Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rescuing People

I watch hopelessly quite often as various people flit from one "friend" to another, to another, looking for someone to satisfy their needs, only to come up unsatisfied and move onto the next. While that person moves on, the person who was just left is left standing there wondering, "What just happened?" The sad conclusion to this saga is that the unsatisfied person will remain unsatisfied. Not only that, but they will also continue to lay blame with every other person they proclaim to have had to sever ties to because they will ultimately and sincerely believe in their minds that the other person was to blame. It's always someone elses fault, never their own.

While this is a sad tale, it is very true. I know. I lived it for many years. I flit from one friend to another, to another, always looking for approval, justification, pity, acceptance, whatever I could get to make me feel better, to make me feel that someone, anyone understood where I was coming from. Instead, what I got was at first friendship, then impatience, then it always seemed as if my friends turned against me and sought new friends. And in my mind, something must have been wrong with THEM because sure I didn't do anything wrong! They just didn't understand me. But it was a little of both and mostly me. What I needed was to go to the Lord with my issues instead of going to everyone else and bombarding them with all my troubles.

I'm not saying talking to a friend isn't wise. If you have a friend who is a good listener and encourages you, then by all means, confide in them. But don't expect them to "fix" you, because they can't. Only God can do that. And that brings me to my lowest of lows and my rock bottom epiphany that ultimately led me to where I am today.

I was so beat down by my past and intimidated by the people in my surroundings that I could not get past the hurt long enough to find a real friend, nor could I allow myself to trust them. I just lumped them all into the same category and expected them to eventually turn on me and hurt me. Not all of them were like that. Hurting people hurt people...but rescued people rescue people!

When God healed me, He literally fixed me from the inside out! I didn't have to rely on someone else to pour out my troubles to, to give me justification, pity, acceptance, or anything else to make me feel better. Because when God healed me, He gave me justification. He gave me acceptance. He gave me everything I needed, fixed my brokenness, sanctified me, and then turned me around and gently nudged me in this direction and said, "Now, go give your sisters hope. Tell them what I've done for you. Tell them I can heal them too, and then send them My way." So here I am!

I am on a new path. Since being on this path, I have encountered many "sisters" along the way. Some of them receptive...some of them not so much. And what breaks my heart is when one of them sees me as anything but a positive influence. My heart hurts so bad to watch them flit from one "friend" to another, to another, seeking approval, acceptance, justification, and that "please feel sorry for me" that I myself once portrayed. Because I know that within a few short weeks, she will throw that friendship away and move on to another new friend, seeking the same things once again.

This is how the enemy blindsides us into believing that people can fix our problems. We hesitate to go to the Lord for our heart surgery, instead talking things out with friends because our friends get us, they approve of us, they accept us how we are. In essence, they enable us to continue on our path of destruction. All the while, God is waiting to take us in. He doesn't leave us in the same place we are. He makes us move out of our comfort zone and into the life that He has had planned for us.

Sometimes though, we get so comfortable in our misery that we would just rather stay there and wallow because we're getting more attention there than if we were to move out to where the Lord wants to use us. We want what WE want, justifying ourselves by saying, "I'm waiting for God to answer me." Well honey, God IS answering you! He's saying, "Hey, come over here! I have something wonderful for you." Yet we won't move. 

Let me encourage you today. Had I not moved from where I was and stepped out in faith, determined to get my mind healed, you would not be reading this right now. No, it's not arrogance. It isn't pride. This is healing. This is what happens when God steps in and changes your life! What you see and read here is the result of the healing hand of God in my life. I no longer go from one friend to another to another seeking approval, justification, and all those other things. I got all of that and more the night I asked God to heal me and received everything He had waiting for me.

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. ~Matthew 21:22

You have a mighty big present waiting for you, too. Will you step out and go for it? Or stand back and watch from the sidelines?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love...All The Time

It's Valentine's Day! Woot woot! Well...maybe just one "woot." Many people don't like Valentine's Day, for various...and some obvious...reasons. But while it is a man-made holiday (of sorts), there is one Person who loves us all the time, every time, no matter what! Jesus.

Heart Night

Ruthie, Pastor Melissa, Sara, and Melody
Just a few of our special, godly, Inspire women
I spent the evening the night before Valentine's Day with some very funny, loving, delivered, and godly women at our church's annual "Heart Night" for women. Our women's ministry/group is appropriately called INSPIRE. Because we inspire one another in so many ways. I have never been part of a group of so many women who truly have the love of the Lord in their hearts like these women do! And the ones who come in who are broken, hurt, skeptical, and just looking for someone, ANYONE, who will be their friend, their sister, and love on them, will find all of that and more in these beautiful, inspiring, women of faith.

Krista, me, Sara, and Lanna...my sisters
This particular Heart Night, we all learned some very personal things about the women who are part of the INSPIRE team, who plan and host our women's events and Bible studies. They each have been delivered by God from something that could have destroyed their lives. Each one has a story. Each one has been delivered. And each woman in attendance could identify with one or more of their stories.
Me & my best childhood friend, JaDean
Reunited after 30-something years!

The fact of the matter is, we ALL have a story. We all have a past. And God wants to deliver each one of us from the pit that the enemy is trying to hold us in. I know. I've been there, too. And God delivered me, He rescued me, out of the pit of depression, anxiety, despair, intimidation, and no self-worth. He rescued me and sent me on this wonderful journey to tell others what He's done for me, so that they can be rescued, too! You have not gone too far, loves. You have not "done too many bad things." God still loves you and wants to rescue you, too!

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothingcan get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. ~Romans 8:31-39, The Message

You don't have to stay in your pit, sister! You can get out, too! Just reach up and grasp the hand that is reaching down to help you out. It might be a struggle. It might be a reach farther up than you thought. But the fact is, that hand is there and waiting for you to just reach.

I never thought I would get out of my pit, either. I thought that there was no use. If God wanted to heal me, then why didn't He? Well, for starters I hadn't reached up. I never asked Him. And frankly, I just didn't know HOW! But on a warm, clear night in May 2012, someone SHOWED me how. Someone reached down in the pit I was in and said, "Look at me," then began explaining how to get out. Someone else grabbed my hands and said, "Tell God you want healed. Tell Him you receive it!" I did...and the rest is history!

I had to have help getting out of my pit. I know you do, too. This Valentine's Day, why not reach up and ask God, "Help me out of this pit! I want healed. I receive it! In Jesus' name!" Ask Him. Receive Him. Then watch what happens. He never turns anyone away who sincerely seeks Him. I promise. He promises!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13

Happy Heart Day, Loves! Know that I love you. I do! I love all of you who are reading this right now. And God loves you more than I do!

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~John 13:34-35 NLT

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stop Jumping!

...To conclusions!

So often today people jump to conclusions before they get the truth. Too many times the conclusion is drawn even before they know the back story of the one whom they are jumping to conclusions about. It could all be avoided though with just a little less talking and a whole lot of listening.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. ~James 1:19

Growing up, I endured this many, many times. My family would regularly believe what someone else told them about me than listen to me. And if I tried to defend myself, to them it only meant I was lying. For me, there was no defense. What a hopeless situation for a young girl to live in. Yet it followed me into adulthood, often sending me reeling into the black hole of depression.

When God healed me, the feelings of hopelessness, depression, panic, and anxiety were lifted off me. I was free from the mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish that kept me in the bondage of intimidation for most of my life. But I still had to deal with the way people treated me. The misjudgment, accusations, and misinformation still exist. In fact, it happens even now, but I am better able to handle it. The difference is that I don't listen to those who want to tell others "what she's really like." I set my boundaries and keep my distance from negative and abusive people.

Society today would rather believe anything than the truth. But truth is greater than fact. The fact is, there will always be someone, somewhere who doesn't like me (or you) for some reason known only to them. The truth is, God loves us all the time and He is greater.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!His faithful love endures forever. ~Psalm 136:1

The fact is that people will condemn you for things you did in your past, whether you were at fault or not. The truth is that God does NOT condemn you.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. ~Romans 8:1

The fact is that people will refuse to forgive you for anything and everything, regardless of how many times you say you are sorry. The truth is that once you ask God for forgiveness, you're forgiven...forever.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  ...... He has removed our sins as far from us  as the east is from the west.   ~1 John 1:9; Psalms 103:12

The fact is, people will tell you that they received their information from "a reliable source." The truth is, there is no such thing in society. Your "reliable source" comes from God.

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. ~Psalms 119:114 (emphasis added)

You belong to the Most High God, not to society, not to other people. You especially don't belong to those whom you are friends with. You belong to God. 

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. ....... Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir~Galatians 3:9; 4:7

His Word is the first Word, and the last Word on who you are. Jesus IS that Word. He loves you, He is crazy about you, and He wants to give you the best life you can possibly have. So stop jumping to conclusions, and stop listening to other jumpers, too. Get the Truth, because Truth is always greater than fact.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. ~John 14:6 (emphasis added)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What DOES Love Got to Do With It?

It's February. It's called "Love Month." So, people are supposed to show more love...especially on Valentine's Day. Sitting in church listening to my pastor talk about love, and reading along with all the love Scriptures, I was struck with how much I love many people.

My husband. My kids. My grand kids. But also there's my love for people I go to church with; my pastors, my friends, and the ones I call siblings (my sisters and brothers in Christ). And then there is my love for God. My love for Christ. And my love for the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely CRAZY about Him! That might sound crazy to some people, but in my story of healing, Holy Spirit plays a huge part which has caused my great love for Him.

I don't expect people to understand it, nor do I expect people to actually get it or even like it. But the fact remains that were it not for Holy Spirit, my healing would not have been complete. Because it was HE Who helped clear my mind, my heart, and my very existence, and then set me on this path to reveal healing, hope, and love to a world of people who suffer the very things I was healed from!

So, what DOES love got to do with it? If it weren't for love, we wouldn't be here. God loved the world so much that He gave... a LOT (John 3:16)! Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is that we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that the second commandment is like it, that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34).

But how do we love our neighbor when said neighbor wants nothing to do with us, or treats us badly, or talks trash against us, or even resorts to physical, mental, emotional, or even sexual abuse? How then, do we love that person?

 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. ~Proverbs 10:12

Does it do us any good to hold a grudge against, or even hate the people who treat us badly? No. For years I carried a multitude of junk from my past within me. I was hurt, mad, vengeful, and kept a grudge on those who hurt me the worst. Sadly, a few of them were dead and gone! And then I took a "Sick 'em" attitude with God, praying that God would deal with those who had hurt me. In my bad attitude I adopted the following verse:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. ~Romans 12:20

I loved that "heap burning coals on his head" part! But sadly, what ended up happening was quite the opposite. I was the one who got the burning coals of shame heaped up on my head! Why? My attitude was all wrong. I didn't forgive. I didn't love.

And then God healed me. The Holy Spirit gently showed me HOW to forgive and HOW to love...and a wonderful thing began to happen. Everything in my life turned around. I forgave. I began to show love. I began to give love. This doesn't mean that I went to each individual person who vexed or hurt me and apologized, or reconciled a relationship with them. It only means that I took them off my hook of unforgiveness and holding a grudge... and I put them on God's hook.

God doesn't hold a grudge, mind you. He simply reminds us that we need to take care of some issues within us. It is then up to us to accept or reject our responsibility. Sadly, many people choose to reject that responsibility and continue to hold a grudge, lay blame, and pass judgment. And they live a very miserable life thinking all along that they are justified. Even more sad, these are the very people who go from one person to another, looking for support and justification.

Many people today want to know, "Just exactly who IS my neighbor?" when presented with "Love your neighbor as yourself." They want to make it very technical and difficult when really it's quite easy and doable. Forgive. Love. God is love, Holy Spirit is our Helper, Comforter, Guide, and Best Friend. He is there to help us in this forgiveness and love your neighbor endeavor. If we will choose to ask for His help, He is all too happy to give it. Before long, you will see things start to change.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~Ephesians 5:1-2

So what DOES love got to do with it? EVERYTHING!

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