Thursday, July 13, 2017

His Way Not Mine

To love God and to love others is our given commandment.  If you were to ask me how to go about this I would know them...God and people is a beginning.

So my journey in this life has been to know God and to know people.  It consumes me.  It has been the single thing that has challenged me.  I even see this in my own children.  Shaped by life experiences and relationships is the outpouring of knowing God and loving Him and man.

About a year ago after a time of surrendering and approaching Easter in Lent I was reading.  Thinking about knowing God more intimately.  I also was thinking about Gods people and charity came to mind.  The book I was reading said that charity was at the very heart of God.  

I thought I know so little about charity Lord but yet this is at center of your heart.  I began to pray regularly that the Father would teach me through the Spirit what charity is.  I assumed that He would direct me to an area that I could serve others.

What happened instead is that I became the one needing charity.  I have shared my physical and mental struggles this last year. The times in the hospital, in ER with people beyond my imagination needing care. The stay in the hall way overnight hearing the moans and cries.  

 I found myself with an expired drivers license and in the mental hospital being taken off one med and onto another.

As my family took care of me, I also reached out to friends like I never have.  They carried me to my appointments and other places I needed to go such as grocery and shopping at times.  It served me getting out and visiting and being encouraged by others.  

I had never ask for help such as this. I would say I have suffered much not because I was too weak but far too strong in my own strength, pride that is.  Jesus ask for help. Father take this cup from me if it be thy will.  I was so amazed at the healing in me that went on during this time. It takes a humility to ask for help.  I saw a kindness and gentleness come from within me I had not known.  I felt so loved and cared for.

Experiencing Jesus through charity never occurred to me I would be on the receiving end of it.  But of course...

Jesus did not come as a rich King but a poor Shepard and carpenter in a lowly manager.  He became like those who needed charity to know them.  To know our pain and suffering.  He took on our sin to know us.

Jesus wants to know us and fully accept us but in the righteousness that only He can give us.

Me attempting to love others and my Savior shows me how much I need Him.  I see my self-centeredness all the time.  My selfishness. It is like I think I can control the world and make it work.  I fight being the center of my universe and repent often.  I have no wisdom of my own.  Gods ways are not my ways so who am I to decide how this life should go maybe by not being content and thankful but anxious.

It is amazing to me the love that pours out of this heart of mine when I confess my lack of love.  That I need Jesus to love others through me and to love me.  My heart melts and I see things in others that shines the glory of God and I am amazed.  People are unique and they are creative and beautiful as I see Jesus in them.  Their compassion is the gift of Jesus through His Spirit.  I am in awe.

Jesus sweetness fills me once more and I see Him as never before.  I see His people and as they become like my Lord it makes me so happy.

Jesus wanted to know us so He became like us.  I wanted to know His heart in a deeper way so I had to become like the ones His heart breaks for.

It would have been easier to serve charity than to become them.  But the Father wanted my heart when I do.  I wanted to know His.

The Father gave His whole heart in His Son so He could have ours in Him.  Love can't be stopped in the presence of Him.  Where the Spirit of Jesus is there is love.  In me.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh but there is life in death...

The chief of all sinner...

the slow dying saint...

that is finding life in the risen Christ

Forgiveness is the mark of the forgiven.

Summertime is lots of good food, fun times and conversations with each other.  My children amaze me how they see people.  What makes them do the things they do and why.

I have had several conversations with my grands and the kids.  Now adults.  As one noted my sin I knew that what they saw in me was only part of my failure.  That my sin was so great it put Jesus on the cross.  That they saw me trying to do my best and still made a mess of things.

While taking a truck ride with another one we began to talk about these things.  I said, I do not get angry when others sin against me.  They do not mean to and I should not take it personally.

If we could have conversations like I am sorry.  I wronged you...would you please forgive me.  Then in return I would hear...yes I do...I was also wrong when I did that or said that to you.  Would you please give me forgiveness.  I want to change.

The conversation went like... no one is going to do that.  Everyone wants to be right.  They will not admit that they are wrong.  What he was saying, in our natural self, is true.

I said Christ died for the sinner.  Not for those that get it right.  He said I know but people have too much pride to admit that they are wrong.  Everyone wants to think they are right.  Nobody admits they are wrong.

There is a time when we are surrendered to the will and wisdom of God we may need to say we are right.  But this is not pride but dependence on God and His will.   These times are very rare.

I thought yes I do have pride.  Please break my pride Jesus.  It is our pride that keeps us from the foot of the cross and from the life and joy that is ours in Jesus life, death and risen. The more you know you are forgiven is the more you are willing to forgive.

Wouldn't it be so good if we could actually help each other see our hearts.  Why we hurt each other or say things we shouldn't just to get back at someone.  What is going on inside us that we think we are right and it is always the other person that is wrong.

Seeing the best in each other...that is Jesus.  I shared with my grandson that there is nothing we can do apart from Jesus.  That our best deeds are but filthy rags.

What if we truly saw that our sin put Jesus on the cross.  That the Spirit can truly help us love each other as Jesus loves.  That we can be an encouragement and build each other up.

That we don't have to do things for others to make us feel good but because we want others to know we love them.  That they are important to us.  That we are sincere.

There is scripture that says that we bless out of one mouth and tare down each other out of another.  Can we love from the heart.  We all are capable of the worse but there is forgiveness and hope to know our sins are forgotten and forgiven because of Jesus.

Could we honestly see the good and help each other in our struggles.  That we are not less people because we do wrong.  We are children of the King Most High.  We are righteous and He sees us in the goodness of Jesus covers us.

He who looses his life for my sake gains it.

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the grown and dies there is no life.

Is loosing my life not defending myself.  Not trying to always be right.  Not thinking I am someone that I am not.  Finding my identity in the world's ways of the creation and not in the Creator.  Not my will but Gods will be done.  A surrender to the ways of God.  Humility and love.  A person who is in the will of God has no reason to defend himself.  His life and actions speaks for its own.

The natural sinful pattern is to sin against someone when they sin against you.  It is hard not to be resentful or defensive.  Take a moment to look to Jesus and what He has done for you.  What He says about what a sinner you are forgiven and loved.  To see what is going on in my heart.  Why do I have to blame someone else or shift what is going on to the other person.

Once you know who you are in Christ and how loved and forgiven you are there is no need to try and make yourself look innocent or better than the other person.  We so search for an identity and will try to find it in the one that looks good and right, intelligent.

Repentance, forgiveness and love is the way of the christian.  It is the way of life and of Jesus.  Jesus came to serve not to be served.  He who is forgiven much loves much.

Not to do things just for myself but for the good of others.  I may not benefit from it,  but I am not living for myself.  When others say why did you do that for me.  Because I love you and I want you to know Jesus loves you also.  Our Savior is our reason for living.

These are lessons I am still striving to learn and practice with the help of the Spirit.  It is by the power of the cross and the love of the Father that changes me.  Love seeks the good of the one loved.  This is the gospel love of Jesus, Father and Spirit.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Coping or Trusting

And God took Elijah up.

I was amazed how gentle God was with Elijah in restoring him from his depression.  He fed him, gave him rest and showed him to care for others.  Elijah was proclaiming that he was the one who was faithful to God.  God showed him there were many.  But God was kind in restoring Elijah as he was fearful and self-righteous.

I have been interested in mental health beyond just accepting that is what the doctors diagnose me as. Where do these thoughts come from.  What is going on in my heart and mind as I drift beyond being in the present.

Lately I began to think about my childhood.  What a wonderful time that was in my life.  My relationship with my parents and my role in our time together.

Then marriage and my husband and children.  I adored my children and loved my husband so.  I thought life was perfect.  As we all know nothing nor no one in this life is perfect.

The world collapsed and I could not handle all that was going on so I escaped for the next many years into another world that did not exist.  Then I would spend my time in the computer world, writing and reading.

After many relapse I began to read what Gods word said about what was going on in my life.  I began to live in the present.  I was responsible.  I did have a time of illusions but I stayed mostly in life.

There was a time in the hospital to adjust my meds.  While there I had to stop my habits of smoking and wine at night so the med could be monitored.  I didn't realize how I had used these to cope.  With them gone I noticed sleeping because of the med and depression.  

The ways I had coped with life were gone.  Fear set in as I felt responsible for everything and everyone.  I was not conscious of these patterns and what they did for me.  I started to pay attention to what I did and thought when things did not go as I thought they should.  Maybe people were not doing what I thought they should.  What did I do.  Where did I turn.  How was my peace and joy and response.  Did I know I had power.  There were things I could do trusting God and not just turn inward or to something to escape.

There are so many ways we escape without even realizing it.  Work, tv, telephones, computers, shopping, gossiping, worry, sleep...the list could go on and on.

I read our children are not put here to make us look good.  We go from one thing to another to give us identity and ways of coping with this out of control life.  Full of pain and sin that we can not manage to our desire.  Or that we even cause.  We either shut the world out or we are god to a fault.

It is not the people that are on display but Jesus.  Sometimes I think the more messed up we are the more Jesus shines.  I know without my struggles I would not have turned to Jesus in the desperation that I have had.  I have not had the assurance of my Fathers love and pleasure in me, His child.

Relying on Christ and trusting Him has come over the last several years, about 5.  I have loved and talked to God as long as I can remember.  But actually resting in His goodness and love for me has been a process He has brought me through on His own by His Spirit.

I am so thankful for the illness and the work the Lord has mercifully done.  I am humbled by HIs patience and faithfulness.  I don't believe this would have been as beautifully done any other way.  The beauty I see is Jesus and His heart.   He is beyond my comprehension or imagination how He is so grand, mighty and glorious.  I mean He worked many days with me asleep lol.  I would wake and the things He would reveal to me about Him and my own heart stunned me.  Left me amazed.  Only God!

He keeps me weak just enough that I have to lean.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The gospel for the child at heart

This has been an amazing year.

A friend reminded me today of something we use to teach our children when they were under her teaching at church.  It brought freedom to my soul again today.

It is surprising to me how God takes old truths and shows you what it means to apply that truth in new and deeper ways.

It hit me today that Paul not only had to die to his badness but he had to die to his goodness.  God had revealed so much to Paul he was prone to pride.  So God also showed him his self righteousness and how even his good deeds were but filthy rags to show Paul his depravity.

I tried so long to live the good christian life.  Just tell me what to do and it fed my flesh and pride to please you and God.  The truth is I can do nothing apart from Christ.

My role is to surrender to the will of God daily.  To die to myself or flesh and live to Christ.  Even that it is His surrender.   He will do the work in my heart and no matter how hard I try it is not the life of Christ living in me. It is my independence.  Christ in me is the new creation.  My role is to yield to Him and let the life of Jesus be lived by me with my gifts, my body.

Corrie ten Boone said we are like a glove and the hand in the glove is like the Holy Spirit.  We work together but it is His power, His will, His life lived through me to do the things I cannot.  The glove cannot do anything apart from the hand in it.  We have the very spirit of Jesus living in and through us.

When we are living in union with Jesus, we know how to love as only Jesus can.  It is not a trying harder to do better.  It is a heart given to the Lord for His glory and His purpose.  It will attract the unbeliever, the rebellious, the hard heart in a way that you could not do on your own.  It is a gift a fruit.  It is an amazement to the wondrous glory of Jesus.   It is my Lord living life through me.  We are living life together. Partnership.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Change Maker

For all you do guard your heart, for all you do flows from it.

Is your heart so close to the Lords that you sense what is flowing from your heart.

He is the heart changer, the feelings, the attitudes, the attitudes, the needs, the inner most being of your heart is and can be changed by Jesus, the Holy Spirit.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Not that I should be an inward looking person but my heart is my connection with Jesus.  It should be before me.  I should be aware of my hearts condition.  Laying my heart before God and asking for repentance is a daily keeping that is a joy of the Lord.  The Spirit delights to bring glory to Jesus by pointing us to Him and His love for us.  It is His love that changes us.  It is His love that brings us to repentance.

So when you get down...when you have a sinful attitude.  When you sense your spirit is not one with the Holy Spirit remember who you are, the child of God.  His beloved.  He adores you and you will be renewed and strengthen by the joy that brings to you.  It brings you to renewal and wholeness.

Gratitude will flow from within you.  It maybe the smallest of things that brings joy.  But that joy brings strength in the weakness of your broken wayward heart.

As you pray in faith trusting God will change you and give you a heart of love of His...You
experience His sweetness

Do not neglect to return and praise Him and give Him thanks and see the gratitude flow from Him to you to others.  This is His strength to you poured out in love.

His Glory!

When you are in His presence and He has washed your feet.  You have touched the hem of His garment.  He gazes into your eyes.  You sense His heart beat. Scripture speaks to your heart. You are clean in His righteousness and changed with the joy and gratitude for your Savior.  Your song cannot be contained.  This is the gospel.  Christ died for sinners and they rise with Him.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

No one just plans to have a bad day.

No one wakes up and says I believe I will have a bad day!

Meeting with my sisters in Christ and sharing my heart was a place to start to get out of the pit.  Depression was the enemy that had blinded me.  I did not just decide to fall into this darkness.  It came behind me and I was blinded by the many unusual circumstances.

Seeing my friends whom I had not visited with for awhile was like getting a cool drink from my aunts well years ago.

How we kept laughing in the midst of elderly parents, divorces, hospital, depression, family issues, kids problems, jobs lost, found. The list goes on and on but our burdens were shared.  Our load was lighter.  When you have relationships you can talk though it is like you saw each other just yesterday even if it was weeks ago.

That morning, visiting with my husband, it hit me that my depression, med issues was hurting my family.  That no matter how difficult it matter how hard the pull I had to get up out of my bed.

I had not planned the depression.  No one just says I believe I will just fall into a dark depression.  As a matter of fact I didn't even know that was a problem for me.  I had enjoyed family.  But my activity had gotten less and less.  A new med was given to me 6 months ago.  I had blamed the sleeping on it.  It did start that way.

Depression was not new to me.  I knew how to battle it and how God would walk with me through it. I could do it now.  My heart broke over it all.   I wasn't assured it would go away but my life would improve and my family would be assured that I was better.

I told my friend I didn't want to end up in a nursing home.  My other friend said yes I have heard people say I don't want to be out of my mind and cursing.  My friend said if I do I just do. LOL You see we have the righteousness of Christ.  Oh to know that freedom and love of God.  Even if I cannot move for weeks He loves me still and He is good.  The brokenness I went through during this time was like loosing good friends.  Sometimes it is just too hard and you have to know when it is time just to give it up.  I had to surrender to Gods plan for my life.  It was for Him to be enough to go through the pain of getting on with my life.  It had been so silent I hadn't noticed my pride and selfishness.

Have you been in an ocean and the waves knock you to and fro.  God stripped me of things I had wrestled with for years and redirected me and I was amazed.  It was very painful but He was with me.  I was not assured the depression would leave me but I knew God was present with me through it all.

Silence hurts, rejection hurts, others sin hurts, your own sin hurts others.  So Jesus, more and more I can identify with your pain and today joy.  Jesus is more than enough.  Take captive your thoughts and through His presence settle where He would have you.  I can say at this time I know what it is to give Jesus my whole love and heart.  Until next time we go through surrender to His plan, knowing He is oh so good.

Why had I not seem the symptoms.  Isolation, change of eating, no energy.  I would go back to my Jesus.  Get busy and fight the pull with the power of the cross.  Not just once today but over and over. The wall would be broken and fall down each day as it got easier and easier. Gratitude would swallow up the darkness.  Love would come from within.  The determination and fight would be mine in Him.   I would need help. Draw from Christ.  Others were by my side.  Six months was a long time to break through but with Christ with me life would come.

So if I want to know God more than I did before this whole process...If I want to worship Him...Make Him known to the world around me...Give hope to the faint hearted...May God be praised and glorified just a little bit more from this beggar who adores Him.  It is about my God and His beauty and glory that will not be defeated.

This one makes me forget I am having a bad day.  Just try lol.