Tag Archives: healing

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

 

Submission 

29 Nov

Dying to self. What does that really mean? Death of dreams? Death of drive? Death of passion? 

Maybe. 

God has really put this on my heart lately. It’s been a process of prayer, scripture, sermon, argument and discussions for about the past 2 months or more. 

Here is the truth. God wants your undivided attention and worship. This is why we refer to Him as jealous. 

Why? 

With undivided attention, you stay connected and by being connected you hear Him, He moves in you, He becomes louder and stronger than your own voice and even more so, -satans voice. 

If you are filling your ears with the TV and radio, if your eyes are flipping through your phone or computer, who’s voice is it that you truly hear? How can it be His if you aren’t quieting your mind, dying to self and all the noise of today? Idols of political ego, self righteous opinions, outrage over what you see and hear. All anger in us is ego driven. Only God has righteous anger. We have reaction or  emotion that is attached to ego. 

As I drove past the prison for the sexual predators/offenders, the worst of the worst that will never see the light of day again, I made the comment that we should bomb it. My skin crawled. David convicted me be pointing out that it is not holy to speak that, I should pray instead. Truth! Judgement isn’t mine to make- prayer is my only true response that is righteous. 

 Even when we are doing what we think is right and feel we are aligned with what God would “approve” of- if we aren’t quietly prayerful, silent enough to hear him, dying to our own reactions to atrocity and evil around us, we absolutely can not know God unless we submit to Him. Only the fool gives his opinion- only the fool agitates and divides. If you want to know what God thinks, you must be willing to not process through your own opinions. 

Is this possible? Ha! It is quite the tall order!

In the rare times I have been still enough, quiet enough, long enough to hear Him, there is a peace, a knowing that is so different, so humble and calming in its truth.  It is a quiet submission that leaves you stronger without words or action. 

Dying to self is Daniel in the lion pit, dying to self is the other 3 thrown into the furnace, they all knew beforehand, the outcome. It is that quiet strength we gain from knowing Him and truly fearing Him. Trusting in His perfect plan and loving  grace and mercy.  This is not obedience, this is what fear of the Lord means. Faith. 

God goes before us. Not the other way around. 

Dreams, gifts, blessings, misfortunes and loss. Nothing is permanent. Only God. There is great purpose for our gifts and our losses. But only because of Him. By Him, for Him. 

Obedience doesn’t save us.

Grace and merciful Love saved us and we have to believe in that and trust in that. It is only from that truth that we can die to ourselves and let Him guide us. 

Imagine the waters you could walk on with Daniels faith or faith like Paul or Peter or John. 

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James‬ ‭1:20NIV‬‬

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NIV

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Brotherly Love

4 Nov

Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]” Hebrews 13:1 AMP

What happens when a room full of God-loving, Spirit-filled friends begin to worship and pray together?

They begin to make waves. Change begins to take place. Just when they could do great things, when the seeds begin to grow, Satan sets his sights on doing all he can to stop this.

He hunts and seeks out the weakness in each of these people. Friendships will begin to be tested. Strong followers will become distracted. Where the weakness is, there will be satan. My weakness was weariness in struggle. My idol is security.

Beautiful friendships, built on fellowship, support and love, with Christ at the center, began to unravel. Judgement of one another began, eye rolling, gossip, arrogant judgement of those deemed not as “righteous” as them. Judgement turned to unforgiveness and rejection; Division took place.

Our whole world is built on the Grace and Mercy of Christ towards us, yet we are unwilling to extend that to those we worshipped with. Satan has had a field day.

We either ask God to remove the evil that lies there or we look outside and see the flaws that exist within us all, and close the door. The world will tell us that some people are “only in our journey for a season”, But GOD, in his most beautiful words, scripture, will say, leave no one behind.

Isolation is a tool of the devil. We are told to be there for one another, to protect each other from our weaknesses. Forgiveness, love and forbearance are attributes of God. We are called to be that for our brothers and sisters.

The bible is very specific about division within the body; It is most definitely not of God. Jesus spoke very clearly about forgiveness and judgement. Acts, and Paul’s letters to all churches include these instructions.

We absolutely do not know what is in a man’s heart. Only the Father knows. You do not know what is God’s wisdom, only the Father knows.

We are called to [and I have] examine our own hearts, and asked God to expose our own sin. God blesses us with freedom and peace in our painful refining. We need refining at all times, so we can be the light that we are called to be. To truly walk our purpose in this world.

I prayerfully and purposefully have asked for Him to reveal to me all that is in my heart that is not truth, that is not of Him. I have asked for His wisdom to be evident.

This is the truth He has shown me: Through prayer, through study, through sermon, and conversation.

Satan is never going to be stronger than we allow him to be. It all comes down to ONE truth, ONE way, ONE redeemer. Put your faith back in Him and not in ourselves. His words, His promise, His desires for our lives, His provision, strength and consistency.

We must be there for one another in the days that are coming. We MUST stop judging the saved and start supporting one another. Always.

We all stumble and let one another down. Nothing hurtful towards those we truly care for is ever intended to harm, otherwise that would be true of every one of us, of our intentions.

We all have different roles, different gifts, unique journeys meant to be learned from, cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ. We all have a purpose here, the outcome of walking our purpose is to be light-bearers to this world. The WHOLE world.

We are not the sifters of the heart. Only the Father can do that. Mustard seeds are very difficult to compare to mountains.

Our painful times, our testing times in the desert, are meant to deepen the faith in our hearts, so when that day comes, that evil stands before us we can, with confidence, claim victory through Him that gives us strength.

Our faith can move mountains. Our redeemer is amazing.

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalms 42:7 NKJV

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:11-15 NIV

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

“[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor?” James 4:11-12 AMP

“Where there is strife, there is pride,but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10 NIV

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 NIV

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2

Seeing God Through Love “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. ” 1 John 4:12

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

6 Oct

A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

Every season must come to an end. After a very long decision making process, I have decided to leave Social Media.

Facebook has been a great source of support and comfort for me. Facebook has kept me connected through times that were truly some of the most difficult. It has been a great source of entertainment, laughter, glimpses into the circle of life that we all share. I have loved it!

As my journey in faith has brought me to many new places, many new challenges, it has also brought to me new people. All were important for new growth.

I have learned so much and been brought along side such incredible people. Each place, each new person met me exactly where I was at in my journey and walked side by side with me as I navigated new waters. Yet, even as I journeyed, moving to new places, I was able, through Social Media, to still be visible and to stay in touch with my roots: My family, my friends, my anchors in faith, and my shepherds.

Now is a new time, a new place; a new step in my journey to become Holy. God has slowly been paring down my distractions. Even falling in love has been a huge lesson in distraction. He is slowly bringing me to a new level of relationship with Him. Oh my gosh, when I think of my crooked pathway to this place! He is showing me now, that I am to stand alone, with Him. To know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

He has removed the burden of not having enough provision. He has blessed me with a wonderful job, with great purpose. He has allowed testing to take place and honestly, I am not doing so great on the outcomes initially, but I turn back to Him quicker and quicker. I have found the weaknesses in my faith.That said, praise a God so wonderful that He constantly walks side by side with me as I ride the waves of pure trust and self reliance.

Knowing your weakness gives God power over your sin, rather than Satan. True humility, transparency and confession is so essential to remaining in close relationship with Him. We don’t change us, He does.

He has walked me through the desert, left me alone to find my way back to Him, and He has blessed me. I have been so alone, but not until I was strong enough to actually be alone. He brought me reminders by my dwelling places. He knew I would look to the skies and see His hand. He has blessed me with incredible reflective places of peace. Places to sit with Him and just be still with Him. Reminders in the hard times, that He is still with me.

He wants to quiet my mind, still my mind and heart. I can’t do that with the constant barrage of information. Distraction is not of God.

We are not called to judge as He is the only judge. However, we are instructed to weigh, evaluate and discern what is righteous, what is good, what is true.

I have weighed, evaluated and discerned that Social Media is no longer healthy in my walk. God needs me to still my input, so He can begin to build on His plan for export in my life.

I do not have visions, I am not a prophet, nor a teacher. I am a learner. I am a seeker of truth and justice. I am flawed and most of all, I am saved.

I question myself at times. Do I really know what the Holy Spirit wants me to know? I guess, in all honesty, questioning our own true validity is God inspired. We should test our hearts and our thoughts against truth at all times. Truth is in THE Word of God, not within our opinions.

The Word of God speaks to each of us differently at different times in our lives. God meets us where we are at and provides to either the mustard seed or the greatest of knowledge.

Our hearts are what God cares most about, not our knowledge, but seeking wisdom from God is essential. If we are so busy sharing or caring about what others are saying, how can we hear God? I am not that talented. So, with that, I will be slowly removing social media from my world. Spending more of my free time, in my favorite place to be, prayer and study.

I am looking forward to this new step in my journey with apprehension, with excitement. God bless you.

A Case For Forgiveness

3 Sep

I have learned so much about my own weakness and sinful nature over the past 6 years. I have never had stronger faith and a deeper desire to please my Father, and still I sin.

During this growing time, I have lost my narrow need for control by needing to define right and wrong, black and white, from judgemental eyes.

I have learned to lay at the foot of the cross, set my sin there and ask God for wisdom and strength, forgiveness for my weakness and gratitude for not taking away my hope.

I have new eyes, His eyes, eyes that have allowed me to love myself even through my sins.

From that love comes love and forgiveness for those that sin against me or other’s I care about. If my sin is not meant to harm, why would I persecute other’s as if they intended to harm.

This is not to say sin doesn’t matter, because it does, because it carries consequence; To myself, or to others, yes, there is always consequence, consequences that can hurt, deeply.

What sin doesn’t do is separate me from my salvation; Salvation gained through no doing of my own, only by the sacrifice of one Son to carry my sins on His back, so I may be redeemed. If He was willing to do that for me, and I am willing to accept that, then I MUST choose to grant mercy and share grace with everyone- All- Regardless of the harm they have caused.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow them to harm us again, but we carry no un-forgiveness or bitterness in our hearts.
God does this for us, Jesus suffered and died for us, as He died He cried out on behalf of those that harmed Him. “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.” His forbearance is beyond understanding, yet we can pray to have that patience, that wisdom, that acceptance, that love!

When we are betrayed by those we care most about, we can get angry, we can lash out or we can begin the process of healing by forgiving.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

If you have faith, you have all you need to weather the hurts in this life. What forgiveness does is it allows your offender to move closer to God, to show mercy is to demonstrate the Love you have received. If we don’t show grace, or accept it, we stand in the way of God. If Christ died for us, and we believe that, then it should be without merit that we share the full impact of Grace.

Shame and guilt are not of God, they are of the un-forgiven. Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.”

I am not without sin. But.. I am forgiven. And I choose to forgive.

A New Song

16 Apr

Sunshine upon my face, the raindrops have gone away
It feels so good to be free
With You I’ve found a way, to overcome all the things
That hold me down, that keep me down away from You
~Caleb Rowden

Another plane, another journey.

As I listen to my music on this flight, I reflect on the many flights I would spend with my head pressed against the window, tears streaming down my face. It was dreaded quiet time, forced time in my head, a place I spent as little time as possible in that season.

Reflecting as lyrics of praise lift me up and fill me with my now ever present peace; I realize music has always been here, season to season, from sad songs to dance. These days my genre of choice is christian music, which also reflects where my mind is at these days.

What a journey this has been. What a ride the past 6 years have been. Broken to new, lost to so sure, sorrow to joy.

My heart was broken back then. I had no love in my life. Not even for myself.
How great is the love I found in that loveless state? Crazier still is that I found the Love of all Loves when I fell in Love with Jesus.

To be sure, the journey was still mine to walk, the valleys were still there and I had to walk through them. But! He brought such amazing friendships to walk beside me. Some to challenge me, some to teach me and some to encourage me. The deeper I went in my faith, the deeper those God-inspired friendships went, teaching me about abandon, trust and faith.

Though I knew His greatness and power, though I had walked through great darkness at times only to be so incredibly blessed on the other side. Though I could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside me at time…I still forgot. I still panicked, still doubted.

What I never want to forget is that during the hardest moments, that is when I knew He was beside me; I grew so calm during the hardest moments in my walk. Music is a great reminder. A song can take me back to a place. Like now.

I find it inspiring to look back, to see what I have walked through, how God’s faithfulness never ceases and He fulfills every promise. People cannot do that. We are just not perfect enough.

I didn’t become better, or righteous, I simply surrendered it all; My hurt, my sense of failure, my lack of hope, my disappointment in people, my self-sufficiency, my self-blame and self loathing. I was empty.

It was then that I was able to let go and let God begin to change me. Not the people around me, not my circumstances, not give me everything I wanted but to change the way I saw the world, change the way I processed life and emotion, change my awareness.

I began to have moments of super natural understanding, which goes so much deeper than anything I could do myself.

My sinful nature is still with me. Certain sin fell away when love replaced the destructive lies. I believe without our sin, we would forget our need for humility and Christ. We will never be able to be sinless. Only He could do that.

Singing a new song, listening to a new genre, there are no more tears on planes. There is no fear. There is hope. I am not always happy, but I am always hopeful. Life is really hard at times, but this is temporary. A drop in the bucket of eternity and the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever!

That’s my song from here on out.

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

More Than Love

29 Jan

Deciding whether to commit to or to end a relationship is a serious, but important question that anyone that has ever been in a relationship has to ask. This can be so difficult and honestly, requires many decisions, not just a broad question of do I love Him/Her.

Not asking the hard questions is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. You may love someone, but commitment is far more than love. There are certain things to consider that may help in making the best decision.

When someone hurts us, we naturally want to share our hurt with someone but be choosy and think long and hard before you overshare your concerns with those that love you most. While you may get over what someone does, they may not. This can be unwise as it may slant any future decision making advice you may need from those that know you best.

A Pastor, a counselor, a couple you respect, with no emotional tie to you, would be a great place to start when seeking advise about concerns you may have, any fears or issues that may keep you from taking the next step towards or away from your partner.

Pray, Pray, Pray!

Do NOT skip this step. Talk to God. He is the most objective listener. Lay your heart and your future at His feet and sleep on it for a while. Give God your time. Spend time in the word. Pour your thoughts out to Him. Pray for discernment and wisdom, (HIS), then be quiet and allow Him to answer you. Do not be impatient. Let Him work on your heart or let him guide your wisdom. He will.

Take time to do your lists. Like prayer, do NOT skip this step.

First be general and just start writing down anything you love, like, dislike, or feel may be a red flag. Then rate them as a pro, con, good quality or area of concern.
Then, go deeper…Dig deep and be completely transparent and honest with yourself. Take everything into consideration. Does he/she bring positive or negative consequences or concerns in the areas of career, finances, faith, personality,are they positive or negative, if you are raising children, what are the concerns and consequences of behaviors or personalities with your children: How will this affect your lifestyle, your hobbies, community involvements, alone time. What are the potential lifestyle changes, will they add to or detract from your life. *note: do this when you are not upset, and not when you are high in love. Do this when you are able to truly be open and objective with yourself.

You should have a clear idea forming of what your concerns are and what you can let go of. I feel I must clarify this here. If you have been in abusive or unhealthy relationships in the past, take your list to a professional. Make sure you are not making choices out of habit, overlooking or not ranking a red flag, a red flag. Sadly, when we make those mistakes over and over, we have to take the bull by the horn and seek a professional to advocate for us until we are strong and sure of our own ability to advocate for ourselves.

Where there are behaviors that are red flags, and you choose to move forward, then you must write out clear and concise rules of engagement, a clear boundary of behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not and concise consequences for behavior that is not healthy.

Behaviors that suggest a need for a clear and defined boundary/consequence are abuse of any kind, cheating, drugs,alcohol, gambling, porn. Set the boundary, and if they cannot abide by the contract, you cannot overlook or make exceptions. You must decide to end the relationship and put that in writing as the consequence. Then you BOTH need to abide by the rules.

Finally, Let go of what doesn’t matter. The best part about making a deep list is that you seek wisdom, discernment, with open and objective analysis. Make a logical decision that just may go against your emotion or your feelings for someone. If you find the good far outweighs the bad, then you have your answer. If you find the bad outweighs the good, then you have your answer. If you find it is somewhere in between, you have to explore, ask questions, set boundaries and seek help to make your decision.

Love is not enough and love will not sustain a poorly thought out, bad relationship. The level of success in your relationships depends greatly on your willingness to be honest and thoughtful about who you choose to commit yourself to.