Rely on Who?

I can do it!” Sound familiar? We usually start saying it around the age of 2, and it carries into our adult lives. Even in circumstances and situations where it was quite obvious to everyone around me that I needed help, I hung onto to that prideful, stubborn thought. “I can do it and I don’t need/want anyone’s help.” The irony throughout my life was that even when I was yelling the loudest, what I desperately wanted was someone to save me, and all along, the One Who alone could save me was right beside me.

  “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” – Psalms 37:3‭-‬6 NLT (http://bible.com/116/psa.37.3-6.NLT)

Here’s the thing. God, the LORD, is the ultimate gentleman. He doesn’t take over and force us, instead, He waits patiently for us to ask. Even though He doesn’t impose His will on me, He has kept me from disaster a number of times, picking me up enough that I haven’t drowned in the muck of sin. I know He saved me from certain death on more than one occasion – so why is it so difficult to to commit everything to Him, as the psalmist says? “Trust Him, and He will help you.” Trust…. I have placed my trust in many people, and it has been broken every time. Even those who honestly love me and care for me, just as I have broken trust with them. We’re human; that’s what we do, even though we know the pain of of broken trust. We know how wrong it is, but we still do it, often without even realizing we’ve broken trust until it is done.

 Like the psalmist, and like Paul, I have to let go of my pride and my stubbornness and embrace the LORD. As Jesus promised, when we submit to Him, He will send the Holy Spirit to dwell in and with us, 

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 NLT (http://bible.com/116/php.4.19.NLT)

  “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.  All who are Mine belong to You, and You have given them to Me, so they bring Me glory.  Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to You. Holy Father, You have given Me Your Name; now protect them by the power of Your Name so that they will be united just as We are.” – John 17:3‭, ‬10‭-‬11 NLT (http://bible.com/116/jhn.17.3-11.NLT)

AMEN.

Complaining? 

​  “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” – Philippians 2:14‭-‬15 NLT (http://bible.com/116/php.2.14-15.NLT)

I complain. I call it “venting”, but it’s really complaining, to people who can’t do anything about it. If I’m complaining, I’m not being thankful, and I’m essentially telling everyone that I don’t believe that God has everything under control. When I complain, my Light becomes tarnished and dimmed. If I know all this, then why am I complaining? 

I complain because I don’t believe God can handle the negatve in my life. Not too smart, eh? I mean, how can the Lord of the universe, Creator of EVERYTHING, not be able to handle the little every day situations of my life? I forget how big He is and how capable He is, and I try to make Him fit inside my tiny little world instead of remembering that I am a tiny little bit inside His HUGE, infinite world. I think small and finite while God sees the big picture.

It’s really difficult to let my perceived control go. How do I know that God is really going to provide for me? Jesus told His followers:

  “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:25 NLT (http://bible.com/116/mat.6.25.NLT)

Even knowing God’s Word and His promises, it’s difficult for me to trust that He will truly take care of me. I have been disappointed and disillusioned over my lifetime, and that gives me pause when wanting to trust. My Father in heaven is not like ordinary – or even extraordinary – men, because He is NOT a man. It’s our free will that causes our problems. Free will + stubbornness + pride…. right there is the reason we worry and complain. As a young adult, there were some phrases that were used a lot: “What, ME worry?” And “Go with the flow.” “Don’t worry, be happy.” “Give peace a chance.” It was all about doing whatever you wanted, as long as it made you feel “good,” only the long term results made me feel anything BUT good. 

Today, I know that the only peace available is the peace that is found in Jesus Christ. When I trust in Him, rest in Him, I have no complaints…. 

Friend, Brother 

​I have two brothers. I’m very close to the older one in age, but we are not close. While growing up, it was almost as if my younger brother and sister were in a world apart from mine, so we weren’t close, either. I was almost desperate to have my older brother’s acceptance and friendship, but it has proved elusive. For a few months, years ago, it seemed we had reached that point, but it didn’t last as he cut me out of his life, again. In spite of his disdain, I continued to search for a way to connect on more than a superficial level, offering all that I had, only to be ultimately rejected. Again, recently, I reached out – and this time the rejection cut deep into my being. Instead, though, my younger brother reached out and picked me up. This proverb touches on that need to be loved by your siblings, and especially by a brother.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” – Proverbs 17:17 NLT

How does family treat each other with such disdain that it causes deep wounds? Why do we cause our blood such pain and turmoil? I’m far from perfect; a case I’ve made many times. My decisions and actions have caused much pain to people I know and love… why do we do it? My sisters are more flexible. For the most part, they have loved me and refrained from passing such strict judgment on me. They have been available when I’ve been in need. Oh, that we could each of us, brother, sister, cousin, and friend, follow God’s example of love. No matter what I do, I doubt that I will ever hear my brother tell me thank you for what I’ve done – even to the point of sacrifice, at times – or that he will tell me he loves me. I’m pretty sure he does, but it would be nice to hear it.

Regardless of where you come from, and whether your family accepts you with love, it is incredibly freeing to know that the Love of the God of the Universe doesn’t change. He loves us with an unfailing Love. 


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 NLT

Thank You, Jesus, for being my Breath and my Sustenance. 

(http://bible.com/116/NLT)

Never Alone 

​  “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Peter gives us instructions for living a Christian life, and sometimes I want to graphics him by the lapels  (or robe??), and ask him how am I supposed to do this? Give God all of my worries. Don’t worry about anything. Be thankful for everything. Really? I read the words, I memorize the words, and I repeat the words, hoping that somehow the means to do these things seeps into my being. God doesn’t expect me to do it on my own. He knows I don’t know how, and He knows I can’t do it alone. He doesn’t expect me to do it alone, either. Jesus said:

  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, Who will NEVER leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all Truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” – John 14:16‭-‬17 NLT 

Even though we/I want Him to stay with us, Jesus tells us: “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate [Holy Spirit] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send Him to you.” – John 16:7 NLT

It is through the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, that we are able to achieve the freedom God offers us. When He says to give Him all of our worries, He is offering us a freedom that is impossible to have without Him. Paul says:

  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

He (Paul) is giving us instructions in living the freedom God has offered us. It’s critical that we first accept Jesus Christ as Savior, because only Jesus can give us the eternal life and companionship we crave. Unfortunately, so many of us accept His salvation, but don’t follow through in opening our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit and the absolute freedom He offers from the worry of the world. 

Never alone. That is God’s promise. The complete salvation and total freedom that Jesus offers comes in two parts. First, salvation through Jesus Christ, which is freedom from death and the promise of eternal life. Second, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Who lives in us and guides us through life. Live, love, and laugh at full life, through God the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

(All scriptures quoted are from the Bible app –  http://bible.com/116/1th.5.18.NLT)

Everything is Lost

​Imagine, everything is gone. You lost your job, and your house. Your family and your pets have died. You have no savings, your checking account is empty; your friends want nothing to do with you. 

For some, there’s no need to imagine this because they have lived it. We have many people who are living it today. The question is not whether it will (or has) happened, but rather, how do I deal with it when it does? I never lost my family, although I turned my back on them and deserted them, and was adrift without any familial support. I lost my job, my child, my house, my money. Did I reach for the LORD  for His comfort and compassion? No, instead I reached out to the world, and became sucked into a maelstrom of hurt and sorrow. The hole I dug was so deep there was no escaping it on my own. Still, I couldn’t let myself reach for help. 

Have you been there? Hopefully not as drastically as me, but there is much in this verse that applies to each of us. It may be cancer, or death; divorce, losing your job… each individual has their own challenges. Who am I to judge?

  “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the GOD of my Salvation! The SOVEREIGN LORD is my Strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)” – Habakkuk 3:17‭-‬19 NLT (http://bible.com/116/hab.3.17-19.NLT)

After sharing my testimony one night at my church, I was approached afterward by a person who knew several members of my family said “I didn’t know you were that sister…” and they apologized for judging me before knowing my story. Are we guilty of judging people before we know them? I know I am. 

It is so important to keep the Joy of the LORD in us! Whether we are going through the toughest time in our lives, or we’ve just been through it, or we’ve never gone through a tough time, rejoicing in our Salvation is what makes us alive. Share that Joy with LOVE, without judgment, so that the person who is hurting can perhaps see enough of God in us to grasp on to the Hope He can provide. Let’s work more on the Rejoicing, and less on the grumbling! Can I get an Amen on this??

Thankful for EVERYTHING 

​  “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:20 NLT (http://bible.com/116/eph.5.20.NLT)

This verse gives me pause. “…give thanks for everything” …??? Surely God doesn’t expect me to give thanks for the physical pain men have caused me, or the emotional Rollercoaster of hurt and anguish my life has been? Certainly He means for us – for me, to be thankful for the rescues and the good things that have happened, and for all of the blessings I have received, Right? I think; I know differently. God doesn’t stutter, and He doesn’t give Words of confusion in His Book. “And give thanks for everything….” That’s is clear and succinct; no need for confusion or interpretation. “Everything” is all inclusive. 

What do I do with this? It’s so easy to sit here on my back porch with a blanket and a little dog on my lap and be thankful for what I have here. (He was quite insistent that we go outside!) Even though it’s a cool, foggy and misty day, I’m thankful. I have a beautiful home, and a dear partner to share it with. The dogs and cats and my therapy hens (yes, they are my entertainment and a source of joy) are easy to be thankful for. My best friend lives down the street, I have family in the area, I have food and clothing and shelter. I have much to be thankful for! These are the easy things. 

By this command of my LORD, I am to be thankful for everything, not just the easy stuff but the ugly stuff, too. Here goes.

LORD, thank you for the bronchitis I’m dealing with – frustrating as it is to have sick for so long (and I’m especially thankful for my caring doctor who is determined to get me well!). Thank you for releasing me from my job, and for the financial instability that is accompanying that loss. LORD, it’s really difficult to acknowlege bad things as things to be thankful for!! Thank you for the difficult bosses and coworkers I’ve had. I’ve actually learned quite a lot from each of them. Thank you, LORD, for the men who abused and terrorized me. Thank you for the homelessness I have experienced. There is so much more….

As I write this, and think of some of the things I have experienced so far in this life, I’ve come to realize that out of every painful, dark experience, I have learned something and sometimes something good came out of them. At the time, all I could see was the dark, and it’s dense intensity and fear. Through the abuse, I have a testimony that there is hope. God has never left me alone at any point in my life. I couldn’t see Him or feel His presence much of the time, but He never forsake me. Where would I be now, and what would I be, if my life hadn’t progressed the way it did? I’ll never know, and it really doesn’t matter, because without every single one of the pieces, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Who am I? I am the daughter of the Most High King! Can you say with any clarity who you are?

  “But I trust in Your Unfailing LOVE. I will rejoice because You have rescued me.” – Psalms 13:5 NLT (http://bible.com/116/psa.13.5.NLT)

Rescue Me!

​​  “I prayed to the LORD, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; He saved me from all my troubles.” – Psalms 34:4‭-‬6 

How many times I have called out to the LORD to rescue me! So many of the plans I have made have ended in disaster – the plans I made. Why is it so difficult to listen to Him in the first place, and heed His answer? Why do we persist in being so stubborn? God created us with a free will to choose for ourselves to love Him and worship Him, and we continually choose the bling of the enemy over the true beauty of the LORD. We let ourselves be blinded by the lurid colors and false delights of the world over the indescribable beauty of our Lord. We choose to believe the enemy’s lies and make our plans without regard to God’s desires. 
  “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the LORD wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” ” – James 4:14‭-‬15 

Over the millenium since God created the heavens and the earth, He has kept His temper remarkably well consider how terribly His creation has mocked Him and reviled Him. When I’m painting or making something, when it doesn’t go my way I want to destroy it – and often have. When training a horse or a dog and they turn on me, I have to watch myself that I don’t hurt them in my anger. That’s just one creature, and God has millions of humans essentially spitting in His face. He has had ample reasons to completely destroy mankind and start over, and He hasn’t, because He loves us with an amazing Love.

  “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” – Psalms 139:14

God created us for one purpose; to have eternal life in His worship and companionship. Rather than wiping out humanity’s existence, He did something incomprehensible to me. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, a part of the Triune God, as a sacrifice for my sins. Jesus was sacrificed for me, and He was sacrificed for you. Had there been just a single human in the entire earth, if I had been the only living soul, He still would have died just for me or you. Incomprehensible Love. 

How do we become one again with our Creator?

  “And this is The Way to have ETERNAL Life—to know You, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.” – John 17:3 

  “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 
When we accept Jesus into our lives, and we acknowledge that He is LORD, we should not longer be worried about the future. That statement is MUCH easier said than that put into practice! Matthew isn’t saying that we should just float along in life believing that God won’t let us starve or let anything bad happen. We are responsible for doing our part. What Matthew is saying is to not worry. Ask God for His guidance in everything, listen for His answer, and follow Him. He always answers prayers, and often I don’t like the answer. Then, when I do my own thing….. 
BOOM!

……. and there’s that disaster I knew was coming. Remember what Paul says:

  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 

AMEN.

(All scriptures are from http://bible.com/116/.NLT)