Pain, Momentary or Permanent

There are many types and causes of pain. It can be physical, emotional, and spiritual. Medical treatments often cause momentary, or temporary pain to us physically, but when the treatment, surgery, adjustment, whatever, is done, we feel much better. Childbirth can be (and usually is) incredibly painful, but the love that floods the mother when she holds her baby for the first time makes all the pain and discomfort disappear. Many millions of people have physical conditions that cause them to be in constant pain. The emotion pain of cutting a toxic person from our lives can hurt so deeply that we can’t imagine living through it. Watching a loved one suffer, or losing a loved one through death, causes us tremendous pain. It doesn’t matter who you are, how “rich” you are, how much power you hold, or where you live, pain will be your companion at some point in your life.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” – Romans 8:18 NLT

Whether the pain is temporary, fleeting, or something to live with our entire earthly lives, there is a permanent solution. It’s an eternal cure for the deepest, most debilitating pains known to anyone on earth, and it is utterly free, no strings attached. Why, then, do people reject this cure? Who do you know that will reject a gift that is offered with nothing asked for in return? Why are we so suspicious of the gift that will free us, but we grab for the horrible and painful gifts the enemy hands us, gifts that are firmly tied to the giver? I think it’s because the true gift is offered in plain packaging, no frills….. but the enemy wraps his with beautiful wrappings and ribbons and bows and bling.

I confess that for many years I preferred the gaudy gifts. I convinced myself that the beautiful wrappings made up for the ugliness and darkness inside. If I wrapped myself up in the packaging, I could present myself to the world as impervious the the darkness and ugliness. I could hide it from myself. Wrong. There is only so much you can do to hide. EVERYTHING comes to the light, eventually. I have a huge debt of gratitude to the people God put in my path to show me the TRUE Gift. Much of the physical and emotional pain I have dealt with throughout my life could have been avoided if I had paid attention to the real Gift of Love, instead of turning and going through the muck, trying to capture that elusive feeling of “happiness”. Is that where you are today? Treading through the muck, wandering in the pain and hopelessness?

My prayer today is that you will look up, open your eyes and your hands and your life, and really SEE where you are. Reach out to the One Who is able to pull you out of the ugliness! If you can’t stand up or put one foot in front of the other, don’t despair. The One Who is capable of pulling you up will carry you until you can walk, and even then, no matter what, He will ALWAYS be with you. He will never expect you to carry on by yourself, and in fact, even when we turn our backs on us, He will NEVER leave us alone. I know this, because I experience it daily. Even in the darkest parts of my life, He never walked away or forsook me, because I accepted His Gift at a young age…. I just chose to follow the path the world (i.e. the enemy) instead of going with my Savior. I thank the LORD that He didn’t desert me!

Life on earth will never be painless. I struggle financially, I have physical issues, and it is difficult for me to come out of my shell. These will be a part of my life until I die, or until my Jesus returns, and that’s just reality. The beauty of it all is that because I accepted His Gift, l don’t face it alone. His strong Hands are with me to support me and carry me as needed. Plus, I get to spend all of eternity with NO sorrow, NO pain, NO struggles! Don’t know about you, but I would rather live my life now as if Jesus were real (and He IS real and alive), than to face an unknown and dark eternity.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” – Revelation 21:4 NLT

Silence….

I have maintained a silence for several days. This time of year, November and December, are difficult for me, as they are for many. Society puts so many expectations on us, plus family and peer pressure to go and do, and to buy all the latest toys and gadgets for gift giving. For so many of us, financial struggles are an ongoing theme. When I was younger, my Grandma would give me five dollar bill. Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve often wondered what she gave up in order to present us with the small amount. It’s so easy to judge, based only on the immediate circumstance, rather than to look further to determine what is reality. My love for her has grown immensely as I have realized the sacrifices she had to have made in order to spoil me and my siblings. In many cases, mine included, we have multiple nieces and nephews, across the ages from baby to married with their own children. Through the year, I get things for them as I come across something I think (hope!) they will enjoy, but it always ends up lopsided as we get nearer to Christmas. I will find I have something for one brother, but nothing for the other…… and no funds to rectify it. What to do? Give nothing to either? Give the gift to the one, and leave the other to feel slighted? Of all the days in the year, Christmas is both the most difficult and one of my favorites to celebrate. Times like this are HARD. Not just for me, but for hundreds of thousands of others. The pressure is on! As hard as it is, I am working to remind myself of what I adore about this season. We celebrate the birth day of our LORD and Saviour, JESUS CHRIST. He is where our focus should be, not on the mound of presents under a tree. Our tradition for our Oklahoma family is to come together Christmas Eve to eat and fellowship and exchange gifts. It will be chaotic with a baby and a 2 year old, an 8 year old, and a 13 and 18 year old…. and all of the corresponding adults, but I love the chaos. I missed out on it for years when I was separated from family. The music and the decorations can work to either help us focus on our Emmanuel, or on the physical, worldly side. If you are estranged from family today, if it is possible, forgive and love them. In many instances it isn’t healthy or possible to be involved with birth family, so use the energy to focus on the ONE Who Loves you more than life itself; the One Who left Heaven to came to earth to sacrifice His life for your salvation. If you are physically alone on this day, look to Jesus: “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your GOD. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I AM here to help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 NLT

“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.” “

We Are Messengers

“Look! I am sending My Messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. Then the LORD you are seeking will suddenly come to His Temple. The messenger of the Covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” – Malachi 3:1 NLT

People have been on tenterhooks for eons, waiting for the messenger of the LORD. If we would only realize that He has already arrived! First, the LORD sent dozens of teachers and preachers and prophets, ending the succession with the man known as John the Baptist. Then John announced the Messiah, JESUS, to us:

“Look! The LAMB of GOD Who takes away the sin of the world! …. Then John testified, “I saw the HOLY SPIRIT descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him. I didn’t know He was the ONE, but when GOD sent me to baptize with water, He told me, ‘The ONE on Whom you see the SPIRIT descend and rest is the ONE Who will baptize with the HOLY SPIRIT.’ I saw this happen to JESUS, so I testify that He is The CHOSEN ONE of GOD.” – John 1:29‭-‬34 NLT

Last, JESUS, in His turn, brought us Salvation through His Grace and Sacrifice. Before Jesus left this earth to return to His Father in Heaven, He promised us we would not be alone, ever, again.

“Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged. …. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that Joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the FATHER directly, and He will grant your request because you use My Name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using My Name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant Joy. …. Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” – John 16:11‭, ‬22‭-‬24‭, ‬31‭-‬32 NLT
“For we live by believing and not by seeing.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT

When JESUS, Messiah, Counselor, King of ALL kings, left this earth, He sent the HOLY SPIRIT to dwell with us and within us, so that we can be the messengers of the Saving Grace of our LORD and our SAVIOUR. Can you get off the tenterhooks today, and let Him into your heart? I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed!

All My Hope

There’s a song by an amazing artist, Crowder, called “All My Hope.” It was written for a friend that was being released from years behind bars, and who had found Jesus while incarcerated. It’s a beautiful song, speaking of redemption and being released from the bars and chains that hold us. In it, he says “All my Hope is in Jesus, Thank God that yesterday’s gone, All my sins are forgiven, I’ve been washed by the Blood…. ”

Jesus is our shelter in the storm, our Rock. He invites us to be washed of our sins so that we can share eternity with Him, and we know there is only One-Way to achieve this. All our Hope, all our Strength, all our PEACE comes from one place, one-way, from Jesus. Simple, yet hard. You say “I don’t want to give up my freedom,” or “Too many rules to follow,” or even “I’m a good person. I don’t need Jesus.” Oh, people! This is such disfunctional and error-filled thinking. Don’t you realize that by saying that Jesus was just a good man or a prophet, you are saying He was insane? Think about it. Jesus claimed to be the Son of the Immortal and Almighty GOD of the universe. How can anyone claiming to be GOD in the flesh, GOD Incarnate, the Living GOD be sane, if it is not true? Look at all of Jesus’ contemporaries who witnessed His death, who saw Him buried, and then saw Him again in the flesh after He came out of the tomb after 3 days. Our contemporaries, David Koresh and Jim Jones, both claimed to be the son of GOD, and we called them insane. They committed suicide with many of their followers…. and they are dead. No resurrection or salvation.

Followers of Jesus know that He is the True Son of GOD. We don’t just believe it, we KNOW it is true. How do we know? Aside from all the eyewitness testimonies of His contemporaries, we know it in our hearts; we feel it in His Strength, and we see His Grace in our lives (even in the bad stuff). I wish that the people who think they are “good enough” to go to heaven weren’t so misguided by the enemy. There is no “good enough” to spend eternity with our LORD, because He is the ONLY One good enough. He is the ONLY One to live a sinless life? Not “good enough,” not a “good” man, and not a prophet. He is the ONE-Way, the ONLY-Way, to GOD.

Are you washed by the Blood of Jesus?

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But GOD showed His GREAT LOVE for us by sending CHRIST to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” – Romans 5:7‭-‬9 NLT

AMEN!!

I Am Knit Together in Love

My Grandma, my Mother’s Mom, crocheted blankets for people she loved. I will never forget the beautifully put together blanket she made for my baby. It was knit together in love. My Mom does cross-stitch, and has made beautiful works for all of us. Mine hang throughout my house, and everytime I look at one, I am reminded of her love. Everyone does something to show their love. It may be a tangible thing, like a blanket or a cross-stitch design or a painting or other handcrafted item, or a meal or baked goods. It could be an act of service, or it could be giving up a baby or child, so that the child can have a better life. These can all be put done in love.

God showed His Love in creating us; He knitted us together. As the psalmist so beautifully said;

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your Book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” – Psalms 139:13‭-‬16 NLT

This Almighty God created a beautiful world for us to live on. He knit it together, along with the stars and the planets, for us to enjoy. He also created in us a free will, the ability to make our own decisions, and we have done our utmost to destroy our world and our lives ever since. The God of the Universe didn’t let us slide, but He did one better. He sent His Son, an integral part of Himself, to live among us and to die for us. The Ultimate Sacrifice.

“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!” –
Psalms 139:17‭-‬18 NLT

What Amazing Grace! Not only did He Knit together the Universe for us, He sacrificed Himself to redeem us from our sins. Whatever other people say to you, regardless of the lies and venom Satan spews in your ears, you have been knit together by God. You are beautiful to Him, and what you do matters to Him. His hearts desire is to Love us, and for us to love Him in return. To show us mere humans the breathe and depth of His Love, Jesus – The WORD – stepped down from His Throne, His rightful place at the side of GOD, for this purpose.

“In the beginning The WORD already existed. The WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD. GOD created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The WORD gave Life to everything that was created, and His Life brought Light to everyone. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” – John 1:1‭, ‬3‭-‬5 NLT

“So The WORD became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing Love and Faithfulness. And we have seen His Glory, the Glory of the FATHER’s One and Only SON.” – John 1:14 NLT

The point is this: we were knit together for one reason only. To share the ABSOLUTE LOVE of our Creator and Father with Him. Simple, but somehow it becomes the most difficult thing for so many people to grasp. If you have known any love in your life, multiply by a million, and you will still fall short of how much our Father in heaven LOVES us. Are you interested in a relationship with the One who created you and Who knows everything about you down to the tiniest component of your physical body (remember, He made it!), and He knows every thought you have ever had or will have…… ? I have a relationship with Him, and because of that He has made me the Daughter of the King of kings. How AWESOME is that? Your elevation from mere human-ness to being the son or daughter of THE King is just waiting for you to take a small but decisive step to Jesus.

“For this is how GOD Loved the world: He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE. GOD sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:16‭-‬17 NLT

Have you taken that step and asked Jesus to come into your heart and your soul and your life? My prayer is that you will take that tiny step today as you are reading this. I can promise that there is NOTHING in the whole earth-world that will even come close to it!

Being knit together……

Thanks Giving; Giving Thanks….

There is much to be thankful for.

The turkey is in the oven, the fixin’s for the dressing and the gravy are ready to put together and finished. Condiments and sides and desserts are being prepared by my sisters and their kids; ready to share a beautiful dinner with most of my Oklahoma family, and missing all those who aren’t here.

Just a few short years ago, I struggled to be thankful for anything. I was faced with a drug addict, alcoholic, verbally abusive, unfaithful husband. The verse Paul wrote springs to mind: “And we know that GOD causes everything to work together for the good of those who love GOD and are called according to His purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28 NLT

Because my ex’s addictions, I found myself in a Christ-centered group that dealt with ALL addictions, including relationship addictions. On my own, I couldn’t see any way out. It seemed hopeless. In the process of learning what an addiction/insanity is (Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result), I found my way back to Jesus. The recovery Pastor told me several times that “When you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll do something about it.” I finally did get sick and tired of the lies and the cheating and his breaking the law. (So did the DA, and he is – hopefully! – in prison for the rest of his life.) The point is that despite the ugliness and hopelessness of tne situation, I learned that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, even if the only thing you can think of is toilet paper. It’s easy to be thankful for the simple, everyday things when our lives are full of garbage.

Today I have so much to be thankful for. Topping the list is my LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am so thankful to have a family who welcomed me back with no recriminations for my actions. I know how very blessed I am! I have a man who loves me, a warm and beautiful home, family and friends, my pups and pets, and I am surrounded by lots of good memories in my things. I was born in America, still the greates country in the world; I am an American. Yes, I am TREMENDOUSLY Blessed! There will be some who read this who are in the midst of great trials. Loss of a loved one, illnesses, incapacitated, loss of their job and/or (Me, too, 2 years ago and still unemployed 😐 )….. struggling with their own addictions, children who are lost to their parents, grief and sorrow. If tne only thing you can be thankful for is toilet paper, then HALLELUJAH, be Thankful! No shame in that! Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers that you will find something to be thankful for today, something that can lift you out of the mess.

That “something” is JESUS. When we are so far down that we cannot pick ourselves up out of the muck and the mire, He is able to pull us out and carry us. There is nothing, no sin, no situation, that is too much for Him to lift or carry. I am thankful for HIM!

Dead…. Only NOT Dead

Have you ever wondered what we will look like when we meet again in heaven? I subscribe to the belief that we will look like ourselves, only perfected by Christ’s Love. There won’t be any twisted bodies or missing parts or damaged brains. There won’t be any ugliness or sorrow, either. So, the next question is “Will we have wings, and will we all be blue-eyed and pale-skinned?” Absolutely not! God created us in our of our splendor, just as He created animals in theirs. Heaven will be a colorful and cheerful place. After all, God created color! I can’t speak for you, but I look forward to waking up in heaven and seeing Jesus in all His splendid Glory. My Daddy and my Grandma, our lost babies, and my fur babies will be waiting, vigorous and healthy and happy. All the Christ-followers that I have known, plus millions I didn’t know on earth, in all of their colors and ethnicities, will be there, too. I know that I will know them, however God sees fit to resurrect them in paradise. Sidenote: remember all of the people who have searched for the fabled Fountain of Youth and the City of Gold? They all looked in the wrong place, and WE get to spend eternity …. i.e. for-EVER ….. with both, because heaven contains them.

“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting.

Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ( 1 Corinthians 15:35‭-‬44‭, ‬55 NLT)

Are you confident of gaining your new body, or are you still running scared from the sting of death and the enemy? It is your choice, and yours alone, whether you will have a magnificent new body in heaven with Jesus, or a tormented and deformed body in everlasting hell with the enemy.

“Thank God for His Gift too Wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT)