Friday, June 14, 2019

"For Good"

                      

A  dear friend of mine reminded me today through this song how important we are to each other.   She and I worked together for a couple of years in a  school  office.  People, even Christians  cannot work together on anything without there being an opportunity to get offended and misunderstood.

As children of God we are suppose to be different, not a grudge holder,  not held captive by feelings of anger or unforgiveness.  It is when we rub shoulders with each other that we are sharpened and changed.  Each relationship we have, good or bad is meant for our good.   I have had more good relationships than bad ones of which I am thankful.  But I have learned the deepest lesson from the bad ones , they drove me to my knees for insight and wisdom and that supernatural love that help me rise up and be what God wants me to be.


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My friend, Debbie reminded me about the two plants she brought for our offices.  They made the office look so much better.  She still has the spider plant and think of me every time she waters it.  She was heartbroken one early spring when a freak freeze came and froze the plant then  thawed it to a dripping mess.  She ripped everything off that was dead and all that was left was the roots,   A few weeks later it begin to grow again which really surprised her.

I read this in tears for that happened to me after we worked together over some huge hurt that hit my heart and filled it with disappointment that froze me for almost a year.  I read God's Word, but the only thing that got through to me during that frozen stage was Job 26 where God's says He hangs the earth on nothing.  I felt if I just hang on by my hurting finger nail to that truth He would bring me through it .

Only the love of Christ can mend a broken frozen heart.  After about a year I begin to thaw out because I begin to forgive God's way.  I could write story after story  about the people God brought my way to help grow me up in the Lord

.  I have not seen my friend, Debbie since 1999 but God knew who I needed to hear from today.  She and I got along great because we took the time to understand each others ways and respected each other. I am so grateful for relationships that have been for my good and even for those  that hurt at times but taught me much.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Vacation

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Ace, Betty, our grandson, Logan and his other set of grandparents 

Vacation time is here.  We are enjoying some time off from our normal ministry travel to travel to Minnesota for a visit with our daughter and family.  Got to enjoy our senior grandson play his last baseball game...I and my daughter both screamed our lungs out, it was so fun.  A few days later we got to watch him graduate from high school.  He is working one of the hardest job this summer, working for a company that black tops parking lots, drive ways, etc.    His job is a sweeper and his only tool is a huge broom.  We are so proud of him, he will work 12 to 14 hour days, 7 days a week.  Then he heads off to University of Mn.  The picture is of him of course and his two set of grandparents.

I have not been writing much lately for my blog, kind of put it aside for some other writing.  Also wanted to finish a great book by Brant Hansen, titles Unoffendable.

One last  note, I am still having issue with some being able to comment on my post.  I was in the process of switching to Wordpress so that may have caused the issue.  There has been so much going on I have had to put working on the issue for other thing, so I am sorry if you are still having problems.  It will get fixed, I promise, check in once in a while to see.


 Oh to be a senior again, oh wait, I am senior, just not the kind that wears a red gown and black hat.











Saturday, May 4, 2019

God will put a strong eye on me....

This morning I read this update from a couple living in a village in Papua New Guinea, Jason and Niase Williamson.  Below is just the first part of their update, the part I believe will challenges any Christian from any country. Locations may change, languages may be different, but God's truth is always the same.  He is delighted when a believer faith grows in the jungles, in the cities, in the country and in any language group when they understand truth and act upon it.   A group of 100 to thousands can hear the same truth but not many will act upon it.  Any truth that calls us to humble ourselves is so out of our comfort zone.  

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God will put a strong eye on me! (Jason speaking)

Many of you remember the instability we’ve had in our village over the past year and a half. After the death of a young boy in our village, allegations of witchcraft and sorcery began to surface, causing many of believing families to leave and reallocate 4-5 hours away. We as a team have wrestled with how to continue to disciple these people now that they are not full time with us. 
As we thought through this, we saw that this could be a great training tool for discipling our Bible teachers. So, over the last few months my co-worker and I have taken turns traveling down with our Bible teachers for a week at a time and teaching this little ‘satellite’ church.
 
Now, keep in mind that these Bible teachers who are going down and teaching with us are from the clan that the people from this village accused of sorcery. One of those Bible teachers, Ludwig, had many of his cocoa trees & yam gardens cut down by these people and they even burned down one of his houses. For months Ludwig struggled with the prospect of having to go down and teach the believers whose unbelieving families had caused so much trouble for him. After equating his situation to the early apostles, he said, “The apostles didn’t just go to people who didn’t give them trouble. They went to hard places as well, knowing that they would face persecution. God is calling me to the do the same. If God wants me to do it, he will look after me. I can leave it in his hands. I will do it.” Pretty cool to see this man struggle and then leave the outcome in the Lord’s hands.  The story’s not over yet. We came to the rotation when it was his turn among others to go down with me to the village for a week. We received a very encouraging welcome from most of the believers. However, one man who professes to be a believer, has caused many problems for the church.  He refused to come because Ludwig had come with us to teach. The Bible teachers wanted to get this man and have a meeting with him to fix this, however we decided to only pray about it and leave this man in God’s hands.  At the end of the week this man came to the last meeting and afterwards he came crying and hugged Ludwig and apologized to him. Afterwards on the hike back to our village, our Bible teachers all remarked about having just seen the power of God to convict and to bring about repentance. Ludwig turned around and looked at me and said, “Jason, this week I have seen the power of God clearly. Now I know that when I serve the Lord, nothing can stop his power. It is true, when I serve the Lord, He is going to put a strong eye on me (look after me)!”
                 




Do you believe God will keep a strong eye on you?  If so, then you can walk into any situation with courage and peace and love in your heart.  

Monday, April 29, 2019

Addicted...


Lately I have been struggling with an addiction that really my husband only knows about.  In fact I have enticed him into my addiction  a few times.  The place I buy my drug of choice has been out of them for almost two months. I found myself looking for an excuse to go to this one store to see if they had gotten more but so far none have shown up.  I have tried other products similar to them but they do not cut the craving I have.  

I know a little about addictions because for  20 years I smoked heavily.  I got saved  Oct. of 1980 and the Spirit of God begin to convict me of smoking. It was so hard to quit or I should say, try to quit. I would decide today is the day that what ever I had left in the pack I would throw away only to find myself hours later digging through the garbage trying to find at least one that was not coffee soaked. It went on that way for about a month and finally I totally laid them down. Then the full blown withdrawal started. My head hurt, my nerves was shot, I could not sleep and I was worried I would not be able to make it through Christmas with our family who all  smoked.   The withdrawals do subside  and about a month later it was gone but then I had to face the time with family.  By the grace of God I was able to make it through the first holiday gathering without smoking. Never smoked again. 

Another addiction I had was Pepsi, drank it every day, a lot everyday.  Then I started getting kidney stones and guess what the doctors told me to give up?  Of course it was Pepsi, soda is filled with acid.  Gave up coffee too, another addiction.  

I am a stress eater and we all know there is no getting away from stress.  My extrovert personality brings stress on myself at times by me over doing.  For years I used Lays potatoes as another  drug of choice.  I had a dear friend who knew how much I loved Lays chips so she send me two bags when we lived in Papua New Guinea.  She bought a hard plastic container to put them in so they would not get crushed and they made it half way around the world to my house sitting on the ocean with jungle all around me.   Never has anything tasted as good as those chip when I opened them. I shared one bag and ate the other all by myself.  I finally broke myself of eating them everyday and hardly buy them now.  Living in a 5th world country will break a lot of bad habits.  

Some of you know I had double bypass surgery two years ago.  In fact I had three blocked arteries but the one in the back of my heart they could not get a bypass sewed onto it, so there it sits, inside my heart all clogged up.  You would think knowing that I would not be prone to anything that would hurt my health.  Yet this one little item has captured my taste buds.   If only I could continue with my addiction and not harm myself I would, that's how good it taste.


Food is my drug of choice,  not just any food , but sugar, specificity chocolate, more specificity, Walmart brand, Great Value Chocolate covered peanut butter cookies.  When they were in stock I would buy four or five packs so I would not run out.  Of course I used the excuse I would use them for snack for my bible study or share with my Grandchildren.  Yeah sure.  Step one has been admitting I am addicted. Step two is breaking it.  So I have been doing some research. 

In my quest to get rid of my sugar addiction I came across a quiz to see if I really was addicted to sugar.  I failed it.

Then this morning in my devotions I read this:  With out the rescue of God's grace, we are all wise fools heading for danger we simple don't see.  So we eat more than we should while denying the physical, empirical evidence of our foolishness.  We spend ourselves into hopeless debt and are surprised when we can no longer pay our bills.  We live selfishly and judgmentally in relationship and then wonder why so much tension and distance exist between us.  That's why Paul says, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Cor. 1:25). Paul is saying that if it were possible for God to be foolish, His most foolish moment would be infinitely wiser than our most wisest moment.  How humbling!  Paul Tripp Like I said, I have taken step one, admitting I am addicted to those little round chocolate filled peanut butter cookies.  Some say it's not good to "cold turkey" quit something that is bad for us.  So I am going to try limiting myself to two little cookies a day, which I just had with my tea. 

What do you think, cold turkey, limitation, eat apples and oranges instead?  What has worked for you in the past?
































Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Middle of the Story

           
Friday night our pastor preached on the crucifixion as I am sure many pastor did.  It was a sad but wonderful message for it set the stage for the middle of the greatest story ever told. First came the birth, but actually the beginning of the story starts in Genesis 1:1.  Over and over God tells the story, over and over through different men and women who played important roles in this story.  Through history as it unfolds, tower of babel, a flood all over the world,  one King after another, countless idols and some of the most horrific act done to mankind.  It's all there in the beginning.  Now we are at  the middle part of the story, first came His birth, born of a virgin, preaching at 12 in the temple, worked for His father, heading for the cross.  Called 12 men to train to train others after He was gone. The betrayal, the denial, the prayer in the garden to the Father.  Getting closer to the middle of the story, His beating, His carrying of His own cross, nails pounding in His flesh.  The weight of His body as it hung on the cross, watching His mother, His disciples, the guards, the crowd, the other two on the cross, all part of the story.  Then His final last words, the day turning into night as He breathe His last, those watching trembling from fear.

To so many there that day, actually almost everyone thought it was the end of the story.

I hate it when a story ends bad. I watched a show the other night about a Marine home from Iraq, he went awol and hid out in the wood.  He met some others living a remote lifestyle and thought he had found a new life.  I thought this is going to end well...wrong...he turned out to be a murder running from the murder of his wife.  He killed some of the people he was living with then himself.  I was stunned at the ending, why would they make a movie with such a bad ending.

But, that's how stories go sometimes.  There He is, dead on the cross, all those things He said, forgotten, He was dead.  His mother wanted her Son down from the cross so He could be buried.  Nobody planned on Him dying so funeral arrangements had been made, there was no tomb for Him until a rich man gave a tomb to the family.

Everyone was sad, distraught, disappointed, grieving , this is how this ends.  Wait, didn't He say something about rising again, but He is dead, cold, blue, dead laying in a tomb. It's over.  

Up from the grave He arose,
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

The song, Up From The Grave He Arose, is the end of the middle of the story.   We are living in the end of the middle of the story. He has died, rose again, sitting at the right hand of His Father.  He will never have to be born of a virgin again, never be crucified again, never die again, never have to rise again.  Without this part, the cross, the last part of the story cannot happen.  He had to endure the cross for us so He could come again to take us to our heavenly home.  Praise God for the story of Jesus, who like His Father really had no beginning, He always was but suffered a middle so we could have an eternity ending.  
Happy Easter 

                  


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Once Again God

Emoticon, Emoji, Angry, Cartoon, EmotionOnce again, I had to deal with the anger that resides inside me. Once again, after my anger was spent by unloading on someone I love,  I had to deal with the guilt for allowing myself to explode.  Once again, I fell before the Lord asking Him to help me with my anger.

Thank God,  He is a,  "once again" God, for His forgiveness was there, ready for me to accept it and open myself up for learning more about the root of this anger I deal with.

It would be easier to write about all the wrong that has been done to me and get you on my side.  I have a friend that I don't  open up to much because she tend to remind me I have been through a lot as if I deserve to feel the way I do.  That kind of reasoning is no help if I want to be like Jesus. He was never self righteous.  To be honest that is exactly what is the root of my anger.

I was always applauded at the story  in Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant, a guy who owed the king millions of dollars. The king orders him to be sold with his wife and kids and everything he owns, to pay back his debt.

The servant pleads with the king and the king has pity and lets him go, debt free.

What came next is what angers me.  This servant in turns will not forgive someone else  who owed  him money.  It was a small amount of money owed to him and he had just been forgiven a huge debt he owed by the king.

 Peter ask Jesus, how many times do we need to forgive, would seven times be enough?

Brant Hansen who wrote the book, Un-Offendable tells it this way,  "Jesus says to Peter,   not even close, and then lets us know that, before God, we are in far deeper debt that anyone needing forgiveness from us. In that story, we are not, "just guilty" as the one whom we need to forgive.  We're worse.

The quote continues, If I get to determine whether my anger is righteous or not, I'm in trouble. So are you. The reason: we can't trust ourselves.

Trusting in yourself sounds like a perfectly normal things to do.  Problem is, for the believer, it isn't biblical at all.  We are deceptive to the core.  Jer. 17:9 ESV, The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick: who can understand it?  

End of quote: My thoughts:  When self righteous is reigning we are not trusting God, We are afraid he will not mete out justice, that people won't get what they deserve.

Hansen quotes: So perhaps our entitlement to anger is our little way of making sure some measure of justice is served.

Jesus wants to disrupt this kind of thinking.  Remember the women caught in adulteress, how the men wanted to stone her. I mean, she was guilty,  and they believed, no doubt, they were doing the right thing. they were carrying out God's justice, they thought. I love the way Hansen paraphrases what Jesus said to them,  "You can't do this, because you're all just as guilty. Every single one of you.

Another Hanson quote, Anger makes me think I have a right to hold the stone. I may not throw it, but I'll hold on to it, since the other person really did do that horrible things.  Jesus flipped their story upside down. And since He wants to do this for us, I say we let Him.  When you do, you'll find you have no standing to hold on to anger, ever.  Truth is, we want Jesus to leave our self righteousness intact.  He wants to smash it.

Well, by now you should have figured out where this post came from.  From the heart of a self righteous women who wants to go deeper with God.  God is opening up doors in my heart that I have let Him in before but as soon as the light got too bright I would shut it again.

Once again, He is answering my prayer and giving me what I ask for.  Take me deep, was my prayer, take me deep.  Good thing He is my life line or I would drown in defeat and guilt.  

I hope you are not one who thinks I am being too hard on myself, trust me I am not.  In no way am I getting what I deserve.  I deserve hell, He bought and paid for heaven. Not only that when I fail here on earth, He does not take His love, forgiveness, strength and so much more away.  

Amen
Amen
Amen



Monday, March 25, 2019

I am not built to be a prisoner.











Yesterday I settled down to watch a familiar movie, Pearl Harbor. It's an easy movie for me to fall asleep to because I know what is going to happen so the plan was to take a 20 minutes nap during it. It's mostly a love story set in the true story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  There are some favorite parts I look forward to seeing again and again for each time I get that same rush of emotions for the courage displayed by the characters. 

This time, because of some discouragement I was viewing  those favorite parts on a spiritual level. 

The first favorites takes place in Washington at the White House where President Roosevelt is meeting with top advisors over the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor.  They are discussing the death toll and horror taking place even at the time of that meeting.  Roosevelt had ask congress to declare war. Some in the room were speaking negative against this. Several spoke,each telling why American cannot go to war with Japan.  


It gives me cold chills every time I watch the  part where the president responds to his advisors.





"Gentlemen, he says, most of you did not know me when I had the use of my legs. I was strong and proud and arrogant. Now I wonder every hour of my life... why God put me in this chair. But when I see defeat in the eyes of my countrymen... in your eyes right now, I start to think that maybe he brought me down... for times like these when we all need to be reminded who we truly are-- that we will not give up or give in.  One of his military advisor said, Mr. President, with all respect, sir. What you're asking can't be done.  The President then starts to straighten out his legs and with his hands pull himself up to a standing position.  His man servant tries to get him to stop but the President tell him to step aside.  Even some of the men around the table start to rise to help him but he refuses their help to.  Slowly, painfully he stands and say with courage , "Do not tell me... it can't be done."

For me it was one of the most powerful parts of the movie because these are the word I have been saying in the face of the devil, the enemy of my soul who does not want me to write a book by telling me it can't be done and then proceeds to pour reasons in my head which has discouraged me.  I made a list of all the reason I have been thinking I should just quit writing.  I won't print them here but I may use them in the forward of my book.

There is another  part of the movie that I will set up for you.  The president has ask Colonel  DoLittle  to lead a mission to bomb Japan, to take out tank factories and aircraft factories.   There were homing beacons put on the planes to help them return.  One of pilots ask, what if the beacons are turned off? The Colonels answered, you bring them down any way you can and do your best to avoid capture.  Another questions was about if their planes were damaged and they had to bail out over Japan?

 DoLittle said, Well, in that case I can't tell you what you should do. He then was ask, Colonel, what would you do?  Here it come, my other favorite part, DoLittle says, I wasn't build to be a prisoner. So I would have my crew bail out and I would find the sweetest military target I could and drive my plane right smack into the middle of it.

Again, pure raw courage that comes from knowing exactly how he was built.  Let me repeat his answer, I was not built to be a prisoner.  

God did not build us to be prisoners of the devil who wants to kill and destroy.  Again, because of where my heart has been lately this words of courage in the movie lifted my spirit  and brought home some deep spiritual truth.  I am a daughter of the Most High King, not a prisoner of the devil, he has no rights on me.  And God has equipped me  with a suit of armor to protect me as the battle rages.  Nobody, no thought, no fear can take me captive unless I allow it.  God has bought and paid for my freedom with the precious blood of Jesus. 

Maybe God speaking through a movie is a little dramatic for you but the God I serve meets me in the strangest place to encouraged my soul.  I was reminded of the women who prayed for me at the Retreat I attended last week.  The story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall was pretty dramatic, I mean they carried a sword and a plow as the built. God is not picky about where He meets us, and He is not above using the words from a Hollywood movie on a real event to encourage this saint of God. 

It worked, here I sit writing all about it and before I wrote my post I was doing some more writing on my book.  Got my battle armor on  and my finger on the keyboards.  Get out of my way devil, I am a free women.  


How about you, has God spoke to you through an unusual way?