One day

Have you heard Jeremy Camp sing “There Will Be A Day”? It begins like this:

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end…..”

There are days when my head and body ache, and my eyes are gritty like they are full of sand. I’m tired. My mind wants to shut down and sleep, but instead of rest, the instant my head hits the pillow my brain is caught up in a maelstrom and swirls around in an avalanche of random thoughts. I want to get up and go and do things, but the wind sucks away all of my strength. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. My desire is to fight, but life weighs so heavily on me.

“Fight the good fight for the True Faith. Hold tightly to the Eternal Life to which GOD has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Am I alone in feeling this way?

All I have to do is open a social media site, or turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a paper to see the misery and anguish that permeates society. We are surrounded by complaining, grasping, whiny people, who often drown out the muffled cries of the ones dealing with real suffering and tragedy. No, I don’t count myself as someone who has real cause to cry. Most of my issues, physical and emotional, can be attributed to decisions I’ve made without waiting for GOD’s answer.

The song goes on to say But I hold on to this HOPE and the Promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering…”

I pray that when things, when life, looks and feels hopeless, you will raise your eyes and look to JESUS. He walks beside us, and He will carry us when we need it. He will take our burdens if we’ll just let go of them – picture this: your hand is gripping the handle of your baggage, then loosen your fingers and move your hand away from it…. Flex your fingers. It feels so good, not having to lug that heavy load!

I long for the day when JESUS returns and the enemy is conquered, because then we will have a new heaven and a new earth; a place where GOD Himself willwipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelations 21:4 ESV

Conclusion? Life sucks sometimes. I can blame others, I can claim victim status and vie for sympathy, or I can lay myself and my burdens at the foot of the cross of JESUS, and carry on with His help. What will it be for you? What a friend we have in JESUS! Amen!

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)

My Happy Place

The ocean calls to me with the rhythm of the tides as they ebb and flow. It’s something inexplicable; a feeling deep in my being. The sound of the surf breaking, the distinct smell of saltwater, the wind blowing in from the water, the incessant sound of seagulls….. it all serves to ground me; it’s my Happy Place. I’ve heard many people express their dislike of the sea, saying that it’s humid, noisy, dirty. Oh, the sea can be those things, but it is so much more. There’s a primal quality with the tides; a siren song as they call to our innermost beings. I’ve read that the sea is a harsh mistress, and I can understand that, but it can be a gentle lover, too, caressing and soothing. When I am at the ocean, and I experience the tide continuing it’s course, inexorably constant, the outgoing tide washes away my stress and worries while the incoming tide brings peace and contentment.

The tide is an apt analogy for how GOD works. When we accept Him, He washes us and caresses us with the gentlest tides. He washes away my cares when I rest in Him, while bringing serenity and peace into my life. The enemy throws storms at us, sending huge tides and monstrous waves at us, trying to wash us away – our LORD is our Anchor in the riptides and the maelstroms of life; without Him, we become like the wrecks at the bottom of the sea. Jesus said,

“I tell you the Truth, those who listen to My Message and believe in GOD who sent Me have Eternal Life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 NLT

“This Hope is a strong and trustworthy Anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into GOD’s Inner Sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:19 NLT

Care To Elaborate On That?

“Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and Assurance about what we do not see. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at GOD’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:1‭, ‬3 NIV

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your GOD will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

Faith. Dictionary.com describes it as a “strong and unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence.” ( I think someone who was creating words and definitions in the early 1200’s was very familiar with the scriptures. ) When we have real Faith; a strong belief in GOD, it is easier to be strong and courageous in our lives. Easier, not easy. But, how, you ask? Where does Faith come in? How do I get faith? First, you must believe firmly that there is a God, ONE GOD, the Supreme Being, the One Who created the Universe. ( Go back to Hebrews 11:3b …. and Genesis, esp chapter 1 ) It shouldn’t be too difficult to believe in GOD, as even Satan and his followers believe in the One True GOD. They are, however, sadly misguided and mistaken as to who will win in the end. If you are curious, read the Revelations of John, especially chapters 20-22. ( They are awesome! )

You must believe that JESUS was more than a ‘good man’ or a prophet….. He was those things, only this is what He really was – and IS – He is the Son of the Most High, the Living GOD, part of the Triune GOD, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Believe that JESUS left heaven and came to earth to live as a human, to be brutally murdered upon the cross so that His Blood would cover our sins forever, and to conquer death and rise up from the grave after three days. He did all of this for me, as if I were the only human to ever live, and He did it for you, as though no one else but you existed. – ” ‘No one has ever gone into heaven except the ONE Who came from heaven – the SON OF MAN. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the SON OF MAN must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’ For GOD so Loved the world that He gave His One and Only SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have Eternal LIFE.” – John 3:13‭-‬16 NIV

It is through belief that we find faith, and it is belief in the LORD JESUS CHRIST as our Saviour that we receive the Faith and Peace to make it through this life. It is through Him that we receive the Joy that goes alongside the Belief and Faith that JESUS will ultimately conquer sin and death, and the HOPE of being externally with Him.

“And it is impossible to please GOD without Faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that GOD exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 NLT

“Growth is how we partner with GOD to make life count, to give life purpose.” Elizabeth Laing Thompson, http://www.LizzyLife.com

AMEN.

Oh, Give Me Back My JOY Again

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of GOD’s Armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of Truth and the body armor of GOD’s Righteousness. For shoes, put on the Peace that comes from the GOOD NEWS so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on Salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD of GOD. Pray in the SPIRIT at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” – Ephesians 6:12‭-‬18 NLT

“Oh, give me back my JOY again; You have broken me – now let me rejoice. Create in me a clean heart, O GOD. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” – Psalms 51:8‭, ‬10 NLT

I have to share this devotional from the NIV Ragamuffin Bible:

“A profound mystery: GOD becomes a SLAVE. This implies very specifically that God wants to be known through servanthood. Such is GOD’s own self-disclosure.
Thus, when Jesus describes His return in Glory at the end of the world, He says, “It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes. Truly I tell you, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them” (Luke 12:37).

Jesus remains LORD by being a servant.

The beloved disciple presents a mind-bending image of God, blowing away all previous conceptions of who the Messiah is and what discipleship is all about.
What a scandalous and unprecedented reversal of the world’s values! To prefer to be the servant rather than the lord of the household is the path of downward mobility in an upwardly mobile culture.
To taunt the idols of prestige, honor and recognition, to refuse to take oneself seriously or to take seriously others who take themselves seriously, to dance to the tune of a different drummer and to freely embrace the servant lifestyle — these are the attitudes that bear the stamp of authentic discipleship.”

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your FATHER already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of GOD above all else, and He will give you everything you need.” – Luke 12:29‭-‬31 NLT

Can I get an Amen? These are POWERFUL words!

Royal Military College of Canada memorial window Sir Lancelot wearing the whole Armour of God

Wait. What??? I Have Questions!!!

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is. Albert Camus

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation – so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my Fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” – Psalms 27:1, 14
“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. 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.” – Romans 15:4‭-‬5 NLT

I ran into a brick wall this week. The rug was pulled out from under me. (Figuratively, not literally.)

A month ago, after 2 long years of seaching and interviewing, I had a job offer – which I accepted – with the understanding that I was having shoulder surgery and would be unable to start work for several weeks. I was told to take the time I needed to heal, and the job would be there waiting for me whenever I could start. It seemed like a perfect fit; I was looking forward to the opportunity. When I called to let them know I was ready to begin at the first of this week, I was told they hired someone else, but – ‘nothing personal’. (There was no mention of this when I had called the previous 2 weeks….).

What? Whoa.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around this setback. What does GOD want from me? He knows my situation, financial and physical, how stretched I am, so why would he remove this from me? A Christian business; one where the staff hold the same values and principles as me. A place where I fit.

Obviously, GOD has something else in mind for me. “…. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” GOD says Wait.” Wait? Again? Still? Really? What gives, LORD? Why? I know that my GOD “gives patience and encouragement….” but, why? Could You send me an email or a fax, LORD? Maybe some sky-writing? As I ask these questions, I remember He has sent me the information I need. The Bible has it all. His Word. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.).

I don’t know how this will all work out, but I trust the One Who does. With all the chaos and mess in your life, where do you put your trust? Is it in the One Who offers Light and Protection from danger, or do you put your trust in yourself, giving the enemy control? To paraphrase Alfred Camus, I’d rather live my life anticipating eternity with my LORD, than spend eternity finding out I was wrong.

Listen to Tauren Wells “When We Pray.” Powerful!