I Shot The Law and The Law Shot Me

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers….. ” – 1 Timothy 1:8‭-‬9 NIV

Life lessons taught when I was a child: Obey the law. Respect the office of those charged with making and enforcing the laws, regardless of what you may think of the person in the position. As American’s, whether by birth or immigration status or naturalized, we have unprecedented freedoms and riches in this world. We have laws designed to lift up and protect us, and each one of us gets to choose the who, what, how, and when we obey them. By our choices, we get the consequences of our decisions and actions.

Whatever country we occupy, there are laws to be obeyed and officials to be respectful of. For every human law, GOD’S Law supersedes it with a divine directive. As Paul wrote to Timothy, the laws aren’t made for the people who obey the law, GOD’S Law. Laws are made for the lawbreakers. Here on earth, the thought of having to live in prison is enough to keep me (for the most part!) on the right side of the law. Our choices with GOD’S Law, the consequences of breaking His Law, determines our eternity, and I certainly don’t want to spend eternity in the prison of hell! Living the Ten Commandments is a good thing, but just doing that still isn’t enough to keep me out of there. GOD provided us with a way to be with Him, and it is a simple decision; a choice that should be easy but often isn’t.

I wonder about that, but then again, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me. Looking around at the overcrowded jails and prisons and the crammed full court dockets, it becomes apparent that many people have made the choice to disobey the laws of the land. There are millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age with no funds to live on, because we were immersed in living for the present. If it is so easy to choose to take a chance for a future that is imminent, then I suppose it is even easier to ignore a future that you can’t imagine. I hope that my writing will encourage you to take a closer look at your future, immediate and long term.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of GOD! How unsearchable His Judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” – Romans 11:33 NIV

Choose CHRIST today and assure your future, immediate, long-term, and for eternity!

Making My Plans

“(1-3) We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

(8-9) Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

(16) How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!

(19) Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.

(33) We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.” – Proverbs 16:1‭-‬3‭3 NLT

I see a pattern here. My plan was to marry a man who would take care of me, who would cherish me and provide for me and our children. My plan was for a White Knight, a Prince on his charger to sweep me off my feet, and we would live happily ever after. Ha. Then reality set in. My ‘Knight’, turned out to be controlling, abusive, and unfaithful. Some ‘Prince’. To prove just how stubborn I could be, and because I didn’t believe in divorce, I stayed with him for most of 8 years. When I finally had enough, I left him, and promptly fell for another ‘Prince’. He made so many promises, only to break them all, and my broken heart was just collateral damage to him. Still thinking I could make better decisions than GOD, I married my best friend. He had a daughter, and was still emotionally tied to her mother. Not the way to start a marriage, but a good way to end one.

A couple of years passed, and a good friend from my past contacted me. Ron was divorced, too, and our friendship thrived and became a deep love. We were involved in the local church, we had adventures and loved life together. GOD was important to us, but He wasn’t number One all of the time. With Ron, I knew I was loved, and I was confident he wouldn’t leave me. He was far from perfect, but then, so am I. We had a number of good years, then an injury brought in drugs and addiction. I had to leave for my physical safety, and it broke my heart. Of course, I blamed GOD for not keeping him – and me – safe.

I became entangled in another relationship, and another, and another. I was searching so hard for another ‘Prince’ of this world, I was neglecting the True Prince, the Prince of heaven, JESUS. Even though I was attending church, I felt judged and condemned by my peers, and eventually left that church because of it. Another broken relationship. I was batting 1000 with my plans and decisions! There was a recovery program at my sister’s church, and I began to attend it. Not for me, of course, but for my new husband …. another one of my plans, to redeem him. He couldn’t handle the program, because he would have to stop using drugs and alcohol and sex outside of our marriage. He bounced back in and out of my life for almost three years. I found out that the program was for me, and I began to rely on my LORD, my JESUS, rather than my husband – who was completely unreliable. My pastor told me several times that once I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I would do something about it …… and until I reached that point, I shouldn’t complain. Harsh? Perhaps, but it was – and is – the truth. My husband was arrested and was tried for a horrific crime, and my breaking point was when he confessed to me that it was true. He went to prison (for life, I pray), and I immersed myself in recovery.

I’m very cautious now about making plans. Everything gets prayed about, and although I don’t always get the answer I want, I’m working on accepting them. Yes, no, or wait ….. it’s not an easy thing to wait on the LORD, and I’m sure I don’t always hear Him correctly. I think that when I don’t get a clear yes or no, the answer is to wait, and I am not very good at waiting! Sometimes I find myself feeling anger at Ron for falling into his addiction and allowing it to tear apart our life together, and then dying on me. We were supposed to grow old together! No matter what we plan, or how well we plan, things – and people – go wrong. In the Scottish poem “To A Mouse,” Robert Burns writes:

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Yep, the best plans go awry….. It’s certainly been proved right in my life! Whatever the plan, no matter how small or how big, it will go better if we let GOD have the reins. We may think we’ve got it handled, but I know from experience that whatever we do, it’s always better when we include GOD in the process!

(from TV Tropes ….. )

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.

Oops.

“….. make every effort to respond to GOD’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” – 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬9 NLT

Sidewalk Prophets have a song called “Come to the Table,” that has a line that says “Come meet this motley crew of misfits…. ” Doesn’t that just ring true for about any group of Christians coming together? I wonder, why is is that people who claim to follow CHRIST, people who are Christians, are so harsh on people who are broken? How is it possible to go from utterly broken sinner to self-righteous judgemental ‘Christian’? When we become that person; when we do life our way, are we truly in love with our Saviour? No matter how hard we try, we will always fail when we try to do life on our own. Doesn’t it mean we are taking on the role of GOD when we don’t defer to Him? If you are able, read the book of Romans, especially chapter 12, because it is laid out very clearly how CHRIST-followers should live.

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of GOD. For the Scriptures say, “I WILL TAKE REVENGE; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.” – Romans 12:17‭, ‬19 NLT ( Deuteronomy 32:35 )

When we take on the role of judge and jury, deciding on our own what we can do to that person to punish them and get revenge, we sink to the enemy’s level. He – Satan – wants us to be judgemental. He wants us to be ugly to others, because it takes us away from our LORD. Even if we get physical revenge, we hurt ourselves much, much more than the person we do it to. Forgive them, pray for them, and rather than ‘getting even’ with them, do this instead:

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:20‭-‬21 NLT ( Proverbs 25:21-22 )

We may not see the ‘heaping coals’ on their heads in this life, but GOD will punish them. He will also punish me, and you, for the judgement, revenge, and evil thoughts we have had on our enemies ( and I am guilty, guilty, GUILTY! ). Not a great thought, but this blog is about telling the truth, and the ULTIMATE TRUTH is this: JESUS will return and vanquish the enemy, once and for all, and then GOD the FATHER will sit in judgement of every one of us. I’m so far from perfect, and I am such a sinner, facing the ALMIGHTY GOD should – and does – have me scared and shaking. I can’t think about the judgement I should receive, or the judgement I deserve, but I can think on this: When that time comes – and it is coming, no doubt about it – I don’t have to face it alone! Because of the sacrifice JESUS made, and because I have given my life to Him, He will be my Advocate, my Saviour, showing GOD the FATHER where my name is written in His Blood in the Book of Life. Are you in it, too? I pray it is! I can’t even contemplate or consider what happens to those who aren’t represented by JESUS, with their names written in the Book. I pray that you aren’t an ‘oops,’ left out for eternity.

( Picture credit to Lamb and Lion Ministry )

No Worries

I find myself fretting about the future. My future. According to society, I should be at a place in my life where I could retire and just enjoy life. That’s not happening. Many years filled with poor decisions have kept my coffers empty, and as a result I fret and worry about how I will afford to live as I grow older. I’m not alone, either. There are hundreds of thousands of baby boomers in the same situation. Does knowing this, and fretting about this, improve the situation any? Sadly, no. Wishing it were different doesn’t make the worry go away, and the stress of the continual fretting and worry shows in our words and our actions. Paul reminds us that as followers of CHRIST, in everything we say or do, we need to remain aware of the people watching us.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks through Him to GOD the FATHER.” – Colossians 3:17 NLT

If I say that I am a Christian, a follower of JESUS CHRIST, yet I fret and worry about my circumstance – what message does that send to the people around me? If I curse because something or someone has opposed me or offended me – how does this behavior reflect on my LORD? Growing up as preacher’s kids, my siblings and I had many restrictions on where we could go and what we could do because the congregation was always watching. No movies, no dances, no parties outside of the church ‘crowd’. Of course we felt terribly restricted and put-upon at the time, but as I matured I came to understand my Dad’s reasoning. Anything, everything, we said or did reflected on him as a pastor, and he was the representative of CHRIST for our immediate family – and the church family; even the community.

That’s a heavy burden!

I think this verse today really reflects the way my Dad tried to live. It needs to be a touchstone for all professing Christians, not just our church leaders. Can I honestly say today that everything I say and do is a good reflection on my Saviour? No, but regardless, it is all said and done as a representative of CHRIST. More time needs to be spent giving thanks, and less time fretting or worrying. When I catch myself beginning to fret, I need to look at this reminder….

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks through Him to GOD the FATHER.” – Colossians 3:17 NLT

…. and say Thank You, LORD. Amen.

Revenge

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT

Oh, I struggle with this verse sometimes! I know, I know. The LORD says that HE will be the avenger, and that we don’t get to (or need to) exact revenge because He will do it for us.

“The LORD says, ‘Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, a nd their destiny will overtake them.’ ” – Deuteronomy 32:34‭-‬35 NLT

The question for you today is this: how do you handle it when you have been wronged? The driver who cuts us off; the line-cutter at the coffeehouse or the movies; the snarky coworker …. the person who stole your identity? (This list could fill pages!) The point is, do we let it go, or do we drop to their level and get in their face? I was a ‘get-in-your-face’ person for years, aggressive and intimidating. When someone crossed me, I could get ugly, fast. Was it effective? Sometimes, but even being the ‘victor’ didn’t make me feel good about it for long. Guilt gnawed at me….. but I was in the right! Why should it bother me? Why, indeed.

We know right from wrong. When we take the task of revenge into our own hands, we are declaring that we know better than the LORD. That’s a pretty dicey declaration. Think about it, and listen to Mandisa sing “Bleed the Same.”

Gotta let go of the junk in order to enjoy the Peace of our LORD.

Forgiven

Listen to Crowder sing ‘Forgiven’ – Powerful!

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 NLT

I am not perfect. I am flawed, broken, and sinful…. and I am forgiven. Forgiven for every bad thing, every sinful thought, every flawed decision I’ve made. Being human, I have followed in the footsteps of the first couple, thinking I could run my life better than the Creator GOD. I almost had it right, but I left something out. You see, when you say ‘I can run my life just fine,’ you are putting an ‘i’ in the word, making ‘run’ become ‘ruin.’ But – how can GOD find the time to deal with my issues when there are millions upon mlllions of other people who have real problems that need help? Besides all of us, there is the entire universe for Him to deal with! What can I say? The Omnipotent, omnipresent LORD, King of all kings, cares about us. He cares about me. Listen to what JESUS said:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only GOD, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matthew 10:28‭-‬29‭, ‬31 NLT – In Luke 12, JESUS also says “…. the very hairs on your head are all numbered ….”

Even though I am forgiven; despite my brokenness, JESUS wants me to follow the Father’s Commandments. Does He want me to give up everything to follow Him; to be rigid in my following of the Ten Commandments given to Moses? After all, GOD gave the to us. I love how my Saviour simplified the Ten and all of the laws into Two Commandments.

“Loving GOD means keeping His Commandments, and His Commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 NLT

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the First and Greatest Commandment. A Second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 NLT

Are you forgiven? Do you LOVE the LORD? Accept Him and Proclaim Him – Find your Freedom in CHRIST JESUS today! ☝️