Living In The Past


(E/A, I hope you are reading this!)

“Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.” – Corrie Ten Boom

This is an immensely powerful statement, coming from a woman whose entire family died in a Nazi concentration camp, and who almost died there herself. Could I find the Joy she speaks of if I were put in her circumstance? Could you? We can’t achieve either true Peace or Joy on our own, without JESUS – Giver of the Peace that passes understanding….

“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 4:7 NLT

When we spend our time looking back, holding on to the sorrows of our past, we can’t obtain the Joy or Peace Jesus is offering us, because our eyes are clouded over by the regrets. There is a time to mourn for what was and what could have been. People are gone in the space of a heartbeat, and whether they are an unborn baby or the most elderly person, or anyone in between, it hurts when they are gone. I find that many of us romanticize the loss. With babies, it’s especially hard, I think, because of the lost potential, and the lost love. Now, with tbe LORD at my side, I can finally rejoice over the losses of babies in my family and my friends, along with the countless billions who have been murdered through violence, abortion, and disease. How, you ask? Two reasons:

1. Those babies don’t have to grow up in the flawed, sinful world (HALLELUJAH!), and

2. I will see them and hold them in heaven – we get to spend eternity with them! How cool is that?

All of the regrets and what ifs and could haves and should haves will never change the past. It is past, over with, passed through, gone. DONE. Remembering can be good when done in a positive manner. When we lose a spouse or other loved one as an adult, it’s easy to only remember the good, even though we know the flaws. There is absolutely nothing wrong with remembering. The “wrong,” if you will, is in dwelling in the past and wallowing in self pity for all that was lost. I can play “coulda shoulda” with the best, but to what end? Satan loves it when we start the game! Next to suicide, that wallowing is most damaging to our families and our friends. It’s SELFISH to the extreme, shutting everyone out and dragging them down at the same time. I have done it myself, and I have experienced it in people I care about.

God doesn’t want us mired in the gunk of the past. God LOVES us! He wants to give us JOY, and He wants us to have PEACE. He is the Rock we can cling to when the storms of life threaten to sweep us up and drown us. His Arms are the ones that hold us when we hurt, and He is the One Who carries us when we can’t go on. It isn’t easy to let go of the past; the shoulda coulda’s. With prayer – i.e. just TALK to God – and immersion in His Word, with counseling by a pastor or other Christian professional, and a doctor to help us with medicines if needed, we can emerge from the muck and gunk Satan has buried us in. All you need to do is lean into the LORD. Talk to Him first, before spewing your guts to someone (again, I’m guilty of all this, too!) If you don’t know what prayer, just say JESUS. Cry out to Him. He knows.

Listen to “Live Like You’re Loved” by Hawk Nelson, and read “Finding Joy in the Heartache” devotion by K-Love radio Pastor David (10 March 2018.)

A Synopsis Of God’s Love For Us

Start in Genesis 1:26…

“Then God said, “Let US make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Genesis 6:5-6…

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled.”

And Exodus 34:5-7…

“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His Name, The LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, The LORD, the LORD, the Compassionate and Gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

And last, but very important, John 20:21-23

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And with that He Breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

That’s a lot of scripture. The point is that GOD, the CREATOR of the Universe, Who made us in His Image and gave us free will, THAT God, Loves us enough to forgive us of our sins. This is not a white, old, man-god with flowing white robes, this GOD, looks like every man. He’s a colorful God! Look at us, and look at nature. Does all of this really make you think He fits only one picture of Himself? He knows our sins; all of them, whether it’s a “little white lie” or horrific torture and murder. Sin is Sin. In God’s eyes, it is ALL equally bad – and still, He Loves us so much that He is ready and willing to forgive us.

Then He (Jesus) said: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

I have people I need to forgive. Thank GOD I have His help, because I couldn’t do it on my own! Praise His Mercy and Grace. One of my favorite songs is Victory In Jesus. Love to sing this!
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
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.

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?”

Are You Puzzled By My Thanksgiving?

“Give Thanks to the LORD and proclaim His Greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His Praises. Tell everyone about His Wonderful Deeds. Exult in His Holy Name; Rejoice, you who worship the LORD. Search for the LORD and for His Strength; continually seek Him. Remember the Wonders He has performed, His Miracles, and the Rulings He has given …. ” – Psalms 105:1‭-‬5 NLT

Does it puzzle and perplex you, that people in the midst of great trials can Praise our LORD; can give Thanks to GOD for the situation? Let’s see if we can make it a little less puzzling. For followers of JESUS, we have the perfect example of thankfulness during extreme trials. After all, our trials are a poor imitation of the torture that our LORD endured, or the persecution of the early disciples and believers.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in GOD, and trust also in Me {JESUS}.” – John 14:1 NLT

“….. through Him {JESUS CHRIST} God reconciled everything to Himself. He made Peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s Blood on the cross. I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.” – Colossians 1:20‭, ‬24 NLT

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.” – Luke 23:34 NLT

By giving thanks, and by forgiving those who hurt us, we take away their power over us; we take away the enemy’s power. On my own, it is impossible to be thankful for my situation. In my own mind, forgiving others is absolutely impossible, but here’s the thing. By NOT being thankful and by not offering forgiveness, I’m keeping the wounds in my heart and my mind open. By not letting myself heal, I am allowing in hate and disgust and anger, and these all work to infect and fester. This creates a toxic atmosphere within me, so that I become locked into the prison of my own making. It doesn’t hurt the other people at all!

My thanksgiving doesn’t come because of my goodness, and forgivess is not possible by myself. It is only when we give it all over to our LORD JESUS that we can begin the healing process. It’s a process, a journey to get there. If – no, when – we have an open wound on the outside of our body, or a disease within our physical body, most of us don’t just ignore it and hope for the best. No, we go to a medical practitioner for help in healing, and even though the remedy is often painful, we thank the medical person for getting us onto a healing track. Our inner healing can be the same. It may require painful “surgery” to get rid of the ugliness, but Jesus is known as the Great Physician for a reason! He knows we have to eliminate the bad, and to do that, we have to use the medicine of forgiveness and thanksgiving that we receive through Him and through prayer to the Father. It is absolutely amazing how completely freeing it can be to enlist His help, because when it is humanly impossible to do something (like forgive, or to be thankful), that’s exactly when Jesus can step in and do His best work! I am living proof of the possibilities ….. and I am still healing. Thank You, Jesus, for working miracles in my heart!

WHY Do Christians Act This Way?

Listen to these words from Paul to the church in Corinth, and his plea to God to remove the “thorn” in his flesh:

“Each time {God} said, “My Grace is all you need. My Power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me….. For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9‭, ‬20‭-‬21 NLT

In verse 9, Paul is admitting to his weakness. We don’t know if it was a physical condition or perhaps it was pride, or arrogance? Whatever it was, God uses Paul’s weakness in his ministry. I love that sentence, “My Grace is all you need.” God’s Grace is all I need. Many times in his letters, Paul pleaded with the people to pray for. In many ways today, we do the same thing in prayer requests…. only too many times the prayer chain is used a gossip line. “We need to pray for Brother Tom. He’s struggling in his marriage. He just doesn’t see how good he has it with that wife and business of his. Did you see his new assistant? Why, I would never cheat on my marriage! Mercy, his wife must be a wretch behind closed doors! I just wish I had his good fortune!”

I’ve heard similar stories passed on as “prayer requests” many times. We use the opportunity of a prayer request to grill that person for details. There’s nothing wrong with asking for what specifically they want prayer for, but we really don’t need the details. In my study groups, I have interrupted someone digging for dirt by saying “We don’t need the details because God knows them already, so let’s pray.” and then leading the group in prayer. We all make mistakes in our lives. Even the greatest Christians to ever live were human, are human, and sin. It could be a little lie, and it could be have sex with someone other that your spouse. It could be gossip, or it could even be murder. God doesn’t differentiate between these sins. Sin is sin, period. “…..quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior…… impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.” We are ALL quilty of these things, so be careful of your judgemental attitude!

Yes, I am one of “those people,” and I can only give my LORD the credit for saving me from that lifestyle of self-indulgence and lustfulness. I am not now, nor will I ever be perfect. I am broken, but Jesus has put me back together. I love this quote “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” This doesn’t give me Carte Blanche to think and act however I please today. It actually reminds me of my past and how incredibly loving my God is to love me and forgive me, in spite of myself. It also reminds me of this saying “To whom much is given, much is expected.” God gives us forgiveness along with our salvation. That is HUGE. As Christians, we have been given Eternal Life with our LORD. Shouldn’t we be sharing that, instead of sharing all the dirt? We need to growing together……

Spirit Guide – The REAL Thing

“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ …. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” – Galatians 5:14‭, ‬16 NLT

In New Age teaching, you have a spirit guide to help you through life. How ironic that they have pulled it straight out of the scriptures they despise. For a time in my life when I was very troubled and looking for help, I became involved in that thinking, thanks to a ‘counselor’ I went to who encouraged me to it. She encouraged me in looking at ‘past lives’ – I apparently was a black woman, a slave, during the Civil War – and through this counselor I was introduced to my ‘spirit guide.’ This is what I can tell you about that time: the New Age movement is not about bringing truth and light into your life. Oh, it starts out that way. My ‘spirit guide’ came to me (in my mind) as a beautiful, shining woman, eager to help me on my way. It took a very short time, because I didn’t follow her unquestioning and meekly, before this beauty resorted to her her true form – and it was far from pretty. It (not a ‘she’, as I had thought) morphed into a twisted, ugly imp with ragged teeth and claws instead of fingers and toes. It was unquestionably one of Satan’s followers, whose job was to drag me far enough down that I couldn’t find my way back to my LORD.

Oh, people, I pray you can hear me! If these things can happen to a CHRISTIAN, how much easier is it for unbelievers to be dragged into the pits of hell?? I have experienced hell on earth, and my heart breaks for the millions of people who are sucked into these things every day. The only Spirit Guide we need is the Holy Spirit! GOD Almighty, Creator, as our Father, JESUS CHRIST as our Advocate and our Brother, and the HOLY SPIRIT as our Spirit Guide – this is all we need to truly live, both here on earth and for eternity. It took a miracle to break me out of that life, and I praise GOD for my deliverance. Leaving it, just walking away, isn’t humanly possible. It requires divine intervention, and I am forever grateful for my freedom. Once Satan lures you into his lifestyle, it is so easy to get sucked back into it. This experience was second time becoming involved in it – up front, on the surface, it seems like such a good thing. The enemy wants us trapped in the quicksand of his lies and deception, and he absolutely hates it when someone gets free. He pursues the escapees with all of the vengeance he has, and sends his legions to harass and create difficulties and harm from those people. He throws up roadblocks and puts every enticement in front of us.

Even now, years after, he is out to destroy our lives; my life. I put my Hope and my Trust in my LORD Jesus Christ. He put His Angel Army around me to protect me, and He gave me His Holy Spirit to guide me through the darkness and despair.

“O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. ….. I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your Presence! ….. but even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. ….. Search me, O GOD, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of Everlasting LIFE.” – Psalms 139:1‭,7‭,12‭, ‬23‭-‬24 NLT

HALLELUJAH! My chains are gone! Will you allow Him to release you, today?

Curses On You

Ever had anyone curse you? I don’t just mean foul language, but for someone to say (and mean) for you to go to hell? There are curses when the individual is truly cursing you, like in voodoo, and there are instances where it is done in jest…. although I don’t understand how you can jokingly refer someone to being cursed. I have been cursed at and had curses directed at me, but never have I had someone for years profess to love me, and then to do a 180 and curse me to hell. Disconcerting, at the least. Alarming, to think that someone close to me, to you, would hold that much hate. Instead of focusing on the injury, we need to focus on Jesus’ words:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. ….Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” – Luke 6:27‭-‬31‭, ‬35‭-‬36 NLT

As many of you know, I have harbored grudges and anger and thoughts of revenge against those who have hurt me. All that negative in my life only served as a wedge between me and my God, and it also kept me away from people who genuinely cared for me. Letting the anger fester can kill us, spiritually and physically. The enemy rejoices when we hold on to all that. In my past, I became embroiled in a life of satanic influence, and I tell you the truth, I was within days of dying when I was rescued from it. The curses from that time trailed after me for years, and it is only the intervention of my Lord JESUS that I am alive today. I will forever bear the emotional and physical scars of that time, so that they can be a reminder that Jesus alone will sustain me. Even now, as I have been told to go to hell, I know that Jesus has determined that I need to bless and forgive that person. I cannot do it alone; my compassion fails me. Oh God, how I need you to guide my thoughts and words and actions! My one defense, my righteousness, depends on You, LORD. Blessings on each and everyone who despise me….