|Posted on July 21, 2019 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure. Genesis 41:49
I read this verse today and for the first time I saw the grain as my sins. I imagined this verse was about God how He was the one who piled up the huge amounts of my sins like sand on the seashore. My sins were all the lies I told. All the things I stole. All the times I was disobedient and devious and conniving not just to parents when they were around or family members but to friends, coworkers, acquaintances, people I just met or hadn’t known for very long. Yes my sins were many. I am no saint nor have I ever claimed to be I am quite the opposite being from my brother just like many who came after him it’s what we all have in common. You would think after all this time I would have figured out how to sin no more, but still I am here, not perfect, being perfected by the things that trip me up.
I tell you her sins- and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown much love… Luke 7:47
Finally, He stopped keeping records. God stopped keeping count. Keeping track of it all. That was just me and my sins now imagine God keeping count of the whole worlds’ sins, every human being that ever lived since the existence of time. It was too much to measure. I would become too weary to count. Who could keep track even if I tried with my own it would be too much and I know my memory would leave some out.
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. Ezra 9:6
For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes we know what sinners we are. We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. Isaiah 59:12-13
I wonder if that is how I finally reached God, my sins got so high one atop the other like the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:4-5 that when they finally reached the gates of heaven God said “Enough! Stop! This far and no farther will you come!” Job 38:11 and just like that they obeyed Luke 8:25 one by one they all dropped off. Only humans measure. Only humans keep track. Only humans count. To movie quote “Lucy”- “Humans created a scale to forget its’ unfathomable scale”. It is impossible to keep track of it all, yet it is human to try.
…And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. Jeremiah 31:34
To God, for me to sin even just one sin one time as my ancestors Adam and Eve did is as bad as if I had broken all the sins James 2:11 and 1 John 3:4. A sin is a sin, no matter how small or how great we measure it or even how many times we count it is committed. It is all the same to God. The ground is leveled at the cross. The blood is red no matter how you take it or steal it or give it.
Jesus once said in Matthew 12:12, Mark 3:4 and Luke 6:9 not verbatim but condensed “Does the law permit good deeds… or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or destroy it?” Sabbath is every day to me. Every day should be a day I want to do what is good whether I have permission or not to save life or to give life does not require a certain day of the week. But it seems I lived my life for what was evil. So every day my life was filled with evil and resulted in a wicked life.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 1 John 1:8
The truth is I am a sinner and I need a Savior and I thank God He saved me by providing the Savior I needed through His Son. 1 John 3:5 The only reason I know that things I do are sinful is because there was a son who walked the earth who lived without sin. Who showed me what life could be like, could look like if I wasn’t so focused on what not do and fixed my thoughts not on what was wrong with me but what I was able to do.
“What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don'’ enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” Luke 11:52
It’s like the enemy performed the greatest magic trick of all time when God sent His forces, Heavens Armies of His people 1 Samuel 17:26 to inhabit the earth. They all had the same ability His Son had to heal, to give life, to speak wise counsel, they had immeasurable strength- able to lift the fallen, free the captives not with might but with their words.
And the enemy said to them upon their arrival he repeated it over the air waves, over and over again till they were conditioned to believe that there is a list of rules and laws and regulations that we cannot do or God will not love us anymore. Fix our eyes on this. Forget what He sent us for. Forget about the courage, the wisdom, the honor, the glory God gave you and think about this instead. So that is what I did I spent my entire time on earth thinking about what I couldn’t do instead of what I could do. I can’t do this, I can’t do that and I became everything I thought couldn’t do till I believed I was unworthy of love, unworthy of the love of my one and only Father who sent me, who created me. I had forgotten about what I could do, who I really was, what I was sent for- capable of just like His Son Romans 8:29.
For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) Romans 4:15
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
When I fixed my thoughts and mind on these things that were true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable Philippians 4:8 I wasn’t thinking about what I couldn’t, shouldn’t be doing. I stopped thinking of what was best and good for me and started thinking how I could serve others. How I should serve others Hebrews 10:24 and as a result stopped living by the law and for God instead.
For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law- I stopped trying to meet all its requirements- so that I might live for God. Galatians 2:19
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. Galatians 2:21
For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
As a man thinks in his heart so he is…Proverbs 23:7
|Posted on July 18, 2019 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.*(Or on the heights of Zaphon) I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Isaiah 14:13-14
Ah the power of the word “I” the other day my teenage son was sharing his plans for his future and all I heard was the word “I” as in I want this, I want that, I will do this, I will do that, I think this, I think that, I feel this, I feel that, I am going to do this, I will get that… I, I, I, I said the plans you have are big, but how do you plan to accomplish these things yourself. Don’t you see it will take more than you to do those things. Be careful not to forget that you are not alone as others have before you.
Lot chose from himself a land apart from Abraham, a little place called Sodom and see where that got him Genesis 13:11
Abraham and Sarah laughed to themselves about the plans God had for them to bear a child but God had the last laugh Genesis 17:17 Genesis 18:12 Genesis 21:6
Esau consoled himself by plotting to kill Jacob for stealing his fathers’ blessing rather than believing in a God who could have given him so much more Genesis 27:42 2 Samuel 12:8
Saul set up a monument to himself and his reign was brief in comparison to King David 1 Samuel 15:12
His son Absalom built a monument to himself and named it after himself only to die a dishonorable death 2 Samuel 18:18
His other son Adonijah tried to make himself king before David died but Solomon still took the throne 1 Kings 1:5
Even Solomon humbled himself and asked God not for popularity and riches but the wisdom it would take to govern, to lead these people who belonged to God 1 Kings 3:9
It has been in my experience that God honors those who think less of themselves and more of others for even our own brother, Jesus came to serve not be served. Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 my dear son you are closer to becoming made in His image when you reflect His true nature.
He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So He Himself stepped in to save them with His strong arm, and His justice sustained Him. He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on His head. He clothes Himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped Himself in a cloak of divine passion. Isaiah 59:16-17
God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of Spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10
For you have been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
|Posted on July 17, 2019 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. Proverbs 24:16
I tripped yesterday. The sin that so easily trips me up is wasted time. Yesterday started great, I got up early took my sister to work, came home about the time I would have usually have awaken on my own. I read my devotionals, shared them with H and even blogged right after. I was done just in time to wake my son for the day and start him off with a teaching instead of Instagram and Snapchat. The Word before the world I like to call it.
After the teaching we straightened the room. He got ready for the day while I tided up the house. He helped me fill the dog food bowls, vacuum behind the TV (a first of month chore I was 17 days behind on) I cleaned the bathroom while he swept the floors. Then I got ready for the day, read my gratitude and sang praise. We went on errands. I showed him how to get postage at the post office kiosk so I could send him in alone in the future. We went grocery shopping then home and unloaded the groceries than out again for lunch. By the time we got back it was 1pm. A full productive morning that began at 5am for me but when we sat down to eat that is when I tripped.
We finished watching a movie we were watching the night before on Netflix. After lunch I was full and gave myself permission to watch another movie. And another. Then I switched to another movie site and I watched another move by this time it was 6pm. I had spent the last 5 hours on the floor or on the couch watching movies till 6pm. As if that weren’t enough I started watching TV while I waited to pick up my sister. An entire day wasted.
I could have written to family and a friend in prison. I could have completed a bible study workbook. I could have walked on the treadmill while watching movies. I could have light dusted the room. I could have pulled weeds. I could have washed the towels. Made dinner. Something anything really. But instead I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Like my dogs that lay under the couch I choose to lay or sit all day long. This is the sin that so easily trips me up Hebrews 12:1 living a life of idleness.
Being idle or lazy is not listed on the 10 commandments written in stone but it written on my heart as a way of life that God is not pleased with. 7 mentions of the Word idle appear in the following verses:
Lazy people sleep soundly, but idleness leaves them hungry. Proverbs 19:15
Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin. Ecclesiastes 4:5
Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. Ecclesiastes 10:18
I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. Matthew 12:36
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7
Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 2 Thessalonians 3:11
I woke up this morning so to me that means God has given me another chance to try again. To do what is right. To not live an idle life. Word before the world I think to myself. Serve others before I serve myself. I may not have to punch a clock to keep track of work in my time but I am held accountable to the way I spend my time and today is the start of a new day. God give me the strength not to live an idle life.
I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Corinthians 7:35
|Posted on July 16, 2019 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
I am in a season of change this summer. I invited my sister to move into our home the beginning of last month. So making room for her and ensuring that her needs are met has kept my days busy. Then my son has decided this is the year he would test his boundaries and in the last month God has revealed to him that no matter how far he may stray from his path that he is never alone. As the verse says in Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” God has been faithful to expose the things my son thought he could get away with while I was distracted so lately I have been using the cattle prod of His Word to keep my own sheep back in line Ecclesiastes 12:11.
A few weeks ago I wept to H because I felt the weight of having to do all and be all to everyone but I realized that was my false sense of belief that I could have control of anyone. If I relinquished my control they will live as they lived before I decided to be in control of their lives. So every day I have had to say Father, I surrender my sister to you and as a result she has fallen off the bike I told her to practice on a few times but she dusted off and got back on each time. Teaching me that she will do what she has to when she has to. That I don’t need to hold onto her seat as she rides I can let go and if she falls it’s okay because she will get back up again.
I say Father, I surrender my son to you. I can’t control every aspect of his life from the time he wakes to the time he goes to sleep. I have to allow him to make his own decisions even if those decisions lead to losing some of his freedoms. There are daily expectations and when he has met those expectations he is free to use his time as he wishes even if it is to go back to sleep. He is growing and like my husband that was in a drug induced coma for a month his new muscle and bone take time to grow but can only do so when he is not doing anything else but sleeping.
I say Father, I surrender H to you. Another person I have been shown that he will do what he thinks is best even if he has to suffer the consequence. I can’t care more about his mental state of mind and physical well-being than he cares for himself. Like how much sleep he gets because he is working too many hours or what he is eating because when he doesn’t watch his diet on top of the stress of living he has allergic reactions. Is he doing what he needs to do to feed himself spiritually? Is he taking care of his needs? These are things I could direct and remind him to do but again if he doesn’t like my sister who has fallen from her bike several times this is something he will be the one to face the consequences of. I can’t hold my breath and wait for him to do what he needs to do, he is a grown man. I am his helper not his mother, I don’t need to raise him too.
This is only temporary. This season will be over soon and I have yet to enjoy it in my role of trying to control it. Trying to keep everyone as I want them to be because there are so many other things in life I can’t control for some reason I decided this would be the season I controlled everybody. At some point they all must grow in their own time and make the decisions that lead them further away or closer to the people God created them to be individually not a team effort. God has only given me enough strength to have the self-control to handle me and He has done a pretty good job at everyone else I cannot fulfill that role.
I received a postcard in the mail reminding me that fall will be here sooner than I think I already need to check in my son for school in two weeks. This season is a gift from God whether it involves reaping, harvesting, sowing or even pulling weeds it’s all in His time not mine. This is just a part, a slice of this whole lot of life. In my devotionals I was reminded I can learn to embrace the season I am in and see it as an opportunity for new growth by looking forward to the harvest ahead instead of keeping my head down looking at the soil as if my own sight could force the grain to grow Mark 4:27. For everything in life there is a season and this just happens to be a challenging one of change for me but I can trust in the wisdom of God who knew I couldn’t handle more than a season of this way of life and He will use it all for His good purposes even if he just uses it to teach me He is in business of changing people, this is His job not mine.
So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58
|Posted on July 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is a danger of stumbling because they have no light.” John 11:9-10
Lately I haven’t been making it to greet the night before I am falling asleep. The day light hangs around just past 830pm. I wake around 5am because of the light so by this time of the night my body is happy to retire. To mark the day well done and call it good. I have put in my 12 hours of work during the day and have opted to use the last 3 hours of my day to eat dinner, wind down and relax. I am in no danger of stumbling because to be honest I am too tired to stumble I would rather slumber by the time night comes around, thank God it pleases Him for me to rest.
For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. Hebrews 4:10
The start of my day is the time I make to study His Word. When everyone including the dogs on my bed are still asleep. The only sound I hear is the fan and the Spirit in me. It’s usually about this time I begin to share what I am learning with others. My hands do the typing to the thoughts in my head. There is a time I acknowledged each of my many blessings with a grateful heart so as not to stay focused on the things I may be lacking I bring my request to God and wait expectantly as instructed in Psalm 5:3. Maintain the household is the job I have when I am not working for Him I work to serve others lest I put Proverbs 31:27 to shame. Looking at the clock as each hour ticks down to what the next part of my day will bring. His Word has taught me there are but a few hours in this day to be used for dong the good work He prepared for us to do.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I remember early on making a list of things I thought would be pleasing to God. On this list were things like cooking. I don’t think it displeases God for me to prepare a meal it might displease Him for me to be consumed by the meal that I have no time for other things as Mary was in Luke 10:40. Cleaning is on the list this includes every chore you can think of from the laundry, vacuum, dust, cleaning the bathroom, changing sheets weekly to the monthly chores like changing the furnace filter, vacuuming under the couch and behind the TV. I don’t think it displeases Him for me to be organized after all He did create the world to be lived in not an empty place of chaos as He said in Isaiah 45:18.
Then there were things that please me that I thought might please Him like making the time to exercise my gifts 1 Peter 4:10-11. As the created I am made in His image so I don’t think it displeases Him for me to create as He does, to be creative. I know that laziness does not please Him from the repeating mentions of it throughout Proverbs 12:24, 15:19, 18:9, 20:4, 21:25, 22:13, 24:30, 26:13 and 26:14 and warning of it in 1 Thessalonians 5:14. I understand that there is always something that needs to be taken care of tended to and I must be wise to never assume that there is nothing to do or needs to be done otherwise why am I here. Yes there is a time for rest but not all day or every single day of the remainder of my life.
I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave me to do. John 17:4
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus- the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24
How I use those 12 hours is different every day I don’t use the same set of hours doing the exact same thing over and over again but there was a time I used to put those hours to shame. A time when I spent more time doing what was pleasing to myself and not caring if there was a God who was pleased with the way I was living my life. Unlike the parable of the foolish brides in Matthew 25 if He were to show up at any hour of the day I would hope that He would be pleased to find I was expecting Him and preparing for His arrival every single day. There were just enough hours for me to do what I needed to do. That He would be satisfied, that I did enough with the time that I was given. Time is the one thing equal to us all. For many years I wasted it or squander it away but now I use the time to wait for Him and get some things done while I wait.
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered- how fleeting life is. Psalm 39:4
|Posted on July 7, 2019 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
While pulling weeds the other day I started thinking how relentless they are as I tugged and pulled them out a place they have no business being. Although their roots were shallow in the rock bed it didn’t make sense that I actually had to use the weight of my body to pull these suckers out of the ground. And I was reminded that although shallow they had a stronghold perhaps another root system they were hanging onto, as does with my own sins.
The first mention of the word weed is in Job 31:38-40 when Job final protest of innocence to God is upheld by his own curse he says “If my land accuses me and all its furrows cry out together, or if I have stolen its crops or murdered its owners, then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley.”
There are 16 mentions of weeds and they aren’t very good. Psalm 92:7 Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. I am assured these sins of mine are being destroyed one sprout at a time. Proverbs teaches that to tell the difference between those who are lazy and those who work hard in Proverbs 24:30-34 that the field of a lazy person is overgrown with nettles, it is covered with weeds, and its walls are broken down. I see weed pulling in my future days of summer. No weed shall overtake this field I have the time and patience to deal with them swiftly.
Hosea 10:4 compares the injustice of those who don’t fear the LORD or listen to their earthly kings as a poisonous weed in a farmer’s field. But of all these comparisons nothing compares to the use of weeds Christ used in his parable of the Wheat and the Weeds found in Matthew 13:24-30 and later explains it in 13:37-43.
The words Jesus taught his brothers and sisters are good. He is described as the farmer who planted the seed in our hearts. The field represents the world. Those with the word of God in their hearts are the good people of the kingdom but as we know this world is also inhabited not just by good but by the devil who planted weeds of the people who belong to him not to the Word of God. They live by the words of this world. The harvest is the end of our lives on earth and the harvesters are the angels that sort and separate us.
Jesus explains just as weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire so it will be at the end of each of our lives. How we live determines where we live. The way I see it if I live as the world lives I will remain in this world no need of an eternal heavenly home if I have already made this world my home. But Jesus was eager to return to a home that was not of this world. Even giving up, laying down his own life so that he could return sooner than most. The Word lived in him and he knew better than most that this world was not a place to cling to it was a place you don’t want to be longer than you need be. That life on earth was a not a place we want to spend eternity. There is a better place with no weeds.
I look over my now weed free yard and think the field of grass outweighs the single bucket of weeds I pulled and so it is in this world. There are more people in this world that are for me than there are people against me. When I think about the people the devil planted in my life the “weeds” very few names come to mind. The list of the family and friends that have supported me and cheered me onto to new heights is much greater than those weeds yet it was those weeds that made me doubt. It was those weeds that struck me with fear and uncertainty.
I was so bent down under their load of their insults and doubts that I failed to look up and see the field of grass before me. My limitations were set by people who didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Just some people that ended up in a bucket that I tossed into the trash. It took my looking at the Word daily letting my mind and heart be saturated by His Words of me. Making what God said of me greater, more important than what these weeds said. His Word gave me the power to grasp what the enemy tried to plant in my thinking, pluck it out by its root and toss it aside. So while I am here I can live weed free, and some day reach a place where no weed is allowed to grow.
|Posted on July 4, 2019 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 1 Peter 2:16
As I celebrate this day being born in a place known for freedom I am also reminded that though I have lived here all 40 something years of my life I have only been free from the evil things I did for the last decade give or take a year.
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36
The word free or some form of it appears in the Word about 160 times I dare you to find them. Hint it is repeated the most in the book of Psalms, Romans, 1 Corinthians and Galatians. When I think of the word free for me it isn’t just free to do what I want when I want but free to live a life of the Spirit. Free to love others as I love myself, to experience the joy of the LORD’s presence with me, to live in peace with my neighbors, free to be patient as God has been so patient with me. Free to do good works and be kind to others through my words and actions. Free to be gentle toward those who have less control than me though it would be in my power treat people as they have treated me choosing instead to live of peace in peace with everyone even if it means humbling myself as my brother taught me Matthew 26:53-54.
He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:14
The freedom I think of is the freedom to do what is good instead of the evil I had done for more years than I have been alive in this place of freedom. You would think with all this freedom I would have used it to benefit others but the truth is the only person that benefitted from the life of freedom I lived was myself. With great power comes great responsibility and I was not responsible for it. Rarely a day went by when I intentionally did what was good for the sake of just being a good person. Every act had a motive every move was like a chess game if I do this I will get that so I did things looking to this world and the people of this world for my reward. If I was good it was to seek a greater reward for myself and nothing greater.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. Galatians 5:13-15
That is exactly what I did like an animal in the wilderness I was always biting and attacking and destroying not only other but myself. I remember the last time I was attacked for no cause when someone harmed me for no reason but to satisfy their sinful nature. 1 Corinthians 6:7 came to mind…Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? Because as the verse goes to remind me in verse 11 I was “once like that” I was the one on the other end of the offense against humanity. I was once the one that mistreated others for my own twisted pleasure. I was the once the one who harmed for my own vindication. I was once the one who abused if just to release the anger pent up inside me. I was once the one who manipulated and lied and cheated to satisfy my own desires.
…“Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” 2 Samuel 2:26
I lived a bitter life up until Christ set me free. Free from the biting, free from the attacking, free from the harboring jealousy and anger, free from the bitterness, free from the hatred, free from envy, free from the belief that this is just the way life was because I didn’t know any better way to live. Now I spend my days no longer thinking of myself but thinking who I am here for. Whose life I can make easier so that they too can come to know God as their Creator, their Savior. Who can I feed His Word to if just one line at a time? Who can I quench the thirst of from this dry and weary world with the living water of His Word? Who can I lift up under heavy loads? Who can I help ease their burden? Who can I set free as He set me free to live in Him.
In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5
|Posted on July 1, 2019 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
I heard an unknown voice say, “Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.” Psalm 81:5-6
Been traveling this past 4 day weekend. My travels began in darkness in the early hours of the morning before sunrise on Friday morning. Over a 12 hour span I rode in a car, a train, a plane, a shuttle bus and drove for 4 hours to reach my destination. Today I will do the same in reverse. In the early morning hours my drive was reduced to 3 hours, I already took the shuttle bus now waiting to take the plane. In my travels I carried with me my laptop bag and a suitcase. Once my bag was checked in I no longer had something to assist me with the weight of my laptop so often I lugged it around by hand or shoulder. It was a heavy load. With the wisdom God gives I decided to bring a small dolly to tote it around with. God has taken the load from me and freed my hands of this heavy task.
In life the weight I carried came in many forms, as Hebrews 12:1 explains these weights slowed me down from running my race. I carried the weight of heavy burdens, the load of problems and bickering my selfish pride brought. The heavy losses I experienced I even carried them with me in life. The weight of conviction when His hand was heavy on me. The guilt of my sins alone was a burden so heavy to bear. My shoulders were slumped my head was bowed down trying to hold it all up and all together. My heart was heavy with grief. Tired doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt. With determination I grudgingly took each step even with the yoke of oppression around my neck I was determined not to back down.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give to you is light. Matthew 11:30
In the beginning under the weight of my darkness, so thick like the humidity in the air- formless and emptiness all around - God said in Genesis 1:3 “Let there be light.” Light had to be better than the life I was living. Light had to be lighter than the load I was carrying on my shoulders. The worry, the stress, the disappointment, the unmet expectations I didn’t want to carry these things around anymore. My hands were blistered, my shoulders ached. My neck and back were all out of alignment compensating from one side of my body to another, switching sides so the other could have rest. Surely we were not meant to live like this. Who said I had to carry this? My hope was in that yoke that was easy to bear, a burden that was light.
The expression that I carried a lot of baggage was an understatement. I walked around carrying it all passing by every luggage cart offered to me to carry the weight of it on my own, in my own strength. I had carried bags so long I didn’t know how to let them go. Release them to be who they were. The absent father. The deceased mother. The painful past. The abandonment and rejection. One bag after another to load me down. For what? Honor? A medal at the end of my life that said yup she carried the weight of her world on her shoulders till the day she died.
What would my life look like if I let my father go. Let go of the obligation for him to be someone he never was or could be. Let him go of making up for time loss. Let him go of redeeming the time. Let him go. It was easy for him to turn away, walk away and never have a second thought of me. Why was I still hanging onto the hope of who I wanted him to be? Longing for his love instead of the true Father who created me.
What if I let go of the sorrow that death took my mom and instead trade that sorrow in for being so proud. Proud that she figured out her purpose in life before anyone else. It didn’t take her 85 years it took her 39 to complete her mission to accomplish her purpose. We should all be so lucky to be born with a purpose, know it and complete it early. Even Jesus didn’t live past 40. If being alive on earth is really just a matter of time we are given to do what we need to do and return to our true home the longer we remain here on the earth, our bodies will grow weak and weary, like flowers in the spring fade. Our Spirit may be renewed daily but this body was never meant to remain.
What if I let go of the guilt of my sins? What if I laid the condemnation down? What if I truly believed that Jesus took the penalty of every sinful thing I ever did. Even the worst case scenario that would result, should result in my own death. What if he rendered death powerless. What if life was about transforming from one stage, one step to another. I am not who I was at thirteen just as I am not who I was at 20. There is a difference in the way I look in the way that I see life. My maturity level, my understanding through the various life experiences God has given to me, the things I learned, the people that have come across my path they have all formed me in one way or another. Taught me invaluable lessons if just for a passing moment, every relationship has its purpose in my life. “Entertaining angels” I call it. Hebrews 13:1-2
You must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24:44
What if it was okay to lay the idea of what I expected my life to look like down? Lay down the life I expected, the way I thought my life should or would go and instead just expect Him to be a part of it however it turned out, whatever that looked like. All the people in my life I thought should have been a part of my life or not a part of it. All the places I thought I should go but never did. All the things I thought I wanted but never got. All the ways I thought were right but turned out to be wrong.
…We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our hope in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
What if the only expectation I had was that God did what he did long ago and he would do it for me time and again.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance- an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 1 Peter 1:3-4
That through each transformation in my life I am born again, into something new, someone I wasn’t before the thing that had to die in me passed. That the expectation I have is not in this life or of this life but the expectation that each day brings me closer to being home again. A place so pure, free from the weight of the worry, free of the burden of stress, free from the struggle, free of the pain, free of the sorrow, free from disappointment, free from it all. Undefiled by my sins. Beyond the reach of life’s inevitable, perpetual state of transformation. Something that never fades or decays. No checked baggage. No waiting at the gates. God said let there be a place like this and there was and that is why I don’t carry these things anymore.
|Posted on June 27, 2019 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
The other day I was reminded of the prophet Elijah and the many miracles he witnessed performed how in in 1 Kings 17 he told King Ahab that “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives- the God I serve- there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give word!” and sure enough he stayed true to His Word because it didn’t rain till verse 18:45. How God sent the ravens to feed him in 17:4 and he drank water from the nearby brook for strength. When God sent him to the widow at Zarephath during a time of famine to ensure she had enough for her and her son in 1 Kings 17:8-16 and how when the child died by the power of God, Elijah raised him from the dead in 1 Kings 17:17-24. When he confronted the prophets of Baal to a my God is greater than your god contest by burning up an altar that had been drenched in water in 1 Kings 18:22-39. And how he had the prophets who worshipped Baal all killed.
When all was said and done, with all he saw and by the grace of God did we find him in 1 Kings 19 when Jezebel threatens to kill him. With the courage of a lion Elijah…not so much 19:3 “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.” This is where my thoughts find me. I may not have killed prophets who worshipped idols, held the rain, fed a widow in famine or brought a dead person to life but there have been many miracles of my own that I have seen God perform. God has freed me from my lifetime struggle with addiction. Healed H from a near death fall. Freed us from medical debt and personal debt. God is healing H from his own battle with addiction. Rebuilding our relationship based on the foundation of God’s Word one day at a time. Most recently restored my estranged relationship with my sister to replace the years the enemy had stolen. And just when I thought I had seen it all freaking Jezebel appears in my life in the form of drugs.
The same night I came home from celebrating my sister's return and success...I caught my son with drugs. The low I experienced in that moment was like falling from a skyscraper without a parachute so I get that at this moment in Elijah’s life he might think as I thought for a split moment “Good God, are you kidding me? I have had enough” But the Spirit inside me is a fighter. I saw a shirt the other day that read “Satan thought he had me when my head was bowed and eyes were closed but then I lifted my head up and said ‘Amen’” see unlike my ancestor Elijah I have seen much to know that God is able even when the enemy threatens to take my son by something as wicked and manipulative as drugs.
I understand by Isaiah 53:6 “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have all left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” All of us meaning not even my own son is immune from this rite of passage. Try as I might he can’t avoid this obstacle. I strayed, he too will stray. Only one man was ever perfect, he was perfect for all of us. The path I have for my son is the hopes and dreams of a family legacy I hope to leave with him. But first he must go through the wilderness, we all must.
I don’t know what the future holds I am only in day two of this valley. I only know that God has him as he had me. As much as I love him, God loves him even more. I wasn’t raised with parents from the time I was 13 but God decided that he should have both of us in his life. I give him grace because I know I wasn’t saved since birth either, I was the complete opposite of my brother- Jesus. Drugs wasn’t part of my battle but any addiction that feeds the flesh satisfies a need in many forms. There are parts of my story I look back on with disgust and utter shame had it not been for the cross. God saved me from even worse happening but I also have been a witness to the life of a sibling whose life was an example of how bad things could be. I don’t want that life for my son so I pray and I hope and I love and forgive and move forward and hang on to the God I know to do what I can’t do. To change the heart and mind of my son and bring healing and wholeness to the reasons he would turn to drugs.
He says it helps him sleep. In this digital age when his mind is going as fast as the processor on his computer from head up to head down that he can’t seem to slow it down by his own strength. He also said it helps him to deal with anxiety…the anxiety of being an awkward teenager growing up. Unfortunately stress in every form is one thing that will never stop but thank God neither will He. Never stop doing good. Never stop being who He is and pursuing my son passionately. Never back down when the enemy tries to take him from me. Never give up when he is at risk. See I believe in a God that allowed me to see this when I did before it took a foothold on his life. Unlike Elijah who had seen enough, had enough, I have more than enough fight for the both of us. I refuse to let the enemy sink his claws into the flesh of my flesh. The enemies first mistake is thinking he was unprotected. I lift my head up and say Amen, game on.
|Posted on June 26, 2019 at 9:30 AM||comments (0)|
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:11
I weep as I type those words. For the last few weeks I have spent more time with my big sister than I have in these 25 years. The enemy took her from me, stole those years from us. He had her enslaved and though she was set “free” for a year it wasn’t till a few weeks ago I was able to spend time with her. Every day has been a blessing but each day that passed we knew was one day less for us to be together unless God intervened.
With hope in my heart we stepped into the valley of the unknown cautiously not taking for granted the time we had. Yesterday we received news that what we hoped for was possible. His favor had been given to her and in some ways to me. How I longed for this day for 25 years. How I hoped for it. I was so overwhelmed. Weeping tears of joy, hugging profusely, thanking God repeatedly. Jumping up and down and shaking each other in our embrace was our way of dancing.
These past few days I have taken her through my journey through this promised place. How God revealed Himself to me. Chose me to know Him. Whispered Words of comfort and encouragement. All the while leading me to a place I would hope she could be with me. Hoped that she could experience and see and taste and know that God is so good to us. That in spite of the journey we have never been alone. Like I want and she wants what is good for her children imagine how much more God wants for us because we are His children, His sweet dear children.
I know that what I have is undeserved. If I was given this life based on my own merit I would have none of it. I know that because He sent His son to be the mediator that stood like a gate between my sins and my salvation that I am able to stand in this place rejoicing in His goodness and that love He has shown to me these last few weeks. It’s not going to be easy. We still have so much road in front of us still but we reached the first peak in this promise and back to the unknown we go filled with a renewed hope in our step.