Curses On You

Ever had anyone curse you? I don’t just mean foul language, but for someone to say (and mean) for you to go to hell? There are curses when the individual is truly cursing you, like in voodoo, and there are instances where it is done in jest…. although I don’t understand how you can jokingly refer someone to being cursed. I have been cursed at and had curses directed at me, but never have I had someone for years profess to love me, and then to do a 180 and curse me to hell. Disconcerting, at the least. Alarming, to think that someone close to me, to you, would hold that much hate. Instead of focusing on the injury, we need to focus on Jesus’ words:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. ….Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” – Luke 6:27‭-‬31‭, ‬35‭-‬36 NLT

As many of you know, I have harbored grudges and anger and thoughts of revenge against those who have hurt me. All that negative in my life only served as a wedge between me and my God, and it also kept me away from people who genuinely cared for me. Letting the anger fester can kill us, spiritually and physically. The enemy rejoices when we hold on to all that. In my past, I became embroiled in a life of satanic influence, and I tell you the truth, I was within days of dying when I was rescued from it. The curses from that time trailed after me for years, and it is only the intervention of my Lord JESUS that I am alive today. I will forever bear the emotional and physical scars of that time, so that they can be a reminder that Jesus alone will sustain me. Even now, as I have been told to go to hell, I know that Jesus has determined that I need to bless and forgive that person. I cannot do it alone; my compassion fails me. Oh God, how I need you to guide my thoughts and words and actions! My one defense, my righteousness, depends on You, LORD. Blessings on each and everyone who despise me….

Love Your Enemy

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NLT

God didn’t tell us we could pick who to love. No, He sent His Son to us, Who taught us these lessons:

“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.’ ” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬39 NLT

Short and to the point. Jesus is referring to a passage in Leviticus 19, verses 9-18 when He says to love your neighbor as yourself. Read it – it may help with your understanding the point. I’ve read Bible scholars who say that Jesus is referring to fellow believers when He says ‘neighbors’; I think they should read the story of the Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. This terribly injured Jew was left for dead by robbers, and a priest and then a temple assistant passed him and left him to suffer rather than sully their hands. A Samaritan, a people despised by the Jews and who in turn hated the Jews, picked up this man, his enemy, and cared for him and provided for him. Who was the real neighbor? Certainly not the man’s fellow Jews! The Samaritan showed love to his enemy. Shouldn’t those of us who have experienced the Love of the Savior lead by example in loving our enemies; our neighbors? Both Luke and Matthew record several instances of Jesus talking about loving our enemies.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35 NLT

Even as Jesus showed His love as He was dying, by asking God His Father to forgive those who tortured and crucified Him, so we need to forgive those who hurt us. Yes, I am all too human and know EXACTLY how difficult it is, especially when the hurt is new, or the person is completely unrepentant. In fact, I’m currently dealing with it, even as I write these words. Knowing that the LORD has forgiven me for much, I know that He expects me to forgive others the same…. and more. There are many, many scriptures that talk about forgiveness. Not forgiving, and fostering anger and hurt in my heart, doesn’t do anything to my enemy, it only harms me. The greatest thing we can do, after prayer for our enemy, is to love them. Most times it has to be done at a distance, especially if that enemy caused us physical harm, and we shouldn’t forget, lest we get into another bad situation. Forgiveness is only through Jesus Christ and His Love.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have Loved you, you should love each other. ….”If you love Me, obey My commandments.” – John 13:34; 14:15 NLT

Fully Committed; Fully Transparent

What does that mean, “fully committed”?

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.” –
2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT

Interesting verse. How many years did I struggle through, simply because I was not fully committed to God? Reading this certainly explains the trouble and hurt of those years! At war – fighting to maintain my control. MY control; MY choices. Not asking God for answers or guidance, thinking I had it all figured out. At war – but not allowing the army of angels, GOD’s army, to fight my battles. Like a 2 year old, I said “I can do it!” How’s that working out for you? Even now, it often feels as though I’m at war with the world. There is so much much ugliness and meaness, much of the time I just want to retreat into my home and not venture out.

Paul reminds us how we should be thinking and acting in his letter to the Ephesians:

“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” {Psalms 4:4 NLT: “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.”} Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. ….. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32 NLT

I confess I am struggling with anger right now. It is a real struggle not to be furious at my life partner (or so I let him convince me we were) for suddenly leaving. Anger at him for lying to me that he would not leave, anger at the financial bind I am in because of losing his support, and a lot of anger at myself for 《again!!》 letting myself become dependent upon a human man and pushing my relationship with my LORD aside. Bitterness wells up in my heart anytime I dwell on the situation, and harsh words and slander are ready to slip off my tongue with very little encouragement.

Instead of allowing this anger to control consume me, as the enemy wants it to do, my focus has to remain on scriptures and my Jesus. How will the mortgage get paid the first of next month? At this point, with my efforts, and my financial resources, it won’t be covered. The human in me is worried and almost sick about it. The Sprit residing in me tells me worry won’t fix it, and any anger at him I hold on won’t help any, either. Only by letting God have this, by fully committing to Him, holding nothing back and surrendering completely, will I survive this. Do you understand how hard that is? I can’t do it. Pulling myself up by my bootstraps won’t cut it.

“I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.” – Psalms 25:2 NLT
“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24 NLT

Proverbs

PRO-VERB
ˈprävərb/
noun
plural noun: proverbs
a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.
synonyms: saying, adage, saw, maxim, axiom, precept; words of wisdom

“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young –
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance –
for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:1-7

Good advice, from the man called the wisest man (and also the richest!) ever to live on earth…. I began reading these, again, a few years ago while I was involved in a Christ-centered recovery program. There was a lot of emphasis for my healing on Proverbs 16:9. It kept reminding me that I am not in control of my life; that in spite of my pride and controlling attitude, my idea that “I’ll do it myself,” God was – and IS – the One in control. That’s a hard thing to acknowledge for a person who has suffered emotionally and physically at the hands of others. I had to drop the pretense that I was perfect and recognize that I wasn’t always right. This is a battle still being fought today and every day, as the enemy seeks to pull me away from my LORD, Jesus Christ.

“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. …. Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:1‭-‬3‭, ‬8‭-‬9 NLT

We are all in the battle against the enemy Satan. He wants us to believe that we have it all together, that we know better than the GOD of the Universe. Sounds a little silly, especially when we consider that this amazing, all-powerful God knew us before any man even imagined our existence. He knew me in my Mother’s womb, as I was being knit together in the fabulous way He designed. ( Read all of Psalm 139, and Job 10:11). I struggle with verse 8 of Proverbs 16. America is a land of riches, and I see the people around me adding to their “stuff” on a daily basis. If you disagree, take a look outside on trash day at the full-to-bursting trash receptacles and the overflowing recycle bins. Stuff. As I grow older, I find myself yearning for a simpler life…. but I have so much “stuff” I can’t seem to let go of, so how does life get simpler? Ridiculous. Pray for me as I continue to seek the way God wants me to go, as I pray for you.

Faith

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words….. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The Faithful Love of the LORD never ends! His Mercies never cease. Great is His Faithfulness; His Mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him! The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for Salvation from the LORD.” – Lamentations 3:19‭, ‬21‭-‬26 NLT

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your Protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with Joy.” – Psalms 5:11 NLT

I am not homeless at this moment, but I have been, in my past. Other than that, I must admit to being in a frightful place financially. It amazes me each morning as I get up to find these verses of encouragement in my emails, so appropriate to my life. God is GOOD. He sustains me in the darkness. The situation that doesn’t seem viable to me is easily doable for the Almighty GOD. I know His Words are true, and what appears to me to be a hopeless situation is, instead, an opportunity for Him to show His Mighty Love and Mercy. I am standing on His Promises that He will deliver me. His deliverance may not be of my liking or my desires, but it will come. I do believe, LORD, help my unbelief! I will put my Hope in Him.

Satisfaction

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ ” – Hebrews 13:5 NLT

I know this is true, so why do I feel so bereft right now? I’m reminded of a song by Casting Crowns. Here is the chorus and the last verse. It so perfectly describes how I feel right now. Not my words, but, oh, how appropriate today. Can I make it one more day? Can I trust that the LORD will sustain me in this dark hour?

“I’m not strong enough, I can’t take anymore

And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under

Oh, my soul
You’re not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone
Oh, my soul, you’re not alone”

He will never leave me, never abandon me, and I know I am not alone. Lord, I believe, help me trust completely in You.

Tough Day?

I can relate to having a tough day. In fact, I’m in the middle of several all strung together, and I’ve had a lifetime of disappointment and shame. I have been relying on a man for 2 years instead of relying on my Lord, and find myself betrayed, lied to, and disrespected…. again. Still, I choose to believe in and hold on to these verses in the psalms:

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our LORD! His Power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” – Psalms 147:3‭-‬5 NLT

Knowing this doesn’t make my life, or my day, better. It does, however, bring me a measure of peace. You can know this peace, too, if you want it. Jesus came for everyone, even the ones who have hurt us. He suffered horrible things, and He allowed Himself to be brutally murdered for those who hurt, AND for those who hurt us. That’s hard to hold on to, especially when the wounds (physical or emotional) are fresh.

“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” –
2 Corinthians 5:15‭-‬17 NLT

There are many seasons in life, and it seems that some of us are stuck in the muck and mess of this world when others just seem to skate over it, unaffected. (I know they are affected, bjut it’s difficult to see sometimes when you are trying hard to just keep your head above water.) I’ve stated many times over the past couple of years how blessed I have been to have a man in my life who loved me and (seemly) wanted to spend his life with me. It’s rough to be told it’s over. Despite my feeling of hurt and betrayal, I am compelled to pray peace for him. My human point of view is flawed, so in order to keep from spewing ugliness in my hurt, I have to look through God’s eyes to see His child. Feelings will change and the hurt will recede, eventually.

“King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in hope. For You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of Life, and You will fill me with the Joy of Your Presence.’ ” – Acts of the Apostles 2:25‭-‬28 NLT

Amen.

Discouraged, Sad?

Why do we walk around discouraged? Why are we sad? When we remind ourselves of God’s Truth, we should realize that we have no reason – none, zero, zilch! – to be anything but joyful. When I get down, whether because of circumstances or a poor choice and it’s consequences, my friend likes to say to me: “Who’s in control?” Who do you think is in control?

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:14 NLT

I can always answer “Not me!” because I know the Truth of Who is in control. He lets us drive until we voluntarily hand it over to Him. He’s a gentleman and won’t ever force us to choose Him.

“This is the message of Good News: There is peace with GOD through JESUS CHRIST, Who is LORD of ALL.” Acts 10:36 NLT

Life is SO much simpler when we let God “drive”!!

“Honor the LORD, you heavenly beings ; honor the LORD for His Glory and Strength. Honor the LORD for the Glory of His Name. Worship the LORD in the Splendor of His Holiness. The Voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The GOD of Glory Thunders. The LORD Thunders over the mighty sea. The Voice of the LORD is Powerful; the Voice of the LORD is Majestic. The Voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; He makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The Voice of the LORD strikes with bolts of lightning. The Voice of the LORD makes the barren wilderness quake; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The Voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In His Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The LORD rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as KING Forever. The LORD gives His people Strength. The LORD Blesses them with Peace.” – Psalms 29:1‭-‬11 NLT

AMEN!