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.” “

Discouraged, Sad?

Why do we walk around discouraged? Why are we sad? When we remind ourselves of God’s Truth, we should realize that we have no reason – none, zero, zilch! – to be anything but joyful. When I get down, whether because of circumstances or a poor choice and it’s consequences, my friend likes to say to me: “Who’s in control?” Who do you think is in control?

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:14 NLT

I can always answer “Not me!” because I know the Truth of Who is in control. He lets us drive until we voluntarily hand it over to Him. He’s a gentleman and won’t ever force us to choose Him.

“This is the message of Good News: There is peace with GOD through JESUS CHRIST, Who is LORD of ALL.” Acts 10:36 NLT

Life is SO much simpler when we let God “drive”!!

“Honor the LORD, you heavenly beings ; honor the LORD for His Glory and Strength. Honor the LORD for the Glory of His Name. Worship the LORD in the Splendor of His Holiness. The Voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The GOD of Glory Thunders. The LORD Thunders over the mighty sea. The Voice of the LORD is Powerful; the Voice of the LORD is Majestic. The Voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; He makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The Voice of the LORD strikes with bolts of lightning. The Voice of the LORD makes the barren wilderness quake; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The Voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In His Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The LORD rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as KING Forever. The LORD gives His people Strength. The LORD Blesses them with Peace.” – Psalms 29:1‭-‬11 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……

Do You CLUTCH?

From the Google dictionary:

clutch

verb : to grasp or seize (something) tightly or eagerly.
noun : a tight grasp or an act of grasping something.

To clutch the Lord … that’s what I see Paul saying in these verses.

“We should help others do what is right and build them up in the LORD. For even Christ didn’t live to please Himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult You, O GOD, have fallen on Me.” (Psalm 69:9) May GOD, who gives this Patience and Encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of CHRIST JESUS. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving Praise and Glory to GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that GOD will be given Glory. I pray that GOD, the Source of Hope, will fill you completely with Joy and Peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the Power of the Holy Spirit. I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.” – Romans 15:2‭-‬3‭, ‬5‭-‬7‭, ‬13-14 NLT

We need to clutch our Saviour, in order to live as He would have us. Without Jesus, we are as seeds or leaves: “The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here.” – Psalms 103:16 NLT

I can only speak for myself, but I want to know that I am more valuable in the universe than just a piece of trash, blowing wherever the wind blows. I am fickle and have difficulty holding to one thing or another, and without a shadow of doubt, I recognize that the only way to survive this world is by clutching JESUS and holding Him in my heart. When I allow Him to be with me and in me, I am most valuable. It is only through Christ and the Holy Spirit that I become capable of truly helping others. We can feed people, provide jobs and shelter, and even preach to others when we are outside of GOD and His will, but in truth, we are only as a clanging symbol if we do it all without the Love of the LORD. (From Matt Redmond’s “If I Have Not Love” and I Corinthians 13:1-3)

If I don’t have the Love of Jesus clutched to my heart, then really, nothing we do matters. Tough Truth.

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!

I Am In Need… or, I Am Needy

“O GOD, You are my GOD; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your Power and Glory. Your unfailing Love is better than life itself; how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of Joy.” – Psalms 63:1‭-‬5 NLT

I want to be like David, satisfied with nothing more than God’s Love, but I am too much in need…… or too needy?….. to be satisfied with the best thing available in this world. And it is a GIFT; freely given to us by the Almighty, the gift of His Faithfulness and Sacrifice and His Love. A gift so rich that not all of the billionaires and millionaires joining all of their resources can even begin to compete with. And our LORD wants us to have it with zero cost. How can that be? WHY can we not be satisfied with such a priceless, unmatchable gift?

GOD saved you by His GRACE when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a Gift from GOD.” – Ephesians 2:8 NLT

I think we aren’t satisfied because it is incomprehensible to us. Bill Gates, or Donald Trump, or George Soros could gift me with mansions and property, vehicles, and a trust fund to carry me effortlessly through life, and yet all that doesn’t even come close to the Gift of GOD’S Love. Incomprehensible, incomparable, …… unbelievable? For far too many people, GOD’S incredible Gift is exactly that – unbelievable. A deity that we cannot see or touch wants to give me Life? They can’t understand it, so they reject Him.

“He was despised and rejected— a Man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” – Isaiah 53:3 NLT

Oh, for the faith of Paul, who was jailed for his faith, yet continued his testifying, and his encouraging letters to other believers, in spite of his confinement and suffering. How many of us would continue teaching and preaching while held in chains? “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!” ” – Acts of the Apostles 18:9 NLT

Will you be like Peter, whom JESUS called the Rock, or will we be as dry grass when the Judgment occurs?

“Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the Law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the HOLY ONE of Israel.” – Isaiah 5:24 NLT