Write Something… Part 2

Aka. This One’s for Me

When I originally had the idea for this, I had three reasons to write about why I stopped writing almost two years ago. As of now, I can only think of two, but hope to remember the third before I hit the publish button.

I was posting more/most/all of my writing on facebook than I was here, although I have shared a few of them since on hope, forgiveness and trust. I was writing what I felt God was telling me to. I was writing on breaking strongholds, negative patterns and thinking, generational curses and learning to live and love life as God intended. Unfortunately and unwittingly I gave the enemy a stronghold to use against me. I was getting likes and positive comments. I was getting private messages about how my “Jeff talks” helped heal friendships, family relationships and people’s outlooks on life. And as a result I was becoming more hope filled also. As time went by, though, I began to add a disclaimer (sort of) that the things I wrote were merely my opinion. That I hoped they helped, but in a way attached an asterisk to them… and you don’t add an asterisk to God’s words. Again I was writing on breaking strongholds and gave the enemy a stronghold. Not my brightest moment as a fledgling, wannabe writer.

The second reason was something about a girl. When I started this endeavor in March 2016, it was called Letters to Shelly. The enemy mentioned above had torn Shelly and I apart in 2015, and we were completely broken by the beginning of 2016. But through lots and lots of prayer and even more grace given by God, Shelly and I were reunited by May of that year and she came home in June. We prayed. We listened. God guided our steps. He was ahead of us, behind us and more importantly next to us. We took a step of faith… then another and another. And it was good……for a while. But happily ever after, didn’t happen. After a few months she was mentally checked out of our story, and a few months later the rest of her left.

But that isn’t why I stopped writing. I was still writing. She and I were still talking and hanging out and having fun. Things weren’t great, but they were good…. and I still had hope. After all, it was a God story. All good, right? Not so much. When she came back we had made a promise we would share our God story with others. Soon after coming home, though, she asked to delay that for a month or two until she was settled and I agreed. Because of that though, she eventually became Eve and unfortunately, I was Adam. The enemy began to whisper to her and she began to believe him. And just like the original Adam, I sat by and watched….. and didn’t do a thing.

By now we were no longer a couple, but I still had hope. Again, the God story thingy. And then one day in conversation, she told me she never told anyone our story. I had told family and friends. I had the church praying for us. I told everyone who would listen about everything God had done for us and it was HUGE. God moved mountains to put Shelly and I together again. And she couldn’t tell one person. I saw God answer prayer after prayer after answered prayer. And she couldn’t tell anyone. How do you handle that? I had no idea then, and I have no idea now. I have no answers. I know it was a God story and God stories don’t usually end like that. It’s hard to take God out of His story, but somehow she did. I know God gave us free will and she used hers to walk away. I know God has His reasons and one day I will know, but for now I still don’t.

What I do know, though, is finding out one of the most Christian women I have ever known couldn’t include God in our story, caused the air to be taken from me and my hope to be taken from me and I stopped writing. Well, I’m writing again. I have hope again and I’m praying again…. although I never really stopped. But when you see prayer after prayer after prayer answered and they still choose to walk away, you wonder if they were ever answered….even though you know in your heart God answered them. << I sense a blog about this in the very near future. I began to think I prayed wrong, that I had misheard God…. but know I didn’t. It was a God story regardless of the outcome. He had His reasons, and one day I will know….. or I won’t. He’s God. He doesn’t have to tell me. 🙂

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. As I subtitled this one, This One’s for Me, it was. I still have faith in God. I believe more than I ever have, and I trust Him. Still working on the waiting, His will and timing stuff, and I may always be. I know He is never wrong, though, and that is why I can sleep at night knowing He loves me, cares for me, knows His plans for me, not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. And I can sleep knowing He’s there for Shelly too, wherever she may be and wherever she may go.

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.  When you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

And there’s that ALL your heart thing again. I see a theme here… 🙂 I still have no idea what the third reason for not writing was, so maybe it wasn’t that big a thing. If I think of it I may update this, but will probably just let it go.. pretty sure it’s a God thing I don’t remember.

Let God be God

If I were to be honest, and I hope that I am, all of these could be titled Let God be God and/or Trust. Because isn’t that what we all need to do? Trust God… let Him do His thing. Be still and know means to let go and give God everything…E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. He knows the plans He has made for us…. and they’re good!! Don’t we all just need to get out of the way???? I know I do.

But how do we go about doing that? I feel my daily thought processes are equal parts faith and hope mixed with doubt and fear. I know what faith and hope look like and I know at my ripe young age of fiddy-sumpthin that my wants and my needs are two entirely different things and I have a kinda, sorta faith that God will work all that out for me in His timing.

I actually have more than a kinda, sorta faith in God. I just have to be still long enough to remember all the many, many, MANY things He has done for me. I also need to pause and pay attention to what He does daily for me….which is also many, many things, and be grateful, because I have so many things to be thankful for. Otherwise, my patience/impatience in His timing welcomes in doubt and fear, and doubt and fear creep in like a stampeding herd of buffaloes… btw/fyi, stampeding buffaloes don’t creep.

Be still… how does one go about doing that? I know it has something to do with what I said up there ^^^^ about faith, trust, let God be God, etc… but I have trouble doing that. As I’ve said before, I believe wholeheartedly in God, but I have trouble letting go of things long enough to let God be God. I play at being a good Christian and sometimes I succeed at being one. I pray honestly and openly to Him (most of the time) since He knows my heart and what I’m going to say, and I know without a doubt He has protected me throughout my life and guided my steps when I had no idea where I was going. I know He does it still. So why not let go and let God? Why does my faith waver?

The world gets in the way. I do my best to “come unto Him” and pick up my cross daily and follow Him. I try to take my focus off the world and have faith in the unseen, because without faith it is impossible to please God….. impossible. I believe. I’ve seen and remember the things He has done. Big, beautiful, bold things as only God can do. But there are times reality looks completely different than what you remember….. and those times stink. What do we do with those?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart…. right? I know it’s easier said than done. Every day with everything, trust in the Lord. Cast all your cares on Him… Trust Him, He cares. Hope in Him. All the promises are true. Believe them and believe Him.. that is ALL we have to do. And that may be the biggest ALL in the history of ever. As I’ve said before, I believe very strongly in God. But do I trust Him with all my heart? I would like to say yes, but I would by lying. I talk (pray) with Him many times throughout my day… and sometimes I even listen. And I like to believe I lay everything at the cross for Him. All my worries, fears, anxious thoughts about life, love, relationships, kids, work, the world, etc, etc…

As in Matthew 6, I close the door and pray to the Father in private. I’m give thanks to Him and for Him. I share my concerns and worries and thank Him that He’s working in my life and the lives of people I love, and in the lives of people I can’t stand. And I leave it with Him….. or do I? I say my Amen. I go to my truck feeling pretty good about things. I put it in reverse and start to back out. And then I pull back in and put it in park. I go back to the cross (metaphorically speaking) and pick up a couple of those things I just gave Him. Hey God, thanks for everything, but let me do a little more with this kid, this relationship with my best friend/mom/dad/work/brother/sister/significant other/money/fill in the blank…. ugh. Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Remember ALL He has done. Know that the Lord is good…. ALL the time. Be still and know that He is God.

Yes, we all would be better served if we would take the time to remember all He has done for us. Again, we get busy, but if we’re to be honest with ourselves, we stay busy mostly to avoid these things. And sometimes those “things” we ignore are God speaking to us. Not pointing fingers at anyone but myself with that comment. Look back at your life. Would you say you’re where you are on your own… of your own doing? Or can you see where He has been with you and by your side every step of the way? Just trust Him…… speaking to myself again. 🙂

One thing I like to do to help for times like this/all the time is keep some go-to verses on hand whether they be on trust, hope, love, forgiveness, the heart, and so on. Whatever verses you need at times you’re struggling or are feeling anxious, fearful for whatever situation you find yourself in. Take time to read them, commit them to memory, and don’t be afraid to use them. Jesus used them… Don’t be afraid to use “It is written.” Remember them, use themand be grateful for such a kind and loving God that will shower us with grace if we let Him. Like all gifts, we just have to open our hands and our hearts and accept them.

If you’re still here, thanks for reading this far. I started this blog over a little over four years ago….. it was about a girl (I will write more on that in my next blog), and accomplished what it set out to do…more on that also. I wrote over seventy blogs in a two month period and my writing got better in time. I hope the same happens now. What used to take two hours to write now takes two weeks and feels disjointed, repetitive and out of sorts…. kinda like the author. Of course I agree with what I’ve written thus far because I wrote it. 🙂 But I’ve said all that up there ^^^^ to say this.

It’s a good thing to have faith and hope and trust in God. It’s good to pray and take time daily to remember all He has done for you. But I feel the most important thing to do in letting God be God is to let God in. He stands at the door and knocks… All we have to do is let Him in. I believe too many times we talk to God through the closed door. Occasionally, we may open it a little taking care to keep the chain in place (you all remember those, don’t you?), but still won’t let Him in. And even rarer are the times we let Him in. He sits. We have a meal together as friends. But after an hour or two, we let the busyness back in. We look at the clock and begin to clear the table. We say something about tomorrow’s a school day and the kids still need a bath or we need to check their homework or both. And God is gracious enough to go back outside the door and wait until next time. Let Him in. Let Him stay in. All in with God isn’t a bad place to be.

I could add a hundred verses to this post/blog, but I think this encompasses all of them… and I mean ALL of them. 🙂

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in ALL your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Let God be God

Start Today

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I’m not fond of some of the more popular and often used (overused) sayings, such as, it is what it is. Because to me, “it” doesn’t have to be what it is. It can be changed. You can be changed. It isn’t what it is. Another non favorite: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I understand the meaning and intention of the saying. That yesterday is the past. That by the time I get to the end of this blog, what I’m typing now will be in the past. But after roughly 23,000 first days of the rest of my life, I feel some disappointment at all the things I haven’t accomplished yet… and, to be honest, a little bit tired. But if you are still here and breathing, tired or not, you still have time. All we have is today. This minute, this hour, this day of your life is all you will ever have. Make the most of it. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never get here.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” – Matthew 6:34

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:14

It is a moment of light surrounded on all sides by darkness and oblivion. In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another just like it and there will never be another just like it again. It is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all. “Rejoice and be glad in it” or weep and be sad in it. The point is to see it for what it is, because it will be gone before you know it. If you waste it, it is your life that you’re wasting. If you look the other way, it may be the moment you’ve been waiting for always that you’re missing. All other days have either disappeared into darkness or not yet emerged from it. Today is the only day there is. – Frederick Buechner

So there it is. Two well known verses followed by one lesser known quote all stating the same thing. TODAY IS ALL THERE IS!! Live in it! Rejoice and be glad in it! Yes, be smart and plan for tomorrow, but in the meantime don’t forget to live today. If you’ve forgotten up to this point to really live your life… Start Today! Whatever it is, big or small. Big, if you’re ready, or start small if you need a moment to re-adjust your sails. Choose happiness, joy, laughter, compassion. Choose to write the book, change jobs, go back to school. I hear you saying, but I’ll be thirty or forty or fifty by the time I finish school, write a book, etc, etc, etc….. but God willing, whether you do those things or not, you’re going to be thirty or forty or fifty anyway. 🙂 Start today!

Choose to be the best father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, husband, wife, etc, etc, etc you can be! Take baby steps outside your comfort zones. Renew the relationship/s… and if this wasn’t titled Start Today, start yesterday!! It is important. You are important! Your life is important! Make the phone call. Fill out the application. Take the first step. Listen for the still, small voice and follow. Every single day make the choice to follow. Plot your day and life… Be intentional. Pray, Listen, Obey and Trust = PLOT. Macmillan dictionary defines plot as a series of events that make up the main story in a book, movie, etc. But aren’t you a character in a story? Aren’t you the main character in your story? Pay attention to your story… pay attention to your life.

Pray

Don’t start your day without it. Find a quiet place to get alone with God. Even if it’s only five minutes to start.. or four, or three minutes at first, the time isn’t important. The conversation with God is. Be honest and open and truthful…because, news flash, He knows what you’re going to say anyway. Speak your heart, then..

Listen

Really listen. If you have only the previously mentioned five minutes to pray, or maybe even ten minutes, pray for half that time, then listen. Pray speak, Lord, for your servant is listening… and then listen. He will speak to you. Speaking from experience, I find I’ll spend my alone time with God praying, venting, griping for a few minutes every day before work, but don’t leave enough time to listen. I still need to let the dogs out, get my lunch together, teeth brushed, dressed for work as work prefers me to show up dressed… I get caught up in the busyness of my day to get on the road before rush hour begins. And to be honest, I think sometimes that is intentional on my part. Maybe God will tell me things I’m not ready to hear or don’t want to hear yet. Maybe God is silent, because I still haven’t acted on the last thing He told me to do. So I’m still learning to be more intentional and diligent about praying and listening and now it’s time to…

Obey

Just like listening, this is something I definitely need to work on. Don’t get me wrong.. I do obey………………eventually. The funny thing is, I know I need to obey when hearing God speak to me. Not so funny is how long it sometimes takes me to respond. For the really big, BIG things you’re hearing from God, I think it’s okay to wait a day or two and keep praying about it until you find and feel peace. The peace of God. The peace of Christ. A peace that surpasses all understanding kind of peace. Then step out in faith. Make that first small step and then another and then another. God will guide your path. It’s a promise.

“You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” – Isaiah 30:21

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:6

“And the Lord will guide you always…” – Isaiah 58:11

So pray, listen and obey, then…

Trust

Just when I think it’s going to get easier, this shows up. For as long as I’ve been a Christian or profess to be, trusting God has always been tough for me. I know He’s God. I know He is faithful and keeps His promises to us whether we are deserving or not. The deserving or not may lead to a delay as we are being guided on our journey. His will and His timing. Keep your faith because He is faithful and He is a good, good father.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

Sounds easy enough when considering how often my own understanding has let me down. Hebrews 10:23 and Romans 4:20-21 are what I strive for.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we prefess, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:20-21

Yet I swerve and I waver… I believe Lord, forgive my unbelief. I am thankful and grateful for everything God has given me and for waking up to a new day tomorrow for as many tomorrows as He allows. But for all my doubts and fears and problems that I lay at His feet, I don’t make it out of the parking lot before I’m back at His feet picking up half of what I laid down five minutes earlier. I feel a little like Noah working on the ark while staring at the desert. Or maybe like Elijah looking for a cloud after praying not just for seven times, but seven times for seven straight days… and still no cloud . Forgive my unbelief. Give everything to God. Put away your pride and ego, and come humbly before Him. He knows what He’s doing, and if you take the time to remember all He has done for you up to now, you will also remember to trust Him… with all your heart. He knows the plans He has for you. Trust Him.

#Pray #Listen #Obey #Trust

After reading back through what’s up there ^^^^, I do believe this is two, two, two blogs in one. I should try and tie them together to make one point, but I’m guessing I would probably add a third instead. The closest I can get is to say, be intentional with your life. Again… fill out the application (job/college/etc)… pick up the phone. With trembling hands dial the number and with your trembling voice, say, “Hello, I’ve been thinking of you.” And see what happens. See what God does. He is a big, BIG God that does big, BIG things… we call them miracles and He’s been doing them forever. As scared as you are to make that call, they may be just as scared that they’ll never hear your voice again. Put away your pride. Pray and listen. Obey and trust.

Going to wrap this up with another quote/paragraph from Buechner …

You are seeing everything for the last time, and everything you see is gilded with goodbyes. The child’s hand like a starfish on the pillow, your hand on the doorknob. Caught between screen and window, a wasp unfolds one wing. With a sick smile, guilt-ridden, the old dachshund lurches off the forbidden couch when you come through the door, his nose dry with sleep, and makes for the pillow by the hot-air register. It is the room where for years Christmases have happened, snow falling so thick by the window that sometimes it has started to snow in the room, brightness falling on tables, books, chairs, the gaudy tree in the corner, a family sitting there snowmen, snowbound, snowblind to the crazy passing of what they think will never pass. And today now everything will pass because it is the last day. For the last time you are seeing this rain fall and in your mind that snow, this child asleep, this cat. For the last time you are hearing this house come alive because you who are part of its life have come alive. All the unkept promises if they are ever to be kept have to be kept today. All the unspoken words if you do not speak them today will never be spoken. The people, the ones you love and the ones who bore you to death, all the life you have in you to live with them, if you do not live it with them today will never be lived.

It is the first day because it has never been before and the last day because it will never be again. Be alive if you can all through this day today of your life. What’s to be done? What’s to be done?

Follow your feet. Put on the coffee. Start the orange juice, the bacon, the toast….wake up your children and your wife. Think about the work of your hands… Live in the needs of the day. – F. Buechner

That’s it. Live in the needs of the day. Find the people you can’t live without and be with them. Put down the phones. Turn off the TV. Look into their eyes. Hug them. Talk about things that matter. Talk about nonsense. Have fun and be fun. Laugh and love and be present in all that you do.

Everything really is gilded with goodbyes. Tomorrow may not come for someone you love dearly. Tomorrow may not come for you. Make every moment count. Maybe not in a sky diving, 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu kinda way, but make them count. Every moment is so very special. Tonight, you’re reading them Goodnight Moon before tucking them in. Tomorrow they’re off to Little League. Next week is teaching them to drive followed closely by graduation and college. You’ll shake your head and swear they smell worse coming out of the shower than before they went in.. But you’ll still miss it. You wake up one day and that tiny gray speck that was in your beard yesterday turned into a headful of white hair seemingly overnight…. or maybe even a bald head where white hair used to be. Eighteen years gone in the blink of an eye.

We are here and then we’re gone. We are a mist, a vapor, a breathe, dust.. and to dust we shall return. We have a much, much better place to go to when our time on Earth is through. Yes, as Billy Graham said, we will be more alive than we’ve ever been on that day, but in the meantime, we have life now! How about we practice some of that on Earth as it is in Heaven thing. Keep those promises. Speak the words. Live your life. Open your mind to the possibilities. Unclench your fists, open your hands and your heart. Receive all God has planned for you. It’s closer than you think. And He’s a lot closer than you think.

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
“…Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. God will never leave you. Do everything in love… and start today. 🙂

To err is human…

The following “blog” is something I posted on social media a while back, but it bears repeating… because forgiveness = good, unforgiveness = bad.  🙂  It all comes down to (for me anyway) living the Golden Rule.  It really is that simple.  Do unto others as you would have them do to you.  You are human… they are too.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them… – Matthew 7:12

Some of you are running around being mad and not forgiving someone for what you did to them. << you all may want to read that one again.  You are holding a grudge against someone for your behavior towards them.  Not good and I’m not pointing fingers.  Most times I write these, I find I am not just “preaching” to others…I am preaching to myself. I’ve been on both ends and without forgiveness, things almost never end well. Relationships lost, friendships gone forever… You go for days, weeks, months and years without talking to someone you thought you’d never go a day without talking to. Laughing, loving, enjoying, happiness reduced to ashes because of unforgiveness…

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. – Mark 11:25

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

 

And don’t forget a favorite of mine (sarcasm intended as it hits a little too close to home)..

“Let any one of you who is without sin, throw the first stone.” 

Forgiveness. It’s a beautiful thing… it’s a gift from God.  Use it.  It’s just like everything else in life… you can’t take it with you.  Do not, do not, DO NOT take unforgiveness to the grave with you.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want that regret in my life.  It’s not always easy to do, and in fact, it rarely is…but it’s worth it.  Forgiveness is love and at times may just be the best example of love you can show someone.

Again, it’s a re-post, so if it says Thursday and is posted on Sunday.  It is what it is.  🙂

 

Good Thursday afternoon, facebook friends.  In case you thought I have given up doing these, I haven’t.  I’ve been sitting on this one for a few days thinking on what to say.  But isn’t that what we all do?  We sit on forgiveness.  We all look for the words to say.  And days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years… And in the process friendships are lost. Relationships thrown away.  Sometimes for good reasons, but most of the time, not good reasons at all.

But I get it.  We have all developed our own specific survival techniques that allow us to get through the hurt, pain, disappointment we’ve been dealt and move on… or at least get by.  We try to forgive.  We read books about how to forgive.  We read Bible verses on forgiveness.  And we think we forgive.  And we may to a certain extent, but rarely achieve full forgiveness as God intended.  It’s hard to be like Jesus.  To live as He lived, to love as He loves, and to forgive as He forgave us.

And I don’t have any answers, magic words or potions to help.  I just try to remember the person who wounded me most likely has wounds of their own that need healing.  They may have wounds from when they were 5, or 15, 25, etc, or from last week and their way of dealing with their hurt, pain and disappointment is to hurt you.  Strongholds are tough things to get past.. that’s why they’re called strongholds and theirs aren’t much different from yours.  No, that doesn’t make what they did right, but 98% of the time their offenses against you are forgivable.

Still no magic words to say.. I just know for every one person that has hurt me, disappointed me, abandoned me, let me down… I have probably done the same to two. Forgive them.  If you’re saying I’ll forgive but not forget, they still have a hold over you. Don’t let that happen.  Don’t ever forget their offense/s against you, but forgive them. Don’t be a doormat for them, but forgive them.  Leave it with God.  Leave them with God. Ask Him to help them.  Ask Him to help you.  Forgive them for their offense.  Forgive yourself for yours.  Take it to the cross, lay it down and leave it there.

#thinkdifferent
#nomorestrongholds
#ichoosehappiness
#ichoosejoy
#trustandobey
#gratefulandblessed

 

forgiveness

A Living Hope

Happy Tuesday everybody. Has to be happy, right? It’s not Monday. 😉😊
We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:18b-19a

First things first before a God story or God wink about hope. Encourage one another. Again and again and again, sprinkle that stuff everywhere!! Speak words of kindness and compassion. Love each other as He has loved you. Live by the fruit of the Spirit and the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. Yes, I know… people can be all people-y sometimes, but we can be all people-y, too. I can be stubborn, hard headed, difficult to get along with and unlovable at times. I don’t mean to be. None of us do, but it’s truth. Just be kind. I’ll go back to what my mother told me…If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. But if you can… if at all possible….
Speak what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

Now hope… one of the BIG three. Faith, hope and love. I’m pretty full in the faith reservoir. The love one could always be better. But my hope reservoir has been drying up for a while now. I’m really, really trying to persevere, but dang! So last week I’m driving along talking to God.. a very common occurrence these days. He’s talking, I’m listening. What I do say He already knows, but still I talk and the subject is hope.

My life is good. God has blessed me greatly and I’m thankful, yet there are areas of my life I would like to be better. I know God isn’t a genie and the Bible isn’t a wish book, but still I wish and dream and hope…. I pour out my heart to God. Again He already knows, but He likes His children to ask. So I ask. Then what happens? I look up at that exact moment when He would answer… and He did.

I know where I’m at and where I’m driving to, so I wasn’t paying much attention to the roads I’m going by. But at that exact moment, I look up and notice I’m passing Hope road. It’s not a big road. It’s not one I’ll ever need to drive on, but there it was. You can say it’s just a road or that it was a coincidence, but I know in my heart it was much, much more.

Nothing is random, and coincidences or happenstance are also much more than that. God gave me an answer. God gave me himself. Don’t know if my hope bucket is full, but it’s darn close and filling up fast. And there’s more than enough to go around. Help yourself to hope, my friends. Have a blessed and wonderful and wonderfully blessed day. 🙂

#choosejoy
#choosehope
#chooselove
#chooselife
#choosefaith
#choosetrust
#chooseGod
p.s. Hint: If you choose that last one first, all the others are included. 🙂
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
hope 1

Be Still and Know

Monday musings on a Tuesday morning.

Sometime over the weekend.. Saturday afternoon, I believe, I found myself needing to hear from God. It was actually more of a gentle nudge from Him that He needed to tell me something and that I needed to listen.. really, REALLY needed to listen.

So I find a quiet place (which isn’t hard to do), but then the chatter starts. The enemy isn’t happy when you stop the busyness to listen to God and will do anything to interrupt. Recognize it and do not give in! I started thinking of everything that needed to be done.. the laundry, cleaning, mowing, launching 2 teenage boys into adulthood, where’s the remote 😉, etc, etc, etc. It took a few minutes to silence these thoughts, then the critics (the enemy) chimed in. Why listen to God? Your relationships stink. You’re no good. You’ve been listening to God all this time and look where you’re at and on and on and on and…. But finally, I was able to wrestle the enemy into submission.. this time. I got the hamster on the wheel that powers my brain to take a break. I got every corner of the chalkboard erased for some new thoughts. So finally all is quiet, I grab the chalk to be ready and hear in a whisper…. Be Still.

Hmmm. Okay. I know that already. He’s been telling me the same thing for months. Be still and trust Him. I do trust Him, but I’m not good at the whole be still thingy. Again, I know the verses…

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still. – Exodus 14:14

Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Okay, I get it God. Be still, be still and be still. Not my strong suit. The hamster is back on the wheel…he’s on steroids and just took his pre workout and he goes and goes and goes non-stop. But with God by my side I can reduce his noise to background chatter. I have the full armor of God and am not afraid to use it. So, if anyone needs me, I’ll be over here thinking differently, breaking strongholds, staying positive and encouraging, doing my absolute best to serve others and live by the fruit of the Spirit, trusting and obeying God, thanking Him for everything… and being still.

I read somewhere that the literal Hebrew translation of be still is to let go.  Again…it sounds easy enough to do.  Let go and let God.  Be still, let go and breathe.  It boils down to trust…but doesn’t it always.  God has the best plans for your life.  TRUST HIM!  << preaching to myself… 🙂

#choosejoy
#choosehappiness
#chooselove
#chooseGod … because after all, God is love.

 

Be still and know

Love is…pt. 1

 

Good Friday aka The Greatest Love of All

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13

I don’t know what I can say about love that hasn’t been said in those three verses. God gave us His one and only Son so that we can have a relationship with Him. As the song goes, He is a good, good Father. A firm but fair Father…and our friend.

God desires a relationship with us…each and every one of us, sinner or saint. Even though we may sometimes qualify as saints, we are still sinners. AND HE STILL LOVES US!! He knows each and every one of us, heart and soul. The good, the bad and the sometimes ugly, AND HE STILL LOVES US!

He created each and every one of us to have a relationship with Him. There are currently over 7 billion people on earth and only He knows how many more there have been for thousands of years now and He has always desired a relationship with each and every one of us. The Webster’s definition of desire says “to long or hope for”… God longs for you and He wants all of you…again, Heart and Soul. All in and nothing less.

How many of us would offer up our sons or daughters even knowing how the story would play out? Not sure I would do it. Have you seen how we behave? Although we all have good/great moments daily, we are more prone to bouts of rudeness, impatience, meanness, spitefulness, sadness, anger, etc, etc, etc. Not exactly Fruits of the Spirit stuff and God gave His ONE AND ONLY SON for us… Sounds like love to me. Shouldn’t we all strive to love Him the same way?? After all, He laid down His life for His friends…. Us.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:37-38
And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:39-40

Love is very important to God and the greatest gift He could give us, that we could give Him, and that we should do our very best to give to others. We love because He first loved us. So, if it’s that important to God, it is also important to me. Having said that, I have more trouble with the second commandment up there than the first. However, my trouble with the second prevents me from completely fulfilling the first. I can’t remember who said it, but I have read that loving your neighbor as yourself is a horrible commandment if you don’t love yourself. I don’t love myself and I know I’m not alone. I actually like my neighbor more than I like myself and he can be an a**hole at times. So what does that say about me. 🙂 I have begun to like myself though and am working on the love part. I do love God but don’t yet feel like it is with ALL my heart, mind and soul….yet. And I have found when God says all…. He means ALL!!

Exhibit A and I don’t really need a B.
Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

In all your ways. With all your heart. With all your soul. With all your mind. All means ALL, y’all.

Part 2

God is Love. It says so in the Bible so it has to be true.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – 1 John 4:16

See?!?! Right there in writing twice in the same chapter. God is love. End of story…. but is it really? No. There is more. I haven’t even started with 1 Corinthians 13. So now I shall and all I’m going to do is replace the word love with God.

God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. God does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs (If you confess them). God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13. And remember… God is Love.

This may be good theology or bad theology or no theology at all but it makes me feel a whole lot better about things. God loves us.  God cares.  Nothing will ever separate us from His love…other than ourselves.  He has loved us with an everlasting love; with unfailing love He draws us to Himself.  He stands at the door and knocks… Don’t you think it’s time to let Him in?  I do.

I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. – Revelation 3:20

There’s the word friends again.  He wants friendship with us.  All in.  Open your hearts and let Him in.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have God, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have God, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have God, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

There it is.  Without God and without love, we are nothing. Don’t look at me…It’s not me saying that…it says so right up there. ^^^^ I don’t want to get to the end of my life and hear “I never knew you.” I want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That is my goal.

Now having said and shared this, what am I (or are we) to do with it? Lofty goals for humans as we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are to strive to be more like Jesus, but we will fail…daily. But I do want to be more like Christ today than I was yesterday and God willing, even a better version of myself tomorrow. So even though Good Friday wasn’t necessarily a “good” day when it was happening, it turned out to be the very best gift God could have given us……Himself.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Father in heaven, I thank you for today and every day of life. I thank you for your love and for giving your Son for me so that I shall live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have a great Easter, everyone. 🙂