His LOVE Heals My Heart

“Then JESUS said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My Yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My Yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’ ” – Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NLT

Do you have a heavy burden? Are you trying to carry it all by yourself? For years, I did just that. Sure, I can do it on my own. HA! Famous last words…. The reality is that I can’t do much of anything in my own strength. Like many, if not most, single people, I yearn for a companion to share my life on earth in the here and now. My ‘picker’, though, has proven to be broken. The single most important realization that anyone can have in their lifetime is that another person will not, cannot, complete me/us or carry our burdens. We can help each other, but the only One Who can actually lift the burdens off of our shoulders is our LORD. It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ or godly our companion might be, any man (or woman) will hurt and disappoint us at some point in our lives. No matter how hard we try to only do good, or to be good, we will eventually, and inevitably, fail. I can be content to have JESUS as my companion if I choose to be, or I can run around searching for that perfect guy for me.

Lay your burdens at the foot of cross and lift your arms – your heart, body, and soul – to JESUS. He stands there, waiting to shower His LOVE on you; to take your burdens off your shoulders and carry them for you. He’s ready to carry you, too, when you are unable to take another step on your own. He’s done it countless times for me. When I yank the burdens from His Hands, and take them in mine, He doesn’t argue or fight me. He lets me stagger under them until I finally remember He’s standing next to me, empty handed and willing to take them back. He usually has to carry me for awhile, too, while I gain strength from Him. Are you willing to let go off your burdens? Call on JESUS. He can hardly wait for your call!

“All Praise to GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. GOD is our Merciful FATHER and the Source of all Comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort GOD has given us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NLT

Listen to Fear is A Liar, by Zach Williams.

How Do You Pray?

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, Who sees everything, will reward you.

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” – Matthew 6:5‭-‬8 NLT

Did you grow up in a house where prayer was the norm, or was cursing at God the only ‘prayer’ you heard? I was taught that the ‘correct’ way to pray was to sit with head bowed and hands clasped in front of me, or on my knees with eyes closed and hands clasped; praying out loud, beginning with ‘Dear Heavenly Father’ and always ending with ‘Amen’. This definitely helped with my focus as a child, but do you think this is the only way to pray? We want to be reverent and humble when we pray, but I submit that we can pray anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Prayer is simply having a conversation with the LORD. Prayer can happen while we are driving or working, in the classroom, or in any social setting, and I’m not talking about the ‘OH. MY. GOD.’ we frequently hear today.

Prayer; praying out loud, has its place, whether in church or out, but my focus here is really about conversing with GOD. Just talking. As I grow in faith, I realize that talking to GOD doesn’t need to be formal. I don’t need anyone else saying prayers for me in lieu of my own prayers (but I’m always happy to know that people are praying for me!) I just need to be having conversations with my LORD. Before getting out of bed in the morning, a quick “Thank You LORD for another day, Your Will be done today” helps my day start in the right direction. I whisper inaudible prayers all day – “LORD, I believe; help my unbelief” is one that I pray when faced things that are out of my control…. which is frequently! “Keep me safe on the roads.” “Bless [insert name]” ….. I actually try to pray this whenever my mind strays to someone who has hurt me. God knows quite well that what my human side really wants is to hurt that person back, but by asking Him to bless that person, I can receive God’s forgiveness and Grace.

Prayer shouldn’t be any more difficult than talking with your best friend. It shouldn’t stress us out, but thinking that we can only approach Him in a formal way, or through a priest or pastor, keeps us from knowing GOD and His will for us/me. Just talk to Him. I’ve started many conversations with Him by admitting I don’t know what to pray, that I don’t have any words. I know that’s okay, though, because even when we don’t have words, the Holy Spirit carries our groans, our needs to the Father. To teach us how to pray, JESUS gave us this, and we call it ‘The LORD’S Prayer.”

“Pray like this: Our FATHER in heaven, may Your Name be kept Holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly FATHER will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your FATHER will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:9‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬15 NLT

There is tremendous power in prayer, whether it is you, alone by yourself, or together with fellow Christians, and regardless of whether words are spoken out loud or silently. Remember what JESUS said to His followers: “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as My followers, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 NLT

My prayer is that my words today can help ease us all as we struggle through this life, because old or young or in between, prayer works. Don’t let selfish pride get in your way, thinking you’ll somehow do it wrong or embarrass yourself in your praying. That’s just the enemy trying to separate you from GOD! Amen.

Continue reading “How Do You Pray?”

Crisis!

It’s interesting to hear how that word is used by different people. For one person, having a crisis might mean not having enough cash to get their morning coffee. To another, it could mean losing everything they have in a disaster. To a child, a crisis is, well, anything that doesn’t go their way. Is your current crisis a danger or is it an opportunity? By definition, a crisis is a turning point, an emotionally significant event, or a decisive moment. We all have crises in our lives, and depending upon our emotional and physical states, they can vary in intensity. Jesus tells us:

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 NLT

Believing that GOD has our every need covered (note: need, not want) is hard, sometimes. When your child is throwing a fit, or when you are facing personal loss, or it might be that you are obsessing over how you are going to survive with no job or income, it’s not easy to let it go and let GOD handle it. (Guilty!) The one thing I know for sure, the Peace I have in my heart, all stems from the crisis I had when I realized that without JESUS, my LORD and SAVIOUR, I would die and go to hell. Our lives get jambed up all the time. The thing that seems trivial to someone else may constitute a major crisis to me. For me, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see daily life as a crisis …. and that’s a good thing! (Don’t be fooled. I still have meltdowns!) Everything on this earth; every person on this earth, will experience crises in their lives. I’m quite sure I will experience and witness crisis-induced meltdowns throughout the rest of my natural life. It’s normal; it’s human.

When you are faced with the insurmountable and the odds are against you, switch your focus from the mountain and look to JESUS. Whenever I can’t waĺk, He picks me up and carries me. He wants to help you in the same way. Whatever crisis you are dealing with today, remember that this, too, shall pass. Eternity is forever. Human life is fleeting.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:33‭-‬34 NLT

I Am A Fraud

I am a fraud.

That is tough to admit to. My spirit feels broken, weighted down by the mess of this earthly life. Most days I can push through at some point and get something done…. Oh, who am I kidding? Most days, I struggle to get the most mundane tasks done; feeding the dogs and caring for the cats; getting outside to let my girls out (my hens, Daisy and Lily ☺ ), feeding myself. Some days, I have headaches that make it difficult to focus and I really don’t want to deal with anyone. A friend once told me she had never been depressed a day in her life, and I just needed to get over it. Sure. It should be so easy! I know the Scriptures encourage joy:

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Proverbs 17:22 NLT

(I’m tired.)

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” – James 1:2 NLT

(Joy, schmoy. Don’t all of these happy people realize that not everyone is on the same plane as they are? Bleh.)

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, I know all the platitudes for depressed people…. I’ve spoken those platitudes to others, many times. Today, though, the Psalms speak directly to me, speaking truth that only my LORD knows:

“Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the LORD’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, LORD.” – Psalms 116:7‭-‬10 NLT

It’s odd to be depressed and at peace simultaneously. An oxymoron. Is it even possible? Absolutely. I take joy today from a bit of history that means nothing to millions, but for other millions, and to me, it means EVERYTHING. Our LORD allowed us to hang Him on a cross; to spill His blood. To kill Him – to MURDER Him, the single most innocent and only sinless person to ever live. The cross was meant to kill Jesus, instead, it has become our Victory! The cross is empty, and His tomb is empty, because our JESUS conquered has death, and He will come back to defeat Satan, once and for all. How can I be sure? Simple. I read the back of the Book, and it is GLORIOUS! Satan uses depression to hold us down while we are on earth, and I may never completely escape it – but in the end, we will overcome the old snake and be victorious with our GOD. In the meantime, dealing with life here on earth, we do the best we can with the knowlege and experience we have. Leaning on JESUS is the only way I can make it! (And that’s another great hymn!)

Listen to “My Victory” by the David Crowder Band, and read these words to “Victory In Jesus” – I adore this hymn and it’s TRUTH.

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

Chorus
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

What Is Your Cross?

“Then He {JESUS} said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23 NLT

What is your cross? I feel like mine changes with the seasons of my life. For now, it seems to be a combination of things. Not having a companion, lack of financial stability, physical issues. Looking at my life, though, I know that these things that feel so heavy to me are really minor in view of the world. I know that these are more “crosses” because of my wants, not because of any real needs. I may not have a spouse to share my life with, but I have wonderful friends and family who love me (in spite of me!). My financial state is somewhat precarious, but in spite of my lack of preparation in life, I have a house – a warm, secure home – and somehow, I have enough to live, day by day. The physical issues are being addressed, and I understand that even though the pain and discomfort may never go away, nothing is life-threatening. So then, what is my cross?

My cross is insecurity and fear of the unknown of life here on earth; my cross is giving up the control I think I have over my life. News flash to self : there is NO control when I am in charge of things! Giving up control is at the heart of what JESUS said. “…. you must give up your own way ….”

But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard [for those who trust in riches] to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Mark 10:24‭b-‬25 NLT

That’s pretty clear, but we humans are hard-headed. We want, if not millions, then enough money and things to be comfortable on our terms, not God’s. Like the Apostle Paul, I have had plenty, and I have had nothing. Unlike Paul, I have not been very thankful in my circumstances! Followers of Christ need to recognize that our lives may be, probably will be, less than comfortable in this life, even difficult and painful to the end.

JESUS said “…. I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have Eternal Life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” – Mark 10:29‭-‬31 NLT

Listen to “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman

In The Storm

Hangin’ in. That’s what I’m doing. I get where the saying “hang in there” could have originated. When you are in a fierce storm, you have two choices: hang on to something, or be blown away. I don’t really want to be blown away; I don’t want to be blown out of my life as I know it, but with the winds of change hammering away, sometimes we (I) don’t get much of a choice. I want to steer for the clear skies and get away from the hurricane that seems to be parked on top of me, but I know that my strength alone isn’t enough to save me. Because of the enemy, aka Satan, our life on earth is full of storms, from light rains to Cat 5 hurricanes. The goal of the enemy is take away any shred Light and Hope we have. He is the Father of Lies, he wants us at his mercy, and he will do anything in his power to achieve mastery over us. I tell you, from experience, it’s a dark, dark place that his winds will take you to. There will be an illusion, a mirage, of beauty and light to entice you; smooth winds and apparent joy…. but beware! That illusion will fade away and you will find yourself in a whirlpool of despair that you cannot escape – by your own strength. Only one way exists to take you out of the enemy’s grip; ONE WAY only, and that Way is through JESUS CHRIST.

“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.” – Psalms 37:5 NLT

“For I can do everything through CHRIST, Who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 NLT

Simple solution, but often really difficult to implement in our lives. It’s that ‘free will’ thing. We want control of our lives. It’s all part of the enemy’s illusion, people! Satan wants us to believe that Jesus – JESUS – was just a prophet, a good man, albeit a misguided one. After all, the enemy whispers, Jesus was tortured and killed and buried just as any man …. he says the Jesus is no different from Mohammed or Buddha or John Smith…. Focus on the real truth. THE Truth, that the Son of the Almighty Creator God left His home in Heaven, to come to earth and be the ultimate, final sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is coming back, too, and this time it won’t be as the Sacrificial Lamb of God. No, this time, He will return on a white horse [told you horses are in heaven!], with a sword in His Hand and surrounded by the Angel Armies. He will conquer Death and Evil and Satan, once and for all. I’m tired, LORD, tired of the storms here on earth. I pray You will return quickly! Until then, my life is in Your Hands, and I rely on Your Strength.

Listen to “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson.

Thankful. Bah, Humbug!

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

Do you find it difficult to be thankful for whatever it is you are dealing with in your life? No companion/spouse/helpmate, no retirement, no job; chronic illness, disease, sick child/family member; death of a loved one? No power, no heat/AC, no transportation, no food ….. no home? Infested with fleas, spiders, roaches, snakes? I’m sure I have left something off!

Beginning at the beginning of human history; since Adam and Eve made the fatal decision to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, humans have had to deal with a plethora of hard circumstances. Just a few: Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers. David was chased and persecuted by King Saul. Moses had some sort of speech impediment. The Apostles and disciples of JESUS have been beaten, persecuted, flogged, abused, and killed since the beings of their ministries. The persecution of Christians hasn’t stopped. Even in their agony, they have proclaimed JESUS, and thanked GOD for the privilege to be sacrificed for His Glory. There are hundreds, thousands, even millions of examples throughout our history of people giving thanks to God in the midst of depravation and trials. Very few of us today have any real reasons to complain, but we have plenty of reasons to be thankful. This is, to me, the biggest reason to be thankful:

“And I am convinced that NOTHING can ever separate us from GOD’s Love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from GOD’s Love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the Love of GOD that is revealed in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” – Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NLT

If there is something big and ugly going on in your life, be Thankful for the little things .…. Remember toilet paper! ….. And remember JESUS!