Addiction is a Worship Problem

Addiction

As I work my way through a devotion on self image, one morning this line just stuck with me Addiction is a Worship problem. Suddenly I realize that it really is a worship problem for me because I fail to allow Christ and worshipping him to become my addiction in life. If I could center on him then all would probably fall into alignment in my life the way God desires for me. It should be embarrassing to type such lines because devoting to him should be so easy, but I know that this life turns me away from him so easily each day. Scripture assures me that God will not tempt me without providing a means to escape from the worldly temptation , yet I fail regularly to become totally addicted to Him. “ No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Temptation

This leads me to wonder where temptation and addiction comes from because deep down I do not want to believe it is my sinful nature, but scripture once again shows me my weakness. ‘But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:14. The realization of the first sin burns deep within me and it is a fight that I can only hope to win with Christ by my side. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“ Romans 5:12. As the devil prowls the earth filled with sinful men, I must be cautious of how he uses my eyes, my words, my hands, my whole being to be tempted towards addictions that are not Worshipping my Savior. “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16. And “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

Worship

What I have learned is that I need to worship God more! I need to focus on my relationship with Christ more deeply and let this desire and love overcome any addiction that the world puts before me. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:12-15. God is not tempting me but the world is and I must put on my shield of faith and protect my soul. “ In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” Ephesians 6:16. Protecting myself for the return of my savior and the hour of great worship and exaltation upon his return. I want my addiction to be strong when he returns. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4: 23-24.

Worshipping with Christ

I am preparing to worship one day with my savior just as God has promised. I am preparing for the greatest worship service of all where I will proclaim Christ and he will know my name. “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! …” Psalm 150: 1-6.

Closing Verse: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23.

Challenge: Do you have a Worship problem? Check on your addictions.

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There Is A Man I Admire

And that Man is Jesus.  

My heart is filled with so much hope and love.  I can walk day to day knowing that Jesus is by my side.  When I read of his life, I wonder how I get to have the life I have and Jesus had to sacrifice so much.  He loved, yet was betrayed by his own people.  “And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”” Matthew 26:21.  He trusted, yet those close turned against him.  With all of this he still forgave and opened the door for mankind to walk into the presence of this Father one day cleansed by his blood.  Why?  That is a deep and longing love for man.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.   That is a heart that I long for to walk like Jesus.  Jesus walked the earth among the sinners he loved and always searched for the good.  He taught us to find the good in others and to love others just as Christ has loved us. One of my favorite stories of Jesus’s love is found In John 8:1-11. 

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

John 8:1-11.

I love that Jesus showed true forgiveness in this story and such an example for us all.  

Finding Jesus 

Finding Jesus in man today can be hard.  We are a self-centered people, who long to be right, be better than others, and find fault.  We protect ourselves from our own lives no matter the cost.  This is a hard world to live in and find Jesus.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, “ Romans 3:23.  Sometimes it seems like genuine Christians are few and far between.  Christians forget who they are and what they stand for sometimes as we walk through this secular world of sin.  God warns us of this world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16.  Yet, even I find myself sometimes lost in the sins of this world.  It can be very confusing to watch Christians live in this world today.  I encourage us all to guard our hearts.  “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Psalm 119:37.

There is a Man I Admire

I do live with a man that I see Jesus in everyday.  He loves, forgives, and challenges me to be a better person.  He has been filled with so much pain, yet smiles and lives life to the fullest each day.  Sometimes I wonder how so many people around him can cause so much hurt and leave so much pain.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.  I know Christ died for their sins just as he died for mine, so I pray.  I pray for healing, I pray for answers, I pray for forgiveness – I Just Pray!.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.  Jesus left us with a new commandment and my husband lives this commandment each day.  I am challenged to do the same by watching his example.  Love your neighbor.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34-35.

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Challenge:  Seek to be like Jesus and not the world.

Christmas Lights

This blog was first posted on December 1, 2017.   Over the next 6 weeks as the holidays and my life transitions, I will be sharing some of my favorite Christmas time post.  I hope you will enjoy these past post over the holiday and the new year – 2019 will bring a new life and new post of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

The tree is up and the lights are beginning to glisten and shine on homes around the neighborhood.  Homes and business are beginning to show signs of Christmas with lights abundantly shining.  There have been times in my past where this time of year would bring anxiety to my life, as my to do list just seemed to grow and I had no idea what to buy or give as gifts.  A few weeks ago when God first touched me with the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle​​​​​​​I was sitting at a stop light and reading a church sign on the corner.  It seems funny to me that I can’t remember what the sign said because I love church signs, but only the feeling that this would be a season of enjoying and not worrying.  Maybe it was the darkness full of lights around me as I was driving, that made me think of Christmas and the coming season of lights, but I felt an excitement for the coming Christmas season and the light of Christ that we celebrate this time of year.  I am going to make the lights important this year. I stop and enjoy each new one home that lights up.  I become mesmerized in the beauty of the lights which are reminding me this year of Jesus and his words in John 14:6, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Star

I love the Moravian star.  If I had one I would probably leave it up year round, so this time of year I get to see the star again.  Have you stopped to really look at one and see all the crosses that come together to create this star?   I imagine this is the unusual star in the heavens above the manager.  Matthew 2: 9-10 shares the joy of the wise men when they found Jesus, “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  As I enjoy the stars of Christmas, I realize that the stars we admire in the heavens are created by God.  Psalms 147:4 reads, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” Each star including the one that rose over Jesus’s birth is named by God, the Creator.

Christmas Season

Let’s all slow down this Christmas season and enjoy the lights of Christmas, find God’s peace, and His blessings in the lights.  Let go of the chaos this time of year can bring and stop and enjoy what is important.  Stop and remember that God brought his only Son as a baby to walk in our footsteps without sin.  Jesus knows us and understands our walk.  Stop and walk with him through this season.  I know peace will be found if stop and will be infinitely better than the hustle and bustle.  For as John 1:5 reminds us all, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Closing Verse:  Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Challenge:  Stop and Walk with Jesus through the Christmas Season.

National Anthem

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The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

September

This month I remembered 9/11 and as I remembered such a difficult time in our nation’s history, I started thinking about the national anthem.  As the national anthem of the United States is making headlines over and over but not in the way, Francis Scott Key ever intended when he penned the words so many years ago on Sept. 13, 1814.  As he witnessed the attack at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and then raising of the US flag to show their victory over British forces in the War of 1812.  He penned these words after a night full of fighting and years later our country took these words as our national anthem.  These words for me represent pride for my country and respect for the men and women who have fought and died to protect my rights and freedoms.  As I ponder the Star-Spangled Banner and its words, I see a connection to Christ.

Connection to Christ

Christ who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed himself for me, so that I might live eternally with my Father in heaven.  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18.  This sacrifice reminds me to not just be proud to be a American but proud to be a Christian.  “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12.  As a proud Christian, I must show myself as a humble servant not one who stand and looks down on others.  I must live by example so that other may find Christ and have the same sense of pride in their relationship with him.  “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21.

Proud American

So just as I show by living for Christ, I must stand as an American that others can see my pride in this country.   “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:32.  It is sad to see so many in this country state so firmly their disgust for a country that was founded to protect their rights.  Sometimes I even wonder where I am living and long for my eternal home.  “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16.  As long as I am here, I will choose love not hate.  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

 

Closing Verse:  “Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Challenge:  Stand up for Christ in your life! Live as an example for others of his sacrifice.

A Favorite Rendition:

Did you know?  The song has 4 verses.

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Searching For a New Heart

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Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

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

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.

 

 

Security Blankets

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What Is My Security Blanket?

Harley and I flew again this week and as I did my usual preparations for the flight, I watched Harley crawl into the safety of her crate with her blanket.  “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.  Something about watching her at the airport and on the plane in the safety of her “special place” sent me to thinking about my own security blankets. Security blankets can be a great thing to have, but sometimes I feel I can’t let go of my blankets.  I am going to bet we all have some.  You know those things or “that thing” you just can’t let go of in life.  You think it is your safety net and what you need to keep your life complete.  But then you sit around and dream all those big dreams, so at moments like this I ask myself why am I not living some of those dreams.  Why don’t I trust that if God is putting the dream in my heart that maybe he just might open the doors and pave the path for those dreams.  Why am I holding on so tight to my security blankets?  Obviously, I am longing to feel secure but finding that security in the wrong places, when the only place I need to look is in His Word and to His Son.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

What Should Be My Security Blanket?

I know that my humanness has me holding on so tight to what I know, to what is easy, yet my heart is willing to dream and walk with God.  “My humanness” makes things messy while God makes them simple.  The only real security blanket I need has already been provided to me.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  God gave me His Son.  He sacrificed him to protect me from myself.  He promises he has me secure, so that I can let go of my security blankets and dream, and live, and service him even more.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Closing Verse:  “But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7.

Challenge:  Let go of your security blankets and serve the Lord.

 

 

 

Water

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Searching the Ripples…

As I walk along the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas among people hurrying through life, I find flickers of peace as I watch the water move through the city.  As the light flickers off the ripples, I find some inner peace among all this busyness of life.  I want to shout to those who are missing the peace from the water because of this fast pace of life they are distracted by as  they move through life.  How many are just missing the calm waters each day of their lives? 

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Proverbs 18:4, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”

Christ’s Living Water 

Recently, my husband shared an article from earthables, Science Reveals How a Visit to the Beach Actually Changes Your Brain, As I was reading this article, my mind began wondering what God’s purpose for water in our lives might have been.  What symbol or meaning should water provide in our lives when we are surrounded by its peace?  As I searched scripture, I was not surprised by the common thread of living water.  Jesus is our living water and he provides peace, grace, and salvation in our lives.  Each time I am near water, I am reminded of God’s love through his  provision of living water for us by his son, Jesus Christ.  Water is a symbol of peace in our lives just as Christ’s sacrifice provides for our eternal lives.  The Samaritan woman at the well found peace in her life from the living water of Jesus in John 4: 13-15, ‘Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”’. Like the woman at the well, we must turn to Christ’s living water to find peace and quench our thirst.  Summer is a great time to find some water, recharge and refocus on Christ in our lives and the full meaning of his sacrifice for our weary souls.  

Summer Rejuvenation

Yes, Summer is finally here, so why is it that I am missing the peacefulness of the water.  I am longing for some relaxation by the ocean.  I feel like I have not stopped to enjoy the summer days yet, and I need the peace that I find near the water.  Walking along the Riverwalk in San Antonio reminded me of this deep need to reflect and reconnect with my inner being and my relationship with Christ.  The verse in 1 John 5:8 is a great summer motto, “The Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.”  I need to reconnect all three again to find his peaceful agreement in my life. 

Summer is my time to renew myself from the dry and coldness that Winter brought into my life.  I was David in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water,” but I seek the water that Christ gave to the Samaritan woman at the well.  I seek his water to replenish my relationship with him.  Each time this summer that I find myself near the water by relaxing on the boat, walking along a river, or sticking my toes in the sand on the beach, I will remember the sacrifice that Christ made to provide that living water that nourishes my soul.

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Happiness is a Choice

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I ran into this quote just the other day, “Happiness is not something you get, but something you DO,” by Marlene Cox.  As I thought about the quote, I noted how it connected to our family motto, “Happiness is a Choice”.  My husband has been quoting this for years in our home to both myself and our daughters.  A simple reminder that we are in charge of own happiness.  Sometimes choosing happiness means serving the Lord and doing his will.  His will leads to my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2 reads, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

For some reason this past school year has been a challenge, and I am not sure I can put my finger on the reason.  Over the course of this year, I have learned to lean on the words of our family motto, “Happiness is a Choice”.  I have to keep reminding myself that I have to choose happiness in my life because it will not choose me.   As this year has been a struggle, I have found myself turning more and more to the Lord.  As I write these words, I realize maybe God is trying to get my attention.  Maybe he is focusing me more on Him and His Word.  I seem to be looking at life different from the past, and I don’t mean this as a “bad thing” just as a “different thing”.  So in moving through such a different time in my life, what has God taught me?  

I must find my happiness in the Lord.  Psalm 100:2 reads, “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!”  The Lord has clearly shown me that I will never find happiness in my work and those around me.  As scripture in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  I know that as I dig deeper into his word that I will find a clearer path to walk.  People will never put me and my work as high as the Lord will.  Each day as I have struggled through a morning or a day, the Lord has reminded me that he determines my path and my worth.  I just have to do his work each day and he will bless me. And I have been blessed to have the chance to see my life’s work and its impact and now to look forward at what my future may hold.  I tried to follow the path the Lord has prepared for me.  I pray I have, and do, and will continue to serve him and be an example of his loving grace.  I am reminded of Acts 2:28 and for some reason it gives me peace, “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”  One day I will stand in the presence of the Lord and my prayer is that I will hear him say the words of Matthew 25:21, ” His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’”.

I have to close with how God is really working in my heart this week.  I have not been feeling well or sleeping well and that leads to being a negative person.  I can remind myself that I have to choose happiness, but God decided to just slap me across the face.  First on my drive to work the KLove morning team was discussing the difference in happiness and joy.  Just thinking about the two made me realize “Happiness is a Choice = Joy”.  Things may not always be going the way we want, but Joy is always in our hearts because we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.  After arriving at work, my daily inspirational calendar read, “What are three things that are making you happy RIGHT NOW?”  Here are my three at that time:

1. Loving God

2. Gracious Husband

3. Hot Black Coffee

I can’t lie that is what I wrote down.  I am a blessed woman.  I choose Happiness!  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”Philippians 4:4

Closing Verse: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” Psalm 30:11

Challenge:  When you are having one of those days that get you down = Choose Happiness.  Better yet, write down your three things that are making you happy at that moment.  God will show you his grace.

 

Did I Do The Right Thing?

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The past week in our house there has been a focus on the Dove House and their annual fundraiser.  My husband and I became involved 3 years ago with the Dove House and each year we feel our hearts pulled more and more to become involved with this organization.  This year I spent the week really looking over myself again and the decision I made or really didn’t make many years ago.  Many people know that my husband was a victim of a sexual predator.  When he was in the 4th grade, his teacher earned his trust and that of his parents and changed his life forever.  He wasn’t his only victim there were many others, little did we know how many till it all came out.  As he grappled with realizing the truth of what happened as he matured and believing that no one would believe him, as the teacher had earned so much trust from his parents and the community,  he hid this secret away.

One day while we were dating and soon to be married a door opened where he had the opportunity and chose to give me some insight into this part of his past.  Just a little piece of what had happened to him.  I chose to listen, question little, and to also never bring it up again.  Did I do the right thing?  Even with this decision I know God answers prayers, because I have spent our entire marriage not just praying for our marriage, or just for him, but praying for God to heal him.  Deep down I always knew that he was suffering and prayed for God to heal this pain.  Over those 22 years of pain, I was blessed to watch a slow healing process that prepared him for the time when he would really heal and get the opportunity to tell his story, face his abuser, and feel the relief of a conviction.  This alone does not end his healing or my prayers, but God has answered my prayers in helping him find healing.  As always I pray knowing that God answers prayers his way as Isaiah 55:8 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”  This verse brings me comfort that God was working in my decision.

Now as I look back, I have to ask myself did I do the right thing?  Did I make the right choice?  Should I have prodded for more back when he first confided in me?  Although the answer is yes every time I ask myself, I am thankful that God is in control and in his timing was able to provide my husband with the healing even so many years later in his life.  His blessings in our lives reminds me that I am not in control and that he is as Romans 8:28 states, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” and for this I am thankful.  I believe that the Lord has been fighting for him all these years even while he was silent.

His silence struck me again this past week while listening to the radio when I heard the song “Still“.  The singer, Hillary Scott, spoke about how she wrote this song about the verse Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” As I was driving to work, tears just welled up in my eyes, I immediately thought of how my husband had been silent, but then was reminded that the Lord had been fighting for him all these years.  He had prepared him for this time.  The Lord has been fighting for me as well in my silence.  God is Good!

Although, God has blessed us through this healing process by putting great friends around us, new friends who have suffered and understand his pain, and the great people of the Dove House, my heart tells me that I should have done more.  I feel it every time I have to tell his story and then my role and feel the guilt for not helping him sooner.  I feel the guilt that I know my husband has carried all these years for not speaking up sooner to protect other future victims.  I feel it when I think about the demons that have tormented him for so many years.  I feel it when I look in his eyes and see a new man now that has been freed of this terrible secret.  God gave him a voice at the time appointed, and he would want me to tell you that as he went through this process of court, jury selection, and sharing his story with strangers; he has been struck and moved by how many victims of child sexual abuse have been silently hurting.  He shares his story now empowered by God to bring darkness to light and let others know they are not alone.

Our blessing now from God is that forgiveness is real.  The promise of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  is God’s provision through the sacrifice of his Son that causes us to realize that we not only have to forgive easily each other but those who hurt us.  It seems so hard, but it is so fulfilling to release the pain and hurt to God and let him be the final judge.

Moving forward we support the Dove House because they do the work that is so desperately needed in our community and so many communities.  They support children as they move through the court system and finally recovery.  They make it safe to tell the truth and stop the abuse.  They save children.  I read this verse this week and it reminded me of the Dove House, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13.  The Dove House watches over, stands firm and is strong for those who aren’t.  May God continue to bless their work as they help others heal.

My constant prayer now is that God continues to heal those affected by child sexual abuse and, as my husband reminds me, there are many layers of victims even those that don’t think they are victims.   Family and others in the community today still do not believe that his abuser was guilty and he continues to have their trust.  May God show us the best way to use the truth to help others now that this secret is finally free, and that we will learn to be still while God is fighting.

Closing Verse: Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Challenge: Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  Be constant in prayer for God is always fighting and working for your good.

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Listening to God

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Funny how God works on you sometimes, preparing you for the future that is to come.  I can look back now and see God at work for months in my life of my family.  I am the person who thinks I have it all worked out for everyone and then God comes along and turns my world upside down.  I have worked on this post before only to be moved to write something else, but now I am here again writing as God has spoken and now I am finally listening.  I have been mentally making plans for the future for one of my daughters.  I really believed that I had it all worked out for her.  I mean the Lord showed me closed doors and everything. Although, I knew the passion in her heart and what she wanted, and I did pray for the right doors to open that would show her the way.  Yet, I never expected that her persistence and prayers would be answered as they have been and my world rocked.  I am listening now God.  I know that I have not been.  Now, I can see how I did not stop to listen to your answers Lord because I was sure of mine.  I turn my ears back to you and to scripture.  James 1:1 reminds me, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”.

These are powerful words that we forget in our daily lives especially – “quick to hear”.  As I strive to be a better listener to the students I work with, the adults who are my colleagues, and the world around me, I have to be reminded that it is most important to listen to God and hear him when he speaks even if those words are coming from the mouth of my own child.   Scripture is a keen reminder to me of how God’s people have chosen not to listen to him.  So many of these times his people failed to listen and suffered the consequences of failure to be “quick to hear”.  Did I fail his test?  Was he or is he testing me?  “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” are words from Deuteronomy 13:3.  These words are a solemn reminder to me that I have to trust the Lord with all my heart and soul.

About a month ago this quote from Kyle Chandler showed up on my daily calendar, I am not sure why at the time I took a picture of the quote, but as God rocked my world this last week my thoughts went back to this quote.  Not for me but for the persistence of my daughter to get what she wanted for her future.  Now that I have been forced to listen to God and allow my daughter to walk her own path and not the one path that I was choosing for her,  I turn to God in constant prayer that will cause me to listen more intently to his words as he prepares not just her future but also mine.  It is important to me now that I have had my world rocked to stop and see the plans that God is laying for my family and that includes me.  I pray that the Lord hears my prayers as Psalm 61:1 states, ” Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;”, and I constantly humble myself as Romans 12:12 reads, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  I humble myself and pray and listen so that my prayers might be heard as John 9:31 reminds me, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” I am listening now Lord in order to do your will.

Closing Verse: ‘But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,’  Acts 4:19

Challenge:  Are you listening to God or making your own way?  My challenge to you is to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” and find comfort in God’s plan.

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