|Posted on January 15, 2020 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken! Jeremiah 1:8
I was always worried about what people thought of me. I lived to please the people of this world born into rejection from the start. I did what people of this world expected of me to do in order to be liked, accepted and loved? But I learned in order to live the way my brother, Jesus lived that you can’t please both the world and God. When you live to please God the benefits overflow into the world but when you please the world the only one to benefit is the world. It doesn’t flow both ways.
You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. James 4:4
My ancestor Jeremiah taught me that the truth hurts. It wasn’t popular for him to go against the norm and say what God told him to say but God gave him the courage to speak anyway. The world had taught him that because he was young who was he to speak up and be listened to. I too thought those who were older, wiser, more educated than I was should be the ones to teach but age just makes for an older fool, if it comes from the wisdom of this world it is foolish, and even the educated may be smart in one area even a donkey is good at plowing when trained well, but not to what matters the most, that wisdom comes from God and if you don’t know Him you are labeled a fool from the start.
Jeremiah was a messenger of God who convicted the people of their wrongs and guess what the people of the world’s solution was, same as it was with Christ. Jeremiah 11:19 I was led like a lamb to the slaughter. I had no idea there planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.” That didn’t work for Jesus and it didn’t work for Jeremiah. Perhaps there was some truth to what he was saying, words worth paying attention to. Regardless of how his words made me feel, truth doesn’t care whether it is pleasing to you or not, it isn’t there to please you. It was through him I began to ask myself if the Word of God was so meaningless why go to all the trouble of wanting to destroy it. If I were the enemy I would do everything I could to make sure His Word was something few people actually knew.
Even in Act 4:17 when people of this world tried to keep Peter, the one Jesus called the rock on which he would build his church on in Matthew 16:18, from speaking the mere name of Jesus he responded in Acts 4:19-20 “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
When God commissioned me to share His Word much like my ancestors before me I gave him a list of reasons why I could not, should not. I even cried why would you reveal to me, you know who your servant really is? Why would you share your heart with me? What am I supposed to do with all this? I am no one. I am nothing. Who would listen to a sinner like me? I tried and tried to talk myself out of what God was asking me to do till finally surrendering because His Word was truth.
But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in His name, His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! Jeremiah 20:9
I once heard Joyce Meyer say “The Book can be summed it simply- do what is good live a blessed life, do what is wrong and live under the curse of consequences.” It doesn’t matter who you are religion, race or creed. Good will always be good. Wrong will always be wrong. We all reap the consequences of how we live. Even those who don’t know God personally know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Romans 2:14-15
I was tired of always living under the curse of consequence and one day I thought there must be something to what this Book says. I tried for 30 plus years living the way the people of this world taught me and it seemed I was always under a curse. So I looked to the Word to raise me I chose to forget everything I was taught except for what was good and the opposite happened I started to live a blessed life. Unfortunately that blessing doesn’t mean the people around me are blessed. I am a daily witness when I look around and see the people I love the most live under the curse of their consequences and I am helpless to stop them or save them I can only point and lead them but at the end of the day they make their own choices.
When I knew there was a better way to living this thing called my life I couldn’t keep it in. It was like finding a treasure and instead of keeping it for myself I wanted everyone to know of it. I wanted them to know that there was treasure to be found in this desolate place. That even in the barrenness this world would have you believe you live in, there is great abundance. I felt like I had been given a gift so great that no one else in this world knew. My purpose was plain, I had been sent to this world to make known the unknown like so many other brothers and sisters that have been sent before me.
In the scale of the 7.7 billion people in this world, when you consider those who know and those who don’t know the numbers are still few as my brother said in Matthew 9:37-38 and Luke 10:2 “The harvest is great but the workers are few. So pray to the LORD who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.” My ancestor, Jeremiah was such a worker. It is because of him I knew through his Chapter 31 there was so much more from this life God wanted for His children and I wanted nothing more than to take what had been given to me in the name of His Son and share it with everyone whether anyone listened or not.
|Posted on January 9, 2020 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
I have this vision of being beside my Father looking down upon the earth. From a distance it appears to be a beautiful white, blue, green beating orb but the closer we got the sounds of chaos rose. It was the crying, screaming, hurting people of this world. Lifting hands up in prayer, shielding their eyes from the horrors that people no different from themselves cause each other. In my arrogance I pleaded with my Father “Send me”. Being no greater than He, who was I to believe that I could make a difference? In a world filled with hatred, bitterness, envy, jealousy, hatred, insolence, pride, ignorance, heartlessness, sexually immorality, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, selfish ambition, division, drunkenness, rage, vengeful plots, slander, wicked behavior, abusive language, deceit, hypocrisy all wrapped up in blood, flesh and bone. Ignorant to all these things I said to my Father “Send me”.
Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
He held me in His arms with a grip so tight, shaking his head at how naïve His child was, precious one He thought to Himself you know not what you ask for. Many have asked before you. The courage inside you is not unlike the Spirit of those I placed inside you. The bitter cup of life you want to swallow is not unlike the one they gave to my son. You think you will go and put an end to the evil inside but change happens not at large but one at a time. It will start with you.
Upon arrival you will know nothing of the time you spent with Me. You will experience all these things. You will have to learn on your own as though learning anew but it will be something familiar to you. Be comforted knowing what you ask for is but a little while, as temporary as the seasons I have placed upon the earth that serve to remind you. The sooner you figure out you are mine the sooner you will figure out why you have been sent and the sooner you will be called home. History repeats itself. “Send me” I said.
During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. Genesis 46:2
I wept in my office after watching all the turmoil that played out in a single day on the evening news. A veil had been lifted and for the first time I saw people of brokenness that had forgotten who their Father was. Father, why have you sent me!? I cried a still small voice replied, because you asked me to. I thought it’s too much. How can anyone survive life? The truth was my Father looks not for those that think they are wise, strong, wealthy or tall my Fathers seeks the world searching for a willing heart. Someone who sees past what is seen to the unseen of what could be. “Send me” was once my plea by my Fathers’ side.
When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. Exodus 3:4
My Father was right I had no idea why the call in my heart was so willing, so wanting to help my human family out. All I knew is that from afar I could not stand by and watch and do nothing. Moved with the same compassion my brother felt in his heart. A burning desire as though my own flesh was being harmed. I don’t know what I have to offer. I don’t know how to heal the wound. I don’t know how to make the hurting stop. All I know is “Send me” with the wisdom of God surely I can figure something out. I came empty handed, with my life poured out, with nothing to offer my Father when I heard Him call out. My response was not unlike my ancestors. “Here I am.” And there it was…a willing heart.
And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
My prayer was humble, my words were few. I lay down my wants. I lay down my needs. I give my life over to You. You saw how I screwed that up on my own. Father I need You. Everything I have is Yours, do with it what you will. It took me some time to figure out that life doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the One who created me. Of all the things I have been given there is nothing I have that You want. I finally understand it is “Not my will, but Yours be done.” My complete trust in the One that answered my prayer of two words “Send me”.
“I’ll go” my Uncle David said in 1 Samuel 17:32 “Send me” my Uncle Nehemiah said in 2:5. The first actual wedding vow ever spoke was when Abraham’s servant was seeking his wife he asked Rebekah in Genesis 24:58 “Are you willing” to which she said “I will go”. My Aunt Ruth replied to my Aunt Naomi in Ruth 1:6 “I will go”. In 1 Kings 19:20 my cousin Elisha replied to Uncle Elijah “I will go”. My Aunt Esther said in 4:16 “I will go”. Every single one of my family members born of courage was not unlike anyone else. The only difference is they rose up at their appointed time and said two words “I will”. So when God asked “Whom shall I send?” it didn’t take a second thought for me to decide “Send me I will go” I was only saying what my family said before me, they had taught me well.
Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your Word, which is truth. Just as You sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. John 17:17-18
I got so focused on “the one and only” that I failed to see “the first of many”. There came a time after reading His Word that I had to be honest, truthful with myself and like my ancestors before me ask if I was willing? To which my heart replied “Send me”.
For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:29
|Posted on January 8, 2020 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Song of Solomon 8:6
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. If I ever wanted to be reminded of how much Jesus loves me aside from the fact that his love for me is stronger than death, I flip back to the Song of Solomon also known as the Song of Songs. More than once it is said my lover is mine and I am his. In it I get a quick glimpse of just how much I am adored, not by this world but flesh of my flesh.
For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on the earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. Deuteronomy 7:6
My brother, Jesus said to me in John 15:16 “You didn’t choose me I chose you.” As a little girl I was taught to pluck petals till the last fell and I would know if the boy I loved would love me or love me not. But the last petal I ever plucked said He loved me and that is a truth I choose to believe not based on petals but by his blood.
For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
For love is as strong as death. When I cried out to my Father that I believed in what Jesus did for me. My Father made sure I had a front row seat to a vision of the resurrection burned in memory. He didn’t want me to forget the cost this world says I deserved for the things that I had done and how my brother stepped in to pay my debt in full. For even he said in Luke 7:47 that my sins were many, my debt was great and because I know I have been forgiven much I love him more than most. The price this world says I deserve was paid on the cross that day. “It is finished!” he roared “Enough!”.
Do not be misled or misunderstand there is still the justice of God, I will reap what I sow. I can expect discipline and consequence to be my lot if my stubborn will wants anything that is contrary to what God wants for me. He has raised me from the depths of the grave He said in His word 1 Samuel 7:14-15 I will be His Father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any Father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him…“I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunishied.” Jeremiah 46:28 “Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5 and Hebrews 12:6 God disciplines those He loves, and punishes each one He accepts as His child. Just to name a few. I know that it comes from a place of love.
A jealousy as enduring as the grave. I thought today if you think about it the world in itself is good. Nature is good, weather patterns are good. Water, land, sky, stars, sun and moon, good, good and good. But what isn’t good are people, and I was the worst of them all. Even my brother, Jesus said twice “Why do you call me good. Only God is truly good.” in Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19. I know that there is nothing good in this flesh of mine that if I do good it is God in me, I can’t take credit for things I know I wouldn’t do if I truly lived by my flesh alone. I know me all too well and before coming to God I was good for nothing. God is good and I give Him all the credit for anything good in me.
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. 1 John 1:5
Wisdom explains in Romans 11:32 that God imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He could have mercy on everyone. Not a single person is left out. If you are human spoiler alert, sin lives in you. My cousin, Solomon taught me in Ecclesiastes 7:20 that not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. So even those that claim to be good are lying and there you go trapped in sin again. 1 John 1:10 I am certainly not sinless I may sin “less” these days but in no way am I sinless. If I was I would be on the other side of heaven. My human existence on earth is proof that yup there is still sin in me. Not perfect, but being perfected. I leave perfection to my brother.
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Love flashes like fire the brightest kind of flame. In the beginning Genesis 3:24 God stationed and mighty cherubim to guard the tree of life. He placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth. The love of Jesus is like that flashing sword. Like a beckon of light that shines in the darkness to point the way of life by walking in the truth. The way he lived, the way he loved with God inside. The Word became flessh and made his home among us. He was filled with unfailing love and faithfulness (or grace and truth) however you choose to translate it, it is good John 1:14 No man on earth has ever loved me this way before. I used to believe that I was loved if a man on earth loved me. A principal the earth taught me well. But Jesus showed me that love is greater than this.
Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned. Song of Songs 8:7
I gave God so many reasons to turn His back on me, to leave me here to rot but He pursued me relentlessly, He never gave up on me. Even when I returned to Him and stumbled in my walk He still said I was loved. That His love was unfailing unlike any I had experienced on this earth. It wasn’t based on what I did, looked like or even who I would become. The kind of love that God gives is the kind that says I am enough. It reaches across space and time. It grabs hold and doesn’t let go no matter how hard I tried to pull away or deny. It is not consecrated in stone or signed by law. It is etched in the very palm of hand so that every time I look down I can know that He has indeed claimed me, that I am His and He is mine as He called me so in Isaiah 43:1
|Posted on January 7, 2020 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
Ecclesiastes was the first entire book of the bible I read in one sitting. Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived so I figured learning begins with wisdom so why not start there. I remember being so excited with this verse and making a frame to put it in that sat above my kitchen table, where I did most of my eating and drinking and thinking. It reminded me to slow down and enjoy the meal. This was after all my life. I worked to provide food on the table to eat and drink so why not stop long enough to enjoy it.
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
He says this repeatedly throughout his book of wisdom. Scholars say when something is repeated it is because God wants to make sure you understand it. Like a child who needs to be reminded of something over and over again so is God with His children. So pay attention.
So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Ecclesiastes 9:7
Sarcastically speaking if I was honest with myself, do I honestly think there is a God in heaven who enjoys playing games with me, with my life. That He purposely sent me here to earth to be miserable. I don’t want misery to be the life that my son how much less does God want that for me. My brother, Jesus said “his purpose is to give me a rich and satisfying life” in John 10:10. So if my life could be described as anything less than that, why?
I read the other day in my devotional that my joy is not a power I should give over to anything or anyone. To take responsibility for my joy not based on my circumstances, not based on people, not based on if things work out in my favor or do not. That my joy isn’t determined by someone else’s responsibility it is completely and solely my own to have and to give from this day forward.
Having been so thirsty and finally having that first sip to drink. It seems I couldn’t hold enough liquid in my mouth or swallow fast enough to quench my thirst. Having been hungry to the point of starvation and finally able to put that first morsel of food in my mouth even if it was something as bland as white rice to me it was the best meal I ever ate. Having fasted on something like sweets and taking that first bite of chocolate was divine.
It is said that His Word is my daily bread and living water. I may not have chosen what it had to say because at times when confronted with truth of the kind of person I was it can be painful. I lived life on earth over thirty years miserably, not knowing His Word and when I took my first bite of wisdom, my first sip of actually understanding it, something in me wanted more. I found myself laughing, shaking my head in disgrace or nodding in agreement, soaking it in like a sponge, thinking to myself why had no one ever told me this before.
My brother Jesus once said in John 15:11 “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” But how could it if I never read or even knew what he said? The disciple John said in 1 John 1:4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.* (footnote reads Or so that your joy may be complete.) but again how can I experience this joy if I don’t know what is written. And My Uncle Paul once said in 2 Corinthians 2:3 “Surely you all know that my joy comes from being joyful.”
“People do not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3
The wisdom God gave to my cousin Solomon taught me there is joy to be found in the daily bread of His Word. The knowledge He gives comes from wanting to know Him more than anything I know in this world. The wisdom He bestows is where my joy is found. Not in people, in circumstance, in situations that will change but in the truth that never changes Proverbs 12:19 Isaiah 40:8. It’s like having the answer to every question I would have about life. It’s about being at peace with not needing to know the answer or the need to understand everything along the way. Putting my trust not in the things of this world or even people but in God alone. If the only joy I ever found in this life was being able to eat and drink each day whether real or spiritual that is enough, more than enough really. For there is a God that wants nothing more for his children to enjoy life and leave the worries of life to Him and that is something to be joyful about.
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15
|Posted on January 3, 2020 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just and fair. Proverbs 1:1-3
Here we are, by the grace of God I have survived another year in this battle field between darkness and light. That is something to be grateful for something to give God praise for. For He said “Make thankfulness your sacrifice” Psalm 50:14. Last year did not end in the joyous occasion I had hoped but then again darkness never sleeps. Darkness doesn’t care what time it is whether it is convenient or not. Whether I am prepared or not hence to always be equipped and armed with the discipline and wisdom and insight that comes from the mouth of God. I spent New Year’s Eve in the emergency room weeping, pleading, hoping, believing for my sons’ life.
The start of his second week of Christmas vacation he asks me at 1:17pm on Monday the 30th if he could stay the night at his friends’ house. A name I was unfamiliar with, I respond “Who? Never heard of him.” My Spirit nudging me I should have listened “Does he drink? Do drugs?” In hindsight my son didn’t answer the questions simply that he lived near the school. We somehow got off the subject distracted by a clean room and chores at 1:36pm through a text I agreed unknowing I was sharpening the very sword that would pierce my heart less than 12 hours later.
At 6:39pm I checked my sons’ credit card bill and noticed he made a purchase he did not ask for. I texted him “Come directly home tomorrow. You have some work to do.” I should have picked him up and brought him home. His last response to me was ok. No love, just resignation of the looming consequence for what had been done. Already in the hands of darkness.
At 12:44am I am awaken by a call no parent should ever get. The caller ID showed it was coming from one of my sons’ closest friends. My first response, why would he be calling me at this hour, something is wrong. A frantic mother on the other end calmly and clearly explains her son was having a sleep over and it appears two of the five boys have taken drugs. One has been taken to the hospital, his father called to warn in case others had taken acid with him and she fears my son also needs to be taken to the hospital immediately.
We arrive with him in tow at the ER by 1am. Vigilant prayer warriors notified and praying by 1:18am. He is in full on severe terrifying hallucination mode. Screaming, repeating suicidal thoughts over and over to end the cycle he cannot escape. His only prayer after death, after his body goes limp from the imaginary gunshot he takes to his head is “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” again and again for the next 3 hours straight.
As he regains semi-conscious from this fake death he opens his eyes and asks where am I? Am I dead? Is this heaven or hell? And then a terrifying scream of terror as darkness chases him to pull him under again. He has given the one weapon we all have away, his mind. He was combative, aggressive, fighting those whose purpose was to help him. My husband, the ER doctor, the security guard and 2 rotating nurses one administering drugs the other helping to hold him down. My so of 15 years, 5 foot 10 and 150lb is fighting off everyone and everything to save his life and sanity.
My prayer just outside the room was I trust in you God. I trust in You and the songs on my iPod reminding me why I can’t control this experience I was going through. No feeling about what was being done, what had been done, who was to blame would help me to understand or make sense of the ocean waves of feelings from a raging sea of emotions that overtaking me. I needed the still small voice calming the waves within me before I drowned in a mother’s desperation and despair of being helpless to what was happening to her son only able to watch.
At about 3am it was obvious whatever chemical they had given him to calm his biological made form down was not working. I rose from my chair, took a deep breath for the battle I was walking into, filled with the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the grave. I pumped sanitizer into my palm before entering the room so it appeared I was rubbing them together like Mr. Miyagi in the end scene of Karate Kid the original version. I placed my hand on my sons’ rapid breathing heart on the verge of bursting from sheer panic and fear and spoke gentle words of comfort and peace over him only a mother of wisdom can speak. Now was not the time to fight or argue or question or punish now was the time for love, for him to know he was fine. It will be okay. He was loved. I have said it before I will say with my last breath Words have power. My voice soothed him and within moments he released his grip and drifted into a medically drug induced sleep. A slumber he would be forced to wake from after 12 hours.
He was home by 6pm New Years’ Eve and went directly from the car back to bed. I woke him at 9am New Years’ day and began giving him liquids because there were no IV lines or catheters attached to him he would have to come back to us on God’s time. Having been through the experience of my husband’s traumatic brain injury in December 2015 (that I also share through this blog in detail February 2016) I knew two things were needed to repair the chemical damage done to my sons’ brain - rest and hydration. I have learned that healing takes place the way same we were formed. Like babies in utero, the power of regeneration is found in two ingredients rest and water it is not man made. It is not chemically made. It is biological. Like the creation of the world took place with time and water. Such is our own state.
He is not fully recovered but three days is long enough to wait to share my experience. I awoke with the feeling like the enemy was using the things in my life to distract me from sharing God’s Word. But in fact it is only by the power of His Word that I have been able to maintain my peace of mind and heart during this whole experience. There must be something to this life of mine because that enemy sure fights hard to prevent me from sharing it.
This I know these days of mine were written long before a single day had passed. I am the observer of this life not the Director nor Author of it. I can only control my actions and myself. As much as I would like to dictate everyone else I can’t control people not even my own son nor can I be assured of the decisions he makes outside our home. My job is to tend and watch over.
I am assured God will discipline His children for the wrong they have done just like He disciplined me as my brother, Jesus said I will not abandon you as orphans John 14:18. No one “gets away” with anything God sees all, even the boy that gave my son the drug that almost took his life. I am God’s child just as my son is, even more so does he belong to God than he is my own. God will use what the enemy meant for harm for His good purposes not our own. I am the vessel God chose for my son to come through but I am also clay just like him not the Potter Himself. The cheeseburgers I ate in pregnancy did not form my son, God did.
I wanted to share this because no one warned me that being a devout believer in God doesn’t make me exempt from feeling the same struggles I am certain most everyone else in this world experiences. I thought being saved meant I was saved from dealing with darkness. But if anything I feel them even more because I am very aware they are expected to come. This is not our home and if for a moment I am fooled by the world that it is I am shaken back to the reality that it is not. Satan is the ruler of this world even Jesus knew that much John 12:31.
I was going to have this experience whether I knew God was with me or not. He knew it before I believed Him and about 11 years ago He pulled me aside and with seven words of completion He said “Be still and know who I am”. In those words I take from them like a trusted would put his arm on my shoulder and say something like “I tell you the truth…you are going to need something greater than yourself to survive the things that are to come. This dark world is going to put you through hell and back because I have called you out of darkness you are not from this world, anymore than I am. So be still for a moment, take some time off from the ways of this world and come to know the Word, know that I am, God. You are precious to me, more than you will ever know. I hold your life and the life of those you love in the palm of My hand. You need not fear when fear comes. Here is a book of life’s instructions to help you get through your time on the earth. And when all is said and done if all you remember is you are not alone, you are mine and I am yours, we will get through this life together. Believing in Me will not prevent these things from happening but knowing who I am will equip you to handle them.”
So as this New Year begins strength and wisdom training never ends, a chapter of the wisdom found in Proverbs is what begins each day this new month. Because if my life is proof of anything, it is that I need God.
|Posted on December 30, 2019 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through Your Word. Psalm 119:37
Ah the book of Psalms doesn’t hold back from reminding me to keep it real. My life was filled with worthless things before coming to know Him. Every spare moment I had I was looking through my phone at social media sites, watching programs on TV that weren’t helpful to my walk. They neither helped me, nor comforted me, nor gave me hope when faced with difficult situations. All the time I wasted binge watching, looking at you tube videos, reading books cover to cover I had no business reading were wasted I have nothing to show for my life but emptiness.
Let them no longer fool themselves by trusting in empty riches, for emptiness will be their only reward. Job 15:31
Being human I am still prone to these things even something as small as being sucked into a 30 second commercial feed of something I need, want, must have or symptoms I may be experiencing. God forbid a news update flash across my screen and all of the sudden I need to know who did what, who shot who, who robbed who, what evil took place in my city to instill me with fear, anxiety and stress. Yes, this verse is a personal prayer I pray daily. I know far too well how worthless things in this world can be that once I held value in. Similar to what my Uncle Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I have decided that while I was with you I would train myself to forget everything except what Jesus did for me. Because as Job told his friends in 21:34 “How can empty clichés comfort me?”
“My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the LORD. “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” Jeremiah 4:22
Taught by the ten old covenant ways, of what not to do, things I should not, could not do lest I be doomed. What I needed to know was what I could do, what I should be doing. I had perfected the ways of doing wrong I had no sense about what was right or even how to start doing right. It was so diluted in this world. I thought that what felt good, looked good, tasted good was good for me, must be right but more often than not I was dead wrong.
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12; 16:25
I had spent most of my life on the path that ended in death and knew nothing of this path that ended in life. Nothing of His ways, His truth, the life He offered me. I thought this kind of life was something I would have when I die not something I could actually have here on earth. So I was determined in my late thirties to find the path that lead to life. To a life greater than I could imagine because the truth was all I was doing was taking up space, dying. I wasn’t living, the way I was living was not a life. God had placed a person in my life for a season whose father had a stroke in his early thirties he thought that death was his lot but he lived for 20 plus years after his stroke waiting to die. I didn’t have a stroke but much like that man that was all I was doing, waiting to die.
I will praise You, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2
My journey of faith started with the worthless things I was listening to, music. It started by simply listening to praise music. Not country to depress me, not rap to enrage me, not the big hair bands to remind me of a time I could not change I needed something to point me in the right direction and it started with praise. I drove a majority of the time so I started to pay attention to what I listened to and something as small as music changed the way I started to see my life. I found that when I sang along to praise it lifted my Spirit. The music somehow gave me a different mindset as I headed into my task each day. I was filled with a hope instead of a dread. I had faith that whatever I was facing was going to somehow be okay even if it didn’t look that way I was having less feelings of frustration and confusion like a fog was clearing and I could see there was a different path, a different way of thinking. It filled me with a sense of joy not desperation or depression. As I once heard Joyce Meyer say “You can worry or worship but you can’t do both. It is scientifically proven, the mind can only think one thought at a time. You get to pick what you think on.”
Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30
Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. Psalm 95:2
Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. Psalm 100:4
From there my praise overflowed into thanksgiving. I made a list several pages long of everything I was grateful for. Things I hadn’t thought to be grateful for in my past and in my daily present. Almost forty years of gratitude stored up. I read once if the only prayer you ever spoke was “Thank You” that would be enough. I haven’t stopped thanking Him since. Every day He gives me new reasons to be thankful because if it is true, like the brother of Jesus, James said in his book 1:17 that every good and perfect thing I have in my life comes from Him there is much to be thankful for today and always. The book of Psalms showed me that, to which I am grateful for.
|Posted on December 28, 2019 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: Who is this that questions my wisdom with such arrogant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Job 38:1-3
In short Jobs problems began in Chapter 1 and 2. His complaints began in Chapter 3. Then an ongoing conversation took place between three of his friends who tried to counsel or convince him of the reasons for his troubles and he’d retort back to them in Chapters 4 through Chapters 32. The youngest finally speaks, Elihu, in Chapters 32 he was upset at this whole conversation because he believed his friends did not speak correctly of God or try to correct Job’s arguments. Elihu spent the following Chapters through to 38 defending God. Till it seems God felt the need to step in and straighten Job out for Himself. Though the wisdom of the words his three friends spoke seems like it made sense for the reason Job was in the situation he was in you will find that God was angry with his friends who spoke incorrectly of Him in verse 42:7.
I shared all that to say this. God bless my Uncle Job if for a second in my life I fool myself into believing that I have control of it. There have been many instances I found myself at the mercy of my Creator. I was reminded in my devotionals today that I am not the Creator of this life. If my life were a movie I may play the main character but I am not the director or even the author of this life Acts 3:15. Merely the observer of it. About the only thing I have control over is my response and my reaction to the people and the circumstances around me. I learned pretty early in my walk of faith that control was an illusion. Sure I control little things like when I wake, what I choose to eat, how long to brush my teeth for, what I read and watch on TV, the kind of music I listen to, how fast I drive there are countless little things I control even sometimes how I spend my time. But when it comes to the bigger things I learned there is very little I control.
I don’t control people or circumstance. Like whether my husband will be faithful and how his faithlessness will affect me. I don’t control my child I can lead him in the way he should go, instruct him on the path I think he should take but at the end of the day he is his own and will choose to listen to me or listen not much like I do with my own Father. I can’t control my family members even those as close to me as my own brother and sister. They will each make decisions in their lives that mine will be affected by. I don’t control when a baby arrives or the exact moment a person dies or falls ill. Famine will come. There will be times I am overflowing in prosperity and times of drought like a breath you take in and a breath you breathe out these are just part of life. I can’t tell you the exact date or time these will hit like the seasons and tides it is gradual. A time for both in my life. I can’t determine if what I am doing will reap a harvest or not. The only thing I can control is my response and reaction to it by what I have been taught.
The one thing I need more than anything in my life is wisdom and the places this word is mentioned the most is in Job with 22 mentions and Proverbs almost doubled with 46. So as I go into this New Year Father give me the wisdom I need to accept what I cannot. You said in Your Word do not lean on my own understanding but to trust in You Proverbs 3:5. You said do not try to understand everything that happens along the way to leave it up to you Proverbs 20:24 Yet time and again I find myself like Uncle Job reaching for an answer to comfort me. Like somehow if I knew I could accept and move on. This I know, it’s called daily bread for a reason, because I can only handle so much.
…people do not live by bread alone; rather we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3
My husband’s faithfulness doesn’t determine my own I am subject to my faithfulness to You alone not everyone else. My child may grow up and do everything completely opposite of what I hoped he would do and if my peace were found in him it would go right out the door with him. I hope my brother and sister seek and feel their way toward God but I have no control of whether they do or do not. The only true control I have is to hope for the people I love. Will I be ready when the time comes for something new to be born in my life or will I be like a mother who has no strength to deliver consumed by my own pain, wants and needs. Will courage be with me when I am called to say goodbye to something that I must let go of in order to step into a place I have never been. Can I prepare for the inevitable if I have no clue what the inevitable is. Can I learn to be content with little or much as my Uncle Paul was Philippians 4:11.
I may not know the reasons why things are as they are. Nor do I want to be distracted, consumed with trying to figure it out I leave that to God He has His reasons and I trust they are for His good reasons, there is no darkness in Him at all Romans 8:28 1 John 1:5. Job was told in Job 28:28 “The fear of the LORD is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.” The truth is I have an option when faced with people and things I can’t control, when evil is paid to me I can repay in kind. When wicked is said of me I too can speak just as wickedly. But for what, I did it this way all my life till I was taught differently.
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insult when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
And I would rather be blessed with twice as much by God just like my Uncle Job 42:10. Seems like double follows trouble and not before as taught in Isaiah 61:7 and Zechariah 9:12 and as the brother of Jesus said, James 1:2 when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. I believe in the wisdom of a God who once said I will never stop doing good for you Jeremiah 32:40. So like the weather I tend to wait silently knowing that something good is on its’ way.
|Posted on December 27, 2019 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
…“And though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:16
If you have never read the book of Esther it is well known for the portion of verses found in chapter 4 when her Uncle Mordecai asks his niece, the queen to approach the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people. Her response to him was if she approaches the king without being invited she is doomed to die unless he shows her favor by holding out his gold scepter, allowing her to approach the throne. Her husband, the king, had not called for her for thirty days so she would be putting herself at risk in doing so. And her Uncle’s response was…
“Don’t think for a moment because you are in the palace you will escape when our people are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for our people will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
Her response to her Uncle can be summed up in the verse above as surrender. I had no business coming to my King, my God when I did. I was covered in sin from head to toe, steeped in it for thirty plus years. Trying to find salvation in power, position, wealth, accumulation and people. There was nothing sacred or holy about me. No secret ritual I performed. No prayer I said over and over to again in hopes of gaining access. There were not enough good deeds to pay back for all the evil things I had said, thought or done over my lifetime to gain access to the throne.
I came in humility on bended knees with head bowed low unworthy of looking up, not even on my hands, I was weeping uncontrollably on my forearms, Father, forgive me of this wretched life I created with my own hands. I came with one belief in mind that Jesus had done what he did for me, just me, not the world at large John 14:22. In that moment I couldn’t worry about or carry the weight of the whole world’s sin only my own. I just needed forgiveness for me, one on one John 14:23, this battle in my mind was between me and God Galatians 5:17.
I came with the belief that somehow on a surface I could not see with my eyes that when the Creator of this world, God looked down on me He would see his child, an abandoned, orphaned child left here to fight alone Hebrews 5:7. The robe of not my own but his sons righteous deed draped over me Isaiah 53:11 Perhaps even someone like his daughter my Aunt Queen Esther who approached the throne by faith even though it was against the law. Like my brother Jesus, she risked her life begging for mercy, pleading for her people, like my brother, Jesus pleaded for me Romans 8:34.
But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. Ezekiel 18:21
It was hard enough being righteous for one day let alone the thirty something years before I needed someone to stand in the gap Ezekiel 22:30 of who I was and who I was to become. Wipe clean the debt I incurred by my sins Colossians 2:14 so that I could begin again from that day on.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Psalm 32:1-2
That is what began this walk of faith. Like my Aunt Esther, I had to come to the point of surrender that the ways I had been taught were completely wrong. I took what was good about that life and left the rest behind to find a better way of life. If this life of mine was going to end in death anyway like everyone in my family line it might as well be a death worth dying for. As my Uncle Paul once said in Romans 4:15 (that) “The only way to avoid breaking the law was to have no law to break!” This life of faith could not be built on laws, I had already broken all of them several times over. This life of faith was not built on “do not’s” like Adam in the garden, one thing God told him not to do he did. It is a life built on the things I could do, things no law can stand up against. Galatians 5:22-23
|Posted on December 24, 2019 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
There is a prayer in Nehemiah 9:5-36 that basically sums up the things God did for His people. When I read it, it makes me think about the things He did for me. That even though they repeatedly sinned against Him, like I did, He kept His promise for He is always true to His Word 9:8. I understand now that God is not obligated to keep my word, the things I want for me. But He is bound by His truth and that includes every promise He gave to me.
Words like You alone, You made, You preserve, You are the LORD God, who chose. Help me to know it is God that made a covenant with us before He appeared no one ever heard of a God that was good. A God that wanted good for His people. Back then people had been taught to do everything they could to please the gods but not this God, our God was different, set apart from the start. He chose us and said I will never stop doing good for you Jeremiah 32:40. And the catch was not because of anything I did but because of His love for me. He loved with a Fathers love from the very beginning.
He saw my misery, He displayed miraculous signs and wonders to release me from the things that kept me bound in chains, my own slavery. He made a glorious reputation for Himself when He freed me. He divided the sea and hurled my enemies into it so that they would never raise a hand to abuse me again.
He led me by day and night with the light of His Word so that I could find my way, He made a way for me. He gave me commands that were good. Not to keep me from good. It was so that I would not harm others. You see hurting people, hurt people it’s an animal instinct. I lash out when I am attacked. I pay back evil for the evil that was done to me. When I don’t live life by the Spirit I live it by my flesh and my flesh speaks like Abel from the grave revenge to avenge.
During my times of struggle God fed me when I was hungry. He gave me water for my thirst. Even when I refused to obey Him when I grew complacent and forgot the mighty miracles He performed I came to understand the God of forgiveness, He forgave me but not without cost. He sent His son to pay the penalty before forgiveness was asked for, begged for, pleaded for, God said it was already taken care of.
But again like a teenage rebellious child I grew stubborn and proud, I paid no attention to my Fathers’ ways believing I knew a better one, a faster, an easier route. Once again I refused to obey Him I didn’t remember the miracles He performed to free me from sins in the past and instead I went right back to my slavery to sin.
He was so gracious and merciful to me in spite of myself. He was patient when He held back from punishment well deserved. Gracious and merciful was He, slow to punish and instead show me what rich unfailing love was. He did not abandon me to my foolish thinking that led to completely foolish ways.
Instead in His mercy when I was lost, even when I had purposely lost my way. He did not leave me to die in the wilderness though death would have been deserved for the things I had done. He continued to show me the way out of the darkness. Like a parent who repeatedly tells a child what to do over and over again till the behavior is corrected so does my Father, my God as any good Father would.
He sent His good Spirit to instruct me. He never stopped feeding me or withholding water from me when I messed up He simply poured out on me more and more grace and told me to get up and try again for almost forty years this was my Fathers way. He commanded me to go to places I had never been, do things I had never done so that I could take possession of the promises He had sworn to give to me. And I saw them fulfilled one by one.
He helped me to conquer my giants, my Jericho walls and take back control of the things that had controlled me. I captured each thought making it captive to Christ. If it wasn’t what He would do I had no business entertaining that it was good enough for me. I had my fill and enjoyed all that God had blessed me with but even despite the goodness I was disobedient and rebelled against Him.
Once again I turned back on His laws and even got rid of the Word all together so I wouldn’t have to feel the guilt for the things I had done. He handed me over to my enemies and when I had enough I cried out to my Father once more and He heard me as He always does and He sent me a liberator to save me.
As soon as I lived in peace again I did what was evil in His sight and ended up worshipping the very thing that saved me instead of my God so once more I was conquered by my enemies and when I turned to God for help He listened once more. In His wonderful mercy He has rescued me many, many times I wish I could say I got it right the first time but not unlike my ancestors I have failed and tried over and over again.
My Father had warned me, He told me that I would find life if only I listened to His Words of wisdom but like a stubborn animal I turned my back on Him and refused listen to anything He had to say. In His love He was patient with me for more years than I like to count. In His great mercy He never abandoned me or destroyed me. What a gracious and merciful God He is! He is an awesome and great and mighty God who keeps His covenant of unfailing love for me.
In Jeremiah 3:13 Long ago the LORD said to me “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Though throughout my own life I would take His love and reject it for something else. Like a toy that is played with under the tree what I once found joy in I would grow bored with. But His love for me never grew old or tired.
What was it about His peace I was so quick to lose when I lost my patience with people or with waiting for my own dreams to be fulfilled? Why couldn’t I speak gently when expressing myself or extend goodness and kindness when I hadn’t been treated with such? Perhaps because I didn’t make a covenant to do those things it was God who had made one with me.
He said He would send His Spirit from heaven down to this fallen world and on Christmas day I am reminded that He has kept that everlasting promise. I look around to see that love still finds a way even in the darkness, that joy still fills a room with laughter, peace still remains silent like a sentry soldier, if you have had to stand in line well then patience prevails, people can still be good and kind, those who are faithful to a God who gave these gifts are no longer led by animals instinct but children led by the Spirit of a Father who never stopped loving them.
|Posted on December 21, 2019 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
I prayed, O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now we have been steeped in sin… Ezra 9:6-7
When I had my “coming to Jesus moment” on the back porch of my house, I confessed the sins of not only myself but and the sins of my mother, my grandmother, even my great grandmother for not teaching me any better. The same hatred and bitterness felt toward men who strayed from their wives ran deep in my family line and it was about to consume me and my son as well. I didn’t know how I was going to get through because what my family taught me well was how to run away from the pain. End all ties. Divide. Divorce. Never speak his name. Erase his existence. Remove all photos. Burn the memories. And never allow him to see his children grow up. His grandchildren. It should be as though he never existed in my life. I was good at that. That I could do well. Staying was never an option. Trying was never considered.
Then Ezra goes on to explain the reason for this life of pain he says in 9:7 “That is why…We have been killed, captured, robbed and disgraced, just as we are today.” I had only been a year into my walk of faith maybe just one when I read the text that brought me to my knees. I thought a year ago if I stopped then this life of pain would cease what I didn’t know was it didn’t just have a hold on me. I thought if I gave my life to God then maybe my son could be saved from this generational bondage. I didn’t want him to have the same life I was handed down. I didn’t want to pass down hatred and bitterness from generation to generation just as Christ cried it was finished and it had to stop with me. There had to be a better way, an option I hadn’t seen before, another way of life. That is when grace stepped forward in my life.
But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the LORD our God has allowed a few of us to survive in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery. Ezra 9:8
Jesus said by grace I could let go but not to end, but begin again. He said I paid the price not just for your sins but his as well Ephesians 4:32. He said if you can so freely accept all that I have forgiven you, by the power that lives in me you must extend that same grace to others Colossians 3:13. I kept arguing with Jesus pleading weeping, I can’t, it’s too hard, I have never. And he said is anything too hard for God Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17,27 what he said wasn’t a lie. When it was too hard for me I gave it to God to carry. I had read the truth I knew well what he was saying it was written in black and white. Now was the time to apply. Luke 11:28
I tell you, her sins- and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that goes around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:47-50
The love I have for my brother, Jesus, is for what he did for me. My faith believes he paid the penalty for my sins Romans 3:24 a penalty that this world says and condemns me by saying I deserve to die and one day that battle will take place as it does for all of us but until then I die daily to what this world thinks of me. I had to believe these words of truth not just for me. I needed enough faith to believe them for him too even if he didn’t. I had enough faith for the both of us to extend forgiveness again and again it would take him 10 years before he would came to the same understanding. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance 1 Corinthians 13:7. For my brother taught me forgiveness was a power I possessed to. That’s how I broke the chains of bitterness and hatred that my family passed down to me. It was forgiveness that would keep us together and forgiveness is what held us together. Forgiveness is what we are built on, a cross I am not ashamed to carry because he carried it for me.
For we were slaves, but in His unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery…He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem. Ezra 9:9
We were both slaves to our flesh at one point or another in our relationship and now we are slaves for the living God because in His unfailing love for us He did not abandon us in our addictions to please ourselves. Unlike a fairy tale He didn’t save us so we could live happily ever after either. He revived us so that we could rebuild the ruins of what family means based on the principals and promises of God. He gave us a protective covering of strength because strength was what we needed to persevere through the hard days. He gave us the authority to forbid and permit what we wanted our life to look like based on His Word not what we had been taught. And mostly peace ever after, we are still working on that, raising a teenage boy, peace is daily battle we fight to enforce. But then again we ourselves are still under construction because unlike the Temple Ezra rebuilt He is still working on us, in us.