Posts Categorized: christianity

Testimony Grit

Evidence of grit–

Heels dug into turf

in repetitive resilience.

Battered souls

wilted weary

by devastating

defeats.

Coached back up

to the surprise of

of our enemy’s doggedness.

Shoulders pressed forward

against all odds.

Hope faithfully

gains ground with eyes

firmly fixed on the end

zone of belief.

 

Immature Plans:Trusting the plan of Salvation

John 2:4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”

Matthew 8:And behold, they cried out saying, “What to us and to you Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

John 1223 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.…

Our plans to save ourselves are always immature. We look for Jesus to turn water into wine, so we can save the party, but God pours out his own blood to save the world. We look for Jesus to overthrow and punish our enemies. Jesus looks at breaking the chains of sin and offering salvation to those who murder us!

God hears our cries, but he will not answer until the appointed time. This can be confusing, and infuriating! We believe in God, but we don’t believe in his plan or his perfect timing. We look for idols and quick fixes to fill in the gap of our waiting. Matthew Henry’s commentary explains it this way, “Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ’s favors, must observe his orders with ready obedience.”

Can I obey God when he let my son die? Can I keep turning the page of his plan, according to his will and not mine? I see the spectacular results of Jesus’ obedience! Oh Lord, I cry out to you. Open my mind to the possibilities of your perfect plan. Make my path straight. Thank you that you didn’t stop with water to wine! May my narrow plan open wide to the joy of your salvation. Amen

We are . . .

Herald DisbatchPsalm 13:3Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 5But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.…

Sometimes it is not about winning, it is about building his team, showing up for the game and giving all to our heavenly coach, witnessing to the next generation in the stands and giving them the chance for victory.

I just finished watching We Are Marshall, a movie about Marshall University in Huntington, WV and the tragic plane crash that shattered many lives on November 14, 1970. Seventy-five people lost their lives on that flight. The decision to re-build the football team was not one reached easily.

The new head coach Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew Mconaughey. was an outsider who was moved with compassion for the grieving family, school and city. However, he also knew they needed hope.

McConaughey uses the phrase, “The funerals end today,” but Lengyel said he had to make that known not only to the players but to the schools the team played. Each time the team traveled, the school would have a memorial for Marshall, but Lengyel said the team couldn’t continue and grow under those conditions. (Herald Dispatch)

To grow we have to realize that God still has plans for us. My husband, kids, and you daily remind me that the funeral ends today. Daniel saw the movie in our DVD collection and asked if he could watch it. I hesitated, knowing the intensity of the movie. He asked questions all week about the football team, about the school. He was clearly thinking deeply about the loss. “How many people are on a football team?” . . . “What are boosters?” “How do you start over?” “They must have felt like we do about losing Jonathan.”

We are knocked to the ground, barely able to breath, and the enemy is in our face telling us to stay down.

You are . . . nothing

You are . . . a failure

You are . . . a loser

Sometimes we need an outsider to see our pain, come onto the field of battle and draw up a new play book. God did this by sending his own son. He tell us:

you are . . . beautiful

you are . . . resilient

You are . . . loving

You are. . . worth the struggle

You are . . . a part of my plan

Since Jonathan’s death there are more personal losses and world tragedies the weigh heavy on my heart. Like David I remind myself of who I know God is:

You are . . . good to me

You are . . .Savior

You are . . . Mighty

You are . . . Personal

You are . . . All Knowing

You are. . . Trustworthy

“In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We chant with our lives we are . . . And allow the next generation to answer. They know who they are and whose they are because we didn’t give up!

The Frangrence of Triumph

2 Corinthians 2:14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;…

As I grieve I want to wear the perfume of triumph! It comes from knowing who God is, trusting what he is doing and believing he will reveal his truth through us. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains that those who won battles were doused in sweet fragrances. My fragrance should be Christ because he is the source of my victories. I have had many! To claim victory we have to remember His faithfulness.

  • He chose me
  • Plucked me out from despair
  • Equipped me with scripture to fight the devil’s schemes
  • Made me a prayer warrior
  • Caused me to delight in others
  • Gave me a desire to share his love
  • Crushed the enemy’s attempts to destroy me through abuse and fear!!!
  • Defeated the grave long before I had to place my son in it

 

Too often I wear the scent of death. My circumstances are complicated and constant, but God is faithful to give abundant life. I see his hand so clearly, yet I turn my eyes to what isn’t and begin to act like God is not enough for me.

Today I allow you, Father, to wash away my sorrow. Lord, infuse me with the scent of understanding your ways. Discipline my brokenness. May my life become a beautiful fragrance of glory in the midst of a world filled with the dank scent of despair.

In the War Room: Spiritual Warfare Momma Style

Psalm102:28The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

For the first time in over two years I returned to the chapel to pray for our church youth group as they met. Coming to church has been difficult this year, and being around teenagers even harder. Not because I don’t love them, but because I miss Jonathan. From the first moment I said yes to Jesus, I have not battled a desire to escape church, until now. I began to withdraw from fellowship as soon as the casket closed. But in contrast to this struggle, God kept stirring me to pray for young men and women, some struggling very much like my son. I entered the chapel and felt the same blank, numb, weariness that I have become accustomed to these days in being in the building. I didn’t feel like being there, but God’s call was clear.

As I began to pray for guidance, as I began to pray for each of the students by name I became aware of a shift. It was as if the blinders were removed from my eyes and I began to see what I was actually praying for and against. Scripture declares that there is a spiritual battle not always seen by the naked eye. Discernment is needed and prayer opens the door for the spirit to guide us in our prayers.

13-15 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God. (James 5 MSG)

There came a moment when my hands were raised, but I don’t remember raising them. I felt like Moses standing above the battle field and when his arms were raised, the Israelites were winning, but when his arms dropped they began to lose. I could see the battle playing out, and the enemy losing ground as I declared God’s truth over each child. Prayer is a powerful tool, scripture is able to slice open and reveal the enemy’s schemes. So why do I so often use it as a last resort?

Don’t grow weary in your prayers. Jesus didn’t pray to his heavenly father day in and day out because he was God, he prayed because he had limited himself to being a man! To fight the enemy’s schemes just like we can do, to stand firm while others fell away, Jesus had to pray. It was not a last resort, it was his weapon of choice. He taught us how to pray! Prayer puts a stake in the ground and says, “No further Satan!” Today I put a stake in the ground Lord, I state before God and man, I will be a watchman. I will declare your faithfulness to me, and trust that you will be faithful to our children. Will you be a watchman with me?!

Psalm 78:

1My people, hear my teaching;

listen to the words of my mouth.

2I will open my mouth with a parable;

I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

3things we have heard and known,

things our ancestors have told us.

4We will not hide them from their descendants;

we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

his power, and the wonders he has done.

5He decreed statutes for Jacob

and established the law in Israel,

which he commanded our ancestors

to teach their children,

6so the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,

and they in turn would tell their children.

7Then they would put their trust in God

and would not forget his deeds

but would keep his commands.

The Discipline of Depression: Finding What Works in the Midst of What isn’t Working

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What do you do, no matter what? Especially if you suffer from depression, I’d really like to compile a list of helpful habits as a resource to others. Since Jonathan’s death the two places that I am most under attack are in the car, and in the late evenings. I have limited the amount of driving I do. My mind is a landmine of destructive thoughts when I am exhausted, so opening myself up to even the news in the evening seems to fuel depression as I try to sleep.

Categories:

Daily habits that lift your spirits

Example: Singing hymns

Making my bed (seems small, but completing this task daily leads to bigger completions)

Scriptures you bring to mind

The habit of avoidance:

Not staying up late alone

Avoiding TV after 9

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

On Borrowed Tomorrows

13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”…

The days do not belong to us, they are the Lord’s. How differently do we live with this verse in mind? Would we wake up and  rather than hit the snooze button, or go down the litany of our to do list, or worry, we instead asked, “Lord, what is your will for this day?”  There is freedom in the revelation that the day was never ours in the first place. It is the Lord who provides our daily bread, who builds or tears down, and it is the Lord’s to do with it what he pleases. What is expected of us in each day? That we believe in him! That is enough, and out of our joy everything else falls into place.

Jonathan’s death is shifting my focus from ownership to stewardship. Every time I switch from opening my hands to the Lord being enough today, I sink. Every time! I’m coming to realize that at the heart of grief is the realization that I can’t and He can. If each day is mine then I follow my will for that day (usually into the pit of sorrow), but if I humble myself and allow the Lord to teach me to number my days correctly, then every moment is an opportunity! Jesus corrected the disciples perspective on time, their days, and their position in those days. While the disciples kept jockeying for the right or left throne in the Lord’s kingdom, Jesus showed them that the greatest were the least, that money and power were not equal with holiness, and that God appoints time, not man. When these men accepted and embraced that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven, they became instruments of God’s will in every life they encountered. Open prison doors, shaken by heaven. became an opportunity for salvation, not an escape from circumstances! Acts 16:25-34 There is not a single moment that is wasted by God!

But oh how much time we humans waste pretending that we are in mini gods, planning our days and years! We build mansions that are devoid of love. We watch others live fake lives on TV, never really finding out what today was meant to be. We are the most effective when we acknowledge that our tomorrows are borrowed from God almighty. The best plan is for God to teach us to number our days correctly.

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. 21Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

Turning the Page on Arrogance

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If I were God, chocolate and coke would never add to my weight, my husband would be my fairytale prince, my children would obey without question, and I would never allow another child to be lost to suicide. Just in writing the above sentence I notice that your desires are not reflected. Every last bit of what I just wrote are my own wants. But isn’t this an accurate depiction of our thoughts? We often measure God by the shallowness of our own thinking. One only needs to look at Jesus to see that God shatters the way that individuals, society, our government and our world thinks.

Man’s Thinking =All roads lead to heaven vs. God’s Thinking= Narrow is the path that leads to righteousness (right living) and wide is the path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14)

Man’s Thinking = Self Preservation vs. God’s thinking= If you want to gain your life you have to lose it (Luke 7:33)

Man’s Thinking = We build our governments vs. God’s thinking = Daniel 2:21 . . .He removes kings and establishes kings; . . .

I am arrogant in my man centered thinking. I judge God by what I would do in his place. I question the goodness of his plan. Arrogance means: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions. (Merriam-Webster).  A close relation to arrogance is arrogate: to take or claim (something, such as a right or a privilege) in a way that is not fair or legal. Both literally mean “away from asking”.  And at the heart of arrogance is a lack of submission to God’s will.  I struggle to ask God his thoughts on healing the heartache and brokenness so many experience.

Have you ever been blindfolded and had to trust others to lead you? Fine in familiar territory, but would you trust others to lead you safely across a busy street? That is what trusting God is often feels like for me. Except my blindfold is sin. God is asking me to trust his goodness, his will, his upside down plan that results in a perfect plan for the salvation of many.

I WANT TO SEE WHERE I’M GOING! Our trust stops where we lose control of the path to the final outcome. I am totally out of control of the path to turning the page on the suicide epidemic. That is hard. To trust that God cares more for what is happening to us, our friends and family who suffer depression, mental illness, and despair than I do, takes an acceptance of his upside down plan. I want to be God in turning ending this nightmare, yet his way is often through slavery, deserts, pits, and loss.

But oh my goodness do I want the results!!! Joseph, is one of the Old Testament men who is a founding rock of my faith. He was almost murdered, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into prison and forgotten by man, but God showed him favor. God lead him (blindfolded by his own version of the dream) into second in command to pharaoh! In this position he saves many nations from famine and rescues his own family from certain death. Not the path Joseph saw coming, but he trusted God to lead him through anything. Can you and I trust God to lead us to an outcome that will always save many?

I Am Not Picasso, I’m the Brush: Learning to Glorify God Not the Words I Write

Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6Who, being in very naturea God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureb of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Do we make ourselves nothing as Christians? I have been working to remove idols from my life this month. And there are many. A person handed me In His Steps when I was young, sharing the challenge of asking, “What would Jesus Do?”, in all aspects of our lives. I read it, attempted to ask “what would Jesus do”, and fizzled out very quickly. Why? Because, doing what Jesus would do, does not include being the center of praise. I seek the comfort of worthiness in man’s eyes, not God’s pleasure.This is an idol. I worship at the feet of human praise.

Everything in this world points towards praising the individual. It is an accepted practice–even by the church. When we applaud or give standing ovations to the work of our musicians, our pastor and ourselves are we giving God the glory? Please hear me, I am simply asking our motivation. The answer is between you and your maker. We have shows boldly calling themselves “American Idol”. Idol is not a bad word on our lips, it is someone with gifts and talents to admire. And some even acknowledge God for their talents, but it isn’t God we admire on that stage.

When you read my writing does God take center stage, or do I? I want his mighty works to be what you see. “When you see a great Picasso, da Vinci or Rembrandt. Do you ever sing the praises of their brush. It’s the master of the masterpiece who deserves the praise. Not the paint they use-blue, green, or blush. So don’t praise me if I do something wonderful . . .” (From the movie In His Steps)

Do we find ourselves needing praise to do a good job, or are we doing each aspect of our life to the glory of God? Taking on the very nature of a servant. Guaranteed we’ll be called “Jesus Freaks”, but there are worse things I could be called–such as an idol.

Archer’s Paradox

On our own, the miracle of belief misses the bullseye.

Our arrogant eyes, religiously taking aim

at flesh, with log or spec setting

off truth’s perfect course to the heart.

And nature reveals the gravity of our sin—friction

setting law against law,

pulling faith to the ground.

Words fail to hit their aim; faulty

and misshapen by the stiff spine of intent,

but, flexing improves our accuracy.

And three fletching feathers (love, faith, and hope)

gives the necessary rotation

So that life doesn’t plane out of control.

And the word hits its mark every time.

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National Suicide Hotline

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