Sunday, September 3, 2017

Who is your neighbor?

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind, 
and with all your strength...
Your neighbor as yourself!

Have you wondered why we have arguments and disagreements, even with those we love?  You think... we love each other so
we should get along... all the time.  We should think alike.  We want the same things in life.  Well you did when you started this life together as husband and wife.

The same stands true with friends and children.  Who is your neighbor?  The person in your life at the moment.  

If we are honest we are always leaning toward our desires and longings.  It can be a subtle attitude of disapproval.  The silent treatment, where you don't voice what is really going on in your thoughts. It can be distance put between you and others.  You don't have to confront what you maybe struggling with.  Denial that there is even a problem.

 When others stand in the way of that coming to pass our will surfaces.  It demands its way, even if in a subtle way.  Passive or aggressive   All those you love, you and those are being refined as you rub against each other, wanting different things out of life, in life.  Demanding your way...Your wants are being stripped from your hearts hold, while you are becoming a person that loves others more than yourself. 

We are iron sharpening iron as we want different things and have different desires.  In and through the relationship our wills and desires rise to the surface.  It is a tug of war to see who gets their own way.  We are grown children in many cases in the way we handle our... constructive conflict...we think it is beneficial anyway.

You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.

So the fighting and arguing is, I want what I think will make me happy.  OK, I reason and say, I want the right thing.  I know what is best.  

I am being a mini god.   Manipulating the situations of life to get what I want.

  So we push and pull with our wills not asking God, just what is His will.  Assuming me and God want the same thing.  It is up to me to get it.  The life I think I deserve.

Not only do those we love stand in the way of our happiness, but we stand in the way of theirs.
by not giving them what we think we need to make us content,
happy and satisfied.

So who in your life is standing in the way of you getting the idols, the things you think will make you happy?  How is your coveting robing you and them of peace?  

Remember all people are being true to themselves.  The Spirit is bringing us out of a double life.  To be true to who we are in Christ.  

As I was meditating on these things I began to question...What in life really matters?  How am I in the will of God and working for His purposes in my life.  Surrender.  Jesus surrender is mine.  I am too self centered and strong willed to surrender on my own.  

 My real battle is with God and not the people in my life.  They are in my life for the purpose of breaking my will for one thing.  The Spirit shows me my heart.  I pray Lord don't leave me to myself.  Please break my heart and let there be no bitterness or anger.  Rescue me my Jesus.

When my will is no longer the center of my heart and life, I am then yielded to God.  Then am I able to love.  I am able to love others without being a needy person looking to others to make me happy.

God then has my heart.   Jesus is the sweetness of life,  I am after all along. Only He can satisfy the heart of man.  

So how do I live?  In His shadow.

I do good because He is living in and through me.  I am to be merciful, act justly...and walk humbly with my God.   

And the beat goes on as the dance of the Trinity is ever before me.  Left foot, right foot...repentance and faith.  The music completes me in Jesus.

Two steps left, one step right...Let the music begin and love pours from within me.  Heaven even in this life with Jesus.  I begin to weep tears of joy.  He did not leave me. Your will be done Father.  May your Kingdom come. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

I want to be like my "Daddy"

For I will remember their iniquities no more...

"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.

Several months ago I became aware of my lack of love for others unlike me.  Maybe just really

hard people to love...because of their sin.  Sin that hurt or affected me in some way.  In

our relationship.  As we rubbed shoulders and noses with each other.  The conflicts were 


My concern though was my heart and my attitude that seemed to rise to the top of my feelings.  It 

affected my response to others.  I could feel the resentment and self righteous attitude.  I knew 

they could sense it also.  I could not rid myself of this heart attitude no matter what I said to

myself.  No matter how hard I prayed...Lord make me sweet.

"Now then," said the Lord, "you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

I ask the Lord to not only give me love for people unlike me, but to help me see others as He sees
His people.  

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

I knew to be a follower of Jesus I was not loving as He loved.

For the next days, I prayed I would take the humble position in my relationships.  I needed a heart of grace and actions of mercy as given me.  I needed brokenness and a contorted heart over the love of Jesus for me.  Not only me but His bride, others who worshiped Him.

I needed love that I did not know how to draw on.  How to let love overflow in me, especially 
to those where there maybe a disagreement or not of like mind.

I began to see people differently.  The Father says He does not see our sin.  That He does
not condemn us.  When He looks at us He sees the perfect life of Jesus that He lived in our place, for us.  As I looked at others, I began to see the gifts of the Spirit in them.  If
they sinned I saw it as an opportunity to pray for them. To share with them my own struggle. I began to see and claim redemption in their lives.  I prayed boldly.  I believed God was up to something good no matter how difficult the situation was for me or others. 

I began to have courage and make myself 

take the next steps in faith.

I moved in areas that were unfamiliar.

I became more aware of the sweetness of Jesus.

The love of my "Abba", my "Daddy"  for me.

I saw the identity and inheritance God had given me in Jesus.

I was completely overcome.

I began to see myself as partnering with the Spirit in the lives of others.  Being in tune with

what He wanted me to do to bring about the glory of God in others lives.

As I am resting and leaning in Jesus love for others my joy is complete in Him.

Contentment is in serving Jesus by serving other.

Gratitude is healing in my own heart.   Joy and strength

found at the feet of Jesus.

The Cross.

This is friends from my church.  We had a great time at Ford Farms.  I want to be like them.  

They love people from the depths of their hearts.  Sacrificially without a word.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Day or His?

Oh my goodness, I am waking anxious.

What could be bringing on these feelings of anxiety, even in the just waking moments.

My day was uncertain.  Appointment at the dentist.  Not my favorite thing to do.  Not sure if my
daughter would be riding with me.  The thoughts of spacing and planning my day in my head, as I
dressed, it seemed in vain.

The anxiety played over and over...oh Lord, oh Lord.  Almost without even realizing my
peace was gone.

It occurred to me, I could pray.  Lord you say you are my comfort.  I have moved out of my comfort
and control, into a fearful place for me. The uncertain.   It seems I have spent my whole life in the dentist chair.

Jesus I am seated with you in the heavens, beside your Father.

My friend sent me Romans 8:39.  Nothing can separate me from the Love of God, NOTHING!

So Holy Spirit you bring the comfort of Jesus to my heart, mind and soul.

As the work was being done in my mouth, the pain of the process and the finished work on my
mouth...I was at rest.

God keeps His promises.  He can meet me in my time of need.  He calms my fears and raises me up
above my circumstances to be with Him.  Seated by the Father.  Things seem small and in significant when I focus on Him.

Being comforted in the midst of my day.
What would have been better,  if I started my day surrendering it's plans and the events that were to follow.  Give control to the Spirit.  Giving my will to Jesus trusting that all things would work for my good.

Control and comfort can be the two most hindrances of my walking by faith.  I have got to be willing
to move to the unknown.  To the uncertain.  To the place where miracles happen and faith begins to
be the power that keeps me pressed into Him.  Leaning into His plan and purposes of life.

So when interruptions come into my day...when I am no longer in control.  I breathe into the breath
of God, who has the design before time to bless me and those in my realm of life.  Living free,
joyful, peaceful and loving others into the kingdom plan.

The broken and contrite heart is surrendered and willing to humbly give grace as is given by my God.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I am weak, He is strong...

About 20 years ago, I began a prayer letter, at the suggestion of my mentor then.  As I began to write

my writings became similar to a  journal.  It also was me praying to God.  Asking others to pray for

me and my family along with other concerns.  My faith grew and it was therapy also.  I could

see things in my heart,

I could not see before.

I sent my writings to a small group.  As time went go the the group grew.  My friend suggested I

began a blog.

My co -writer and friend of mine edited the devotionals.  I am not a good writer.  It is very hard for me

to reread my writings for some reason..  Writing too much was also a problem.  It was hard for me

to think God wanted me to write with such limitations.  But the thoughts would come and I could

not dismiss them until they were put in print.

Since that time I have narrowed and limited my prayer letter.  It is usually for very important request.

I did not have the faith that my prayers were answered,  like those that I ask to pray.  The prayers

that I sent seemed answered in my heart, even before I sent them.

Hmmm my faith was more in those few righteous saints than in my own prayers.

Learning to pray has been a journey for me.  I do believe in the power of prayer.  I believe God

listens and answers our prayers.  Yes, even the prayers I pray now is in faith.

Not only that, but our relationship in loving God and others is a major part of praying.  Having His

desires become ours.

The Spirit illuminates my heart and mind.  The Father is pleased to reveal His desires and will to us

in His time.

Jesus is praying for us.  The Spirit groans with prayers and intercession for us.  Does that blow you

away?  It does me.  We are in the communion of the Trinity.

I was praying the other morning in fear.  I did not know why.  I thought I am weak but my God is my

rock and my salvation.  He is my strong tower.  Most of the morning and early afternoon was spent in

fear, that was a mystery to me.  Learning to trust God about things I don't know or understand is the

place I have been lately.  God is stretching my faith once again.

I am reading a book on women of faith in the underground church.  One young mother was capture in a village in Africa.  Her child and husband was taken prisoner by the muslims who were not christians.  She went through all kinds of beatings.  As she was beaten, she would respond "the blood of Jesus is all powerful".  She could not understand why these beatings had not kill her.  But she knew that God had spared her for a purpose.

She was united with her family in the end.  She had her own battles of faith in her mind...Had she betrayed her family.  At times the inner turmoil was more difficult to handle than the physical abuse she had endured.  She loved her family and God so much.  The thoughts of her betraying them was more than she could bare.

I was sharing with a friend the story.   Her comment was, do you think we do not even know what suffering for Jesus really is.  The story was a motivation to press on in difficult times.  I told her ordinarily I would have taken the position that today most of us don't know what it is to keep the faith, instead...The Spirit gave me a picture of the struggles in my life and the lives of my friends.  We all enter into a battle to believe and have faith.  At times we trust God and there were times we doubt.  We deal with heart issues, pride and our wills.

God has a plan for His children to glorify Him.  To display His power before the heavens.  To pour

out His glory before them.

I shared with my friend.  I said this is our captivity.  This is our cross.  This is our suffering and joy.

God is the author and we play the role He has designed for us, with mercy and grace.

We are to encourage each other to keep the faith no matter how small our circumstances seem to be,

in comparison to the hero's of the faith, Hebrews 11.  Trusting Christ is a gift He gives us.  Faith also

comes by hearing.  We are to speak the gospel to each other.  Remind each other of the love of God

for us.  Strengthen each.  Share each others burdens.  Encourage in the faith.   To keep our eyes on

Jesus.  The author and finisher of our faith.

God is about building His Kingdom

and taring ours of self serving down.

His Kingdom come,

His will be done.

on Earth as it is in Heaven....

The Father knows what is in our lives, that will bring the most glory.  He knows the plans He has for us.  Remembering that He is good.  He is for us in the battle of faith.  As we trust Him by His power, glory comes.

We are not alone.

He never leaves us.

He gives us the gift of the body of Christ

In our weakness, we learn to lean into His strength and power. 

He is our Hero!

Our mighty warrior!

He will fight for us.

He will bring us Peace when we know no peace.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Our hearts revealed...

Could we talk about some topics rather difficult....

A topic that has come up a lot around me lately is elderly care.  I think also of caregivers of the sick,  or just can't care for themselves at the particular time.  Our daughter Elizabeth works for the state equipping caregivers.  It has become a universal problem.

I think of me, struggling with mental health.  Maybe other mental issues, such as dementia,  where the person can not care for themselves.

I remember when our children were young and they would be whiny. I would tell Danny...they are just tired.    It was true.  They also wanted their own way.  Maybe not wanting naps.

 There were times I would take the kids to the duck pond or practice field and meet their dad with a picnic.

I had no drivers license for a long time...They had expired and I didn't realize it.  I had to depend on family to take me around.  Later on friends came to bring me to appointments.  I really enjoyed being with the different girls.   I got out of the house and visited with friends at the same time.  I was so touched by their kindness.   Another thing I don't want to forget.

 I think of times where we are out of control, such as bad health, or not being able to drive...We become fearful. We think we are powerless.

When Christ was being crucified, His focus was on the desire of the Father.  On the plan He and His Father had agreed upon before creation.  He may have lost sight of what that was but He trusted the Father.

Then after asking the Father why He had forsaken Him, Jesus surrendered.  His will was to agree with His Father and willingly lay His life down.

He then focused on the purpose of His coming.   Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
Redemption of man and the gift of the Father.   Glory!   Joy!  Jesus then had a focus of eternity and the joy set before Him.  He surrendered to love.

I do think that all these circumstances can be not only better and fear lessened. But times of memories that can be the joy Jesus saw.  Mine was. My family was involved when needed.  They not only cared for me but gave me room to be my own person, as I got better.  God was prepping me to have a charitable heart.  One I knew nothing about.

 Not that you don't love already.  But reassurance of your care and Gods love calms a heavy heart.  Jesus says His yolk is easy.   He was referring to the law.  We think we need to do more.  Try harder.  Spend more money.

Jesus says it is love.  He says it is through loving God and loving others.  These words of love are of Jesus.  Maybe a hug or a smile is just what your loved ones need.  Maybe you too.  Small gifts like a verse on a card.  Sing a song.  Listening.  Poetry.  Funny jokes...Asking questions.  See what they are thinking and feeling.  Connect.  Jesus does with us.  It is the personal relationship of sharing, caring.

Jesus loves even the unloveable and you can to. We who are His has the Spirit.  The hard to love person is the one who at times needs it the most.  The more we understand the love of Jesus for us.  The more we love others.  It is His love in us that we experience.  This is what we give others.  The sweetness of Jesus and the love of the Father poured out in us through His Son in His Spirit.

Then as time past, the Spirit worked in my heart.  I saw that I was focused on my needs and fearful.  I was not trusting God with where I was physically and mentally.  I didn't believe He had a plan for my good.  I thought at times, I would never have any kind of life without pain and sanity again.

When these things came to my heart, I could not thank my family enough. I felt so loved and cared for.   I saw my self centeredness.  The doctors visits, med checks, counselors, and so much more they did.  There is no way to list all they did for me and tirelessly.

 There was a time I had to put my meds and supplements in boxes.  I got them mixed up and would have relapses.  They walked with me through this all.  Their love for me and care was beyond my comprehension.

I thanked them over and over again.  Gratitude began to heal me through the Spirit.

Yes the Spirit worked in my heart and me sleeping my life away. Average about 2 p.m.   The things I have learned.  The love I have been given brings tears of gratitude that some days I cannot stop them.

God is not limited by anything.  He will bring about His plan and purposes no matter what.

This brings about an earnest and sincere desire in our hearts to work with the Spirit.  To surrender, no matter if we understand our lives or not.  To trust our Fathers care, His precious plan and our Saviors prayers for us.  We lean into the promises...He will never leave us.

Our daughter Ashleigh's birthday today.

God did not want our family to be perfect but to be real, sincere and His, in ways I never imagined.  Our children are survivors.  They know and love people...even people hard to love.  Like their mother at times.  They are givers of grace, hope and love.  Something I had no idea of when raising them.  It is a precious gift.  Thank you Jesus!