I Declare The LORD’S Ministry

“…..[I] declare to you what [I] have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the FATHER and with His SON JESUS CHRIST. [I am] writing these things so that [my] joy may be complete. This is the Message [I] have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that GOD is LIGHTg and in Him there is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:3‭-‬5 NRSV

Lived it. Been there. As JESUS experienced life and was tempted by the enemy, so have I been tempted. Unfortunately, my humanity kept me in the darkness, succumbing to temptation after temptation – the complete opposite of my LORD and SAVIOUR. I tried to hide His Light in my life, because I knew that what I was doing was wrong, and I didn’t want to stop. I was living the life …. but in reality, was I even living? For years, I ignored right from wrong and let the enemy rule my life. I was having so much ‘fun’, I could (sort of) forget (i.e. ignore) how absolutely miserable I really was. I lived the definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yep, absolutely, I was living the life ….. the life of insanity. Even when my late husband and I got involved back with a church, we partied on Friday and Saturday nights, then get up Sunday morning to attend services. It’s difficult to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground when they are in two different worlds! Eventually we figured that out and became involved with our church families. It was a much more peaceful way of life, even as busy as we were. When my husband became very ill, he became addicted to his pain medication and dropped out of church. At the same time, he became increasingly paranoid and verbally abusive. Satan had regained control of him and successfully turned him against everyone who cared about him. JESUS warned us about this happening in the scriptures:

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.” – Luke 11:24‭-‬26 NLT

It’s true! I ran away from the situation and became angry at GOD because He allowed it to happen, shattering my dreams. I determined not to be overcome that way ever again, and set about finding people I could ‘fix’. How’d that work out for me? Not well! Those people became my focus instead of GOD. I left the fellowship and closeness of my church family so that I could focus on my friends – i.e. projects! – and fix them. I tried fixing both women and men, but especially men. I ended up bouncing between unhealthy relationships, and ultimately, not fixing anything. What I did, though, caused emotional harm to myself and ‘my’ people. Smart? NO! Painful and damaging? YES! There was so much ugliness back in my life, until one of my ‘projects’ lead me to a recovery program at church. I went to support him (no, to FIX him) and ended up staying in the program for myself. He left left the program to pursue his passions – lies, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters, and more lies. Now he is permanently out of my life, and I am concentrating on keeping my heart focused my LORD. It’s the only way to go from mere survival to living.

Listen to Casting Crowns. Their song “Only JESUS” really sums up what my life was all about before complete surrender to JESUS instead of the world, and I hope you’ll take a minute to go to their website and listen to it.

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the lie that it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But JESUS is the only Name to
remember

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Depression. It’s ALL In Your Head!

Depression is a real thing, and NO, it isn’t something most people can just ‘get over’. It often manifests in very real physical pain, and it can be the basis for or the result of many other illnesses. It is not a ‘punishment’ from GOD, although I have heard pastors and teachers use these verses from Luke when talking about anyone suffering from depression:

JESUS said, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.” – Luke 11:33‭-‬36 NRSV

Christians are not exempt from depression any more than we are exempt from any disease or illness. It is absolutely possible to love JESUS and still be depressed. There are people who can work through their depression without the aid of counseling or medication. Those people are not the norm. For most of us, it requires one or the other, and I believe it often takes both counseling and medication to break out of the depression. There’s nothing shameful about seeking help – if you have cancer, or a broken leg, or the flu, you go to the doctor, right? It’s no different when suffering from depression. My LORD won’t turn anyone away who reaches out to Him, whether they are in the blackest place it’s possible to be, or they are a ‘good’ person who has never been depressed (although I personally suspect that anyone who claims they have never been depressed a day in their life is probably lying to themselves).

I can say this to anyone who deals with depression because I have it, too. Keep a close check on yourself, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Find someone you are close to, to be accountable to. Get counseling from someone appropriate to your situation. Just as medical doctors have specialities, so do counselors. It has to be someone whom you trust, and beware of anyone who doesn’t listen to you – there are no pat answers to depression. If you are considering medication, find a doctor who is interested in listening and helping you find the right medication and the right dosage for you. If someone tells you it’s all in your head, well, agree…. But just because it’s in there doesn’t mean you don’t need help getting it out! When JESUS was speaking in Luke, the darkness He was referring to was not depression. It was about the enemy and the darkness Satan spreads in a futile attempt to extinguish the Light of our LORD.

“And this is the Judgment, that the LIGHT** has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than LIGHT because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the LIGHT and do not come to the LIGHT, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the LIGHT, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in GOD.” ….. But remember this!! “Whoever believes in the SON has Eternal LIFE; whoever disobeys the SON will not see life, but must endure GOD’s wrath.” – John 3:19‭-‬21‭, ‬36 NRSV

**The LIGHT is The SON. JESUS CHRIST. MESSIAH. LORD. AMEN!

B.I.B.L.E.

So you like anagrams? Me, too! Here’s another one I have seen:

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. B.I.B.L.E.

For several years, I was a leader in the recovery program at my church. We asserted (and I still do) that 1) Everyone alive has Hurts, Hangups, and Habits, and 2) There are two types of people in the world – those who need recovery, and those who are in recovery. The small groups I led were made up primarily of women who had suffered some form of abuse in the lives; some had been in horrific situations. Why didn’t they just leave, you ask? Oh, it’s not that simple, and it’s a subject I have addressd in previous blogs, so it won’t be dealt with today. In our ‘Basic Instructions’, a very important thing I’ve learned is that any situation we find ourselves in, whether by our choices or someone else’s choices, we don’t have to go through it alone. Read all of Psalm 27. These are a few of the verses I like to share with my ‘girls’ – and also with any man who is struggling. Struggles and hurt are not gender specific!

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. You have said, “Seek My Face.” My heart says to You, “Your Face, LORD, do I seek.” For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” – Psalms 27:1‭, ‬3‭-‬3‭, ‬8‭, ‬10‭-‬10‭, ‬13‭-‬14 ESV

If you are paying attention, I have used these verses in other blogs. They are very appropriate scripture verses to use every day! In verse 10, the psalmists states that his “father and … mother have forsaken” him. I was blessed beyond measure that mine did not forsake me when I was caught up in the enemy’s traps, although they were hurt beyond imagination by my lifestyle. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. For a number of my girls, the abusive lives they were trapped in was, in fact, perpetrated by their very own parents. It’s frequently on the news as well, when parents, foster parents, relatives, and other authority figures are the sources of abuse. I can’t even imagine how an adult can be that way to a child, or another adult. It is straight from the depths of hell. But read on to verses 13-14!

“I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

We read these verses with incredible Hope. I, too, like the psalmist, believe that “I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! I see it every day. The Goodness of the LORD shines through the changed lives of the women (and men) who have sought the LORD in their lives, and allows others to see how Good He is, for:

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be Praised, and His Greatness is Unsearchable.” – Psalms 145:3 ESV

Do you have the Hope, the Peace, the LIGHT of the LORD in your life? He doesn’t care how ‘bad’, how broken you are. He wants us as we are. He is the Great Physician, the Creator and Craftsman. Ony the LORD can repair us and hold us together. Don’t mistake this to say that once you receive JESUS CHRIST as LORD of your life, everything will become peaches and cream. Au contraire, my friends, when we allow Him to Love us as He longs to, the enemy, that prince of everything dark and evil, known as Satan – our enemy will hit us with anything he can come up with to turn our face away from the LORD. It often works, too. When the abuse doesn’t lessen, when our finances get worse instead of better, when illness seems to loom over us and our loved ones, even death…. we can reach for heaven and the Peace of the Holy Spirit, or we can fall into ugliness and despair. It’s always a choice; one that I confess to messing up quite frequently.

“For from HIS Fullness we have all received, Grace upon Grace. …. For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His Only SON, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For GOD did not send His SON into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Only SON of GOD.” – John 1:16; 3:16‭-‬18 ESV

AMEN. How will you fare when standing in front of The Judge?

GOD IS LOVE

“So we have come to know and to believe the Love that GOD has for us. GOD is Love, and whoever abides in Love abides in GOD, and GOD abides in Him. …. There is no fear in love, but Perfect Love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in Love.” – 1 John 4:16, 18 ESV

“The LORD your GOD is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His Love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

“There is no fear in love…” A beautiful statement of Truth. I am that person who has spent most of her life ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’, as the song goes. All of the “love” I found was full of fear: fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of discovery, fear of punishment, fear of physical and emotional pain. Looking back on it all, I wonder how on earth I was so blind, but then – I know how it happened. I took my eyes off of JESUS. It only takes a minute, sometimes, to fall off of the path of our LORD and into the grasp of our enemy. I fell hard, and the enemy had a death grip on me. He put blinders on me and turned me away from the Love Light of my LORD, and directed my gaze into the brightly shining bling and glamour of the world. I came to believe the enemy’s lies, and his deceitfulness was pretty complete. For years, I wandered in his world, turning away anyone who reached out to help me out of the swamp. I ‘knew’ I couldn’t escape; I was completely under his spell.

Thank GOD for His Son and the Absolute Love He has for us! No human could free me from Satan’s grip, but my SAVIOUR could …. and He did! He plucked me from death’s door, and I began to awaken from the trance-like life I had been living. It wasn’t instantaneous, and it required hard work on my part to crawl out of and away from the abyss, but I wasn’t doing it on my own. My LORD JESUS CHRIST was there, the HOLY SPIRIT and His angels, to hold my hand or free me as I would be stuck in the muck, and always shining His Light of Love and Clarity around me. Thank You, LORD! I lived in fear all of those years I was away from the LORD, when all I needed to do was to lift my eyes away from the ugliness to banish the fear. My LORD was always there, waiting patiently for me to see Him. It only took one word from me for Him to take my hand – JESUS. He IS Love, PERFECT Love, and no-one can defeat Him or destroy the Love He has for each and every one of us. His Love redeems us, completes us, heals us. There is no better, no higher love than the LOVE of our LORD GOD and our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.

“There is no fear in love…”

Let that be your strength and your courage! GOD is Love, and He wants to lavish His Love on us. It’s the only love that you will ever find, no matter how far and wide you look, the only unconditional, unchangeable, unremitting, and never failing LOVE that will never fail or leave. No fear. Amen!

Fix My Eyes

Have you ever come across a verse in the Bible that makes your eyes pop open, because it is so relevant to you in that instant that it’s as though GOD Himself just spoke it out loud to you? I love it when it happens to me!

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my Light.” – Micah 7:8 NIV

BOOM. Take THAT, Satan! So much of the time, we are so overwhelmed by the circumstances we are in that we become totally focused on putting one foot in front of the other. As we are trying desperately to see the next step, and hoping it is solid enough to hold us, we forget to lift our eyes enough to see the hand stretched out to assist us. We act like we’re blind, feeling our way through the flood or fire or rain of our situation, tap tap tapping the path, hoping for a clear way. Why are we so determined that we have to do it on our own – like a 2 year old, “I do it!”; that we have to assert our independence, when the LORD of the Universe is waiting right beside us, ready to help??? Is it such a bad thing to accept help?

Miss Independence. If I were in a pageant, that would be me. I can do it. I grew up trying hard to be accepted by my big brother, and I knew I had to be strong and not a “girly-girl” to be one of the guys. When I went into the workforce, I found a job in a builder’s supply, the heart of ‘man-world’. If I couldn’t prove my independence, my ‘I can do it’ attitude, I wouldn’t survive in that atmosphere….. so that’s what I did. The men learned that if I was told I couldn’t do something (implied was ‘because you’re a girl‘), then I would do everything in my power to do that thing. Whether it was determining the difference between a framing hammer and a finish hammer, or stocking 50# boxes of nails and screws; learning to drive a forklift and unloading (and loading) trucks, I did it. Presented with a challenge, my attitude became “I will do it …. on my own, and I don’t want your help.” Those years, and all of those jobs would have been so much easier, so much more pleasant, with someone at my side helping. After years of the struggle, I met and married a man who was truly a partner to me. He didn’t challenge me; he worked alongside me and we learned from each other.

That’s the relationship we can have with JESUS! He doesn’t dominate the relationship, He doesn’t ‘boss’ us, He is there, beside us, to carry our burdens so that we aren’t staggering under them. We may still stumble and fall, and the enemy will still come at us with his arrows and throw obstacles in our path, but with JESUS at our side, we have the help we need to go on. Keeping our eyes fixed on JESUS, we aren’t focused on the ugliness of the enemy….. and trust me, he is UUUUG-LY. Worry, anxiety, frustrations, hurts and hatefulness, bullying, gossip – these are ways the enemy gets us to gradually look away from JESUS, until we are immersed in them and we’ve completely lost sight of the LORD. That’s his goal! Don’t let him win.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with GOD’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with CHRIST JESUS Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In HIM the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the LORD. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which GOD lives by His SPIRIT.” – Ephesians 2:19‭-‬22 NIV

I pray today that my eyes will stay fixed on my LORD, and off of the frustrating circumstances. I’ve read the back of the Book, devil, and you LOSE, dude.

Listen to Fix My Eyes by King and Country ☝️

Perfect People

Do you know any perfect people? I don’t! I know people who think they are perfect, and I admit to having had that attitude in the past. I know a lot about certain subjects, and I know a little about a lot of subjects, and I am easily frustrated when I know the answer but no one wants to hear it. My word is my bond, but I’m not sure I always keep my promises, especially when it hurts. I try not to gossip, and I won’t speak evil of a friend…. but I do when it comes to people I don’t like. Lending money isn’t something I do. If someone needs it, and I have it, I’d rather just give it to them. Can you relate?

“Who may worship in Your Sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter Your Presence on Your Holy Hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” – Psalms 15:1‭-‬5 NLT

If we just read these verses, and then we look at professing Christians, we can pronounce without a doubt that no one (and we should include ourselves!!) should be worshipping in the Sanctuary of our LORD. So what are we supposed to do? If we don’t qualify to worship in His Sanctuary, where, then? Thank GOD that HE doesn’t require perfection! Looking back at the premise and initial question, we should remember that there is, in fact, ONE perfect person. One Who was everything that we should aspire to be like; never gossipy or cruel, One Who could not be bribed, One Who lived a perfect life. That One is JESUS, Son of the Most High GOD, the second part of the Triune GOD, the One Who sacrificed Himself so that we could worship in the Sanctuary of the LORD.

See? I was wrong to suggest I didn’t know a perfect person, because I know the single perfect person who has or will ever live on this earth. I have a real relationship with JESUS. I will never be like HIM, but because of His Love for me and His Sacrifice for me, I am washed and cleansed by His Blood, and I can worship in the Father’s Sanctuary. I’m still not perfect, I will never be perfect, and I will always be a hypocrite…. but through JESUS CHRIST, I am now imperfectly perfect, and hopefully the Light of my LORD shines out through the cracks.

Have a Fabulously Blessed day, my friends! Let His Light shine through your cracks!

Photo credit: Pinterest.

Thirst No More

“I have seen Your Salvation, which You have prepared for all people. He {JESUS} is a LIGHT to reveal GOD to the nations, and He is the Glory of your people Israel!” – Luke 2:30‭-‬32 NLT

Listen to “Come to the River” by the Rhett Walker Band

What an outstanding message. JESUS, the LIGHT of the world, reveals GOD to us all! When you have seen JESUS, you have seen the Face of the Almighty: the Creator of all things, the Holy God, YHWH, Yahweh, Elohim, El-Shaddai, Jehovah, Adonai, Ancient of Days, Father, Abba, ….. “Most High.” The LORD is given many names, but today, I believe the ONE Name that is most important to us is the Name of JESUS. He alone has the power to save us from the certain death subscribed to us by the first man and woman, Adam and Eve ….. and yet so, so very many, even countless people, deny that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Messiah. We are such a GLORIOUSLY stubborn group! What was GOD thinking, as He formed Adam from the mud of the new earth? Since He is Omnipotent and Omniscient, He KNEW that by giving Adam, and by extension, Eve, free will, they would choose to betray Him. The LORD gave free will to them, and to us, in spite of knowing the outcome. He wants us to choose to love Him, without being forced or coerced.

Short but sweet, GOD created us to Love Him. He then gave us the choice of Loving Him or not. He gave a part of Himself through JESUS to be sacrificed to cover our sins, and He gave us His WORD in the scriptures to show us exactly how we should live to optimize His Love for us.

“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. ….. All who do evil hate the Light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” – John 3:16‭, ‬20‭-‬21 NLT