His mission. We are infinitely valuable to him, and He knows exactly what we can do when we follow His orders.