Consider: God Provides

“24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 
25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

Luke 12:24-32

OK, Let’s consider the ravens.

The first Raven we see in the Bible, Noah sent out to see if the land was dry yet. The bird did not return.  I have heard many schools of thought about this, from it was sent in error to the raven being disobedient to God. Neither of them seem correct to me.
Noah, an obedient man, would send the wrong bird? An obedient bird would disobey and fly around, exhausting itself?
“And sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.” Genesis 8:7 ESV
This bird has a mission, was sent to find land. This raven did not eat or sleep; it did nothing else but fly in search of it until he found the dry land. Did this raven worry about food, health, exhaustion, or anything? It does not seem so – it seems this raven believed he was in the hand of God and just did as he was told. 

Consider the raven – as we consider, maybe we should consider how complex we as humans make things. The bird obeys and God provides. We obey and God provides.

“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 NIV

Consider the raven – Speaking of God’s providence, He used the raven, the same bird he later told us to consider to provide for Elijah during the drought:

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

1 Kings 17:2-6

What a wonderful example of God’s protecting love, provisions, and goodness! Whoo-hoo! There is that ‘GOOD’ word again.  In the first verse I shared above, Jesus is trying to show us that God takes care of the ravens, but here we see he also can use the ravens to take care of us, because they are obedient to His direction.
This is unfolding into a simple example of the relationship God wants with us. The bird obeys and God provides for the bird and uses the bird to provide for others. We obey and God provides for us and uses us to provide for others.

And now why are we considering the raven?
A local hospitals announced they have run out of tests for the Covid-19 pandemic.  Others announced they are running out of Personal Protective Equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) Stores are running out of food and toilet paper.  I am trying hard to redirect everyone to focus on what God IS doing, however, occasionally we need to look at threat and fear dead in the face and remind it that it is a lie from the devil – because my God shall supply!!!  He is the King above all kings, Lord above all lords, and Supply Chain Manager above all other supply chain managers!

Job was experiencing quite the Storm (and this pandemic seems to be quite a storm) and out of the Storm, God spoke – Read and pray to understand:

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
    or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
    an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
    Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
    or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[f]
    or gives the rooster understanding?[g]
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?

Job 38 NIV

Consider the raven, because we are loved by God so much more. We obey and God provides for us and uses us to provide for others. He provides physically, spiritually and emotionally. He provides ALL our needs. 

To God be the glory through all of this! All Good things come from Him!!

Thank you for reading ~ be healthy and blessed ~ God created the heavens and earth and has it all under control. Have peace and draw close to him. ~ Pray for our nation and healthcare supplies ~ pray Psalms 91


When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalms 56:3

I don’t know about you, but recently I have found myself referring to so many verses on ‘fear not’ and do not worry and don’t be anxious and….
The well of them, does not seem to run dry.  I do have quite a bit of the bible memorized, but I am surprised to learn I do not yet have as many of these type of verses memorized.  As I need them, as my friends and relatives share their fears, I am unable to just quote them.  I am disappointed with myself.
I think back – I have never developed a good sense of fear. I had a Boss once years ago who admired my fearlessness – but its not that I am courageous. You see, I know low functioning people who have the same developmental disabilities I have been diagnosed with, and they do not develop an understanding of fear and…. You will have to forgive me but the best way to describe this is very insensitive and politically incorrect….. but neuro-typical people look at those neuro-atypical (and lower functioning) and think that they are just too dumb to be afraid.
I am high functioning. I understand fear in an academic way, yet I have always said my fearlessness isn’t courage – I am just too dumb to be afraid.  Fear like that is completely outside of my wheelhouse. And where I am weak, God is manifest so that he gets the glory, here is strength.
When raising my son I used cautionary logic and “if-then” consequences to teach him fear – the kind of fear that is reverent, like fear of the stove and fire, fear of running into a street with cars coming, etc. And I have said all that to explain – these verses on fear are not referring to the reverent fears.  For example we fear fire in the sense that we respect fire. Or we fear the Lord meaning we respect Him.

I am not completely without fear experience – I can feel this thick atmosphere moving in and I feel the anxiousness. On a less guarded day, I found myself lining up all the things on a co-workers desk as I talked with her. Oops. I feel it is increasingly difficult to read and pray. So I do have some understanding and I try to use it to relate. 

But lately the neuro-typicals all seem to be having “behaviors” that are more common in the developmentally delayed community – individuals who cannot understand and do not have the coping skills and therefore flap arm, act out, panic, etc. I can understand and relate to fear this way and I want to help.

CALM DOWN! But in all the history of calming down who has ever calmed down by being told to calm down?!?! Yet, Jesus said:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1

So maybe we should address it like a Behavior Support Plan (BSP). Yes, because so many of y’all are having some pretty extreme behaviors.

The first thing a BSP does is identify the behaviors:
*Panic – acting irrationally and when the government tells you to stay home you find reasons to do the opposite, eating all the food (you do not need to eat: All. The. Food.) compulsively trying to control anything you can control, etc.
*Anxiety – symptoms such as Feelings of apprehension or dread, Watching for signs of danger, Anticipating the worst, Trouble concentrating, Feeling tense and jumpy, Irritability, Feeling like your mind’s gone blank, Pounding heart, Sweating, Headaches, Stomach upset, Dizziness, Frequent urination or diarrhea, Shortness of breath, Muscle tension or twitches, Shaking or trembling, Insomnia, Surge of overwhelming panic, Feeling of losing control or going crazy, Heart palpitations or chest pain, Feeling like you’re going to pass out, Trouble breathing or choking sensation, Hyperventilation, Hot flashes or chills, Trembling or shaking, Nausea or stomach cramps, and/or Feeling detached or unreal.

Now plan to address the behaviors:

At the first sign of symptoms – attempt redirection, redirecting yourself to an unrelated task or activity.

If anxiety continues, change the environment. Go to a new space, another room, outside, or just separate yourself from where you were. Then, engage coping techniques like redirection or…… prayer….

Ok, this is where I leave the conventional wisdom of a BSP because my God is bigger than conventional wisdom.  We will not try conventional redirection or coping skills, we will redirect our focus onto our Lord:
“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
We see here, God already made a plan for addressing this. We just need to be like King David was and redirect ourselves to God: 
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

Remember my post on how to overcome fear? (the answer is with power, love and a sound mind – go back and read or reread it if you need to) And then lets add to that thought:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Oh sweet readers – did you catch that?!?! “Fear has to do with punishment” and our loving heavenly Father is NOT punishing us!!! He is protecting us with his love.

And I just have to go back to it…
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7
Power over fear, power to get through this with grace (always grace – always grace)! Love enough for ourselves, to love our neighbors who are afraid and to implement a BSP for them (jk) to help them learn the love of God and not fear! Oh and the hard part – self-discipline: yes folks – be disciplined enough not to go out! Be disciplined enough to keep yourself from fear and anxiety. Self-disciplined enough to be renewed in the lord:
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

So, take a collective deep breath – walk through your social distancing chambers (I mean your house). And pray for that peace (Philippians 4:6-7) and renewal (Isaiah 40:31) for you and everyone in that space. Then memorize a few of the encouraging verses about God handling it and humanity doesn’t need to fear – so you can help support and encourage your friends, neighbors and anyone who may need it.

Have power in the confidence that God is not a man that he should lie – and he is the same yesterday, today and forever – meaning he has this.

“7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Finally – remember we battle not against flesh and blood or even pathogens – this is a spiritual battle.  Put on the full armor of God and get serious about prayer. We are called for such a time as this. (Yes we can still laugh and have fun and the joy of the Lord) But it is time to take your walk with the lord seriously. Today is the day – the time is now.

“6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:6-8

Humble ourselves – be willing to let God use you
Give up anxiety – because he cares,
because we are told to and we must obey, and
because we have a job to do; quite frankly, we do not have the luxury of such distractions
AND be alert and of sober mind – the enemy is trying to consume us, and our loved ones with fear, lies, hopelessness, and death.  No man left behind! soldiers of Christ! Watch! Don’t let our brothers and sisters in Christ go down.  Watch! Hang onto even our unsaved loved ones, friends and neighbors – don’t leave them behind. Give to them the hope, peace, love….

Do not take the peace of God in and not share it – this whole thing about being a Christian is about sharing – give it away!!!

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8

Be healthy and blessed ~ pray Psalms 91 ~ Let’s do this!

Good, Good Father

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God;” 1 John 3:1a NAS

Sorry about not having a post yesterday.  The governor said 50% of non-essential employees had to go home. I work in support department to a health care facility. Specifically legal/regulatory support. Although we are essential and busy making sure everyone is following all these new rules as they change, I can do my job from a home office and I requested to be moved home. They sent home all who can work from home. I’m doing my part to socially distance. Again, I apologize for the disruption.

I was able to read my daily morning verse, and my midday devotional book. I just didn’t have time to sit down and dig into the word like this. Let me say, I feel it missing when I don’t do it. It feels like being less prepared to handle the day. (Especial a day like today when the Governor said 100% of non-essential employees must not return to work and the President tightens international travel and evokes the Stafford Act.) I also had some minor technology issues – like my playlist somehow got stuck repeating a song about God being a good, good father, which was removed from my streaming service (not my playlist) for a while (it must have come back today).
And wow did I need that song to get in me today. Been thinking about it and now, let’s study it: God is both Good and our Father.

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:18 NAS

And as a child we are blessed with all the love and goodness he has to offer us.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11 NAS

So much to ask for in this time of world crisis. And our prayer lists are already full before all this. Can we ask to be spared from this virus? Saved from the hardships this crisis has threatened us with?
“This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6

Can we ask to be blessed through this instead of cursed? I know I will do my best to spare my son and help him during this time although my resources are limited – God has no limits. It is all his. How much greater will his help be?
And what about all those other needs we have and souls we are praying for? He is still a mighty God, with a tender heart who can handle a world pandemic and he is still working on all those other things.
“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17 NIV

God is so Good.
“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18 NAS
Someday I should look up the differences between Jesus and God – they are pretty much one and the same. But here Jesus says – only God is good. That is how GOOD, good is. It is so Good that Jesus does not dare even be called it!

God is Good and overflows Good!
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NAS
Everything good comes from him.
It was good that my employer sent support departments home, even critical ones – praise the Lord, he is Good. Not my employer, it’s from God.
When birds got into my dryer this week, it was Good that my friends came over and were able to help me – praise the Lord, he is Good. Not my friends, they are a perfect gift from God.
My tenant clogged a pipe. The handyman cannot fix it. But praise the Lord, he is Good. Somewhere is a plumber who can fix it and the money to pay him and the blessing from the lord, it is a good gift from God.

“Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” 2 cor. 12:14 NAS
Our church is doing a building fund – ironically while we cannot meet in a building because – social distancing and world pandemic. I want to be able to contribute to it because we will need it in the future. And even during this time people are dropping off food for the poor and needy – we need a building to use as a center base for our ministries in the community.
My funds are still in crisis, social distancing themselves from me. YET, our very Good Father does not need us the children to save up for him – it is he who saves up for us, his children! Think about it for a minute.
In my house, when my son was little, my son and I shared resources, money. He needed something I would get it. He wanted something I would have him earn money from me for it. How much more is God like that? 
And once he started earning his own money he gave money back to me, or bought stuff for the house, or bought stuff I would otherwise buy, and money began to flow both ways – ah ha! Maybe this is what God wants. It is after all His. Everything is His. He gives it to us – He provides for my needs not my employer. He lends us the money to be wise with and use for his glory. So, even though I need to spend some of my money on my house’s repair which may mean I am giving less to the Lord’s house – it’s all God’s money and my house is God’s and he lent it to me. See where I am heading?
And it is all because he is SO GOOD!

While the chaos and storms rage emotionally, while we experience more trials and more comes up against us.  Remember it is God’s – even the battle belongs to him! He can and will turn it for Good!

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20

Our good, good father is working it for the good! Amen!

Be healthy and blessed ~ pray Psalms 91 ~ have peace in the midst of this storm

Seek and love him

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

Matthew 22:36-39

Every time we settle into a new normal with this pandemic – a new law or regulation is enacted. I may be more aware of them as I work with regulations on a daily bases.  Education of the masses seems to leave much room for improvement, but at this point I think everyone has heard that social distancing is the key solving this issue with our earthly tools. The entire globe is participating, except the United States, who are struggling to for some reason. (This is why the world makes fun of the United States).

We have already proven we are selfish (since someone bought all the toilet paper – wasn’t me so can someone spare a roll?)  I already thought through the self-preservation that caused that. But today, I was thinking about how much deeper it is.
Self-preservation seems to be caused by a lack of love. (yes, that was the point the last time I discussed it) But more importantly, and not previously pondered in my studies is specifically a lack of Godly love.  If you are like me with a broken heart and a broken love how do you love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind?

First, with our Heart –  Do we have an obedient heart? Because obedience is the very best way to Love God.
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.’” John 14:23 NIV
As you practice obedience you see God’s goodness and providence played out in your actions and circumstances and it will surely help you fall in love with God. He also says to obey the government – are you obeying in social distancing? Hey, its a valid question.

Second, with our Soul – Look at the Psalms and how much David loved the lord! So many are just him singing about how good God is and how much he is thankful for.  Are we seeing God in nature? In our lives? In everything? And Are we focused on thanking him and being grateful for all the little things??
My employer is trying diligently not to furlough any staff during this crisis. Unfortunately we had to furlough a small group but more than 97% of our employees are getting creative and still working (as of today). Who soften the hearts of our leadership? Who put the idea in their heads? Who gets the glory for around 700 staff still employed in the midst of this crisis with less than 10 furloughed? GOD! That is who!! We have cut so many services, our revenue has been hit hard, yet we have made a commitment to find a way to take care of our employees as well as the people in our care. That is a work of God! It is no small thing.  
Who has spared West Virginia? Why is that entire state not panic shopping and voluntarily complying with social distancing? Why are there no cases?  GOD!
We serve a God who is still mighty and amazing! Seeing and recognizing it will help us fall in love with him!
While surrounded by so much unknown – lets worship and thank Him for all he has done and will do! Our souls need that kind of relief in this crisis.

Third, with our mind – I have already discussed getting control over your thoughts in God (see my post titled: Grace for the battle over your mind). So let’s discuss reason and logic.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV
All what things? What is the promise here? Oh wow – read all of Matthew 6! Direction on how to give and how to pray and how to Love God!!! But also Jesus speaks of all the little things God does and how he can and will do it for us too and all we have to do is seek him. “All these things” – I do not want you to miss the word ALL!! God wants to bless us. All!  If that isn’t a reason to love Him with our mind, I don’t know what is!!!

God is saying, today, all across the land – that he is a mighty and capable God. He is still relevant and still good.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 KJV
He hasn’t changed. He can and will show his power in your life, in your struggles, and in your needs – all you need to do is let yourself fall in love with him.

Get into the bible daily. Pray daily. Walk in the spirit. (even when it is tough to) Just keep seeking him.
We are getting through this crisis – by his grace and we will continue to get through, by his grace. Praise him for it.
We need a mighty God, so let’s seek him.

 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22 NIV

Thank you for reading – be healthy and blessed – Pray Psalms 91

Name above Names

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:9-13

The first three verses of this are so powerful. Jesus is the name above all names!! Everything with a name shall bow – bow its knee, bow its power, bow.  I figured that if I didn’t give my life to Christ fully, then at some point I would still bow before him and hear him cast me into hell.  God leaves the 99 sheep to chase down the one – so if you are the one sheep, you might as well surrender and enjoy God’s goodness.

Covid-19 has a name, therefore it is subject to the name of Jesus! Read that again.
Now is the time to pray boldly! The lock screen on my phone says: Pray Boldly, in the Name of Jesus.  It’s a reminder every time I pick up my phone that it’s time to pray, and pray boldly.

Stress is a name.  Worry is a name.  Fear is a name.  Anxiety is a name. Hopeless is a name. Loneliness is a name. Shame is a name.  Insecurity is a name. 
Does your struggle have a name? Do your family and friend’s struggle have a name? 
Then, In the Name of Jesus, thing with a name, bow to his authority!   It’s time to take back the joy of our salvation!

And how do we do that?  Verse 12 says obey God and work out your walk with the Lord. God will do a good work in you and me – “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil 1:6 NKJV (Thank you, Jesus!)

And verse 13” for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (NIV) God works it out for his good purpose!
He has a purpose and a plan for good. He is working it out!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Today, in my life, I faced a brief moment of fear. It lasted a couple seconds at most. It was the first time since the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic that I actually was afraid.  Bad information was spread and I thought I was going to be sent home and I do not know what that will do to my income and finances. And then I remembered – God provides for me, not my employer! We won’t always be strong going through this pandemic – but love and support each other because we can’t go through it constantly weak and fearful. Fear must bow and let Jesus come through, and all we have to do is keep walking with the Lord and drawing closer to him.

Wait, picture it: There is the crowd following Jesus and people are lined up all the way down the street, and you are one of the 12 closest people to him! Walking with him. Can you imagine it? Then fear, stress, anxiety, etc. come walking down the street to face off with Jesus. But as Jesus approaches (and you are right there by his side) fear, stress, anxiety, etc. all bow and move out of his way, just because his name is above all others and has power.
As your current struggles try to face off and stop you – remember you are walking with Jesus! Focus on your walk with him and watch those things bow out of the way. And you can tell them to bow and move in Jesus’s name (yes, you can!)

Praise report:

I came home tonight to the sound of an animal (sounded like a couple birds) in my dryer. Long story short: no damage and we caught it on time! There was some nesting materials and some lint build-up! My dryer is all clean and sparkly now! God is so good to have helped us catch that before a fire and no animals were hurt in the process and no damage!!! Praise the Lord.

I have been saying a prayer for my friend that I found in the back of the love devotional. One line is something down the lines of praying he has Godly friends and avoid foolish ones. So I changed it slightly to: Lord, sent Godly men into his life to be his friends, to witness to him, and be a mentor in Godly things. And because he is not yet wise enough to avoid fools, please remove them, distance them, and separate them from his life. In Jesus Name I pray~ amen.
Well, he is a computer engineer and he works in a large room with a few others (who are highly questionable characters, we can call fools) and they work jointly on many things – in light of the Coronavirus, they have been separated into multiple rooms by themselves. (this alone is a great start and I was excitedly praising the Lord)  
Then my friend did some sort of super techie cool stuff and has to test it out by working remotely from home.  I guess God didn’t think next room was far enough to answer my prayers! So, my sweet man will be home alone separated from all the fools and God can work on him more!!! Praise the Lord!

Remember to Thank God for the small victories along the way and remember something we see as small might be big in the spirit. Every step, big or small was ordained by God when it comes to answering prayers!

Thank you for reading and sharing my journey – be healthy and blessed – Pray psalms 91

Grace and Hope

20 We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33:20-22 NLT

Lets discuss “Social Distancing” as a HOPE of flattening the curve of the pandemic. 

Day 0 – the announcement of this strategy caused masses to run out for supplies and panic. The number of social interactions sky rocketed. And hundreds of people who would not have otherwise been infected have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

Day 1 – I stayed home, alone.  I heard from friend who did not that the stores were packed and people were still out panic shopping.
If they did not have faith and hope in Christ, they should have at least had hope in a proven strategy to ensure fewer people are exposed.  But it seemed all hope was lost.

Day 2 – I stayed in except for a short trip to the corner drug store. I did my grocery shopping there. I bought different foods than I would have regularly and spent less money (although more per product). It was worth it to socially distance myself from the masses.  I did drive up the hill to drive past all the big box stores – their parking lots were full as if it was Christmas Eve Day.

Day 3 – Work then home. (Yes work. Social distancing means going to work is still an approved activity. No need to stay home out of fear; but stay home if your job says not to come in). After work the college made us gather a small group of friends and move the kid out of her dorm. Mandatory move out. This means less social distancing. The school only let a small group at a time come get their things to limit social interaction which was nice. But there was no reason their things couldn’t stay while we maintained social distancing.

As a country, we really are not good at this.

My hope is in the Lord. My faith is in a mighty God. Although, I feel the mass panic and people blatantly disregarding it, compromised the plans of social distancing, I still have hope in the logic of the math behind it. But not as much hope as I have in the Lord.
Today, I think I will use fewer scriptures than I usually do. I could easily prove how mighty God is through his word.  What if instead I prove it through the things he is actually do in the year 2020 – specifically in my life?

My first post I listed the miracles I needed in my life – circumstances I needed to overcome that had no earthy means to overcome them.

  1. The death in my family: someone shared with me a Christian grief program that is online. I looked it up, got myself engaged and started healing.  I don’t seem to share much about this tragedy here, but it is a process to grieve. And God sent me that information at the right time, when I needed it.
    There is also the miracles that happened on the weekend that was the anniversary of the death: I sat home alone on that Saturday crying, because I could. However it was the same day as Sheila Walsh was part of a broadcast: “She Loves Out Loud”, prayer day for women.  I went from crying out of my own grief to praying and crying with women all over the world, all supporting and sharing with each other. It was powerful and healing.  So nice of God to have planned it on that particular day to comfort me.
    The following day my cherished friend, came to church with me and spent the day with me to keep me distracted from my grief and try to make the day fun. It was a beautiful sentiment. I appreciate his efforts more than he could understand. However, it was a miracle of God.  My sweet man is sweet, but he is too (endearingly) clumsy to have pulled that off without God’s help.
    God is moving – it is slow and healing and deliberate. This can be nothing but God’s work – praise the Lord! He deserves all the GLORY!!
    He is a God who heals and can heal the Coronavirus!
  2. Threats at work – These have been a roller-coaster ride of attack then God stepping in and settling it; and then attack and God stepping in to settle it. I cannot say much about specifics. But God is moving.  Friday, I received some good news about having my office moved away from a problem and closer to my team even though the CEO said no one can move offices anymore because people were moving their offices too much.  God opened this door and softened heart to make an exception.  This could only be God! Especial in the midst of the Coronavirus Emergency planning and everyone’s focus on more pressing matters. This is the hand of God – and he gets the glory for it. He is a God who works all things together for good (Romans 8:28)!
  3. Finances prove to remain a struggle. I continue to tithe and God has met ALL of my needs.  One day at work the sole of my boot flapped off in the front and I found glue in my desk drawer – super glue – and it wasn’t dried up!!! It’s small, but my needs aren’t much and free boot repair is much better than $100 boots!
    I have food in the house, the bills are paid, and let’s not forget the faith filled struggle to get my son a car – which God used to draw my son closer to him.  God is glorified in my finances regardless of the struggle. He has kept my head above water. (Phil 4:19)
  4. My adult son is slowing being drawn back to the Lord. He even made plans to attend church with me this last Sunday (however church was closed and only online because of social distancing).  His girlfriend seems pretty excited about her new relationship with Jesus and church and reading the bible. I try not to force it on her but she seems to enjoy the conversation. She is so often sitting right there next to me watching these strange little miracles happen and we look at each other and say “that can only be God”. (Luke 15:11-32)
  5. My sweet cherished friend – he has been to church 2 times since I started this blog. God is drawing him in. I probably get in the way of God as much as I help. I am working diligently at being sensitive to God and his will.  I find myself cutting off communication any time I am hurt or too personally invested in order to step back, spend time with God and let God work on me and him.  I know that man is a mighty man of God, saving souls, performing miracles and living a life with no compromise.  God has shown me. And all I can do is thank God for the deep and mighty work he is doing in my friend that will lead to such great things for the kingdom of God. I do not know what the future holds for me and him, but I know what the future holds for the kingdom of God and him.
    “The least of you will become a thousand, and the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will accomplish it quickly.” Isaiah 60:22 BSB

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15

How beautiful – God has given me so much Grace to get through all of this and grow so that others can also have grace to get through what they are going through! And grace to be saved! It always comes back to grace.
I serve a mighty and powerful God. He has done these things in my life. He can do even greater things. He will do things exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think! Wait until the day my sweet man surrenders to God’s will – That post will be in all caps!
Wait until the day my son does – also a glorious thanks filled post!
Wait. Stick around and see. So many bigger and greater things will be happening. Right now I am being faithful with the little things – soon I will have the big things! Wait! It’s coming – put your hope in the Lord!  Rejoice now! Rejoice with me then!

Today is the day to realize – God is powerful, a healer, a comforter, a provider, a changer of hearts, etc.  Put your hope in him and praise him!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Thanks for reading – Be healthy and blessed – pray Psalms 91

Humanity of God through Christ

I woke up this morning thinking this pandemic was all a strange dream. It is not a dream; it’s just difficult to process. As we (as a nation and as a world) continue to battle fear and the unknown, I want to continue to move forward in growth in Christ Jesus. I do not want to give fear more power, and more air time then it deserves. 
I will say this: Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love – first Love the Lord and second love others (Matthew 22:38-39). But the Bible also has some variation of “do not fear” 365 times throughout it. This must also be a very important command for it to be repeated so many times. Obviously not the most important but pretty high on the list.

It would seem that God understands humanity. It’s almost like he created us! As if he came to Earth, became man and has firsthand experiences with our nature and our ways. John 3:16 said God loves us so much he sent his only Son to Earth.  God gets it, He understands us. He knows we are fearful.

The very first Christians were physically followers of Jesus, literally walking wherever he went; they saw him in the flesh and understood his humanity.  They had to learn of his Godliness. While all of the rest of us understand his Godliness but how many of us really understand his humanity.

In a time when we need God to heal our land and I need God to continue to work in me, it is vital to understand this humanity. This humanity makes him something we can reach and helps the heavenly father reach us. It causes a mutual understanding of each other which is so important when you are in a relationship with someone (to understand them). There is literally power in the knowledge of the full miracle of Christ becoming man and dying for our sins, raising again from the dead that we may have eternal life.

One of the first heresies in the church was recorded in 1 John 4:1-6 – Apparently people were saying Jesus didn’t really come in the flesh – wasn’t human.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” NKJV

But we know Jesus was a man, walking the Earth – experiencing temptations, trials, emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NKJV

I want to quote a part of an article on this topic called “Jesus is Fully Human” by David Mathis. (I agree with this paragraph, I do not know this person’s teachings and this is not quoted in support of anything. This paragraph sums us everything I wanted to say, very neatly.):

“The New Testament is clear enough that Jesus has a human body. John 1:14 means at least this, and more: “The Word became flesh.” His humanity became one of the first tests of orthodoxy (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). He was born (Luke 2:7). He grew (Luke 2:40, 52). He grew tired (John 4:6) and got thirsty (John 19:28) and hungry (Matthew 4:2). He became physically weak (Matthew 4:11; Luke 23:26). He died (Luke 23:46). And he had a real human body after his resurrection (Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27).”

So now we can move onto the grace part.

Jesus understands.  Because he is also God he has 2 perspectives and he understand better than we do!  But he understands you. He understands me.
We have all felt unworthy of his forgiveness and grace – he understands. We aren’t worthy, yet he gives it, because he loves us and he understands.
When we pray, to a holy and righteous and all powerful ruler, king of kings, holy majesty, creator of all things – we can come to him through the humanity of Christ. Through the eyes and understanding of Jesus, like the 12 disciples did, as an approachable and understanding friend.  
When we ask for forgiveness, he not just forgives and forgets – he understands. When we give into temptation, fall or struggle, he not just forgives, but he understands. We can go to him about anything and everything – he truly understands.

Jesus, understands because of his experiences as a human.

Now for us to understand him – this is grace. The amazing grace of Jesus is so many things.  First of all Grace means giving thanks.  But yet Grace is given to us in our time of need to help us through it, and grace is all wrapped up in our own salvation story, and grace is tied to faith and believing all God’s promises. Grace seems to have multiple meanings. But the action of grace causes thanks giving!  Grace is such a powerful word – it encompasses love, mercy, help, kindness, and understanding and it causes thankfulness.  I beg you to give it more thought; the magnitude of it need to sink in.   

There are a lot of unknowns about this pandemic and our future. Yet we try to live and move forward in this new normal and still have all the same struggles as before. Know that during this time, and all the time, no matter how small or big something is, take it to God, through Jesus – He understands. Being ashamed and repentant of your sins in conviction, but do not be condemned – through this mighty grace of his humanity, Jesus understands!

Pray, therefore, not formal prayers of eloquent words, but just talk to him. Tell him your heart, share your struggles and thoughts – the same way you would with your best friend.  He hears them and understands.

Thank you for reading – stay blessed and healthy – pray Psalms 91

Love vs Selfishness – Grace

“34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

First of all, let’s read it again remember John was quoting Jesus himself. This must be VERY important if Jesus not only said it, but commanded it. Do not read on until you read that a couple times and get it in you. Because this post is not about that verse. It is about the opposite of that verse.

So they (everyone and anyone in the world) will know you are a follower of Christ, because of your love for others. The opposite of love for others is love of self. Lately, I have seen some usually Godly people become a shadow of who they were because fear overcame them, leading to reactionary self-preservation, leading to selfishness, leading to every evil thing.

But, we will get to that.

The atmosphere lately is heavy. Fear is creeping in further, taking more ground. No matter how much I pray, it is thick in the air. (I posted about a spirit of fear a couple posts ago)

My heart is saddened by the panic and crazy over stocking of products that people are doing. Friday, I left work and pulled into the store to pick up some storage containers (just a usual errand) and pulled next to a vehicle where a couple was loading it full of toilet paper, soap and bleach. How lost are we that we do not trust that God will provide? How did we as a society lose all hope? And what is with all this selfishness?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
God will give us the grace to get through this – let’s just keep praying.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

The last time I wrote about this Covid-19 pandemic – I tried to focus on tools to fight off fear and battle for your mind.  But let’s get control of our actions and spirit as well.  They will know we are Christians by our love – what then will they think of us by our selfishness?
It shows bondage to fear – It shows no love or concern for others – It shows no faith in God’s promises – when we overly stock up on supplies to the point where our stores are empty and others in need left without.

“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16
Take warning, this behavior is not loving your neighbor as yourself and it is the essence of “every evil thing”.  Let us not get ensnared as followers of Christ.

In the midst of this pandemic, I am already on a walk with God who is shining light into my life to grow me and change me. I am already praying for others to come to and grow in their walk with the Lord.
I believe God showed me this same spirit of selfishness in one person I have been praying for when they confessed to me that they think they are being selfish and feel they cannot help it.  I have been praying for God to break the bond of selfishness in him.

I have been doing a devotional on love and got to the chapter about: Love isn’t selfish. I saw it as a confirmation to my prayers and continued praying for my friend. Then I seemed to stall out – unable to proceed in my devotional book. I reread it and immediately could not remember what I read. I did it again. And again. I found myself struggling to be kind and caring. I found myself struggling in obedience to God’s will. I found myself fighting…. Myself.
Even the great apostle Paul said in Romans 7:19 NIV: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.” 
Even Paul struggled with flesh while God worked within him. There is ALWAYS room for improvement and growth and this struggle of trying to be obedient will always exist as long as you are growing in the Lord.  So, what area is God pointing out to me?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 NIV

Oof! That hits home!  Here I am talking about the selfishness of the toilet paper hoarders and the selfishness of my friend and I have a huge plank in my eye!!!
What do you mean you don’t see it? What do you mean I do not seem to be a selfish person?  Just because I hide it well, doesn’t mean it is not there.

I was abused as a child. I have endured many Godless relationships with people who did not treat me fairly or kindly. I have said from the start: my love is broken – I do not understand love and I do not know how to give or receive love.  Then, I was blessed with a series of sermons on God’s love and then another series on God’s love over the past few months. I got a devotional book to work on this as well. I am blessed.
So, what does this have to do with selfishness??? 
The toilet paper hoarders do so out of fear and self-preservation – not knowing what to do with something they cannot control, they control the things they can.  I built up wall, after wall, after wall around my heart out of fear of being abused, vulnerable and hurt – it was self-preservation. I cannot control the actions of others but I can control my feelings and keep everyone at a distance.
Toilet paper hoarders have toilet paper, so others are left without access to toilet paper.
Walls around my heart hoard hurt emotions (and prevent Gods love from flowing in and out of me), so others are left without access to love from me or from God through me. It is selfish – just as selfish is taking all the toilet paper. Just as selfish as my friend who keeps hurting me because all he cares about is his fleshly desires instead of anyone else’s emotions and value.
[Dear Heavenly Father – I acknowledge my selfishness, my sin. Please forgive me and give me the grace to acknowledge when I want to be selfish and how to repent from this pattern of behavior. Help me heal and not be selfish any further. Thank you for your merciful forgiveness!
In the precious and powerful name of Jesus, rebuke the spirit of selfishness in me, in my friend, and in my community! And push back that spirit of fear so that Jesus can be glorified in me, my friend and my community!!!! Change us, soften our hearts, let our emotions be healed, safe and protected in you so that we can be free to accept your love and have it flow through us to fulfill your will, glorify your son, and draw others to you. Let them know we are Christians by our love! Help us be the love you want us to be. Thank you for preparing us for your blessings and healing us and our community. Through Christ Jesus we pray, amen]

As the Lord works on me, my heart is heavy today for the hopeless and lost. I hurt for those driven by a spirit of fear to practice selfishness and every evil thing. This selfishness is an affront to our Father who created the heavens and earth and is wealthy and resourceful enough to provide for all our needs. Be cautious not to slide down that slide and not to lose faith and remember our hope is in the Lord.

Psalm 33:20-22 NLT
“20 We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.”

Therefore, they will know we are Christians by our love and know we are evil by our selfishness.

Please agree with me in prayer, in love, for the people in our community who are bound by this fear.  Fear and worry weaken the immune system and can cause all diseases to spread more quickly and further. God is still ultimately in control. He’s got this and we need to pray it through and resist selfishness.

Thanks for reading – Be healthy and blessed – pray Psalms 91

Grace for the battle over your mind

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” NKJV – Philippians 4:8

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”  Amp – Philippians 4:8

Seems like just yesterday, none of us knew anyone who had contracted the Covid-19 virus. As I said, I live in New York State. Then the Governor decreed small businesses may only run at 50% capacity and no crowds over 500. Schools and colleges are shutting down, churches are closing, museums and Broadway has shut down, the business work for is initiating emergency protocol (I am in a healthcare field). I find myself with you all in this surreal landscape without education, arts, limited healthcare, and closed churches. And supplies are getting more and more sparse. Fear and worry and confusion have taken over the minds of so many. And I already know of a friend who has been exposed and is in actual home quarantine while the rest of us are in a state of social distancing.

I wrote about the sound mind the other day and yet I think everyone is losing their mind. Never have I thought we should not be wise and use wisdom in preventing the spread of disease – But I still can’t help but think this toilet paper shortage and shortage of supplies is over reacting.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV

How do we bring every thought into captivity of obedience? Some are worry and fear based on this virus, some are the situations in our life and some are our own battle with flesh. Well, start with focusing on the things we are told to think about; like Philippians 4:8 up there at the top.

And “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 KJV

This applies in fighting the battle in our minds created by the press coverage of this disease. This also applies to every area of your life, and my life. And believe me, it’s not easy!

I could say, because I am neuro-atypical, having the diagnosis of both ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, that I am unable to harness my mind or bring it into captivity. I would be close to correct. In my fleshly nature I am not able to control much of my mind. I can hyper focus and get a bunch done (but my version of hyper focus means I am still thinking about a million things).  Most of them made-up scenarios where I work out problematic social situation – I am a tad socially awkward. I have heard that normal people do this too – just not at the same time as thinking other things.
These imaginations can get carried away. For example: I had a situation at work where a person became upset with me suddenly and seemingly without cause. I thought: how can I fix this?  I became fixated and in my mind ran imaginary dialog after dialog trying to find a favorable outcome. On a small scale it is a good coping technique. On a large scale – it drown out what God was telling me.
I saw 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 in my devotional and realized I needed to cast down my own imagination!!! Stop dwelling on the negative and imaginary situations that are just make-believe – and worship God. (Stop dwelling on the imaginary “what if” with this world pandemic; and I say imaginary, because it is not our reality at the moment.)
The next day I was supposed to meet with the upset person at my work (and had no idea how I was going to handle it – probably apologize), but she called out of work and stayed home. I went to tell my boss about it to see if my boss could assist with the situation. She already had.
See, I was trying to fix it when God already did. Cast down those imaginations, be it worry or fear motivated, or be it regarding your personal issues or the Coronavirus – Encourage your faith because GOD has already handled it!!

Every area! Did I say that?! Even the following area:
So, I have a flesh problem. Hard to confess, true none the less. Like the apostle Paul himself wrote about in Romans 7:19
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” KJV
And because of this the mind is a battle field of fighting for ground for Christ! We slip, we fall, it happens. (More on this flesh issue tomorrow)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV
And while we take back ground in our minds fighting fear, worry, sin – thinking on the things of Philippians 4:8. And we begged for forgiveness of our sins but still remember them ourselves and feel unworthy of that glorious grace I keep trying to explain to you.

Seriously – I know this battle first hand and repeat “there is now no condemnation”!  There is just GRACE! GLORIOUS GRACE!!

So, instead of worrying we won’t have enough toilet paper for this pandemic, or letting our imagination create drama in our mind, or let our flesh struggle and sins keep us condemned only in our minds – let us instead mediate on the word of the Lord. Resisting the devil though mindfully filling our brains with scripture.
Like this one:

Psalm 103 Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.”

Let’s really read and fill our mind with all the good stuff in this passage, above and see who your mind belongs to after thinking about this all day. All day. Every time your mind starts to wander, read it again.

Be blessed and full of peace that passes understanding, and I pray the Lord God be the King and ruler of your heart, spirit, and your mind! (mine, too!) Thanks for reading.

A Grace-full Temper Tantrum

But I don’t want to obey – A three year old’s temper tantrum coming from this adult body minus the flailing arms and stomping feet…

Here it is Folks – This walking with God isn’t easy.

Sunday’s service was about faith.  I think, hey I am all about that Faith thing! God has given me the grace to Faith it through! Oh yeah!  I’m a faith girl! He turns to Hebrews 11!!! Whoo-hoo! Faith hall of fame! Someday I want to be in that hall of fame!  And he describes 4 types of faith.

First, believing when you do not see (Hebrews 11:1).  Ok, I got this. I believe God is working, even when I cannot see it! I believe that! I’m good I have it! I know it’s not easy for many but God will give you signs and reassurances in his word if you seek them.

Second, obeying when I don’t understand it (Heb. 11:7-8).  I never understand how God is doing it. Put the word obey aside and I have faith when I don’t understand!!! I am rocking this!

Third, giving when I don’t have (Heb 11:4). Well, I already told you I am in the midst of a financial crisis. I don’t have. I heard a guy at church say when he was convicted about not tithing and started to, and he and his family never even felt the pinch. They never noticed that 10% missing from their family’s budget.  I started tithing and I feel the pinch. I have to cut more out of my life and I was already running on the “without” side of the meter. God has been and keeps on providing. I believe; and tithe in faith of that promise. Look at me go!!! 3 for 3 in this hall of fame.

Finally, persisting when I don’t feel like it (Heb. 11:27). My inner cheerleader was silenced. … … … … .

I type away in faith. I do my bible studies on faith – because of the grace of it all and quite frankly grace and faith are sprinkled throughout the Bible. I stir up the faith like in 2 Timothy 1:6
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
These posts are meant to encourage me and you.
But then “when I don’t feel like it” hit a chord I was stirring loudly to drown out.

God has told me to pray for my cherished friend that he would restore his relationship with him and to restore my relationship with him.  I love my sweet man a whole lot (probably more than I have ever loved another) – and this sounds great! I obey, mostly. I persist, mostly.  I kind of kept a part back.
If restoration is to happen, then I have to work on me. I’m on fire over here speaking faith into every situation but I do not want to work on the broken hurting walled up depths of me.  Doesn’t God understand how deeply this man hurt me? Forgiveness is a battle I fight every day. Didn’t God read my post the other day about my struggle with Love?  I am doing a devotional book on love (or maybe it is doing its thing on me). It is hard. I’ve gotten to the point many times where I say – Lord, draw my friend to you, but not back to me. Then God reminds me of his will for me – and the things he has told me.

As I sit listening to the sermon, my sweet man is sitting next to me – because of some miracle he came to church with me. I should be rejoicing!!! Instead in the pit of my gut, turning, is the knowledge that he was out with another woman the night before.  He puts his arm around me, and I want so badly for that. But his arm was around another woman the night before. I want to say: “ya know what God? I prayed. I did as you told me. I am done. I don’t want to keep hurting. Find someone else to show him your love. Burden someone else with the weight of praying him into where you want him. I am too hurt.”

Wanna talk about the difference between conviction and condemnation? Cause what floods over me every time I want to say that is conviction!
I quickly rethink and say: “ok God, I’ll pray. But I don’t think I can ever get over all this hurt and broken trust. So, I’ll pray him to you. Not to me.”
Conviction again!!! It’s almost an audible voice, stern in tone, yet full of grace and mercy:
“Don’t you think I hurt? Don’t you think watching him put his selfish flesh before me hurts me? Don’t you think I am grieved by his arrogant attitude that his free-will is a rival to me? Don’t you think I want him too? Don’t you know I want that intimate relationship with him too? What do you think I did on the Cross? Blood, death, fighting the law set in place so that all can be saved <- don’t you think that hurt too?!?!”

By this point I am in tears. Yes, Lord. How does God tolerate me when I provoke him like this a bit lately?

Since Sunday I am still struggling. God has healed so much, but at this point the work in me must be done by me as well as by him. We have gotten deep enough that it is team work.  And as I struggle to persist and persevere – I realize it’s an obedience thing. And didn’t I write a whole post on being obedient in faith – by grace.  Awww that sweet grace to help me through this. That grace that strengthens faith!

Ephesians 2:8   “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”
Grace! And saving me from myself!!!
I know I have a long way to go until I can get into the Faith Hall of Fame, but by grace I shall persist, persevere.
Stirring myself up – Cause it’s not about my will being done. But God’s will being done.  As I said before: here I am, use me.
Apparently God is saying: Ok, in just a moment, I have to work on you a little bit first.

Thanks for reading; please pray for me while I battle my flesh and surrender more to God.  He will work all things for his glory and the good of those he cares for (like me and you).