Tag Archives: christian

Complaining Not Allowed

5 Aug

 

Philippians 2:14(GW)

“Do everything without complaining or arguing”.

Well…this scripture literally made me stop in my tracks.

Everything.

Regardless of how difficult, painful, annoying or unfair something is, we are asked to do so without complaint.

What does your conversation sound like over the past week?

My week was full of complaint. I don’t think I even realized how much until I saw this scripture.In truth,  it was mostly a really great week. I had so many wonderful things to be grateful for. He is truly blessing me in many ways.

It was also a very difficult, painful week. So, I spent far more time talking to friends about this part of my week, highlighting how weary I become in the trial. I sought empathy, support and encouragement for my hardship (complaint).

As we go through life, our fellowship is really important. Talking to our close friends is essential to our walk. We need to share our journey! However, before we vent, before we cry out to our circle, we need to go to God first.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

He wants our first of everything. He wants our gratitude, our woes, our heartache, weakness and our complaints, and… He wants it first.

He is always the willing listener. Sharing our entire journey with Him is relational. He draws nearer to us as we draw nearer to Him. There is loving circle of protection that happens in that communion.

There is nothing Satan would like more than to have you complain, to not see the good, to not be in relationship with God. He would rather you gossip or complain to your friends about all that isn’t working in your life, rather than being grateful for all He gives.

Learn to go to Him first. Share authentically what you feel with Him before you say any more words. He loves us so much. He cares about our heartache and trials.

We don’t want to become like the Israelites in the wilderness, prolonging our struggle.

1 Peter 5:7 (GW) Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.

James 4:7-8 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

 

Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

Take Heart

19 Jun

There is a line in the movie “The Shack” that I really liked.  “Papa” is explaining what grace and trust look like when evil harms us; In those circumstances that we are collateral damage when someone’s free will results in grave sin.  “I am not asking you to excuse what he did. I am asking you to trust me to do what’s right and to know what’s best.”  He means inspite of what we see.  Forgive and trust God in all circumstances.

He knows our storms. He knows our sin and He knows the sins done against us. He is beside us, faithful, even when we can’t feel Him.

Faith is like a muscle. In our good times, our faith may not be getting a work out. Our gratitude may be strong, our worship may be strong but our faith truly is only tested in our trials.  Endurance is for the long term. Is faith really faith when the minute it gets painful, we fall apart?

Romans 5:3 tells us that our trials, through persevering, strengthens our character and builds us up in Hope.

He knows our circumstances and he knows our relationships. He knows where we are overwhelmed by the storms, uncertain how to navigate our way through. In Matthew 14:27 he says to Peter “Take heart; It is I. Do not be afraid”.   It is the middle of a storm, and the seas are raging, the disciples see the impossible, Jesus on the water. Peter, though he only had a small amount of faith, and probably a good dose of fear in that moment, was willing to trust and get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water: Jesus said “Come”.

Faith like that, faith that says “ok Lord, I am overwhelmed by the storms of my life right now, I long for answers that don’t come quickly.  I struggle to let go of the resolutions I planned for the outcomes you have planned. Lord, hold your hand out to me, help me find my way safely, and I will step out in faith”

How confident we can be friends, that He is there in the storms. In him we can find our peace, our hope, our courage. We can cry out “Father, our little faith can let us step out of our terror, even in the midst of storm, and walk on the water with you. You ask us to trust you, to take courage in you, in your presence, even when we don’t feel you near. You help us walk on the water in the storm.”

It is then that we find what cannot be found anywhere else. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Calm that belies the storms. Hope that even if it isn’t what WE planned, we know it will lead us to the exact place to bless us and to bless other’s with.

Lord you are just that amazing and good. Us of little faith, seek you and find you when we seek you with all of our hearts. Imperfect, scared to death, hurting and lacking in grace and mercy for other’s and for ourselves. We find perfect peace in all of that, the storms that this world brings.

Thank you, Father, for never letting me drown in this storm. Thank you for giving me the courage of Peter to step out in faith I don’t always feel!

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 4:7

 

Crazy Good

31 May

“Grief does not change you, it reveals you.”~ John Green

Grief is a funny thing. Okay, not funny, but odd. Okay, not odd, completely loony toons.

One minute you can feel so at peace, so strong and the next you can be sobbing, or worse, barely able to contain the anger you want to unleash on truly undeserving people. My patience is shot, my tongue is sore from biting it so much. My body is weary. My eyes are exhausted.

To say I want to run from all I am feeling is an understatement. My diaphragm is in spasm, my anxiety is at a high. It is physiological, emotional and spiritual, all rolled into one. In the end, regardless of the feeling, I end up crying, hopefully releasing all the toxins and negative effects from my tired body.

I do become frustrated with my erratic mood swings, I feel as if I should have a better grip on this or as if I am wishy-washy. I become disappointed with the setbacks when I find acceptance and a peaceful place. But that is just ridiculousness Satan tries to beat me up with.

This is why we need trusted friends to share this journey; Strong, loving sisters that we can speak truth with and that we can receive truth from. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us, you’re okay , you got this, you are still moving forward. This doesn’t eliminate the need for God, but rather God gives us those people to drown out the meltdown in our head. He knows when we are at our weakest. Those friendships are His gift to us.

The truth is, I am moving forward. In hindsight I take two steps forward and one step back.  I have discovered that at the bottom of each new melt down, I gain wisdom or insight into myself or His desire for me. In those moments I can feel like I am drowning and lost but from that pain, comes acceptance, understanding and wisdom as I jump ahead two steps. Those are precious moments of peace and even laughter again.

The next layer of healing then has to take place. We take what feels like a step back from what we just learned but in truth, we are applying what we just learned. Without even realizing it, we test it out, work it out, try it on and let it become a part of us.Even when we think we are flailing, it ministers to the pain as we go deeper; To the next step in understanding and wisdom.

In the heart wrenching, crying out, take this pain away, it’s too much… even in that moment, I know this is temporary, I know that this unbearable pain will be used for good, to bless me and as a blessing for someone else. Even when I just can’t take anymore, I can acknowledge my depth of faith in this, “I know You have this, I know Your plans for me are so good, but help me here, in this moment, Lord”. Sometimes I just say His name because there is no other option.

There is something God has planned from this time of trial. I know this with all that I am. It is all I hang on to in the worst moments. I have felt this coming for months. The purpose He has created me for is coming.  Even in the darkest moments, I have the light of hope and peace. I even know it is being drowned out by so many layers of untruths. I guess it is a sorting, a sifting. From there will come the new.  The hurts and untruths and unforgiveness and fears all have to be cleared away, one by one, to make room for what is to come.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

 

One Door Closes

25 Apr

I closed a chapter today.

I sent the “other woman” a letter. This will be my one and only contact of this woman. She is not really a part of my story.  If she knew about me, then I needed to forgive her. If she didn’t know about me, then she needed to know the truth. End of chapter.

What remains in my heart is this deep cry to the body. Cry to the church. Cry to my brothers! Cry to my sisters. Why? Why do you react so harshly to homosexuality and turn a blind eye to the friend engaging in porn? To your friend that sleeps around? To your friend that cheats? To divorce?

There is a war going on. Am I the only one seeing this? I am left to wonder ; Why isn’t my church body standing strong together, men helping men in their struggles with fidelity, with lust, with temptation that seems to be a struggle for the large part of the male church.

Women have so many opportunities to share their hearts. To be sharpened and encouraged by one another; To be supported, and held in times of trial and temptation.We sin in the same ways. I understand this but lust seems to be a stronghold for a vast majority of men.

Men of courage, step up, speak out, speak truth.  We need you desperately. We don’t need your opinion of other’s, we need your leadership and strength. We need your courage.

There is so much temptation, we need our men to help one another. We need the church to speak up about sexual sin and how weak the flesh is. We need to acknowledge that we are carnal, saved by Grace. We need the men of God to lead, support and encourage one another in truth. We women need to openly pray against the darkness that wants to separate.  We women need to pray together for the men of this world to step up. We need to pray for our hearts to be softened to being lead. Biblical leadership is beautiful. Honoring.

Lies cause us so much harm. The seeds of destruction begin with the smallest of lies. Truth is vital to having a relationship with Christ. Not because He expects it.  Satan has free access to all things kept in the dark. When we are truthful, we bring things into “the light”. The truth shall set you free truly means you let go of the bondage that a lie holds on you.

We are lying to ourselves when we look at things outside of ourselves. We can only truly be transformed, redeemed and made whole by Jesus Christ. One body for one Christ.

I long to see righteous men, rising up, leading by truth, love, mostly, by the Spirit. Lord ,I beg it of you. Teach us.

Keep in Step with the Spirit

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

My Christmas Wish

20 Nov

 

 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 



In my lifetime, like most, I have walked through pain and heartbreak. I have known pain that took my breath away; the kind of hurt that hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. Fortunately for me, it was in the darkest moments of my life that I found my lighthouse, my compass, my hope in God.

My Bible tells me that God loved us so much that he sacrificed his own son for us. When I think of my children, this humbles me; This is truly a love beyond anything I can imagine. His grace and mercy are as vast as the oceans.

I imagine as He watches us (nothing goes unnoticed) His heart must break. His pain and heartbreak must be constant. We have imagined that we are somehow so incredibly important. As if WE run the show. We are thoughtless and unkind, we are opinionated, we are selfish, we are hypocrites and yes, that is a blanket statement that actually applies.

We are here for such a short minute; some do great things, most just do their best. We matter for a blink of an eye, to only a few. Just a few generations actually will know us or remember us. But God will remember us always. He is and was and always will be. Satan will seek to keep you from Him and he is deceptive.

Ecclesiastes say “to everything there is a purpose under heaven”. What if we sought to learn and gain wisdom from one another rather than fight ? What if we stopped looking outward and started to look inward. Just because many agree on a matter, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Here is truth-and logic- when you have extreme positioning, the truth has been lost.
When I sit back and I think about what God says in Genesis, that he created us in his image, you have to pause and humble yourself for a minute and let that sink in.This means that all of us no matter our homeland, what we look like, whether we are born “different”, rich or poor, we were all made in his image. By design; In His own image.

I love my fellow mankind. I love those that have different beliefs than I. I love those that have different shades of skin tones. I love those that have different customs than I. I love those that hate and even those that hate while calling others hateful (they challenge me most). I can ONLY love when I lift my heart up to lightness rather than darkness. When I do that, everything is brighter, clearer, better.

We are the light-bearers or we should be. We are so blessed in this country. We have miles to go before we are perfect ( as individuals and as a collective whole) but that doesn’t mean we aren’t incredibly blessed. We have gotten so distracted by our discontent.

For me , I have divine peace and my hope is for heaven. When I get out of my way and allow God to press that on my heart, my whole world is bright and full of peace. Peace! We have to start with being quiet, being peaceful, start by inspiring hope in even one person.
If you want change: surrender and Do! In all due regards, Facebook posts do not change the world. Not this one – not any. We are just not that powerful.

This has been a draining year. We have our amazing season of hope and peace, Christmas.

Take time to pause, to consider, where does your peace come from. Find out what you truly believe in that and be that, from peace. When you know where your hope and peace come from, nothing in this world can change that. You become that.

I encourage you to find a cause: the vulnerable children adults and pets, poverty, immigrant needs, homelessness, sexual trafficking, addiction… whatever pulls your heart strings, and do that! You will become a better person, you will grow in ways you had no idea you could.

Let God break your heart for what breaks His heart and follow that call.Maybe we will stop breaking His heart so much. Maybe we truly can be the peacemakers, the peacekeepers.

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” 

Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Time For Grace

3 Jul

The Beatitudes:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. ~Jesus

The past year for me, like most, has been extremes of trials and blessings, but for me,  the lessons of grace and mercy have taken my heart captive.

I have such strong feelings when I feel my fellow believers are being religious, legalistic, unkind or in my opinion, standing in the way of true evangelism. Yet, as soon as I think that way, The Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me my own sin. My own pride. My own legalism in my judgement.

We are supposed to love God, love our fellow Christians and mostly, love our neighbor. This is the fulfillment of the law.

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:4-14 

Loving your neighbor doesn’t just mean those that are in your inner circle but rather this includes those that are different from you- the atheist, homosexual, abortionist, muslim. This also includes the guy who disagrees with you, or the guy that just cut you off on the freeway, the girl that was rude to you, the boss that screams at you. It also includes your husband when he is unloving or your wife when she is disrespectful. This is agape love. This is grace. This is where I sin most.

Grace is essential in every single aspect of our journey to become Christ like. Without grace, you truly are not aligned with Christ and your faith is not evident.  If we seek it, we need to give it. Your walk should embrace grace and be evident.  Jesus warned us about Spiritual pride. 4″ Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4, 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:10 

So before we can walk in grace, we absolutely must humble ourselves. God teaches us in His own way, in His own time, and The Living Word breathes truth into us, over and over again, we grow, we soften, we learn, as that knowledge is shown to us, by the Father.

Humility is essential to growth, to love, to grace, to salvation. Without it, we can’t possibly understand how to love as Christ loves us; Our ego fights this, our free will fights this.

We are sinners. If we are judging the sin in other’s, we take a step away from humility,  from grace and from Christ. Before you hate the sin in other’s you must first hate your own sin and your own sin nature. Ask forgiveness for your own sins. Let Him walk you through your own refinement. This is faith. This is how God can begin to change the world, first within us. Then through us.

After all, He loved us first. All of us.

16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

I have recently had my own major lessons and convicted misteps in grace. Being hurt by family and/or family of believers,  I being shocked by the dishonor, blatent unkindness and later, the untruth and slander that was exposed. responded with protective anger. Especially at the cruelty that crushed the spirit of someone I care about.  There is a hurt that goes so deep when the hurt comes from family and/or our family of believers. It is more unexpected in some way. We walk more transparently with our fellow believers, or we should anyhow.

But Christ himself walked everything before us and he expects us to stay focused on him and on grace.

39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39

He teaches us how to stay focused on what truly matters in our journey to eternity. We can’t care about what others think of us. God has a different expectation. His approval is all we truly need.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26  

As with all scripture, you must read the whole in which the context is taken Jesus didn’t mean to “hate” your family but rather this is a warning that walking a Christian life is difficult. We must love God first and be willing to lose all the rest, in the end, for that love. Jesus loved the law, including to honor your mother and father. but He was very clear:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

In the end, humble, forgiving grace is essential to our journey. Grace doesn’t approve of, enable or minimize sin. Grace doesn’t decide forgiveness of sin, Jesus did that on the cross for us. It is not our job to convict, nor judge. That is the Holy Spirits job. Justice is not ours. Humility says, if justice were served, I would be unworthy to receive the mercy and grace of our Lord’s crucifixion.

When our fellow Christian sins, (not the unsaved), like we do ourselves…we must help them back to God’s truth, even if it is our spouse. We submit to God first. If our fellow believer, whether friend, child or spouse is hurtful or walking away from alignment in Christ  we lovingly speak truth, sometimes it is a must, but it also must include acknowledgement of forgiveness, and our own need for forgiveness and grace.  Ultimately, it can cost rejection, but if it is in line with Christ, it is worth it.

When the world walks in sin, like we do ourselves, we must step out of discipleship and into evangelism. Jesus was a revolutionary teacher of peace and of LOVE in a time of arrogant legalism and religious politics. Truth be told, times were very politically extreme like it is today. If we aren’t perfect, like He was, which we are not, we can’t have the same righteous anger. If we aren’t transparent and humble, walking in grace and love, then we are not following the words of Christ. Our words and actions at all times are our evangelism. If they aren’t in line with scripture, we have too much work to do on ourselves before we put ourselves in a role of leadership. Period.

In the end, Grace wins.  I think The Message version sums it up best.

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”