Safe….?

“(10) The Name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe. (14) The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? (19) An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. (24) There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:19‭, ‬24 NLT

A crushed spirit. That’s what happens in a relationship and a marriage when one leaves, physically or emotionally. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to study on this; too many opportunities. Currently, I find myself again feeling betrayed by a friend, a person I took at his word that he would not abandon me. A crushed spirit. Knowing a person for almost 20 years, being friends and going through good and bad times, helping each other through emotional times, doesn’t guarantee anything. I wanted to believe the best, but everyone lets down their friends at times. Why do we do this? Why make promises we know we won’t keep? Why do we lead others on, letting them believe something in error? Safe? No, there isn’t anyone on earth who is safe, who won’t disappoint you.

No matter how long or how much effort we put into the study of human behaviour, I believe we will always be disappointed, simply because we are human and full of flaws. Knowing that, studying that, doesn’t make it any easier to get past the hurt. The only way to really get past it, to find forgiveness for those who hurt us – and that includes forgiving myself for the hurt I have caused myself and others – and that way, the only way, is through Jesus Christ. Can I still forgive while being treated with disrespect and disdain? Do I want to? I study the scriptures for guidance, because I cannot find forgiveness in my heart. Instead I find sarcasm and anger flooding me, along with the hurt and the disappointment. All of those feelings come straight from the enemy, and they don’t help me at all. In fact, if I let them go, these negative thoughts and feelings can overcome and actually, physically, cause me to be ill.

With Jesus, and through the healing of the Holy Spirit, I can get through this. Study the words of Jesus for forgiveness. He taught us this: “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:15 NLT

Jesus was betrayed by a friend, a close friend who He loved, one who gave Him over to be tortured and killed in the most horrific ways know to man…. and before He died, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34 NLT

Even while dying; beaten, bruised, and humiliated, Jesus forgave us. Are we beater than the Son of God, that we can hold judgement and unforgiveness over another person? Let the chains of hatred, unforgiveness, anger, and hurt go. Let God have it. He can handle it.

You’re A Fool… Or No, It’s Me.

Will the prayer I am praying change anyone else’s life besides mine? Be careful with your words!! Am I praying for revenge on someone for hurting me, or am I thanking God for my blessings? Do I ask the LORD to bless those who have caused problems for me, or am I cursing them while asking God to bless me?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:1-2,4

Will Rogers said it pretty well, I thought: “It is better for some one to think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” My Mom always said “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything.” Lately, I find myself struggling to keep my mouth shut, and harsh words regarding the most recent hurt slip out instead. Thank God I am a work in progress!

I especially like this sentence: “The soothing tongue is a tree of life…” Think about that! A tree of life. We can do more damage with our tongue than with a knife, because wounds of the spirit are difficult to heal – I know, because I lashed out for years, hurting others because of the pain I felt. I will forever have to guard my tongue in this life. There is only ONE Healer for your wounded, broken spirit, and that is Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. Through Him, and Him alone, are my wounds healed. He can bring healing to you as well, and through your healing, you can reach out to to those you have hurt. In the 12 Step programs, it’s called making amends.

  • Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

In our lives, we will have to work these steps over and over. I have opportunities to ask for forgiveness. Most are graciously accepted, but there will always be those that are not accepted. I also have opportunities to forgive – and when I forgive, or struggle with forgiveness, I gain understanding of the consequences of hurt I inflict on others. In some instances, we will need much more than an apology. We need to make a physical or monetary amends in some cases. Sometimes it is impossible to forgive, and that is when I give it to the Great Physician so that He can work His healing power. Revenge for things people say and do is for GOD to deal out, not for us to do.

So be careful of your words. Even in jest, we can (and do!) hurt others.

Debt and Debtors

I’m not talking about debt we owe to banks or credit credit card companies. Today, i was convicted by a this story that Jesus told to His followers.

“Then Peter came to Him and asked, “LORD, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” – Matthew 18:21‭-‬35 NLT

Money is a very touchy subject, and obviously has been for millennia. There are individuals who have taken advantage of me in the past, and who owe me thousands of dollars. I have been holding on to the debt and tne paperwork for years, determined to somehow collect it. As I read this parable, I was again struck by the final sentence. Even though I am completely unworthy of any forgiveness, or any Mercy or Grace from my LORD, I desire forgiveness from Him with all of my being. I know, without any doubt, that I have received the Salvation of Jesus Christ, I have a healthy respect for the LORD and His Judgment. I don’t want Him to see that I have harboured resentment against anyone who I believe owe me a debt. I don’t want Him to find forgiveness in my heart when I face Him.

To that end, today I am determined to go through my files and destroy any paperwork on people who “owe” me. As for those whom I owe, I beg the indulgence of time in order to repay them. Forgiveness is hard, but it is possible through the Holy Spirit working in me. Left to my own thoughts and feelings, forgiveness would never happen. I turn to Christ. As the Father has forgiven me, LORD, I plead for a forgiving heart and mind. I pray for forgiveness for emotional hurt as well as monetary hurt. It is only through the Grace and Forgiveness I receive from You that I can forgive others. You don’t call for me to forget, because by remembering, we can hopefully not fall into the traps and situations set up by the enemy, and remain in Your Will. Thank You, JESUS, for Your Love and unimaginable sacrifice. AMEN.

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

Consequences

“Be not deceived; GOD is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap Life Everlasting.” – Galatians 6:7‭-‬8 KJV

What an unpopular scripture! “Girls just wanna have fun….” “Love the one you’re with….” “Love ’em and leave ’em….” Take a few minutes and listen to the top songs, look at the publicity of Hollywood stars, see what is being said about top athletes and politicians in the news. Our society is all about “me” and having a good time. People are so busy chasing the “dream” and complaining about others, that God and consequences for our actions are pushed back and forgotten.

“Be not deceived; GOD is not mocked….”

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the Justice of GOD. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” – Galatians 6:7‭-‬8 NLT

If you take the time to consider this statement Paul made in one of his letters to the Christ-followers in Galatia, it should probably stop you in your tracks and give you pause in your life. Harvesting what we plant can be a good thing, or it can be a nightmare. I think that for most Christians, this is recognized and acknowledged. We reap both good and bad, and we know it is consequences. However, we must also learn that the bad things that happen to us (illness, deformities, cancer, rape, abuse, and more) are not always OUR consequences. The bad and the ugly in our world is courtesy of our enemy Satan. We suffer the consequences of his rebellion against the Almighty God, through the choices of Adam and Eve, and because of our own rebellions. We shouldn’t just dwell on the consequences, and we DEFINITELY shouldn’t try to justify someone’s lives as their own consequences. Many, no, MOST of the “bad” comes directly from the enemy as he tries to break us into blaming God and turning our backs on Him. Satan has made great strides on the earth in turning people against God through the introduction of atheism and agnosticism, and through false prophets such as Buddha and Mohammed (and many others).

Consequences hurt, but they don’t have to derail us or destroy us. “Seek the LORD, all who are humble, and follow His commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.” – Zephaniah 2:3 NLT

It is vital to recognize our responsibilities. Whether our struggles are the consequences for our own actions, or roadblocks thrown into our lives by the enemy, we have to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus. We have the added benefit of the Holy Spirit on our side. For me – and you – to live is Christ, and to die is gain. To help me keep my focus where it should be, I listen to positive music infused with the Love of the LORD. In my home and in my vehicle, that means the radio is tuned to K-LOVE at 88.9 FM and 103.7 FM, or AIR-1 at 91.9 FM (Oklahoma City OK area…..), or online at http://www.klove.com. (Yes, this a shameless plug for K-LOVE Radio, and no, I am not compensated by the station.) Try it! You might just find the inspiration or encouragement you need to make it another day, or at the very least, it can help adjust your attitude to a more positive one….

“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. Dear brothers and sisters, may the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. AMEN.” – Galatians 6:14‭, ‬18 NLT

(https://bible.com/bible)

Here I am LORD, arms wide open…. (Jeremy Camp, Gracefully Broken)

“__________” Lives Matter

“For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” – 1 Peter 1:24 NIV (Isaiah 40:6-8)

Remember singing this as a child?

“Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight, Jesus Loves the little children of the world!”

We should be singing this every day, but substituting the words “all tbe people” for “little children”. He loves us, ALL the children …. He LOVES us!! He doesn’t care what color I am on the outside, because we are all the same without our skin. I find myself discriminating against people more for their appearance than their color, and that is just as bad as discrimination for color. We are called to love EVERYONE, regardless of color, or appearance, or political beliefs; EVERYONE, regardless of actions. I know firsthand how difficult is when a person has hurt you. Proverbs 10:12 says: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” The LOVE of JESUS covers over ALL wrongs…..” This is so true. When I stay angry, or tense, or full of hatred, it REALLY affects me. Mentally, it gives me worry and stress headaches, and physically, it gives me stomach cramps that lead to ulcers. Does it hurt the person who harmed me? No, not all. They go on with their lives while I pay the price in my body with the hatred I carry. Just say “A pox on them!” and let it go. Remember this:

“For GOD Loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish….” – John 3:16 NLT

Do I believe that this gives people who intentionally hurt others a pass? Absolutely not; I know that anyone can accept Jesus and experience His salvation (Hallelujah!), but we still have consequences for our actions. I can’t imagine how that will work when we stand before the Great White Throne for judgement by the Supreme and Almighty LORD of the Universe. All I can say for sure about that time, is that I know my Advocate is Jesus, and that I get to spend eternity with Amen.

ALL lives matter to Jesus. Red, yellow, black, white, blue. All the people of the world.

Revelation!

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Hab. 2:2‭-‬3 NIV

Heaven and hell; Real, or imagined?

What do you say? I pray, for your sake, you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, that you pray and study the Bible, GOD’S Word, and that you believe that is true. I pray that you have said “Yes, I believe there is a heaven and a hell.” I have nothing to gain by asking that question, but you have EVERYTHING to gain by believing and knowing the Truth. Jesus said:

“I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the FATHER except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My FATHER as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6‭-‬7 NIV

How cool that must have been for the disciples, when they begin to understand that they were actually in the presence of GOD! I will eventually get to see JESUS face to Face, by imagine! The crowds of people and the disciples…. they walked with Jesus and they talked with JESUS, in the flesh, where they could look Him in the eyes and receive His Blessings in person. How AWESOME is that! It won’t be long for the rest of us, and we will get to see Him, too. Before that happens, we have to deal with our world as it is: messed up, polluted, filled with corruption and evil. The Ren Collective sings a song that says “I need a miracle.” So do I!

We have something as Christians that is uniquely ours, and that is our salvation. We know where we are going, and we know, or should know, that we can run to JESUS when the world tries to overwhelm us. Is that where you run? Do you ask Him for clarity of thought and protection? If not, …… WHY?

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near……. “Look, He is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD GOD, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.” ” – Revelation 1:3,7‭-‬8 NIV

AMEN.