Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Terribly Interesting: Terribly Interesting

Terribly Interesting: Terribly Interesting: There is a French saying that women do not become interesting until they are 38. Turning 29 this year the thought came upon me that I shoul...

Terribly Interesting: T S Eliot

Terribly Interesting: T S Eliot: Today I was reading some TS Eliot and I just find his visual analogies to be breath-taking. I was reading his poem The Hollow Men. It is sai...

Terribly Interesting: Drop Your Rock

Terribly Interesting: Drop Your Rock: great read! (by Nicole Johnson) Overview: Rock-throwing is one way to settle hostilities or to exchange accusations. You can knock Goliat...

Terribly Interesting: A Woman At Rest

Terribly Interesting: A Woman At Rest: I love this woman. It isn't for her daring sense of style. She isn't in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything. She is enjoying her momen...

Terribly Interesting: A Terribly Interesting Week

Terribly Interesting: A Terribly Interesting Week: This past week was one of the only times I have seen my husband in 12 weeks. That, in and of itself, makes the week terribly interesting. I...

Terribly Interesting: Talk To People Rather Than About Them

Terribly Interesting: Talk To People Rather Than About Them: Here is a fabulous " Fresh Word " from Pastor John Piper. In my first sermon after being away five months, I left something out. It was ...

Terribly Interesting: The Death of Spiritual Arrogance

Terribly Interesting: The Death of Spiritual Arrogance: The rain trickled down and ushered in a cool breeze through my windows yesterday. God's cleansing power is always an inspiration to me. A...

Terribly Interesting: The Soft, Resonating Voice of God

Terribly Interesting: The Soft, Resonating Voice of God: Why is it so easy to hear the voice of the enemy? Do you ever notice this? The other night as I was under attack, I heard the enemy tell m...

Terribly Interesting: The Thing That Hurts The Most

Terribly Interesting: The Thing That Hurts The Most: In the day to day of my life I experience one thing repeatedly. It happens to me as a pastor's wife, a counselor, and friend. I am sold out...

Terribly Interesting: Who Are You Not To Be?

Terribly Interesting: Who Are You Not To Be?: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness,...

Terribly Interesting: HO HO NO

Terribly Interesting: HO HO NO: I was just reading a comment about how the devil loves to play dress up and it made me think of Santa. This is something that comes to my he...

Terribly Interesting: The Messiah

Terribly Interesting: The Messiah: The other evening Denbigh and I were invited to a most exquisite Christmas party at the home of the Mohon family. It was refreshing and beyo...

into the deep

I am someone who is fascinated by many things. I love nature. I love learning and creating..
I love finding similarities and parallels between two things.

Last week, my oldest son and I cuddled up on the couch. He wanted me to watch a show about deep sea creatures. He too is fascinated about learning new things about the planet, the name it...the boy is like his mom....

So many people think that science and God have to be independent of one another. I don't believe that. To me, science only confims just how brilliant and amazing God's creation really is...

Anyhow, I was so fascinated by deep sea life that I want to share a few of the things that I learned.

Of course, we all know that in the deep sea..which extends for miles and miles below the ocean..there is no light...there is complete darkness.. and cold.  The sun is completely unable to reach this level..
but life there thrives nonetheless.

When I think of the deep sea, I automatically think of the dark corridors of this life..places that are dark and cold..places that we don't want to travel because of fear...

The deep sea has some pretty disturbing creatures.
One is the angler fish.

The angler fish is probably one of the most hideous looking creatures that I have ever seen.

Bleh..that thing is hideous!....

the angler fish can't move around very quickly...instead, it lays in wait for its prey by being really still. It has some sort of rod attatched to it's head that lights up in the darkness... It uses a sort of bioluminescence to attract prey... Bioluminesce is quite common in the deep sea....In actually, it looks beautiful..fireflies also have a type of imagine the deep sea..filled with tiny creatures that light up for various reasons and purposes. ...
The angler uses his light to catch prey. He dangles it, hoping that another creature will come along and think that it is food..but, as they approach..he strikes unsuspecting prey..

This reminds me of the verse that says that the devil comes as angel of light..He hides in wait..disguising himself as something tempting..and, often, when we take the is too late..we are caught in the trap and in serious spiritual danger..

The good thing is that Christ is still there..waiting for us and waiting on us...ready to offer us a true and pure light..ready to give us love despite our shortcomings and failures.

As I watched the show, I marveled at so many things. Every expedition into the deep sea rendered a new discovery. During the expedition on the documentary, the explorers came across something that they had never before seen..
They came across some deep sea chimneys..places in the ocean where hot parts of the earth's core shot up through the water.

Of course, I knew how islands were formed..from hot magma coming up through the ocean from the center of the earth...but i had never really seen a video of one of these chimneys..

What surprised the explorers is that, despite the immense temperatures around the chimneys, live still thrived. They weren't expecting to find life..but yet they found a small little ecosystem surviving off of the gases emitted by the chimneys..

I thought it was a beautiful parallel about how, even in the midst of dire and unprobable circumstances, life can still thrive... things can still work together...  I thought it was like God's way of saying that life and beauty triumph over adversity and impossible odds.
With God, all things are possible..

I loved learning about the deep sea because it is relatively unknown. There are hidden dangers and hidden beauty.. I marveled at seeing the deep light up with glowing jelly fish and other creatures. I thought it was interesting how many of the creatures would sense when the sun would go down and would make their way toward the surface, almost as if they were trying to catch the moon.

OK, I realize that I am sounding like a nerd right about now...

Here is a pic of one of the bioluminescent jellyfish..

Here is a sight that I would love to see.. It is tiny biolumin. squid from the deep sea that make their way to the surface to lay their eggs. This is a phenomenon that happens in Japan every year. Somtimes, these creatures even make thier way to the west coast..
The result is a glowing shore..  How cool is that?

I love how nature teaches us things..even Solomon said to consider the ants....We learn by observing, by seeking, and by allowing God to show us through His creation.

Jesus is cool regardless of how nerdy the world thinks I am..

and one day, I am going to see these tides...

On another note, last week our pastor gave an amazing sermon about  the hummingbirds. He said that he was watching some hummingbirds and he noticed how tiny they were..and yet, they are tough. They put on a show of bravery because they do what they can to protect thier share of nectar at the feeders.
They don't look around to see that they are provided abundance. They focus on the limited amount of nectar in the feeders and they defend it at all costs.
I cant' remember everything about the sermon, but it was really cool, nonetheless..
anywho, enough of my ranting..
I probably sound like a hippie..
pass me the doorbeads, then..
and have a really, really good day.

one more thought.....I think what I loved the most about the deep sea underwater film, was the fact that even in the darkest part of the ocean, there was beauty. Light still found a way to thrive in the darkness.. literally.... Isn't that who we are called to be? Our bodies don't glow, but we are still called to be cities on a hill..shining light into the depths so that others may see and glorify God...
You are luminescent

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the calling for boldness and rants and musings..escaping the machine, part 2

I just finished my post about escaping the machine, but I feel that there is a lot that still needs to be said..

maybe, it is just a handful of musings.....or maybe some things that God planted in my mind that I just simply want to share...

In my last post, I spoke about how a secret part of me wanted to aquire a food truck. I imagined myself turning it into a little portable French cafe...serving French food..croissants and pain perdue.. I imagined having a set of nice wrought iron tables and chairs, with big bold flowers adorning the table top. I even imagined an accordian player playing some french music for people to enjoy over expresso.

I spoke about how I wanted to feed the hungry and sell beignets... to the middle class and the rich... who knows maybe it is just a musing..

I can't help but think about the parallel here. A greasy food truck idea turned into a portable French ambiance experience ..feeding the hungry and giving the world something to enjoy... The truth is that I love how God works...

God can take the ordinary and turn it into something wonderful and beautiful. He can turn the mundane into the exquisite.

I love that about Him.

I don't think a lot of people "get" who God really is.... Otherwise, people would literally be lining up at the doors of the churches and getting on their knees in prayer.

The truth is many us...and I have been guilty.....well, we are simply hiding our light.

God tells us to shine our light and be "a city on a hill."  Could you imagine a city on hill? I'm sure that from afar it is something to marvel at...
I've actually seen a city on a hill..

I was pulling up in a train into a tiny town called Scarbourough, England.. Nighttime had just approached. All I can say is that it was one of the most memorable and beautiful memories. It is something that I will never forget. Imagine lights..not looking into a valley...but lights upon a hill..stretching all the way into the sky..

We pulled up and I could see lights everywhere. Tiny little dots and shimmers of light filling up the dark, dark spaces.
It was a sight that I can only describe as "beyond beautiful."

WE are called to be that... The city on the hill...
What do we know about cities on a hill?

From experience, I can tell you that the city on a hill is a welcome sight. It is a place that you would want to be... It is comforting and cozy... There is something warm and welcoming, and really just quite lovely and  romantic about all of those shining lights into the depths of nighttime.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

notice the word.."good deeds.."  We become this shining and brilliant city, not by faith only, but by doing...
By loving, giving, sacrificing... by our works, in conjuction with our faith... 

Sometimes, I truly can't understand why people shy away from Christ.. Is it because we are afraid that we might shine too brightly or love too much? Is it because we are content wallowing around in the familiar? Have we simply stumbled around in the darkness for so long that we crave familiarity?

I am ready to stand upon the hill. I want to others to see my light shining and know that Christ is good and real.

On another note, I didn't intend to type this in really big letters..but, in truth,, that is how I feel?

I feel the need..the calling of boldness.. I feel the desire the capture the unknown..

One thing that God tells us in His word is about His "mysteries."
He has shown me some of them. All I can say is that there is nothing mundane about God. He is the most brilliant and loving light that ever was. 

I have always marveled at and appreciated the mysterious..but in God's mysteries, there is truth.. There is a beautiful and wonderful truth..

The truest and most beautiful thing that I have ever seen is love.
It is simple, and yet we twist it..
We pervert it in so many different ways. One is to say that we love someone and then turn around and lie to them. Another, is failing to forgive. Another is the hypocricy of saying that we believe in something as big and great as God and failing to be the one of the lights that make up the city on the hill.

anywho, I leave you with a verse from Isaiah ..
It's about how God wants to give you beauty for ashes.
Soak it in...

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

3 AM rants and musings.....Thoughts on escaping "THE MACHINE"

I usually don't like to complain. I realize in my heart that I am blessed beyond words and reason. Especially when I see people going through tough trials. So, I won't complain..

I will, however, express my thoughts on shiftwork. In all honesty, I am grateful to be able to pay off the debt that I accrued through student loans..but I think I have come to a place where I hate shiftwork.

All too often, I work 12 hour shifts on as little as 3 to 4 hours of sleep. My body has a hard time adjusting because we switch from nights to days so often. Last night, at work, I was so tired I was tempted to tell my boss to just send me to the house.  We don't sit around at a desk all night, we do hard work....We sweat.

Don't get me wrong, we have some laid back and easy nights, but for the most part, it's a lot of work.

I always think it's funny when I hear people complaining about doing small, menial tasks.. My son, for instance, complains about going out in the heat for 30 minutes a day to tend to the chickens. Somedays I want to toughen him up because I know that he couldn't handle doing what I do.

So many people tell me that I am fortunate to have my job..and it's true, I am. I worked hard to get it..but I also tell the same people that they are fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at home with their kids.

Right now, it's close to 3 AM..My baby Brendan is running a seriously high fever. He is sleeping. Soon, the house is going to be crawling with kids.. The crack of dawn will be peeping her head and I"ll be awake, completely worthless as a mother.

Maybe not completely worthless, but I won't be at my best. Ok, I'll strive to be my best, but I'll be dead tired doing it.

Right now, I long for the simple life. I've found myself craving it a lot here lately. I want to raise bees and buy a food truck and drive around the country with my family both selling and giving away free food to hungry people. I want to be a full time mother and wife.

Do you know what I heard? that when people are on their deathbed, the one thing they regret the most, is working too much.

I am finding this to be true. Work is important, but it should never trumph the precious time that we are given with our families. So many memories and moments are gone.. I can't even count how many birthday parties I've missed and how many Christmas mornings that I had to miss with my family and my kids because of shift work..

It's not easy for me. It's not easy to watch my 11 year old cry when I go to work. Does anyone have a food truck that they would like to sell?  Seriously. maybe there is nothing glamorous about selling tacos or meats on a stick...but to me..there is glamor is a simple kind of life that would allow me to be with my children..

What's funny is that a lot of people have jokingly called me a hippie throughout the course of my life...what's so hippie about wanting to make my own rules and enjoy my own time with my own family?
What's hippie about wanting to grow things from the ground and live simply?

If that is hippie, then throw me a pair of door beads and roll out the ganja...( ok, I'll pass on the ganja, I'm not sure how Jesus feels about that) but am I making sense here?

The irony of our lives is that we work and work to get things and then we die and we can't take any of the things that we worked for with us..

I"ve always admired the life of the missionary. It kind of reminds me of my life now, only with family and the fact that instead of working for a company, missionaries actually work for God. They do work that doesn't fade at the end of the day. They do work that somehow extends into forever. They work the long hard hours and I hear it's not easy...but then again, does anything good come easy?
No, I don't think it does...

Want to hear something cool? God put it in my heart to order a cotton candy machine. It was this small little vision to use it to serve Him in some way. I'm going to be letting people use it for fundraisers, and we are going to use it at family birthday parties. Tonight, I was put in contact with a family who is in need of a double lung transplant. They are going to use the cotton candy machine at their fund raiser.
I am in awe of how God uses our simple visions to bring people together. I am in awe of how wonderful God is..

Tonight, I kept thinking about so many of us think the grass is greener on the other side of something. The only grass that I am content to lay in right now is the one that says, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." Right now that is the only grass I need. It is my only source of comfort and rest. When it blows, it says trust in Me...The walk isn't always easy, but it's so very worth it.  THe winds of change are blowing.

I don't want anyone, especially family, to think that I'm just going to up and quit my job. But I have come to a place where I am grateful for options...I have come to a place where my mind feels free to explore other ways of life..without feeling trapped in "the machine."

all of these thoughts, force me to question the beauty of "the American Dream.."  The American dream tells us that we should strive to have more...get more..... We often aquire huge debts buying things that we can't afford to maintain a lifestyle and keep up with the Joneses...
The God Dream, the Bible, tells us not to covet what our neighbors love on them, instead..
To be a light...
The Bible  tells us to be content with what we have and that God will provide our needs.
I am one who believes in hard work.  I am with the rest of the nation when I see able bodied people freeloading and refusing to give or contribute anything to society.  Even God tells us that if we don't work, we don't eat...and in His word He tells us to work with our hands so that we aren't dependent on anyone... I'm not promoting laziness on this post...
I simply believe that sometimes God puts dreams and visions in our hearts. I am learning that it is ok to pursue those dreams and visions.. I am learning that I don't have to be trapped "in the machine."
There are other ways of doing  things, and for that, I am truly happy.
I am praying and looking forward to the day when I have more freedom to be with my family in the way that God calls us to be... I look forward to serving... and doing things like beekeeping...
I look forward to using my talents to serve..singing, writing, taking photographs...
and maybe, I will make it a goal to add flair and romance to the greasy foodtruck idea...
Maybe, I will serve French food..and have a little wrought iron tables with huge bouquets of flowers sitting on top...maybe, I will serve chocolate croissants  to the rich and the middle class and feed the hungry at the very same time... Maybe, I will hire an accoridan player to play a French ballad...
A girl can dream can't she?

Does anyone have a food truck that they would like to sell?

Monday, September 24, 2012

My dirty little secret

Tonight, I have a mind full of people. People that I have known.. People that I have loved..
I have a deep concern for a whole lot of people.

Tonight, I keep thinking of Clay. When I lived in Baton Rouge, I met a man named Clay. He was the roommate of a man that I dated.
I haven't seen Clay in almost 13 years. I can't even remember his last name. I don't know where he lives or even if he is still alive. What I do remember is his story and the deep sorrow that he carried with him.

Clay fought in Desert Storm. He was a photographer in the military. I remember his war stories and some of the scars that they had left on his life. There was a deep, deep sadness about Clay. He was married once and had a son. One day Clay was driving somewhere with his family. He was following them on his motorcycle. They were a car ahead of him. He spoke of how he watched another vehicle crash into his family's car. He literally watched them die. I'm sitting here crying thinking of Clay.

I remember him suffering from gallbladder stones one night on the bathroom floor of his apartment. He laid there for hours in excrutiating pain.

I remember finding disturbing images on his computer. I remember him talking about ending his life.
There was an immense darkness surrounding Clay and truthfully, I wish I had known how to be a light to him back then. All I can do is pray for him now and hope that if he is still here, that he finds the hope and the peace that only God can give him.

The other day I read a story about an 18 year old boy who had been locked in his room for years. He didn't see the sunlight for over 2 years because his mom and stepdad kept him locked away in his room. He wasn't allowed to see his siblings or anyone else for that matter. He was subjected to torture, mental and physical abuse, and a host of other atrocities.
They found him at a bustop. He looked a child because his growth had been stunted from lack of food. He was barely 5 foot tall at 18 years old and he weighed in at close to 100 pounds.

Want to hear something that I hope changes you..

Every day we encounter a Clay...or someone like the young man at the bus stop... They are at our jobs..They hide behind masks..A lot of the time, they don't look grim and suicidal..

They wear masks. They try to look normal because they want to look like we do...  a lot of times they are the people looked down upon by a lot of Christians.  They want normal lives. Everyone we meet in this has faced something tragic. Everyone..sometimes, that kind of pain and tragedy leaves a mark on someone that time can't erase.

A lot of the truly hurting people, like Clay, have foul mouths. They don't talk like we think they should. Maybe they don't vote like we think they should. Maybe they party or drink or do a lot of drugs to mask the immense pain that they are really feeling. Maybe they have a long arrest record. Maybe they make up a large portion of the prison population.

I know that with every effort and strenght that I have...there is nothing that I could do to really make a difference to people like Clay.

But I know that God working in and through me... Can... I know that when we submit ourselves to God, truly seek Him...He flows through us..He works..He gives us what we need to truly be a light of the world.  God says in His Word, that He didn't come to save the righeous..He came to save the hurting, tortured, desperate, sin sick people like Clay.

God desperately wants us to step out of our comfort zone and love people like Clay. He isn't calling us to be judge and jury. Most of the time, we never get close enough to people like Clay to learn stories like his...
But people like Clay are the ones that truly need Jesus the most. 

One thing I believe we are seeing today is a whole lot of merciless Christians. I"m not saying everyone..but it seems that today..we live in a culture, where justice triumphs over mercy.
But God says that it is supposed to be the other way around.

How often do "we" complain about the people being loud in the restaurant when instead we should show a little kindness and compassion.

I understand that we don't want our kids hearing certain things, but how easy would it be to kindly speak to people like human beings... instead, "we"  want to involve managers. We cry for justice when God is really asking for mercy.

I look back at my own life. I think about the darkest period that I went through. It was after Andy died. I had a hole in my heart bigger than anything I had ever known. I turned to things that Christians today would cringe at.  The truth is that  during this time of my life, I needed to see Christ. I needed Him desperately....The last thing I needed during those days were justice seeking, self righteous, church goers.. I needed a loving hand and a gentle guide. I needed to see Christ.  And, yes, some people did show him to me... my family was there for me.. a few others. ...well, I don't want to talk about me right now... I'm getting off track here.

I think all I'm really trying to say here is that it is time that we desperately seek Christ. He says that if we remain in Him then we will bear fruit... It hurts when I see people like Clay..looking like a dead branch because of what the world has handed him... He needs some of our fruit. He needs life.. He needs to taste the goodness of God and we are the ones that are called to show him what all that is about.

The other day I kept wondering why Jesus cursed the fig tree. I never really understood that story.. until a few days ago... the tree wasn't bearing any fruit. Hungry and desperate people passed it every single day and it stood there in self righteous mockery. It was dry. It was taunting. It was like a self professed Christian that stood there proclaiming Christ but couldn't deliver the goods to the hungry people.
So Jesus got angry and he told it to die. It withered up.
That story makes perfect sense to me now.

Are we the dry fig tree? Proclaiming Christ but not really offering something solid to back our words?

The other day I was in Wal Mart... I saw a girl having a seizure on the floor. People were loosely scattered around..fearfully watching to see what was going to happen next.

After her seizure was over, she sat in a chair near the register. Her familiy was huddled around her.
My son beckoned me,.."mama, go and pray for her." I knew that there was wisdom in his words.

I walked over to the mama and I asked if there was something that I could do..She said, "Pray."
So I lovingly placed my hands on the girl and I prayed. I think we were all crying by the time the prayer had ended. The momma, the girl, me...  Want to hear something amazing? If I had would've judged the girl by her physical appearance..I might have thought she was addicted to drugs. She looked dirty, scarred up, tattooed. She looked like she had seen some hard days..but as I was praying for her, God put the words in my heart to speak to her..and they came out like honey. I called her a daughter of the Most High..created for a purpose. I think I said she was, "His Child."  Why? Because we are all family. And our mission in life isn't to harm the people around us with our criticism and judgment, our shouts for justice..Our mission is to be the hand and the voice of Mercy.

A few years ago, the thought of praying for someone in the middle of walmart would've been the furthest thing from my mind. A few years ago, I would've been content to just zip on by and mutter a quick prayer out the door... But I know that is calling me...calling a deeper place.
I know that He wants to use us to truly reach out to those who need Him.

Hears another fact.. People like Clay..or the lady in walmart...or the boy at the bus station..may never step foot inside the doors our churches. They are dismayed by the Christ that we portray. They have seen too many fig trees promising but not delivering the goods. They have seen a cry for justice, when we should've handed them a nice warm bowl of mercy.

They probably see "our" facebook posts calling people who vote a certain way "unchristian.." It's true..there are a LOT of unchristian people  in the world.... But who is really taking the time to hand out the fruit?

One thing that God has put it on my heart to do...and if you want to be a part of this then I think I will literally do cartwheels and risk breaking an arm,  is going to visit people in my neighborhood.
I want to Be the Church. I want to tell people that no matter who they are, or what they have done, or who they are attracted to even... I want to tell them that God loves them in a great and merciful way.

I want to tell them that He has come to set them free and that they are called to Freedom...not freedom to fall back into a sinful lifestyle, BUT TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE.

Does anyone want to join me in this endeavor..this bold, radical, move of being the Church?

Anywho, I love you guys and I hope if nothing else, you seek God...remain in Him and bear some fruit!

On a final note, I know that a lot of people in prisons have done some horrific things, but a lot of people there have stories and hidden lives. We don't see that side of them.. All we see are the charges brought against them. God's law is different than man's law. Man's law seeks justice...but God's law, above all else, cries out for mercy.
We are called to be there for people in prison. Write letters to them offering them hope and simply being an ear to listen. . Find out how you can get involved. Recall the story about the sheep and the goats..

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

The truth is that if I had contined down the path that I was on after Andy's death, in all of my hurt, anger, and desperation.. I did a few things that I normally wouldn't have done. and  I could've very well ended up in a jail somewhere.
and that is my dirty little secret.

One more thought.. brief but important....sometimes, love isn't imposing our views or pushing our religion on  someone...sometimes, it is simply just handing someone a big, nice warm bowl of something..

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A letter to my family -a confession and apology : The One Shot

The other day we were having a family dinner and my feelings got hurt. A few words were spoken and I took offense. Truthfully, there was really nothing harsh about the words, simply the way in which they were spoken that rubbed me the wrong way. The truth is that I was having a really bad week. Horrible, actually. I could go into the details of it, but I'll spare you.....

I got up and I left..hurt and wounded..dismayed, feeling rejected and angry. The truth is that I am a very very sensitive person. Many people have told me that over the years. In some ways, it is a character flaw. In other ways, it is a blessing. One thing I have learned about very sensitive people is that they wear their hearts on the sleeve, but will quickly give the shirt off their back... Sensitive people feel a lot of pain over things that some don't even consider hurtful...but, with that great capacity to feel pain, comes a deep well and great capacity to love.  Sensitive people are easily hurt but they also reach out readily to others. Sensitive people are passionate people..people that love truth and justice..but more than anything..sensitive people cry out for mercy.

The truth is that I have probably one of the best families that a girl can ask for. I have families that have sacrificed for me..that have helped me in numerous ways. I have family members that have bent over backward to help me in times of trouble and times of need. I love my family. I love my mom who faithfully cooks breakfast for my sons and helps Cade with his work and essentially cares for him while I am working. That is no small task..and mom, I want to say, "Thank you." I love you so much. You are a strong and brave woman. You are a caregiver. You are the hands of Christ to your family in the work that you do...

I love my dad who has worked his entire life to take care of his family. He is quiet and shy, but he is good and moral. He is loving. He spends his spare time building things for his family in his backyard. He,too has the loving, working hands of Christ.

I love my sister who is the meekest, the gentlest, one of the most loving and quiet souls that I have ever found. She raises three girls with patience and such an awe inspiring love that it is a blessing to simply watch her. I love my brother in law who sings and speaks with wisdom and inspiration and seeks God with his whole heart, mind, and soul.

I love my brother who works diligently to provide for his family. Last week, I watched him with my son. We were at the bowling alley and I saw this immense love eminating from my brother as he sat and patiently won my 3 year old a toy from one of those little claw machines. He sat there until he won him a prize. He didn't care about how much money he lost, he wanted my boy to smile.

I love my sister in law who is an amazing example of strength and fortitude. She presses on in her darkest hour to be a light to those who need it. Mel, I know that even in your time of weakness, you have been a Godsend to those around you simply in the way that love is a natural part of who you are.

I love my Aunt Cheryl who drove all the way to Baton Rouge for me when I needed a friend and a prayer. You have been there for me through many rough times. God sees your heart and He loves  your compassion.

I love my Uncle Ray who shows grace to the children in our family. Every year he does Christmas in July and he handpicks special gifts each and every child. Your kindness doesn't go unnoticed and I appreciate what you have done and what you do for my children.

I love my Aunt Donna who has a heart the size of Texas. She lovingly raises her three daughters. She is an example of goodness, wholesomeness, and strength. 

I love my Uncle Toby who is the joker of the family. He picks and teases, but he does it in a loving way. Not in a mean way, but he does it because he appreciates the beauty of two upturned lips.. a smile. He loves to see everyone smile.

I love my inlaws who take care of my Brendan while I work. Mrs. Anita is one of the gentlest and kindest people that I have ever met. Mr. Mitch is sturdy, strong, and loving. He donates his time to visiting others in prison. Mrs. Anita lovingly cares for her family faithfully every single day.

I love my children, my cousins, my grandfather who cooks for us every Sunday..even through his grief and pain..He still finds a way to love on each of us in his own special way. I love my husband who has been a really good friend to me lately.

I love my family.

I know that our family isn't perfect. I know that sometimes we say things that hurt one another. I know that sometimes that kind of pain runs deep in a life. But the truth is that we are given this one tiny little space in light of all eternity to get it right... We have this one shot.

The truth is that there have been times when I have taken my family for granted. There have been times when I have failed to show kindness and there have been times when my words may have hurt. And, tonight if that has been the case, then I apologize... you see, we only have this one shot at this life...and I aim to get it right.

God gave us this little window of a life to give love. He said that this path was narrow because it is easy to be selfish. It is easy to hold onto hurt and anger and disdain. It is easy to judge. It is easy to criticize... .. But you see, we have this one shot at this life...and I aim to get it right.

Today I was thinking about God and how, even though I don't understand a lot of rituals and practices at some churches, the one thing I do understand is the language of love. I get that. God spoke the language of love to us when He sent us His only son to die a gruesome death upon a cross...and then He tells us to simply believe and to back with fury, with passion, and with sacrifice and humility.
You see, we only have this one shot and I aim to get it right.

I know that I am not perfect..But God says in His Word that we should strive to be perfect as Our father in Heaven is perfect..So even though all of my flaws and oversensitivity, I aim to get this right..
You see, we have this one shot...
Not only to love our families, but to love our neighbors..our friends, our coworkers, the crazy cat lady down the road.. the Muslim shop owner on the corner, the enemy who hurt us in the deepest of ways..
We have this one shot at this this narrow little space in time to get it right....and I aim to get this thing right.

God says in His word that if we call our brother a fool, we are danger of hellfire. At first, I thought this was a little harsh, but calling our brother, our family, the people around us not the language of love...and somehow, I think God only relates and responds to the language that He created.
So, I will try to hold my tongue. You see, we only have this one shot in this narrow, tiny little space in time..and we never know when it will end...and eternity will begin..and I aim to get this right.

We have life and death in our our mouth..God tells us that our words reveal our hearts..He gives us a mirror into our very souls. I don't speak God all of the time.. I don't always speak the language of love...and for that, I am sorry... You see, I aim to get this right..

Today, I saw a girl from high school walking thru Target. I tried to be friendly, but she pretended not to see me. AS I was walking out of the store, she put her nose in the air as I walked on by... It hurt my feelings. As I was passing her by, I muttered the word, "Snob" It was barely perceptible but she still may have heard me. I failed to show grace to a woman that may have truly needed it. For that, I am saddened... because , you see, we only have  this one little space in time to get this walk right..and if we aren't walking the narrow path to the sound of the language of love, then we are walking something altogether differnet and a whole lot more dangerous.

and you see, I aim to get this right.

It doesn't matter how hurt we are, we forgive, we press on, we move forward because we aren't called to speak an ordinary language..we are called to live the language of love...

People without ears to hear should be able to read it and hear it with their eyes.
People without eyes shoud be able to feel it in our embrace..
We are called to be Christ to the dying and lost world..and we only have this one shot.

Sometimes, I can't help but notice how cruel the world is...
are they hearing and seeing our language?
Because in it's truest form, it is beauty, it is wonder, it is the healing, awesome hand of Christ..
changing a life...purifying a heart...beckoning the lost to see..

You see, we only have this one shot...and Jesus, I pray to get it right...

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's not about the t-shirt

Today, I was feeling a bit lonely. I went to Starbucks, opted to have some of the caffine that I supposedly gave up last week, and I sulked.
Truthfully, I've had a beautiful but bittersweet week and today I could feel myself sinking.
Do you ever have those days where you pray that God would just "take" you? Do you ever have the days when you get tired of the fighting and the routine...when you wait and wait for change but change doesn't seem to come fast or quick enough?
Today was one of the days when I felt myself desperately wanting to find a remote village in some cozy nook of the world and just lay there. Maybe a mountainous area or a cave along a beach somewhere...
Today I wondered if God would just let me slink into Heaven...maybe go unnoticed...I wondered if maybe I could do just enough to "get by." 

I was sitting at Starbucks and I looked across at all of the smiling people in groups. I saw a girl wearing a Jesus shirt. It was an obvious Christian message. I waited for her to walk over to my table, seening that I was alone, but she never came.

I saw a woman come up and it looked like she had pamphets in her hands. Something about them made me think that they were Christian pamphlets...

As I looked around at all the Jesus paraphanelia, I became slightly ...and only very mildly, irritated and annoyed.

I kept thinking about how, as a culture, we try to shove Jesus on t-shirts and in cute little pamphlets, but the truth is that today...I was desperate for someone to show me Jesus.

I don't know why...Jesus has revealed Himself to me dozens and dozens of times...but today I wanted to see Him in someone else.

I noted how Jesus is the hand that lovingly leads, the words that soothe, the arms that wrap in the gentle embrace, ...He is the one who doesn't promote Himself on t-shirts or flaunt Himself on paper..He is the one who would've walked up to my table and sat with me today.

All too often it seems that there is an infux of criticm in this world. People whose words hurt more than they realize. People often mask their opinions as being helpful, but when you don't really detect any love in the words, it comes across as rude and mean. People will tell you how to raise your children..people will continaully tell you every hundred things that you do wrong..people will tell you how unhappy they are with your decisions...people will tell you what church they think you should attend, or what your life should look like.. but the truth is that sometimes..all we want to see is Christ. Sometimes, we simply want to feel accepted and loved for who we are and where we are in this life.

I know that Christ doesn't agree with bad behavior, but its another thing to judge and critize and pretend that you have done something good.  Petty opinions are hurtful and should sometimes be abandoned altogether.

As I was sitting there almost in tears, a man that I associate with my old high school came up and spoke to me. He had just arrived and invited me to sit at his table.

He was there with his son. We started talking about things. We talked about the his days living out of state and how he loved diversity and culture. We talked about how there was too much racism in the world... ..
Try explaining to God that an entire race of people are "illegal?"  I noted that there probably wouldn't be any racist people in Heaven...

We talked about church and we talked about God. He said that he quit his old church because people judged him by his appearance and some in the church wouldn't even shake his hand. I told him that God sees His heart and that how beautiful his heart really was.
I  loved how he told me about his beautiful girl and gloated and beamed when he talked about his wife.
I loved how I could see him the way that Jesus sees him.

He asked me what church I attended and I told him, but I said that I saw a lot wrong with churches today. But I told him that I love people. I love people so much. People of all races and people that attend all sorts or churches. I told him how in the days before church, people used to do something radical. They would go into each others homes and worship and love on people, and work together. I said that I liked the idea of the body of Christ reaching out and finding the lost rather than the lost having to find a brick and mortar building to attend.
I said I would love to see things like that again. All in all, it was a beautiful conversation and I am so grateful that I got to have it with such amazing and wonderful people.

Last week I kept hearing a verse over and over.. God put it on my heart to remind me that I am free.
"For you have been called to live in Freedom, brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. "

Freedom.  That word has been echoing in my heart and mind for the past week. The enemy doesn't want us free. The enemy wants us wounded..too busy licking and nursing our wounds that we forget to serve the hurting around us... that we forget that there are lonely people who need to see Christ.

What lies is the enemy telling you?

What is God telling you?

The enemy tells me that I will be silent. That I will fall into depression and fail to speak
God says that I have a voice.. To use be the say the words that could mean life or death to the hurting...

The enemy tells me that things will never change..
God reminds me of how far He has taken me and bids me to be the change...Shine the light..go forth..spread the wings..
The enemy tells me I am trapped and tethered.

God tells me that I am FREE.

The enemy tells me that few care.
God tells me it's a lie..and then He sends two people who intive me to their table.

The enemy tells me that my body is weak.
God tells me that He has a work for me to do.

The enemy tells me that I am a horrible mother, terrible daughter and wife...terrible everything...
God tells me to press on in love.. He accepts me for who I am and He loves me regardless  of how other perceive me.

Next time I see you around friends, you are always welcome at my table.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some very strange experiences from my life

here is another post that I really don't want to type..yet, it is one that I feel is important. I am going to tell some really strange stories of some very bizarre things that happened to me throughout the course of my life.

If I had the gift of spiritual discernment back then, I believe that many of these tragedies could have been avoided.  If you take nothing else from this post, I encourage you to seek God above all else. I believe that He will help those who call upon Him. The Bible says that there will be many false teachings and false prophets in the world. They will be disguised as wolves in sheep clothing. They can sometimes perform miracles and can fool even the elect.  The truth is that the enemy knows every weakness that we have. He will try his best to deceive us or harm us in any way that he can. He will try to destroy us if at all possible.

I am going to share some personal stories in hopes that you will understand what I am talking about.

When I was a teenager I went to a retreat at a church from a different denomination. I'm not going to name demoninational names in this post because they are irrelevant. I believe that wherever there are falliable humans, the enemy has an opportunity to work.

Anyway, I was at a retreat and a man comes up to me and begins to tell me that God  told him that I am going to meet a man. He tells me that the man will have dark hair and that when I meet him, I won't need to wear my "mask" anymore. I can take off my "mask"..

Well, as teenager wanting to find Mr. Right ..anxious and eagar..I was all ears. I wanted to find this man.
A few years later, I was living in Baton Rouge, La. I was attending school there. I went through a time of lonliness and depression. I met a man during this time of depression. We became friends and I slowly began to trust him. He fixed me dinner and was kind to me. One night we were sitting on his couch and he began to talk about "the mask"..He talked about the "masks" we wore and he told me that I could take off my "mask"..almost in the exact same words as the man "prophesied" to me at the retreat. Then the man I met and was slowly falling in love with...began to talk about the love of God and things like that.   In retrospect, the entire experience was almost like a strange dream.
I thought it was a "sign" that I was meant to be with him. I ignored my gut feelings because I saw a "sign from God." God tells us to seek His will above all else. Seek Him...He tells us in His word not to look for signs.  In Mark, Chapter 8..Jesus was dismayed with the Pharisees for their seeking of a "sign."

"And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation...."

Jesus also tells us in Deuteronomy 6:16 to not look for signs....

Don't get me wrong, God has shown me many things that I have felt in my spirit..I knew they were from Him..but beware of signs, especially when they go against the Bible and against your gut.

The truth is that my experience with this man nearly ruined my life. I gave into sin with him, so I was a part of the problem...I have since forgiven him and pray for him a lot, but I know that what I experienced while in this relationship was not from God. It was a trap that I fell into..all because of a "sign."

Strange experience number two..This one nearly killed me.

I was at a church service one Sunday. A pastor, who I love and trust, began to speak of something that he felt was going to happen. He said that he had a bad feeling about something and that someone needed to turn their life around or someone could possibly die.  Of course, fear  gripped my heart. I felt as if he were talking to me. I went home that day and cried my eyes out. I worried for my children and the people in my life. I talked long and hard to God. I knew that things would have to change in my life in order for me to truly follow I began to make those hard hard changes. I spoke to my boyfriend, who I loved very much, and told him that I needed to make some changes. I  told him that I no longer wanted to live the way I was living. During the course of the next few weeks, my boyfriend became paranoid and believed that someone was going to kill him. Some men had done something to him at his job. Two weeks later, he was gone. He died when he rammed his car into a bridge.

 I went through a time of immense anger at God and church. I associated the  two. I thought that if I sought God, I would have to go to church...and I was afraid to go to church because of my experience. I was afraid of who might die. The truth is that God had nothing to do with this situation. God was there with me, even during my time of immense suffering and suicidal state that followed. This was all a  trick from the enemy to destroy my life. It almost worked. The course of the next few years, proved to be a living hell. But one day, I finally came to seek God..and He answered. He showed me more grace and love than any that I had ever known. He wasn't the one who had spoken those words at church. He wasn't the one who had driven the fear into my heart. He wasn't the one responsible for the death of my loved one. But somehow, I could see how He wanted to heal it all and bring me to level of understanding. And He is doing that to this very day.

If I had discernment, I could've avoided so much fear and pain. I could have recognized things for what they really were, a work of the devil, instead of getting angry at God.
The truth is that God longs to heal us. He longs to lead us to water to drink. "For I know the plans I have for  you says the Lord..Plans to give you hope and future. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you."

The enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.

The truth is that I believe that where there are humans, the enemy has a way to infiltrate. Not everything you hear or percieve to be true is in fact true. THe Bible tells us to test the spirits.

"Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. - 1 John 4:1
Please note that I'm not calling the pastor who said these things a false prophet. I'm not saying that at all, only that discernment was needed in this situation..

Strange experience number three:
I've written a lot over the course of the past few years how the demonic has tried to destroy my life. I have seen that they are very real, just as the Bible says they are. I've gone through a lot of strange things and have dealt with the demonic in various ways. In the past, I said a prayer that God would send someone to help me with this issue.
I was sitting at a church service a few weeks ago and a guest speaker came to speak. He had served time as a missionary in Haiti. As I was listening to the man speak, I thought..hmmm. this man sounds like the real thing. He's not begging for money. He's not telling me that God wants me to be rich. He's talking about helping people in Haiti..He then begins to talk about people he has encountered in the area who are dealing with the demonic. He explains how God uses him to help them. My first reaction was.."this is an answer to prayer..Thank you, Jesus!" But, truthfully, God has been and still is helping me in this area.

So, the man asked if there was anyone in the service who needed help in this area. I went up to the front. The man put his hands on my head and started talking about negative thoughts. He said something about negative thoughts coming against me....but truthfully, there hadn't been any negative thoughts...
Then another man gets up to pray for me.. I think it was the missionaries friend..., He asks me if there is any area where I need healing... I told him that I had a mild thyroid issue. He puts his hand on my stomach and as he is praying for me, he keeps asking me..."Do you feel that? Do you feel that? Do you know what that is? What he was trying to ask me was if I felt God healing me.. Well, I believe that God is still the same. God still heals..but , as he was asking me this, I didn't feel anything... I became slightly confused...ummm, maybe I feel something? He asked, "Do you know what is," Confused, I said in a voice that was more of a question, "God?" He said, yes... He told me that I was going to start losing weight because God was healing my thyroid.

The men began praying for more people in the church and declaring healings where I could see that none were taking place.

Truthfully, I have come to a place in my Christian walk where I can recognize God. In Him, there is clarity, truth, peace, and understanding...The encounter with these men left me confused. God is not the author of confusion.. 

Over the course of the next few days, negative thoughts and confusion came against me in such a way that I literally did not want to get out of bed. My stomach was twisted in such knots that I wasn't hungry and didn't want to eat. Subsequently, I started losing weight.

The truth is that I believe in miracles. I have seen the power of God in many ways, but I knew when they were praying for me..that they were declaring miracles where not had taken place. I'm not calling these men false men of God..truthfully, the entire experience was a source of confusion for me...But I do believe that if God is healing someone, it will be an undeniable experience, unlike any other. It will something wonderful and unmistakeable...Because that is who God is...IF God arrives to heal, there will be no questions about it....but am I wrong? IF so, please tell me...The truth is that this entire night confused me ..

After this experience, in my confused state, I felt led to do a lot of praying and fasting. I asked for the gift of discernment...If you aren't familiar with discernment, it is a gift from God that helps Christians test the spirits around them. Discernment brings clarity whereas the enemy brings fear and confusion.

Throughout the course of the next week or so, God truly began to work on my behalf.. I began to see many things in a new light and began to question why we do certain things in our churches today. Most people are willing to accept practices that they have been comfortable with for years, but how much of what we have learned and have been taught is truly of God?

The truth is that for every sincere Christian, there are dozens of people with no real desire to truly serve Christ. We all talk about Heaven but forget what the scriptures say about the narrow gate and working hard to get in..We forget that the walk is likened to a race in which we much have endurance.

We ignore the parts about false teachings and accept anyone and everyone into our churches just because they say they are of God. But the Bible clearly  tells us that there are those out there who sole mission is to hurt the body of believers. They are described as "wolves in sheeps clothing"

This is a hard post to write. When God called me to write, I thought I was going to write simple and easy little feel good stories. I had no idea that  I would have to write things that may or may not offend people or cause people to look at me strange in the supermarkets.

The truth is that, as Christians, many of us are lacking discerment. One of the things that has always moved me are the disciple stories. The stories where you see real men and women going out into the world and doing the work that God has called them to do. Notice the word "work" God has a "work" for us... a work.

He tells us in His word that if we are simply hearers of the word and not doers...then we will miss His kingdom. So what are we doing?    

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. "

Some days I can completly see why people stay out of churches. It has begun to look like a business where Christ is pandered for money. "send us your money....yes, we all live in 2 million dollar houses, but if you send us your money, we will send a small bit to help someone or other, and if you send it, God is gonna send you a huge sum of cash... Oh wait, you didn't get your cash..Send more! You didn't have enough "faith" the first time.

I've actually heard of people exploited like this that have become so glum and depressed and truly lost faith in Christ because of the greedy use of Christ as a business deal.

It's no wonder why many people don't want anything to do with Christ at all. We put on huge music productions, eat a bunch of cake and pies, sit in our pews, , get our fill, and then forget what we learned during the week. Meanwhile, there are real people out in the world dying and needing to see the true Jesus.
The other day I was thinking about the cakes and pies that we eat... I started to feel bad for writing about our cakes and pies...Truthfully, Jesus loves fellowship. He loves us coming together in His name. He loves our laughter. He loves our smiles. He loves children with full bellies...Jesus loves our cakes and pies... But I can't help but wonder if our cake and pie mentality is keeping us from what God is really calling us toward?  The Jesus of Humility.
 People need to see the true Jesus.  The Jesus who gave and had true power in His hands...not the kind that people tried to fake. The Jesus who gave His very own life so that others might live.

Well, once again... I could go on and on for days...but this post explains why my posts for the past few days have been different. I'm seeing things with different eyes and I truly recognize the need for change..

Be the change that you long to see in the world..... Only Christ can help you to achieve that..  "All things are possible through Christ Jesus."

anyway, these are my thoughts ...
What are yours?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You can tell a lot about a person by the way that they drive and false prophets

Lately, I feel as if God has truly been showing me some things. Truthfully, the things that He has shown me have been really hard to write about. On the one hand, I worry about hurting people. I know that many people have very strong beliefs about things without ever questioning where those beliefs came from. It seems that many people are simply content to read books written by men rather than going to the Father himself for answers. 

I'm not one to criticize the beliefs of others, just simply to tell people to go straight to the Source.

Lately, God has been showing me some things that actually go against a lot of what today's churches are doing.  Today, I was reading the verses where Jesus went into the temple. He was angry because people had set it up to look like a marketplace. He turned over the tables and said that was intended for a house of prayer was turned into a den of thieves. ...
I couldn't help but think that so many churches today resemble just that : a den of thieves.
The other day I mentioned how gifts are meant to be given, expecting nothing in return. Even as God sent out His disciples He told them to "Freely have you been given, now freely give." But how many pastors these days are selling their sermons for mammon.  ....and yet, we follow these men  like blind sheep being led to the slaughter. We make excuses for them, but the part we forget is the verse that says.. they look like us...they are wearing our clothes. They are speaking our language, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

If God gave someone a message that they truly believed in, they would be so eagar and desperate for the world to hear it, that it would be freely given to all men..without charge.... Look at the fruits.

The other day, I was driving and I truly felt as if God was right there with me. I think that the way a person drives says a lot about the heart of a person.
Think about it.

Are we rushing, angry...when we see someone trying to pass us, are we eager to see them fail? Do we rush ahead so that they can't get through...

When someone is in the slow lane, what is our attitude toward them? Are we muttering under our breath for them to get out of "our" way..  Are we that important?
God longs to teach His people humility.

It's funny how I know that I have driven a thousand times and been all of those things.. the angry, rushing driver... but as Jesus becomes more a part of who I am, I can see the error of my old ways of thinking and doing things. Jesus tells us to change the way the way we think and act..
How much of that has changed in us?
Are we pursing Him for more?

Change hurts. Even the leaves of spring, however, must first experience the falling away of it's dead branches.  God longs to produce beauty within us. And it is never easy to submit to the changes He wants to produce. Never.

I noted something throughout the course of my work history.
Every time the workers would hear about the boss coming into the area, everyone scrambles. Everyone tries to tidy up, make sure everything is in top notch shape or condition, everyone puts on a brave face and makes sure that all is in order...

What makes us think that this walk with Christ is any different?  Think of the parable of the servant.
A master left His house in charge to a servant. His duty was to keep an eye of the house and the other servants. That was his job, so to speak...but when the master was away, he felt safe.. so he began beating the servants and eating and drinking with the drunkards. Little does he know..the master will come and find him on a day that he is not aware of and at a time which he does not know...

The key is to always be ready. Don't become complacent because you think Christ isn't watching or that you have all the time in the world to get "your house" in order.

Christ says otherwise in His word.

The other day I was reading an article and I read how the Bible says to rebuke, reprove, and exhort..
Exhort means to build up...
The truth is that in today's churches, there is a lot of encouragement, but very few people are willing to rebuke and reprove when they see wrong..
IF you love your son, don't you correct Him?  Don't love and discipline go hand in hand?  Of course they do.
So if you see something that is wrong, it is not judging if it is done the way Christ a spirit of love,   it is ok to point out the wrongs that you see.

Well, that's my tidbit for the day ..
Love ya

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Prayer cloths, and for those who have been hurt in the church

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit..Psalms 34:18

Last week I heartily prayed that God remind me how much He loves me. I told him that I was the type of woman that needs reassurance. A few days later, I was kneeling at the alter in church and a lady comes up to me and says, "Rachelle, I really feel like Jesus is telling me to tell you that He loves you right where you are."  The funny thing is that I already knew that He was going to let me know. This isn't the first time this has happened..but it's a God thing that it happens only when I ask it..  Every single time, without fail...

Later that day, God sent a little labrador retreiver puppy to tell me the same thing. I was sitting in the grass and along comes Dutch, our little brown lab. Dutch is a very loving puppy. He kept trying to lick my face and sit on my lap.. He's playful. I kept trying to pry him off me, but He wouldn't budge even as I tried pushing him away. He is relentless. God spoke to me while that puppy was trying to love on me, and He said..That is how I love..relentlessly. "I love with a fierceness that never gives up. I love with a love that never fails and that never leaves your side. I will never leave you nor forsake you.  My love is relentless. 

I silently wondered why people would shun that kind of love.

For the week I have truly been seeking Him. I have encountered countless people over the course of the past few days...I can feel God whispering and showing me how He wants to bring healing and deliverance to their lives.  I felt as if He wanted to use me as a vessel to do this..but sometimes, I write it off and I can't help but wonder why I do that..Do I think that there will be time tomorrow? Do I think that I can send a quick email or facebook message to people to do what He wants to do face to face? 
He longs to heal us. He longs to bring deliverance to our lives. What are we waiting on?

Lord, may we never miss an opportunity to be your instrument of peace to someone desperate and hurting. It could be life or death to them. I need to write this down and put a red string around my finger. Perhaps, get rid of the smartphone that renders me stupid sometimes. 

Lately, I feel God wanting to bring us into a deeper walk. Each of us..we need Christ more than we realize. I've seen the demonic tear away bits of people and lives and families..but I hear the whisperings of Christ.. "I long to bring healing and deliverance."  The harvest is ripe, but the workers are few. How I long to be that worker..

What keeps us from doing the thing that He has called us to do? Is it fear? Is it apathy? Are we so immersed in the world that we have completly lost sight of Heaven? Where your heart is your treasures will be also, He whispers..Set your heart on me, and watch as life and beauty fall from my hand.. My treasures are not of this world..They are something that were bought with innocent Blood..

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying. I realize that a lot of churches today are teaching false doctrines. It's in His Word. We've become weak, spiritually and all you really have to do is look around to see it.  I think a lot about what the word "church" means and what God intended it to be...
I think people would actually marvel at its simplicity and how different it looks from what we are doing today.  Today we have buildings where people congregate. In them we preach, eat, drink, and be merry, and then we go home for a week, often forgetting about what we learned...forgetting that there is a dying world out there....and then we go back the next week so that we can be "filled" from all of life's stresses and toils..We go so that we can learn something..

God has shown me more sitting in a nursing home with a dying woman than a lot of people will ever see...

I have begun to question why we do things the way that we do them and truthfully, I long for change. I envison it.. I long to be a part of it..a catalyst that sets something beautiful in motion..

I long to be that instrument.

The kind that plays the music of Heaven to ears that are tired and deaf from all the noise and all of the lies and all of the screaming and yelling and hurts of today.

So often we put our trust in man, when I can feel God's yearnings saying "Trust in Me...
Trust in Me..
I will  never lead you astray.

A long time ago I went with a friend to one of her church leaders. I was facing something demonic and I needed help. I needed guidance and answers.  This man wasn't the same denomination as me, but that never bothered me.. I don't see people as labels.
I can't quite remember everything he told me, but I remember that he didn't help me. He turned me away because of some trite reason or another. I wasn't the same religion as he was and there was some technical reason why he couldn't be of any assistance... I would've had to have gone thru some sort of red tape to match my life a little closer to what he thought it should look like.  He told me some stories about his own personal experiences and then told me just to ignore the demonic things going on in my life.. He told me to ignore the devil.
I did....a lot of what I was facing stopped...but my heart grew lazy and fat..and I slipped into places that I should never have been...
Fast forward, several  years the day I am on a bathroom floor with a razor blade in my hand and a bottle of pills in the other..desperate and hurting and wanting to end my life.

The Bible doesn't tell us to ignore the devil. The Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God and to fight the darkness with the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, the Belt of truth, and the boots of peace...

But because I was a different name, I feel like I was written off...
I could've very well died and left a son, without a mother..all because we have gotten so caught up in names and labels, that many of us have forgotten how to simply do what is right.

I put very little faith in man. Man has let me down so many times.. Man will often twist the word of God to suit a purpose...

A girl that I know once asked me why I don't go to school to become a preacher. At first I thought that she was joking with me, but I could see that she was serious. The truth is that I don't need a school to tell me what and how I should think about God..
I glean from His Word, I seek Him and listen to His voice.. He says, "Seek and you will find. Ask and it shall be given."  No one else is any different. It's all there for and He longs to share with you and love on you with a relentless kind of love.

I know that a lot of people will take beef with this, but God has been leading me to question why we do the things we ask why we accept what others tell us as Truth without seeking the knowledge from Him, firsthand. The other day, I believe that He showed me something about prayer cloths.

Prayer cloths are pieces of cloth that Christians pray over. They are given to others because they are believed to be anointed. They are believed to cause healing and deliverance in people's lives. Prayer cloths are based on the verse in Acts that says, Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even hankerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them." ...

I truly felt as if God was telling me that the use of prayer cloths wasn't right. I  closed my eyes and I could see  several Christians praying over cloths. They were murmering and praying over bits and pieces of cloth.  Truthfully I got a really bad feeling about it. I felt as if God were saying that prayer cloths take away the gift of His prescene. I felt as if He were saying that we shouldn't be praying over inanimate objects as a source of healing. We become His healing hands when our lives become holy..through devotion to Him, through prayer, through seeking Him, through the relentless process of growth and change brought about by sacrifice. Paul's garments healed because God willed that for Paul. Most of our lives probably don't even come close to looking like the life of the Apostle Paul.  Just because someone tells us that something is holy and a practice is holy, doesn't mean that it is.. Just because it was intended well doesn't mean that we aren't offending Christ by the things that we do.. That is why we need discernment. As I was questioning whether or not I should write about prayer cloths, I found an article that explains why we shouldn't use prayer cloths..I will post it at the end of this post.. In essence, I don't believe that we are to pray to inanimate objects nor are we to pray over them. Is that a form of idol worship? A friend of mine said that prayer cloths sometimes, on occassion, work..but that many people will begin to put their faith in the cloths and then it becomes like an idol. People look to the cloths for healing. Don't forget that the enemy has power too. He was sent to decieve.

The truth is that our churches are falling and failing from religious pride and lack of discernment. The establishments are corroded in so many ways. There is denominational hatred. There is denominational pride which tells us to fill out forms, there is adultery in the pulpits, there are sex abuse cover ups......We cringe that our churches will be hurt but we dare not speak about any of it..But what about the voice of the victims? Where is there voice? Why aren't their cries being heard? 
There are preachers telling us that God wants us to be rich..meanwhile, our neighbors down the street can't just got the electric bill turned off and a kindergartner with an empty belly. There is poverty everywhere, and God's church seems "hell bent" on getting more and more cash.

The truth is that I'm not picking on anyone. I simply see a lot of corruption in our churches, and I feel the call of God saying..Come to Me, Trust in Me....Don't look left or right..don't look to man, look up...I am the one who brings healing..

I see many of today's churches are like rotten boards. The structure seems fine, but the result is a lot of broken and weak people who stand  helpless as the world is literally falling apart before their very eyes. It all just makes me sad.

Do you know when I have seen Christ in our churches...truly seen Him? I see Him when I see others loving on one another, shaking hands... I see Him when I hear that encouraging word, I see Him in the sacrificial love of others... That is where I see Him in church..but we are called to be that to the world around us...we are called to show that love to the lost people around us...Jesus didn't come to save the righteous.. He came for sinners.
The truth is that we are all family. I love anyone I may have offended. I am praying that we begin to seek Him harder than ever before.  Lately, I have felt a need to be outside more. I feel a disconnect with the world in a lot of ways, but as I disconnect more with the world, I can truly, truly see more of Heaven...and I love you no matter your denomination and I am praying for you no matter where you came from or where you are going. I love you.

Yesterday, as I was sitting outside in my sister in law's yard... I saw God... I saw Him

For those who have been hurt by all this nonsense that you see, God loves you. He came for you.

I saw Him in quiet nooks meant for daydreaming and solitide

I saw Him in things that are quiet and still and overflowing with peace

I saw Him in beautiful life that grows and blossoms and blooms in its season

I saw Him in things that grow, tall, and sturdy and majestic in their season

I saw Him in the handprints of children, in innocence, and in life

Dear friends, I pray that you see Him too :)

Here is a portion of the article I read about prayer cloths.......

Prayer Cloths: Superstitious or Spiritual

I once received in the mail from a church a letter and a prayer cloth (a small piece of ribbon with
Acts 19:11-12 inscribed on it). The letter informed me that this cloth had been "prayed over by
prayer warriors" and that they were "believing God for His anointing to reside with this prayer
cloth". I was encouraged to extend my faith and use this prayer as a point of faith to believe for
my healing or deliverance, or for that of a loved one. They suggested that it could be placed in
someone's vehicle, under a mattress or in the opening of a wall of a building.
My initial reaction upon reading this letter was that this is superstition. How could they think
that their prayers could cause the power of God to dwell with a ribbon? And that one could tap
into this power and have it heal whomever by simply believing in God and placing the ribbon in
the appropriate place? This is superstition in the name of Christ!
It is all too possible that my initial reaction was well off the mark and the letter did seek to
provide a biblical argument for its use of the prayer cloth. So like a good Berean (Acts 17:11), I
will examine this letter in the light of Scripture to see if it is true or not.
The letter appealed to Acts 19:11-12 which says, "Now God worked unusual miracles by the
hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and
the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them”. The letter then said, "I believe that
the God who never changes wants to do the same thing still today”.
In response, let me begin by pinpointing the precise issue we need to address. It is not a matter
of whether we believe or don't believe that God desires to use prayer cloths. Our personal beliefs
about God's wishes are irrelevant. The fact that I believe something does not make it true. I may
believe in Santa Claus but that does not make him true. So the truth that many churches believe
that God uses prayer cloths does not mean that He does. Also, the issue is not about God's
ability to heal people through the use of prayer cloths. No true Christian would dispute that He
could. The question we need to ask is this: "Does the Bible tell us that God will use prayer
cloths to heal people today?"

The letter's answer to this question can be stated thus: Acts 19 tells us that God used cloths to
heal people. God never changes. Therefore, God still wants to use cloths to heal people.
One problem with this answer is that it fails to properly distinguish between the unchangeable
character of God from the acts of God in history. In other words, who God is must be
distinguished from what God does.
God is righteous. That never changes. God’s acts are always righteous. That never changes
either. What can and does change are the
acts. For example, a husband has an
undying love for his wife, which he expresses in a multitude of ways. One expression may be in  the form of a trip to Hawaii. Now that expression of an unchangeable love does not imply that
the husband will continually buy tickets to Hawaii! Similarly, the varied acts of God in history
are all a reflection of his unchanging character but they do not imply that he must repeat them.
God once destroyed the world by a flood, parted the Red Sea, and forsook His only Son on the
cross. These acts do not teach us that God still desires to destroy the world by a flood or part the
Red Sea or forsake His Son. Likewise, the fact that God once used Paul's handkerchief to heal
people does not imply He still desires to do the same today.
A second problem is that it assumes what God did through Paul, He will do through Christians.
Paul was a Christian, but he was a unique Christian in that he was an Apostle. God wrote
Scripture through Paul, but that does not mean that God will write Scripture through me. The
miracles that Paul and the other Apostles performed were designed to testify that they had been
sent from God to authoritatively and infallibly speak for Him (Heb. 2:3-4). Hence, Paul called
them 'signs of an apostle' (2 Cor. 12:12). Thus, unless you claim to be an apostle, you cannot
properly appeal to this text to support your claim to be able to do this miracle. And if someone
does make such a claim we know he is lying because Paul said that he was the last apostle (1
Cor. 15:8).
Furthermore, one could not even use this text to say that the other apostles performed these
miracles. This text simply recounts for us what God did through Paul while he was in Ephesus.
There is nothing that suggests that we should regard this event as normative. Therefore, Acts
19:11-12 does not justify the use of prayer cloths. It doesn't even come close!
A third problem is that Luke describes the miracles that God worked through Paul in Ephesus as
'unusual' or 'extraordinary' (see verse 11). This would indicate that these particular miracles
were not the normal ones he performed and thus not to be expected at other times.
The final problem that I will mention is that the use of prayer cloths today does not correspond to
what happened in Acts 19:11-12. Here are some of the differences. First, the objects used. Acts
19 speaks of Paul's sweat cloth (the handkerchief) and the apron he wore while making tents. I
was sent a small piece of ribbon not Paul's sweatband. Second, the role of prayer. In Acts 19 we
are told that God worked these miracles by the hands of Paul. There is no mention of Paul
praying with other people asking God to have His power reside with a cloth. Third, immediate
healing. Acts 19 says that the handkerchiefs and aprons were brought to the sick and the
diseases left them. If God is still working as He did in Acts 19 then I should be able to take this
cloth to the hospital and heal people right now.
Consequently, the practice of prayer cloths cannot be supported by Acts 19:11-12;
nor do I
believe that it can be supported by any other passage. Lack of biblical support, however, is not
the only serious problem. The common practice of prayer cloths turns the power and might of
God into magic and superstition.
There was no inherent power in Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons. Acts 19:11-12 does not say
that God's anointing resided with or in them. The same holds true for Moses' staff that was usedto part the Red Sea and the mud Jesus used to heal a blind man. These material objects were
simply the means by which God demonstrated His mighty power. They did not contain God's
power. To believe that they did or that they can today is to believe in superstition and magic.