Assumption Will Get You NO-Where

When we are little, we make the assumption that our parents and grandparents and family will always love us and protect us. As a young woman, I made the assumption that I would be loved and cherished and provided for by my [first] husband…. and each successive relationship after that. Oh, what a severely flawed assumption! We assume that our babies will outlive us. My parents had assumed that I would finish college… (I didn’t). Especially when we are young, we assume that we will marry the right person and get the right job, the right raises and the right house, and that as a result, life will be good.

How’s that working out for you?

You’ve probably head the phrase, “To Assume make an ass of u (you) and me.” The only safe assumption is the one that is based on reality, and the Truth as found in the Words the Creator:

“I will be Your GOD throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. To whom will you compare Me? Who is My equal? …. Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am GOD! I am GOD, and there is none like Me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. … Listen to Me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!” (Isaiah 46:4‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬13a NLT)

“For the Grace of GOD has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to GOD, …. (Titus 2:11‭-‬12 NLT)

We can’t rely on assumptions to be accurate or to become reality. The ONE thing, the ONLY thing that we can assume and get right is this: Our sins are forgiven when we accept JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOUR; this is a singular TRUTH! We will continue to sin and get things wrong because we are flawed humans…. but when we are covered in His Grace and His Mercy we can know with certainty that we will get to see JESUS face-to-face, and that’s no assumption!

Obedience To No Earthly King

Watching the amazing fairy-tale wedding of the ‘American Princess’ Megan Markle to Prince Harry this morning, I am awed at the pomp and circumstance, the gilt and lace. Royals have long fascinated the American people, and I am no exception. Imaging being a part of a royal family is something many children dream of, being treated with deference and preferential treatment as a royal Prince or Princess. But here’s the thing: as a follower of CHRIST, I am a royal. I have been adopted into the family of the GOD of the Universe, so I am, indeed, a Princess of the highest order of royalty!

I read that 90% of Americans say they believe in God, but they don’t turn to Him when they are in need or in trouble. Have we really become so arrogant, that we consider our decisions and our will better than tne Almighty Creator GOD? We the people of the United States don’t have an earthly king, but wasn’t our country founded with a supernatural King? Our Constitution and our legal tender bear the words “In God We Trust” ….. but do we, really? I things we are more like the country of Israel when it was written about in the book of Judges:

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” – Judges 17:6 NLT

Seems to me that we are doing about as good today as the Israelites were doing then. Idolatry was rampant. There was rape and murder and theft as a matter of everyday life, and it is the same in America today. So many things, and so many people, have replaced the LORD in our lives. America has been struggling for years, becoming more and more morally and ethically compromised, and all of these professing Christians watch – or worse, participate – in the depravity that has become the norm. Our nation, over the past decades, has become a laughing stock to the world. As a people, we have become weak and ineffective. As Christians, people who follow JESUS, we have clear instructions on what we should be doing. We don’t need to show obeisance to any earthly monach (although we should, as a matter of courtesy); we owe obedience to the LORD.

“Then if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

We are fortunate to have elected a leader who isn’t afraid to pray or use the Name of God in praise. Pray for our leaders, that they will stand on the Christian principles that this nation was formed upon, and lead us on their knees.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the LORD, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by GOD. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” – Ephesians 4:1‭-‬2 NLT

Amen.

Guilt Is An UGLY Thing

Guilt is built into us from the moment we begin life. From a two-celled zygote (I remember my high school science!), to a fully-formed baby, to a 100+ year old person, we are guilty of sin. It’s in our DNA, thanks to the decision made millenia ago by the first man and first woman, and it is furthered by our upbringing. ‘You should be ashamed of yourself!’ ‘I can’t believe you would do such a thing.’ Even, ‘You’ll never amount to anything.’ There are hundreds of variations on this theme. Even David, the great and renowned king of Israel, had guilt about his actions. Only one man has ever lived a guilt-free life on this earth, and that man is called Jesus.

“Have Mercy on me, O GOD, because of Your Unfailing Love. Because of Your Great Compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your Judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But You desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O GOD. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your Presence, and don’t take Your HOLY SPIRIT from me.” – Psalms 51:1‭-‬11 NLT

There is a release from guilt that can only come when we surrender it to the LORD. It’s an incredible release to be free from that burden! My prayer today is that whatever guilt you are hanging on to, no matter what it is, you will let it go. It’s never easy, because we are taught guilt from an early age – but it can be done! Sometimes, too, guilt is caught up in unforgiveness, which makes it doubly difficult to shed. We need to remember that forgivess, or asking for forgiveness, is what we have to do in order to gain freedom ftom guilt. Read David’s song as your prayer today.

Listen to Natalie Grant sing “More Than Anything.”

Morning Has Broken….

…. to a misty, watery sunlight with intermittent rain showers. The mockingbird on the neighbor’s roof is amplified and sounds like it is broadcasting to the world. It rained a bit last night; just enough to get the ground wet and cool us off to a more spring-like temperature. It’s the kind of morning that makes me wish for a screened sleeping porch, so we could just laze and enjoy. Indoors, work beckons, but for now, I am resisting. The pups are finally okay with coming outside after the thundering of last nights storm.

A few years ago, a lightning strike and the gigantic corresponding clap of thunder right next to us made it feel as though the house jumped in surprise. It blew out the power, and a small ball of fire burst out of the fireplace. Since then, the little one hides whenever there is thunder, even when it is barely discernable to me. He refuses to go outside, preferring to cower under something inside ….. which leads to another problem. Little dogs, no matter the pedigree or background, have to go out more frequently than the bigger ones. Consequently, I got up this morning to several puddles on my newly cleaned kitchen floor. 🤔 Just like having a 2 year old without a diaper ….. Good thing they are so (stinkin’) cute. 😜

As pleasant as my morning is (except the pee-puddles!), there are hundreds of thousands who wake to a really broken morning. A home missing a parent – or both parents. Dealing with a recent loss of a loved one, especially losing a child. Homeless, hungry. Forsaken by a spouse, or worse, beaten and abused. Devastation from wildfires or floods or volcanos. Hopeless, desperate, depressed. I’ve known some of these, and I am grateful for my home and my place in this world. I count myself among the blessed because I have friends and family who care.

Most of all, I am Blessed because I know JESUS. He is the Morning Star, the Hope that gets me up in the morning. I’ve tried life without Him, and it can be passable, but it is lacking. How did I make it without the Hope, the Grace, and above all, the Mercy of my LORD? How? I’d have to say, very poorly. Because of Him, I have the pedigree of a princess. From commoner to royalty, I have been lifted up into the bloodline of the KING of kings, LORD of Lords, Creator and Ruler of the universe. What bloodline or pedigree can compare to that?

People Laughing….

Laughing. Crying. Stony faces, worried faces, blank faces. Fat people, skinny people. Lackadaisical. Proud. Strutting, shuffling, confident. Glowing, pale, broken, bruised. Lazing around, pushing stridently through the crowds. Sleepy. Jittery. Miserable. Happy.

People watching is an interesting hobby. Trying to guess what is behind each expression, each action is fascinating. So many postures, so many expressions. My favorites are the laughing faces when they connect a couple or a group, and especially when they involve children. Children are the most expressive with their emotions worn on their sleeves. I love watching, and listening, to a child’s laughter. There’s something contagious about a baby or a child as they giggle and laugh. Nothing sweeter.

Sometime, try going to a crowded place and taking a seat on the sidelines (but not a sports event!). Don’t speak, just smile and nod as people glance at you. Pay particular attention to the little ones. Wiggle your fingers in a hello to them, and smile. Most likely you will be rewarded with a wave back, or a least a toothy grin. When we smile at people, it’s difficult for most of them not to smile, or grin, back. If you are having a bad day, however that is defined for you, look in a mirror and smile. For one, smiling takes less muscles than a frown. For another, it takes years off your appearance. When your world is falling apart, regardless of the why, remember David’s prayer:

“Have Mercy on me, O GOD, because of Your Unfailing LOVE. Because of Your Great Compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” – Psalms 51:1‭-‬2 NLT

“Yours, O LORD, is the Greatness, the Power, the GLORY, the Victory, and the Majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O LORD, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One Who is over all things.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT

Isn’t that plea, that prayer, enough to bring a smile to your face, and to cause laughter to bubble up inside? From experience, I can say that it is only by GOD’s Mercy and Grace that I can laugh or smile at all. My laughter comes from the LOVE, from His Forgiveness when He washed away my guilt. God loves to hear us laugh in our freedom!

Photo credit: Trudnoco.hr

Lies, Deceits, Untruths

“Rescue me, O LORD, from liars and from all deceitful people.” – Psalms 120:2 NLT

I’m angry.

Nope. Try again.

I’m ANGRY!!

Better…..

One lie I’ve heard over and over is that we are where we are by our own choices. NO. I did NOT choose for my late husband to spiral into a pain-filled opioid addiction, exacerbated by VA doctors, which led to increasingly irrational, irresponsible, erratic, and dangerous thinking, and ultimately his death. I did NOT choose to lose our business as a result of his illness. I’m angry because he left me here alone, to deal with life on my own. I’m angry because he lied to me when he said he wouldn’t leave me, that we would face the world together. Even 20 years later, the hurt sometimes tries to overwhelm me.

Nope, it’s just not right. How can we pledge “to have and to hold … for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part,” never knowing when sickness will strike? When death will take our partner? We did them all, but death? Death is too final. When we say those vows, I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority don’t even register the ‘death’ part. I didn’t, because I knew he wouldn’t leave me alone. He pledged all those things to me, but it wasn’t true. He did leave me. I guess I lied to him, too, because I put my physical safety over him and left him to face his last year on this earth, alone. I’m angry about that, too. I deserted him when he needed me most.

Most of all, I’m angry at the serpent, the belly-dragging, dirt- eating deceitful creature we know as the enemy. The father of lies, the false accuser, adversary…. I won’t even give him the satisfaction of saying his name here. This lowest of the low, this creature introduced lies and deceits, trickery and untruths, ugliness and evil, into our world. He resorts to these tactics to pull us away from GOD. I’m angry at the illnesses, the evil, the creature has introduced into our beautiful world. The Liar has perfected his methods over the millennium to the point where he knows what to do to cause us to doubt GOD; to doubt the TRUTH that JESUS is LORD, and that the HOLY SPIRIT will carry us out the muck of lies, deceitfulness, and untruths…. IF we allow Him to.

I find the strength to forgive Ron through the work of the LORD in my life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. Sometimes, like today, as I reflect on my life, I remember the anger and sorrow and the feeling of being deserted, even before he died, because of the illness and addiction. I miss him and the things we shared; the laughter and the adventurous spirit, the incredible talents he had. I miss his willingness (and patience!) to work with me, to answer my questions, and teach me. I miss his strength, and I miss his presence. I don’t miss the frustrations of his illness and addictions.

Jesus said, “Get away from Me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to Me….” – Matthew 16:23 NLT

Thank You, JESUS, for putting the deceiver behind me! Listen to “Point to You by” sung by We Are Messengers at https://g.co/kgs/eJqUCB

Overwhelmed By You, LORD

Big Daddy Weave sings,

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

We are faced with problems on a daily basis, some as trivial as what to wear or frustration with our hair, others huge and in our faces like dealing with cancer or another life-threatening issue. (I HATE cancer!) Honestly – and I’m preaching to the choir here – the idea of being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming. Two of my five siblings are currently living with cancer and one is considered cancer-free at last (that’s three out of six…. what are the odds?) I’ve had several procedures to remove pre-cancerous cells. When you hear the word ‘cancer’, the ‘Big C’, in the same sentence as your name, it is overwhelming, and NOT in a good way! How do we deal with such a diagnosis?

Having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, waking up the loss or paralyzation of limbs; a special needs child with illness, losing your livelihood…. the list goes on and on, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are many overwhelming things in our lives, many without cures or solutions, so how do we deal with them? Natalie Grant sings “Help me want the Healer, not the healing….” I want to be overwhelmed by GOD, not life. Is it even possible? Yes, absolutely. Letting go isn’t easy. Holding tight to the problem, we think we can control the outcome. We think that we can eliminate the problem; we rely on doctors to solve the issue. Only the LORD, the GOD Who created everything, can take away our pain.

“The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.” – Psalms 34:17‭-‬19 NLT

GOD doesn’t always provide an earthly cure to whatever is causing our pain. What He gives us is Peace; something that can’t easily be explained in words. I certainly can’t describe it adequately. Look into the eyes of someone who is at peace in spite of their circumstance, and you see someone who has JESUS in their heart; someone who is overwhelmed by GOD, and in the arms of the Healer. You do know that Jesus is called the Great Physician, right? He can take away our fears and our frustrations, if we allow it.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

(Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, 2001)