B.I.B.L.E.

So you like anagrams? Me, too! Here’s another one I have seen:

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. B.I.B.L.E.

For several years, I was a leader in the recovery program at my church. We asserted (and I still do) that 1) Everyone alive has Hurts, Hangups, and Habits, and 2) There are two types of people in the world – those who need recovery, and those who are in recovery. The small groups I led were made up primarily of women who had suffered some form of abuse in the lives; some had been in horrific situations. Why didn’t they just leave, you ask? Oh, it’s not that simple, and it’s a subject I have addressd in previous blogs, so it won’t be dealt with today. In our ‘Basic Instructions’, a very important thing I’ve learned is that any situation we find ourselves in, whether by our choices or someone else’s choices, we don’t have to go through it alone. Read all of Psalm 27. These are a few of the verses I like to share with my ‘girls’ – and also with any man who is struggling. Struggles and hurt are not gender specific!

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. You have said, “Seek My Face.” My heart says to You, “Your Face, LORD, do I seek.” For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” – Psalms 27:1‭, ‬3‭-‬3‭, ‬8‭, ‬10‭-‬10‭, ‬13‭-‬14 ESV

If you are paying attention, I have used these verses in other blogs. They are very appropriate scripture verses to use every day! In verse 10, the psalmists states that his “father and … mother have forsaken” him. I was blessed beyond measure that mine did not forsake me when I was caught up in the enemy’s traps, although they were hurt beyond imagination by my lifestyle. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. For a number of my girls, the abusive lives they were trapped in was, in fact, perpetrated by their very own parents. It’s frequently on the news as well, when parents, foster parents, relatives, and other authority figures are the sources of abuse. I can’t even imagine how an adult can be that way to a child, or another adult. It is straight from the depths of hell. But read on to verses 13-14!

“I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

We read these verses with incredible Hope. I, too, like the psalmist, believe that “I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! I see it every day. The Goodness of the LORD shines through the changed lives of the women (and men) who have sought the LORD in their lives, and allows others to see how Good He is, for:

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be Praised, and His Greatness is Unsearchable.” – Psalms 145:3 ESV

Do you have the Hope, the Peace, the LIGHT of the LORD in your life? He doesn’t care how ‘bad’, how broken you are. He wants us as we are. He is the Great Physician, the Creator and Craftsman. Ony the LORD can repair us and hold us together. Don’t mistake this to say that once you receive JESUS CHRIST as LORD of your life, everything will become peaches and cream. Au contraire, my friends, when we allow Him to Love us as He longs to, the enemy, that prince of everything dark and evil, known as Satan – our enemy will hit us with anything he can come up with to turn our face away from the LORD. It often works, too. When the abuse doesn’t lessen, when our finances get worse instead of better, when illness seems to loom over us and our loved ones, even death…. we can reach for heaven and the Peace of the Holy Spirit, or we can fall into ugliness and despair. It’s always a choice; one that I confess to messing up quite frequently.

“For from HIS Fullness we have all received, Grace upon Grace. …. For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His Only SON, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For GOD did not send His SON into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Only SON of GOD.” – John 1:16; 3:16‭-‬18 ESV

AMEN. How will you fare when standing in front of The Judge?

F.E.A.R.

I ran across the best anagram!

F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

How great is that? We know that the enemy wants us to run away from GOD and His Will, so he – Satan – is constantly throwing scary things in our paths. It might be a memory of an instance where we failed in something, or it could be an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. The enemy can’t read our minds, but he is very adept at reading us by our facial and body expressions. From watching us throughout our lives, he can make very accurate guesses as to how we might react to certain things, and he uses that knowledge to put obstacles in front of us. Our LORD knows how devious and sneaky the enemy is, and He provides a Light to show the falseness of those fears and obstacles in the form of JESUS.

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalms 27:1 ESV

“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the Salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the **Egyptians** whom you see today, you shall never see again.”-
Exodus 14:13 ESV (emphasis mine)

Those Egyptians that the Israelites feared are our fears! Replace the word “Egyptians” with whatever fear you are facing at this moment, and say it out loud for the Power of JESUS CHRIST to work in your heart and your mind:

Fear not, stand firm, and see the Salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the {name your fear!} whom you see today, you shall never see again. Get behind me, Satan, in the Name of JESUS, for you hold no power over me!

Powerful words! The Name of JESUS. Listen to Chris Tomlin sing the song by that name, The Name of JESUS. What a beautiful, moving, powerful Name!

My Life’s Work

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that in the LORD your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4 ESV

I want to be like Paul, to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD … ” and like the psalmist, “delivered …. from all my fears.” There’s only one way to achieve this, and that is the Way known as JESUS CHRIST. Let Him into your life and your heart, leave the worries and cares of this life in His capable Hands, and spend time every day with Him – in His Word, and in prayer, asking for His Will to be done in your life. That’s it. Simple, short, and sweet.

Make the Plans

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the Purpose of the LORD that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21 ESV

As one of my pastors says, “Make the plans; don’t plan the results.” That’s really hard to do! Our plans lead to a conclusion, the ‘results’. How do we make plans without planning the results? It’s easy to say, but difficult to implement. We plan our lives: as children, we look at people around us, and plan how our lives are going to be. I was going to be a movie star cowboy and marry a prince. 😁 (In case you wonder, I’m not a movie star, but I love horses and have owned several. Does that make me a cowboy? As for the prince, well, no prince, but more the one TOAD…. )

in high school; we are asked to make a plan for our future. College, Vo-tech, or a job? In college or Vo-tech, we have to plan our majors and focus of study. To advance in our jobs, we need an action plan. We plan weddings and birthdays. It’s hard to live without making plans, and it’s good to plan. Planning helps us to see what direction we need to head; planning shows us where we are doing well and where we need improvement; and it shows us what we have accomplished. Planning is a good thing! We hit the wall, though, when we want our plans to turn out exactly the way we want them to, intead of leaving the plan in GOD’s Hands. Yes, I am speaking from experience! I want what I want when I want and how I want …. my plan, my results. Life is so much better when I make the plan, and then I take my hands away and let GOD do as He wills with my plan. Is it easy to do? Not at all! I don’t claim to be good at letting go of my planned results, because I’m not.

I still want what I want when I want it, and that’s not how GOD works. His timing, and His answers, are often out of sync with my timing and the answer I want, but I’m learning. Scriptures tell us over and over to wait on the LORD. Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” and Isaiah 40:31 “…. but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint;” and many, many more. Wait. Wait. Wait; frustrated, anxious, wanting that answer, that thing, now. When I stop trying to control the results, they may not be what I want or when I want, but by letting GOD control the results I have peace. It’s absolutely amazing! We each have a choice. Let our controlling, OCD self rule our mind and body, or let the Almighty, our FATHER, do what He does best – take care of us and provide the best for us. It isn’t a one-time thing. Every day, every plan, every decision has to be given to Him, and it’s really easy to think GOD is too busy to deal with every little thing for us. Nothing is too small for our LORD! JESUS said “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:6‭-‬7 ESV

Photo credit leesbirds.com

GOD IS LOVE

“So we have come to know and to believe the Love that GOD has for us. GOD is Love, and whoever abides in Love abides in GOD, and GOD abides in Him. …. There is no fear in love, but Perfect Love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in Love.” – 1 John 4:16, 18 ESV

“The LORD your GOD is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His Love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

“There is no fear in love…” A beautiful statement of Truth. I am that person who has spent most of her life ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’, as the song goes. All of the “love” I found was full of fear: fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of discovery, fear of punishment, fear of physical and emotional pain. Looking back on it all, I wonder how on earth I was so blind, but then – I know how it happened. I took my eyes off of JESUS. It only takes a minute, sometimes, to fall off of the path of our LORD and into the grasp of our enemy. I fell hard, and the enemy had a death grip on me. He put blinders on me and turned me away from the Love Light of my LORD, and directed my gaze into the brightly shining bling and glamour of the world. I came to believe the enemy’s lies, and his deceitfulness was pretty complete. For years, I wandered in his world, turning away anyone who reached out to help me out of the swamp. I ‘knew’ I couldn’t escape; I was completely under his spell.

Thank GOD for His Son and the Absolute Love He has for us! No human could free me from Satan’s grip, but my SAVIOUR could …. and He did! He plucked me from death’s door, and I began to awaken from the trance-like life I had been living. It wasn’t instantaneous, and it required hard work on my part to crawl out of and away from the abyss, but I wasn’t doing it on my own. My LORD JESUS CHRIST was there, the HOLY SPIRIT and His angels, to hold my hand or free me as I would be stuck in the muck, and always shining His Light of Love and Clarity around me. Thank You, LORD! I lived in fear all of those years I was away from the LORD, when all I needed to do was to lift my eyes away from the ugliness to banish the fear. My LORD was always there, waiting patiently for me to see Him. It only took one word from me for Him to take my hand – JESUS. He IS Love, PERFECT Love, and no-one can defeat Him or destroy the Love He has for each and every one of us. His Love redeems us, completes us, heals us. There is no better, no higher love than the LOVE of our LORD GOD and our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.

“There is no fear in love…”

Let that be your strength and your courage! GOD is Love, and He wants to lavish His Love on us. It’s the only love that you will ever find, no matter how far and wide you look, the only unconditional, unchangeable, unremitting, and never failing LOVE that will never fail or leave. No fear. Amen!

Taste and See

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s Greatness; let us exalt His Name together. 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. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is Good. Oh, the Joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the LORD, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need.” – Psalms 34:1‭-‬9 NLT

JESUS CHRIST, my Living LORD! LORD of ALL; CHRIST Alone, Cornerstone.

“This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my Refuge, my Place of Safety; He is my GOD, and I trust Him.” – Psalms 91:2 NLT

I BELIEVE, LORD, help my unbelief! Just like the man in Mark 9:24, I do believe, yet I struggle to believe that the LORD GOD of the Universe has time to deal with my situation. A true oxymoron! I believe, yet I doubt. “Oh, the Joys of those who take refuge in Him!” Why do we doubt that the Almighty, the One Who created us, the Universe, from nothing (not space dust, not primeval sludge…. out of nothing but His Words as He spoke the Universe into being!) – how do we doubt that He, the LORD GOD Who knows how many hairs are on my head, can take care of my petty (in the bigger picture) issues? It’s just so hard to let go!! (No control issues here …. as the people who know me are rolling on the floor laughing!!)

It is hard to trust, especially when a life has been full of broken promises, heartaches, and fractured dreams. GOD knows this. Isn’t HIS life full of them, too? First, His most beautiful creation, the angel He called Lucifer, rebelled against Him: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” – Isaiah 14:12 KJV. Then, man, Adam, whom the LORD created to be His companion, who was created in GOD’s Own Image : “So GOD created man in His Own Image, in the Image of GOD created He him; male and female created He them.” – Genesis 1:27 KJV – this man and woman, who were given the world, literally given the world, decided they could do better than the LORD in making their decisions. Over and over, man has disappointed, rebelled against, and cursed GOD. What heartaches we have caused our Creator! We break our promises, we bargain with Him – LORD, I promise I’ll go to church every Sunday / start praying / quit drinking (you get the picture!) if You’ll just do this thing for me…. and I’m as guilty as anyone to try to bargain with Him!

We thiink that He doesn’t answer our prayers when we don’t immediately get the answer we’re looking for, but that’s not true. He always answers every prayer that is prayed, it just isn’t always the answer we want. He might say ‘yes’, He might give an audible ‘no’, or He might say ‘wait’. That’s the answer I seem to get a lot, and I know there is a purpose …. but it doesn’t make the wait any easier! What do we do when He says ‘wait’? Get frustrated, irritable, angry? Truthfully, I’ve been all those things. No, it’s much better to do as the psalmist wrote: “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” – Psalms 27:14 KJV

And so I set myself to wait, to pray and to speak His Name; to boast on the LORD, and to taste and see that He is GOOD. Amen!

Courageous

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 NIV

And just what, exactly, does courage have to do with a cheerful heart? I am asking myself that same question…. All I can do is follow the prompting in my heart and explore what it is that GOD is trying to say to me (I’m notorious for tuning HIM out so that I can hear ME better….)

The definition of courageous is “not detered by danger or pain; brave.” I am emphatically NOT courageous by definition! What I have found in my own life is that when I listen to my GOD, and follow through with what He is telling me, it requires some courage on my part. When I accomplish the objective, and even if it’s not accomplished but I know I gave my best effort, my heart is cheerful. If I don’t even try, my spirit is crushed and my attitude spirals. Danger is often subjective. Obviously I don’t mean physical dangers you can see: a chasm in the roadway, snakes …. and other wild animals lke bears – and skunks! …. someone breaking into your home. Less obvious dangers can be the person you can’t see on the other end of your computer (stalkers, people wanting to make you a victim), a gas leak, having a blowout. There are individual dangers, too, that no one else can perceive. Fears of the dark, heights, meeting new people, driving, having to ask for help, even the danger of physical pain can prevent us from stepping out courageously, to do GOD’s work.

“No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is Right, to love Mercy, and to walk Humbly with your GOD.” – Micah 6:8 NLT

There’s this thing that happens inside of us when we take that first, courageous, step past our fears and our perceived dangers. Our hearts open up and we become susceptible to GOD’s Mercy and His Blessings in our own lives. When we don’t take that step, our spirit begins to die, figuratively. It becomes crushed. A friend told me once that if I refused her help, I was stealing a blessing away from her – did I really want to do that? A crushed, dried up life doesn’t know courage or recognize blessings, and it misses out on GOD’s Mercies. Being courageous doesn’t mean bragging and boasting of our accomplishments. It means walking humbly in the shadow of the LORD, doing, to the best of our abilities, whatever He should ask of us. Remember what JESUS said:

“…. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48b NLT

Listen to Casting Crowns sing this scripture in their song “Courageous”!

Photo by Horsley Lab – Harvard