Sunday, November 29, 2015

The First Sunday of Advent..Hope!

This is the first Sunday of Advent

This first day, this Sunday, is the day of Hope!
Jesus is our Hope...

For many years I have been drawn to the celebration of Advent.

Over the years I have bought many advent wreaths.  Wanting and desiring and feeling drawn to the advent time of year.  Not really understanding its meaning.  It was a countdown til Jesus birthday to me.

This year I do not know what it holds but I am pursuing this time of preparation of the coming of Jesus.  I believe I am to bring you good news and glad tidings.  So as I turn away from Thanksgiving  to my attention turning toward Christmas.  Advent means coming. Not just the looking to Jesus first coming 2,000 years ago in weakness for sinners, but in His second coming in strength and redemption.

Have you failed recently?

Have you failed recently?  I have.  Yesterday and the day before and the day before that.  This morning I was discouraged about my utter failure.  When I thought of Christmas I saw lots of guessing what everyone wanted or needed.  I thought about money that would be spent in preparation with food and decorations as a tree and wreath.  I thought of the time it will take in doing these things and then when it is over, taking it all down and so quickly putting it away for another year.

I was discouraged about my failure.

As I drove to church this morning, discouraged that I had failed yet one more time. I thought how broken I was.  How broken and hopeless the whole world was.  The marriages that have ended, the children that are in rebellion, the bills that don't get paid, the doctor reports and the lack of love among us all.  It seemed an angry world to me and there was nothing I could do to  make it right.  What was I thinking.  I can't even help myself how can I fix anyone else, much less the worlds problems  I tried to do the right thing and say I was sorry, but saw how it was but a drop in an ocean that has no bottom.

It came to me.  God is not discouraged.

It was an overwhelming thought that God is not discouraged.  He is not discouraged about me, my country, families in todays world or any circumstance that surrounds us.   He knew it all before time and He has a plan and it nor I cannot fail.  Not fail beyond His grace.  He knew even before time began I would struggle today.  I was broken over my wrongs and my looking to me to make things right.

I remember when I found myself in a mental hospital some 20 years ago.  I thought if I can just hang on to God through this it will all be ok.  For me and my family.  Many years later I discovered it was not me holding on to God but Him holding on to me.

Christ is our hope!

There is no rhyme or reason to God.  He shows mercy to whom He will show mercy.  We are not left to ourselves.  We cannot help ourselves.  We cannot do it right enough or wrong enough to mess things up or make things happen that only God can do.  Change our hearts.  Heal them.  Make them whole.  Let us see our need for Jesus.  Bring us to begin to realize just how much we are loved.

Christ has come and is coming back

As I sat in church and heard the words of my pastor...we hang the wreaths, and decorate our homes, bake the food and buy the presents to celebrate the coming of Jesus.  He is our hope.  Not only did He come but He is coming back.  He will come and all things will be made whole and right and new.  He is Christ the Redeemer.

He ask the question...How does knowing you are loved by God change your life?

Whatever your suffering, we do not always know the reason why, but can know He is with you...Someday it will all be made right.  His presence is with you.  He is your comfort.  His love is beyond any love this world has known.  You may not see God make things right or you right in this life but when He returns it will be.  It is a promise.  The brokenness of this world will be turned into the glory and light of our Lord and Savior. There will be no more darkness but the Light of the World, Jesus will return for us.

God has a great zeal for us.

God is zealous for us.  He is determine and persistent and faithful.  He will not let us go.  He gives us this same zeal for Him and His coming of His Kingdom.  Through His will and not ours.  Through the coming of Jesus.

So may we not look to ourselves and lose hope but to our Savior and King who is the Redeemer and our Hope!  He is coming back...and in a twinkling of an eye we will be like Him.  So to experience and believe this year He is with seek His seek His comfort and to long for personal relationship with the lover of our care for guide and teach us... to give others the same comfort we join us and know our know our heal know us completely and be loved by Him as no one else can is Christmas.

So may we ask the Lord to prepare our hearts for the most wonderful time of the year.  The celebration of our Hope, Jesus!  The coming of the baby who saved us.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude is not something I have. It is a gift from God.

Gratitude is not something I have.  It is a gift from God.

Apart from God we all are like the Israelites.  We have a grumbling, complaining heart.  Gratitude and thankfulness is not something I naturally have.  If you have it this morning on this day and season of Thankfulness.  Then thank your good Lord.

My life was out of my control

A man thinks he is right in his own eyes

I have been trying to have self control.  Self control is not so much of a good thing.  Spirit controlled is.  We are controlling people.  We think we know how our lives should go and what others should be doing.  We think God agrees with what we want.  That we are on the same page and working for the same thing together.  So we get anxious, worried and depressed when things don't go as we have planned.

I am very good at pretending

I am like the Pharisee.  I try to always do the right thing.  Say the right thing.  Treat people the right way.  Christ rebuked the Pharisee for trying to keep the outside of the cup clean.  While the inside of the cup was dirty.  Their hearts.

What pours out of our mouths and how we treat people, is what is in our heart.  When our strength has given away.  When we are our true selves...what comes out in the way we live and love is a reflection, is the fruit, of what is in our hearts.  How do I love another person that does not love me well.  That is my true heart for Jesus.

My heart was hard

When I was not able to hold it together.  I was tired and spent.  I had reached my limit of being with it.  I saw my heart for what it truly was.

My hard heart was not due to any problem in my life or anyone else.  There was no one or nothing in my life to blame but me.  I did not love other people with a selfless love like Jesus,  like I had convinced myself I did.

What is the love of Christ?

When you can love another person, even in spite of your differences.

When you can love someone not like you.

When they don't do what you think they should.

When you can love them even when you don't get what you think you need from them.

When you can forgive as you have been forgiven.

When you can see them more valuable than yourself.

When you can have their best interest at heart and not your own.

When you can continue to encourage and bless because you are loved by God.

 When you can serve and not be served.

 When you can see what they are doing right not wrong.

When you can speak truth in love to them.

When you can let them know you need Jesus and confess your sins to them.

When you can let them know you enjoy them, just as they are, and so does Jesus.

When you can see the very best in another person that is love...the love of Jesus.  He loved sinners like me...Only through Him can this even begin to happen...Steve Brown said it is His love not our lovability.  It is His love.

Have I been changed by the gospel I knew so well

I read a post from a leader and good friend..The post said something like this.  A person can know a lot of knowledge and not be changed by the gospel.  I ask myself had I been changed in the deepest part of me.  By the gospel I knew so well.

I repented of my self centered life, my rebellion, my pride.  Of questioning God's love and goodness to me.  Why had I feared rejection of man so much.  Why had my identity been in what others think of me.  Because I did not know the love of my Father for me.  I had felt God was angry with me or disappointed in me at times. Without even realizing it.  Could I understand this love He has for me in the core of who I am?  Where it really mattered?  I really didn't  know.  I just knew I was willing to ask Him to help me.

I think if we are honest most of our fears, that maybe hidden, are from fear of punishment.  Jesus took our punishment from God we deserve.  God's love for us cast out our fear.  Do we see all things from the hands of a loving Father?  Good and hard?

I could not change myself

My mentor had told me we can not live the christian life apart from God, His Spirit.  We cannot love another person as we have been loved.

 I thought change meant me trying to be good again. Trying hard to do better.  I told the Lord the pretending had stopped.  All I could do was come.

This is all I knew

All I knew was Christ has died for people like me.  People who couldn't make it work.  Who couldn't be thankful just as they always had been before or love another person on their own.

I knew all I could do was trust Him with me.  He would send me a Helper, the Holy Spirit.  That I could come, depend and lean on Him.   He is the only one who could change me.

Maybe that is the change I needed.  Seeing how utterly helpless I am on my own.  Seeing how much I need Jesus to love another person.  Seeing why He could not just send me the Ten Commandments but had to send me a Savior, Jesus. Why Jesus had come, to give me His Spirit.  To live inside my heart and soul.

Maybe I need to go to this place every single day.  Seeing my utter helplessness to love another person.  My need to have the Spirit help me live.  Just live.  Not to be perfect but to be broken and dependent on Him.

So God has given me the gift of Gratitude and Thankfulness

He has given me Himself.  I am thankful for Jesus and the Fathers love.  He has blessed me beyond measure.  I see His hand in my life, in the every days.  In the people who love me and in His creation.  In all the events of my life both hard and easy. He even uses the suffering to bring me into the likeness of Jesus.  To do though me what I cannot do.

 I don't think I have ever been as thankful as I am today.  But it was not something I could make myself do but a gift from God.  He knows I am most happy when I see He is for me, working it all, loving me beyond measure. It is living a life of worship that only can be when we know how much God loves us in all things.  That He is always for me no matter what my circumstances maybe.  He is in control.  Not me.  I never was.

A message from God

 The hard heart that had held me captive earlier seemed to be melting through my tears.  Through the love of my family, friends and God.  By His grace I will enjoy my family and my friends today.  God loves me in such precious ways.  How can I not but be poured out to others?  For He was poured out for me.

I am the very child of Almighty God.   I am and we are a gift from God, the Father to His Son.  He sees us as a good gift.  Gods most beautiful creation.  We are a delight and a joy to Him.  Hard to imagine.  He delights to give us good gifts.  Even when we take Him for granted.

 The Spirit of the Father and the Son lives in us.  He can teach us, change us and help us do what we cannot do.  No matter who we are or how hard things have been we are blessed.  Blessed by a loving Father that cares more for His own children than we can imagine.  I shared with a friend that God loves us more than we love our own children.  She said that is so hard to comprehend.  I cannot imagine.  Neither can I.  He just does.

I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friends
May the power and the presence of Jesus be with you all
The love and the indwelling of His Spirit

I love you with all my heart
You have been a blessing to me in so many ways
In times when I thought I could not go on
You loved me unconditionally
You gave me yourself
You love God and me
and I thank you.

Thanksgiving 2014

I am so thankful for each and everyone of YOU!
my friends and family

Thanksgiving 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


Well the holidays begin just around the corner.  I always get excited about this time of year.  Well almost always.

There have been holidays that weren't such fond memories for me.  One such holiday was two years ago, during this time.  I had had a psychotic break during this time.  I was staying with my daughter to recuperate and to heal my mind.  A break is like a heart attack to the brain.

It seems I had skipped out on life again.  I had so regressed into my mind to escape the things that I thought was so wrong with me and even my life.  My mind was weak and I broke.  That is a lot of our problem these days.  We think we know best, how our lives should go.

If you are like me, doing the right thing doesn't seem difficult.  I mean why don't people just do what they are suppose to do, right?  It is all the other people in my life that don't get on board with what I think they should do.  After all, I know what is best for them, me and the world, right?

I mean isn't our world and our country and our religion messed up?  Don't we know a better way things should be happening.  What they are doing wrong and what I am doing right.  After all am I not much smarter than them and than God?

Of course I wouldn't say it in those words.  That would not sound christian or humble.

The sin underneath all sins is the lie that we cannot trust the love and grace of Jesus; that we must take matters into our own hand. Martin Luther

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Quiet often Jesus became angry with the Pharisees.  They thought they kept to the law of God.  They saw themselves as always right.  They even condemned Jesus for loving the sinner.  For things like not washing before He ate.  They thought these things made them clean before God.

Jesus told them they kept the outside of the cup clean but the inside was dirty.  They tried to do the right thing outwardly but their hearts was full of deceit, anger and greed.

Jesus looks on the heart of man

Only Christ and His forgiveness and righteousness can cleanse me and my heart.
Only Jesus can bring me into the presence of my Holy God.

What is in your heart is what comes out of your mouth

I have been thinking how apart from Christ, I am just like the Pharisee.  I think I am right.  I am quick to judge and slow to love.  I have a critical, complaining, self pity heart.

I need Jesus!

When I get a clear picture of the cross
and all Jesus and the Father has done for me
I am changed
I see He-She is just like me
Loved, accepted and forgiven
Just as I am...

It is His kindness that changes me
Not His judgement
Can I do the same to another
Apart from Him, NO
But In Christ we are made new creations
with a love the world does not know
Apart from Christ we are all alike.  We are self centered, selfish people who want our own way and want it now.  We are fast to anger and slow to encourage and build up and affirm.

Gratitude is the heart of a repentant sinner.  One who knows how much they need the Savior.  One who knows they are loved, forgiven and saved by the grace of our Lord.  One who dwells in the presence of God.  One who looks to Him for His will and His ways.  They are not ours.

I have been asking the Lord to please help me be one of the ones who returns to thank Him.  Like the one of the 10 leapers He healed.  In these days the mentally ill are looked upon and judged like a leaper was in those days of Jesus.  They were thought they were unclean.  They had to lives all together and were not welcome into the city.  That they were thought worse than everyone else.  Many christians even are quick to say it is the sin of the mentally ill that is their problem.  That if they would just have more faith they wouldn't have a problem.  Jesus didn't run away from the leapers.  He touched them and healed them.  He was not afraid of stigma.  He was not afraid of catching what they had.  He loved them right where they were.  The same He does me.

I have learned to thank God for this limitation in me that has made me dependent on Him, just to get through my day.  That He would take a strong, self reliant woman like me and teach me to trust Him. To rely on Him in ways I never have before just because I have to.  Because I can't function without Him.

I have wept many times this weekend just thinking of all the ways God has blessed me and my family.  I shared with my husband this morning just how thankful I was.  It is an attitude of heart I cannot come up with myself.  But seeing Jesus love me, just as I am...seeing His faithfulness come through time and time again.  Gives me a heart of gratitude.  It is His grace and His love...His kindness that changes me.  Can I give Him thanks?  And give that same love, grace and kindness to others hard to love just like me?

No in my own strength I cannot.
Only Jesus and His Spirit can give me the grace to do good and love another person just like me.

Do you see this person God has put in my life
The one that is hard to love?
He-She is just like me

It is when the Spirit shows me God loves me
 He is in control
and He is completely trustworthy
and I am not;
 I am becoming who He says I am

Gratitude is one of Gods love languages
Nothing displays His love to us like the cross of Christ

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this question ask.  The response I usually hear is there are no good people.

I don't think any would doubt who is of the christian faith, that apart from God in Christ we are nothing.  We are depraved through and through and deserve hell.  It is by grace and grace alone you are saved.  We are to die to the flesh and live to the Spirit.  It is a daily walk of leaning into Jesus.

I think on Job here.

God ask Satan have you considered my servant Job.  He is blameless in all his ways and he fears the Lord.  God was saying Job is a good man.

What did Jobs friends say?

Jobs friends accused him of sinning.  Of piety and self righteousness.  They were quick to judge Job.  To tell him what he was doing wrong.  This was the reason God had turned his back on Job.  Job deserved it.

What were some of the reasons for suffering in Jobs life.  These are a few of my thoughts.

1.God would be glorified

2.Job would see God more clearly and himself more clearly.

3.God's greatness was so magnified to Job
   His fear of God grew.

4.Job would learn humility

5.Job would forgive and pray for his friends.

6.God rebuked Jobs friends and was angry with them.

7.God accepted Jobs prayer for his friends.

8.God blessed Job more than he ever had been before.

9.God brought Job into a deeper intimacy with Him 

10.God brought more blessing to Job than he had before

Job did not suffer because of his sin.  Job suffered because God loved Him.  God does not repay what we deserve but gives us grace and mercy and kindness.

Job said I have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  The fear of the Lord, a holy awe in God, was greater than ever in Job.

Job did despise himself because he too questioned God's greatness and love for him.  Job repented in ashes.

God brought beauty out of ashes for Job

My friend when suffering comes your way...yes have God search your own heart for Him.  Repent of any known sin.  But do not question Gods goodness and love for you.  There are many reasons we suffer in this life.

Friends of those suffering.  Please be slow to speak and quick to listen.  Do not immediately accuse someone of sinning.  God does not repay evil for evil but evil with good. There are consequences in this life to our sin.  But God is not angry with us because of Jesus.

Your God is so for you.  If you are in that deep valley of despair and depression know your Father cares and loves you.  He is so for you.  You are not alone in the darkness.  Reach out to God and to others.  There is help.

When you have sinned ask Jesus to forgive you and trust in Him.  You are a child of the King.  You may struggle with sin and the old nature but you are a good person.  You are a saint.  You are the righteousness of Christ.  You can do good and serve God with a heart full of love because Jesus lives in you. It is for His glory.  It is not you alone but you trusting in Christ.  That He is enough.  That He has given you a new heart and a new mind.  He has given you the righteousness of Christ.  You are His most treasured creation and He delights in you.

So don't go through your life beaten down and defeated.  You are victorious in Jesus.  You can do all things through Christ who died for you.  You are amazing and created for His glory and His purposes.  He is so for you.  You are unique and have so very much value.  Live like a child that is loved, protected, cherished and accepted just as you are.  You are not an orphan you are adopted.  Special.  Because Jesus lives in you and you are in Him.

May He strengthen you in His might.  May He give you courage to stand for those who are broken and mistreated.  Those who are sick and afraid.  Do not give in to fear but in faith chose to follow Him into the valleys and the mountaintops of this life of faith.  He will surely bless you and equip you to do what you cannot do on your own.

Please do not isolate or beat yourself up for your past.  God is forgiving and loving.  He sees your sin no more.  It has been paid for in full.  Nothing is wasted.

My heart grieves how we have judged our own brothers and sisters.  How we have shut the door to help and communication of the gospel with each other.  We even judge those we think are judging.  If judging is our method we are just like those we judge.  We need Jesus to give us love and wisdom of the true meaning of the gospel, for each other.  And for Him.  To see how grand He is time and time again.  Working it all together forever more for you and to bring His name into greatness in your life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Lovely Broken Mind

It is good to be back!

My time away has been so very good and so very hard.  But that is for another devotional.  Today I have another purpose in mind.  So come to the porch of the farm and lets talk about a hard topic.

Mental Illness or Brain Disorder and Sin.

Mental Illness is a sickness of the brain.  The brain is an organ not unlike any other organ of the body.  They all can get sick.  So does the brain.  It does not work in a healthy manner.

The brain disorder is no more caused by sin than a heart attack or kidney disease.  Although it is true if you have a weak heart.  Or if heart disease runs in your family.  Stress or what the bible calls anxiety or worry can affect it.  You need to eat heart healthy.  Exercise and rest are required at the time of an attack.

So, in some cases, your mental health can be affected by wrong thinking.  It puts stress and over stimulation to the already weakened state of the brain. Your thoughts reveal in some way your heart is what I have found in me.  Either a fear, wrong thinking or righteousness, truth and faith.

When I got sick some 20 years ago.  My life fell apart.  I saw myself as a failure.  I turned inward and became depressed, severely.  I also had several surgeries that affected the harmon's of my brain.  I could not take replacement.  The illness was also in my background.  So many things were going against me fighting against this disease.

Wrong thinking and sin is common to us all...The bible calls us to renew our mind.  To take off our old way of thinking and put on new, right, true thoughts that are praise worthy.

It is my hopes that in the weeks to come I can share some wrong thinking I have had.  Also how the bible and the Spirit have helped me correct this thinking.  Along with lots of support from friends.

So just as a healthy lifestyle can improve and help you cope with an unhealthy heart.  So I believe right thinking can help, in most cases, with living and coping with a brain disorder.  It may even lead to recovery.  Along with other things, I hope to share with you in time.  Either way I believe there is hope.

I have a friend who exercises daily.  Eats healthy and has a lot of faith and trust in God.  But he had to have a stint put in.  Now he continues to live well but also is on medication.  Under a doctors care to help with his heart condition.  It is working.

So it is with a mental disorder.  Sometimes a support system, healthy thinking and lifestyle the person still needs the help of a doctor.  Possibly medication if needed.  This should never be a first resort but never not used if needed.  A good professional can help determine this.  Remember all thoughts in the mentally ill person are magnified.  They maybe as yours but so much more intense.  All the more important that their thoughts are truth.  They can become rapid or so magnified they are all consuming.

There is a warning...Ask for help...Do not isolate or deny your problem.

Many times those with this illness will refuse to admit they are sick.  That they have a problem.  They will not ask for help but try to try harder to do better.  They think if they just have more faith it will go away.  More times than not this is just not the case.  It can lead to them self medicating.  It could lead to many addictions of self destruction as alcohol and drug abuse.  Even smoking can make you feel healthy as it slows the brain down.  This only leads to a bigger problem down the road.  Harm to your body or breaking the lifetime addiction.

So ask somebody for help today.  Don't wait.  Keep asking until someone listens and gets you help.  Tell them what is going on and that you need help right away.

I am not saying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps...Just get a grip on life.

My concern in writing these helpful tools and ways of thinking you will rise up.  Try to be strong.  I do not want you to think I am asking you to be perfect in living.

God uses the weak things of this world.  It is not through a healthy mind that I have learned to live sane.  In our weakness His strength is made perfect.  Apart from Jesus we all are a little insane.  Sanity has come through knowing I am broken.  Hopeless without Jesus.  I am in Christ.  I am the Fathers beloved child.  I am so loved and cherished that the Father sent His son to die for the sick, not the healthy.  One day I will be with Him.  No more sorrows and no more pain.  All will be whole.

We all are sick in some way.  Only a few of us know it.  Only a fewer amount will humble themselves and ask for help.  I had to hit bottom to realize I could not do it alone.  I needed family, professionals and a support system of people wiser than me.  Most of all God Almighty

I am not here to defend sin or excuse it.  We all are becoming more like Jesus, if we are His.  But to say "Brain Disorder" is a real disease.  People are dying from it daily.  So lets learn to be weak together.  You will see how small my faith is.  But it is my prayer you will also see how "BIG" God is.

I believe He has brought you here for a reason.  I am blessed if I can give Him glory for anything shared in the weeks to come. Or help you may get.  Lets do it together even in your comments.  Its gonna be fun I hope.  We will laugh and learn and see God clearer.  We may even shed a few tears.  Lets pray for each other and encourage each other to think rightly about who He is and who we are.  To keep the faith and depend on Him.