Just Kill Me Now

“You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20 NIV

Can you imagine being sold into slavery by your own brothers? It happened to Joseph, whose brothers were so jealous of him that they went to drastic measures to get rid of him. They thought they were sending him into a life of servitude and misery, but the Almighty LORD used that action to save millions of people’s lives. Joseph rose from horrible circumstances, a punishment he didn’t deserve, to become Second-in-Command to the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was essentially the ruler of the known world. I can testify to being treated badly, and treating others badly. I don’t claim any kind of uplifting like Joseph’s, but I do claim, and proclaim, that JESUS has lifted me from some pretty bad situations. He has saved me from my bad choices and poor decisions, and He has never forsaken me. Through Him, I have had the privilege to share my story of redemption to hundreds of people, and pray that I will have opportunities to share again and again. If my story can reach even one person, and help them find their way into Jesus’s arms, then I would have accomplished something! Even then, it’s not about me, but the Saving Grace and Mercy of our LORD.

There are been a number of instances in my life when GOD was justified to take me out of this world. I was living my life, totally out of turn with CHRIST, and He Loved me through it, never leaving me to face the enemy alone. There have been people in my life who intended harm, who deliberately hurt me, and I have returned that harm….. not something I’m proud of. Let JESUS into your heart today if you haven’t already. Remember Paul’s words to the church in Rome:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV

You can kill my earthly body, but you cannot kill my soul.

Who Is Your Father?

Who is your Father? No, not Darth Vader, sorry!! We laugh, and I do love hearing “Luke, I am your father” in that James Earl Jones deep, breathy voice, but that’s not my father!

Today, people all over the world celebrate the day as a time to honor their earthly father. There are millions of us who are missing our dads, and it can be due to a myriad of reasons. Of course death has taken many of them, but for entirely too many people, they can’t celebrate with their dads because he deserted them. Millions of others don’t celebrate their earthly dads because of the abuse they endured – endure – at his hands. Millions more don’t even know their father. I had a good Dad. I never doubted that he loved Mom and us kids, and he loved all of his earthly family, too. Through him, I learned about GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT. I learned from him that men should be gentlemen and women should be ladies (I failed at that 😁), and I learned about love.

My Dad wasn’t perfect, but I never doubted his love. I also experienced his wrath a time or two or twenty, when I strayed far from the LORD. He was gone so much of the time when we were growing up because of his calling to be a pastor, and people remember and loved ‘Bro. Bill’ for his visible, passionate love of JESUS. He was never too busy to share with anyone about how to become a Christian and a follower of JESUS CHRIST. As Pastor, this verse from the Psalms epitomized his desire to be the best pastor and leader. He wasn’t GOD, and at times he neglected his immediate family in order to minister to the needs of the church; the needs of the widows and the orphans and the sick. He witnessed to everyone, even when he was unable to get out of his bed at the end of his earthly body. There was never a doubt that he loved and followed CHRIST.

“A FATHER to the fatherless, a DEFENDER of widows, is GOD in His Holy Dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5 NIV

He’s been gone 18 years. Even though I was away from him much of my adult life, I miss his presence. I was blessed to be at his side with my Mom and most of my siblings when he passed from this world to the next. What a joyeous reunion was happening in heaven on that day! I am confident that I will see him again. Together with my Dad, I’ll see my JESUS, and I will truly experience the FATHER’S Presence. What a day that will be! Happy Father’s Day, Dad. See you soon!

I Shot The Law and The Law Shot Me

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers….. ” – 1 Timothy 1:8‭-‬9 NIV

Life lessons taught when I was a child: Obey the law. Respect the office of those charged with making and enforcing the laws, regardless of what you may think of the person in the position. As American’s, whether by birth or immigration status or naturalized, we have unprecedented freedoms and riches in this world. We have laws designed to lift up and protect us, and each one of us gets to choose the who, what, how, and when we obey them. By our choices, we get the consequences of our decisions and actions.

Whatever country we occupy, there are laws to be obeyed and officials to be respectful of. For every human law, GOD’S Law supersedes it with a divine directive. As Paul wrote to Timothy, the laws aren’t made for the people who obey the law, GOD’S Law. Laws are made for the lawbreakers. Here on earth, the thought of having to live in prison is enough to keep me (for the most part!) on the right side of the law. Our choices with GOD’S Law, the consequences of breaking His Law, determines our eternity, and I certainly don’t want to spend eternity in the prison of hell! Living the Ten Commandments is a good thing, but just doing that still isn’t enough to keep me out of there. GOD provided us with a way to be with Him, and it is a simple decision; a choice that should be easy but often isn’t.

I wonder about that, but then again, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me. Looking around at the overcrowded jails and prisons and the crammed full court dockets, it becomes apparent that many people have made the choice to disobey the laws of the land. There are millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age with no funds to live on, because we were immersed in living for the present. If it is so easy to choose to take a chance for a future that is imminent, then I suppose it is even easier to ignore a future that you can’t imagine. I hope that my writing will encourage you to take a closer look at your future, immediate and long term.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of GOD! How unsearchable His Judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” – Romans 11:33 NIV

Choose CHRIST today and assure your future, immediate, long-term, and for eternity!

Overwhelming

Nothing is too difficult for the LORD. Keep that in mind. When an inventor looks at his creations, isn’t he then the logical person to turn to if there is a problem with said invention? Do we take the invention away from the inventor and say, no, we know better than you do when it comes to your invention? Why do we do that exact thing to the Creator of the universe, the God and inventor of every thing? What conceit and arrogance we show! News flash: He’s bigger, more intimate, and more astute than anything in His creation!

“Ah, Sovereign Lord , you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17 NIV

In spite of our actions, our refusal to acknowledge Him, He shows us His Love repeatedly. He doesn’t turn His back on us, but we turn ours on Him. I have a tendency to forget just how big GOD is. As I go through my accumulation of things, preparing to downsize, I am almost overwhelmed by the monumental task. To get my house ready to put on the market next week, I am decluttering and packing away photos and all the tsotchkes that have accumulated over the years. (I have a LOT of stuff!) Next week, with my house on the market, I’m going to help my mom do the same thing as she prepares to move into a smaller space. In the midst of all this chaos, I know that our GOD has it all under control….. but does that keep me from worrying about how and where I will move myself, and how I will be able to pay for it all? Nope, not at all. I’m a worrier, and even as I give it to the LORD, I’m grasping and pulling it back. I am excited for my Mom and her new place. Now to find myself a little house with a little yard close to her…. come on GOD, I really do need that miracle! This verse pops into my mind as a reminder: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24 NIV

Do you need a reminder of GOD’S Great, Compassionate, Reckless Love for you today?

“But GOD demonstrates His OWN Love for us in this: While we were still sinners, CHRIST died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

He has a totally reckless Love for us!

Listen to Reckless Love sung by Cory Asbury

Who Is That Man?

Who do you say Jesus is? People, scholars, have been debating this question since Jesus lived. He has been called liar, fraud, lunatic, and more. I believe we need to take Him very seriously. He can’t be considered a “good man” or “just a prophet” – He is either completely deluded, insane …. or He is truly the Son of GOD made flesh as He claimed. When the Pharisees questioned Him, He answered them with complete confidence and assurance:

“Even if I testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.” – John 8:14 NIV

“This made the Jews ask, “Will He kill Himself? Is that why He says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” But He continued, “You are from below; I am from Above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is Trustworthy, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about His FATHER. So JESUS said, “When you have lifted up [crucified] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the FATHER has taught Me. The ONE Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” – John 8:22‭-‬29 NIV

Jesus used stories, parables, to teach us how we should behave, and to demonstrate how much our FATHER Loves us, but sometimes He spoke plainly so that there could be no mistaking His meaning. Are you confused by these verses? The next verse is quite clear:

If I Glorify Myself, My Glory means nothing. My FATHER, Whom you claim as your GOD, is the One who Glorifies Me.” – John 8:54 NIV

Jesus was humble, never boastful. Everything He said, everything He taught, everything He was, He attributed to His FATHER; all the GLORY was given to the Creator GOD. To me, there is no mistaking the Truth. He is not a “good man.” JESUS is indeed the Son of the Most High GOD. He is the Commander of the Angel Armies, Second-in-command to the LORD and Creator of the Universe. He made the ultimate sacrifice to leave heaven, to bear my sins and to die for me, and He conquered death to redeem us all. He is my Advocate; He will stand beside me when I face GOD at the great white throne judgement. He sent the HOLY SPIRIT to me, to reside with me so that I am never alone. He has saved me from a most horrific eternity, one that I surely deserve, and is preparing a place for me with Him instead. Hallelujah!

I am convinced in His Deity. Are you? Have you opened your heart to His Saving Grace, the Peace and the Joy beyond description? If not, you are missing out! Do you need to delve into more? Search GOD’S divinely inspired book we call the Bible. Start with the book of John, and use a translation that you can understand – I use both the NIV and the NLT, and there are others like the ESV that are excellent as well. Read commentaries such as C.S. Lewis’s Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. Search for the Truth, because if you do, you will find it.

Listen to The Proof of Your Love by for King and Country on their album Crave.

The empty tomb, looking at the empty cross ….. because He is not here; His RISEN!

(Photo from Pinterest)

What Is LOVE?

Seems like “love” to the world means sex, money, position, and prestige. We are constantly on the prowl for this elusive feeling. Once you have experienced even a tiny taste, it is something that is an instant, instantaneous, addiction. Love is more addictive than heroin or cigarettes or alcohol, and it is so much more than just a feeling. We spend our lives chasing “love” and in most cases, missing it entirely. A mother’s love is both fierce and protective, and it is gentle and nurturing ….. at least, it should be. Satan has screwed it up, just as he has perverted every single thing, every single place, every single molecule on this earth.

Should I find out that anybody is messing with any of my kids*, I transform into a mama grizzly! (*My kids consist of any person who is vulnerable or fragile, my nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, even my Mom. It also applies to my 4-legged buddies.) I’ll never know just how fathers love (since I’m not one 😁 ), but the men whom I admire most are providers and protectors, and they will go to almost any length to care for their loved ones.

The Bible, the Words of our Creator, speak on love in a number of verses and contexts. The Songs of Solomon are beautifully written, telling about the sweet love between two people. (Men, pay attention to those verses! They are dynamite for the love of your life. You can melt her heart, using it as an example.) Paul wrote to the followers of CHRIST in Corinth and Colossae about love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬8a NIV

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13 NIV

That last sentence of verse 13 is such a critical part of true love. Without forgiveness, how we possibly be patient or kind to that person? Being unforgiving is so harsh. It ruins relationships at work, between friends, within families, with our children and parents, and our spouses. Whatever was done to you (real or perceived) is nothing to what we have done to JESUS – and yet, He FORGIVES us, 100%, no grudges or plots for revenge. I would lay down my life in a heartbeat, putting myself in harms way to protect my loved ones. The BIG question is this: would I lay down my life for my enemies, for the men who have hurt me? JESUS did.

“This is how we know what LOVE is: JESUS CHRIST laid down His LIFE for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” – 1 John 3:16 NIV

No Matter What (sung by Ryan Stevenson and Bart Miller)

No matter what the end is
My life began with you
I can’t deny what I believe
I can’t be what I’m not
I know, I know
I know this love’s forever
That’s all that matters now
No matter what

(Photo credit Love Dare – WordPress.com )

Loss

I lost my Tigger today. He joined my Rascal and Sugar, and all the other companions I’ve had the privilege to take care of in my life.

He was the first of the feral cat colony I worked with in Oklahoma City who would come to me to be petted. When I moved to another part of the state, he was the first I brought inside to take with me. I got to bring his younger – and much bigger – brother with me as well. They adapted quickly to living indoors and being spoiled, but Tigger was never a really robust, healthy cat. I’m thankful that his brother Patrick is both. I’m glad I got to have given him what I hope was a good life. It makes me sad that he’s gone, but I’m happy he’s no longer sick.

R.I.P. Tigger 2010-2018

Tigger and Patrick