Speaking the Truth

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4:15 NIV

I have not lived in “truth” all my life.  Honestly it’s only been the last few years that I even really knew what that was.   I’ve been a believer in Christ since my senior year in high school but living it, much less speaking it is not where I was.

We live in a society that loves to be pumped up.  Awards are giving out like candy without true regard for what they stand for in future generations.  Accolades are sometimes not earned they’re expected.  Getting off subject but these things prove a line of deception, which is not Truth.

I have definitely spoken words that were in my current mind, I felt were truth.  And in some instances or to some extent they were.   And in some instances they were needed but not always.  My words were my truth.

But that is not the words I speak of today.  The words of bible, the words to live by, the words of love and some times the words of sin.  These words are not always easy for me to hear.  But they are words that are needed always. I have people in my life that are willing to “speak words of truth” to me.  I am grateful for them but not always happy about what they mean.  But I listen anyway.  I pray that I grow from them.

How do you take it when someone “speaks words of truth”, to you?  Do you rebel with a demanding “NO, I will not listen to this!” or a feeling of undeserving anger?

You know Satan will speak all kinds of words to us.  A lot of the time they feel good.  They says what we want to hear.  They build us up!  They are not ever truth!  Because he does not want us to see ourselves for who we really are at that time.  He wants to keep us in our sin.

When you “know the truth” and you are working daily to live it, Satan will still speak to  you also.  Words that bring feelings of doubt, shame, unworthiness and fear.  These are also not words of truth.

Listen to only the 1 truth, Jesus.

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Stuck

#fmf

I have felt stuck.  Stuck in the muck of life!  It’s not been pretty.  Sometimes I’ve grieved being stuck in my own skin.  That is one thing that you can’t run from.   It’s ugly, it’s painful, it’s untrue and sometimes sinful!

Then I found out………….

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus died to pull us out of that muck, whatever that muck looks like.  But it’s still hard.  Hard to walk out of that abusive marriage, step away from the person that you feel love from because God would not honor that relationship,  leave a job that is over taking your life because your financial decisions have made you depend it on, unhealthy relationships, the shadow of your own past or anything that is weighing you down so that  your head can not see the face of Jesus.

I have felt that “stuck” for many different reasons until I got it!  Until I found the “ONE” that got me unstuck!  I found courage, strength, endurance, comfort, security, forgiveness, faithfulness,  peace, joy and the greatest of these is unconditional love.  Never taking my eyes off His I was able to not live in a world of “stuck” any longer.

Philippians 4:12-13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

He who gives me strength helped me find that place and it lead me to wanting to honor Him with my life in whatever situation I was in at the time.  Learning to be content or, if needed, finding a Godly way out of that discontent.

He is my way………….. Is HE yours?  Your way out of “stuck”!

Thank you Lord Jesus! Amen!

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Boundaries & Grandchildren

Deuteronomy 28:1-68

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

Boundaries and Grandchildren……….. these 2 words shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence.  Grandchildren are our blessings for allowing our kids to become adults. I hate to say it but sometimes, I felt that way.  Child rearing was hard, good, but hard.  Grandparent-hood is nothing short of spectacular!   I spend as much time with them as possible.  Loving, laughing, playing and running out of steam.  And there has been times when I’ve had to explain to them how it works at “Lollie & Pops” house but even still nothing short of spectacular.  Until today! My oldest is learning that she loves playing at Lollie and Pops house but she also loves being with her friends.  Today she had to choose and regretfully the choice was painful for her.  I explained to her that if she made the choice to go home, her friends may not be home or they may not be able to play, but she wanted to go, and that was fine, until we got to her house and she realized they were not home.  She immediately decided she wanted to come back with me.  Now it was my turn to make a choice, could I say, OK or let her deal with the choice that she made.  With many tears, hers and mine, I let her suffer the pain of a choice that didn’t turn out as well as she expected.  Yes, this was a minor deal and I could have just let it blow by and not took the opportunity to let her suffer little so that hopefully, eventually, she won’t have to suffer big.

We all have made those choices………… you know, the ones we wish we hadn’t.

Luke 14:28

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

As a child, our choices are small and usually so are the sufferings but as we grow older these things no longer are small.  Our choices effect every corner of our lives, our relationships, our finances, our health, our joy, our pain and our eternity.  An emphasis on “eternity”.    I didn’t make all the right choices when I was growing up and I certainly have not as I’ve become an adult.  But I’ve realized that I have helper, a guide to walk with me through those choices, all I have to do is listen and choose to follow.

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

I have 5 more chances to walk through life with the greatest blessings I’ve received.  I’m being intentional with my love for them.  Hoping that what I’ve learned about having good boundaries and  learning from my own suffering, I can help guide them in their choices, letting a small suffering be a stepping stone to having less big sufferings.

We, you and I, still have that choice to make daily.  Are we going to faithfully obey the voice of the Lord our God?

Lord, help me be courageous and loving all at the same time.  All the while, leaning on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Jesus’s forgiveness and Your Strength.   Amen!

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Turn

#fmf

Seems my life has been one big revolving door.  It started when I was young.  Experiences I had put me on a path I couldn’t find myself turning away from.  I’ve made decisions, decided which way to turn and always seemed to find my way back to the same point.  Lost!  Confused!  Shamed!  Guilted!  Sinful!  Back to the same place, didn’t matter if I turned left or right, went straight or turned around.  Back to the same place!

Then I was guided by a dear lady that loved me enough to be brave with me. Share with me the turn that I needed to make.

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

I know now, the right turn to make but do I always choose it?

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

I have had to suffer great pain, much heart ache and some personal losses to draw closer to Him.  To understand that when ever I’m at a cross road and don’t know which way to turn, the right decision is to turn to God.  Reminding myself each time when my sin draws me away that Jesus already paid the price for me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Now, I come to a place where I know when I turn to Him it’s always going to be right.  I may have to wait on Him to show me my next steps but He will.

Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

So no more revolving door for me!  I absolutely don’t always make the right decisions, don’t always take the right steps but I am aware each day that it’s a new one.  A new day to draw closer.  A new day to turn to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.  A new day to let His grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made for me renew my soul and turn me in the back to eternity.

Lord, I’m without words. Amen!

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Tick Tock

We all have 24 hours in a day, the only thing that is different between my time and yours is, how we spend it.  I don’t know about your time but mine is split up into basically 3, 8 hour segments.  One is sleeping (on a good day), 2 is work and 3 is free time.  The question is, how do I spend that 8 hours of free time and is it really 8 hours of “ME” time.  No way! I have many things that pull and tug at my “free time”.   My husband, my extended family, my church, my friends, my home and me.  Oops, God was left out of that list.  I feel like some days go that way, God is an after thought.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Tick Tock time is passing right in front of my eyes.  My kids have grown up, my grands are getting too big and my body is feeling the time that is passing.  What have I not done with all that time?

Today a friend from work was talking about not feeling like he spends enough time with God. But then he started telling me all the things he does with God, in prayer, listening to devotions and sharing his witness by praising God to others.  And I know this man, he’s a server and a steward of God’s blessings.  Is he perfect, no!  Does he spend as much time with God in silence as some others may, no!  Is his heart desiring to devote his life to  HIM, ABSOLUTELY!  So what else would God expect?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

I say to my self, I was doing what needed to be done.

I shared with him that I have the same struggles.  I don’t feel that I spend enough quiet time with God!  In this season of my life, I have to give myself some slack.   I have my own “time for everything” list.  My quiet time with the Lord may look differently than that of a women that is able to be a home maker (w/o children).  My devotion time may look different from that of a women that is home and raising a house full of kids.  The point is our time with God will look different according to what season of life we’re in.  Give yourself some slack!

I have 8 hours of free “ME” time.  Some would say that I need to use some of that time for things other than what I choose.  But it’s my time!  Time I can’t get back.  So I choose to use it spending a little time with God and allowing Him to speak through scripture to me so that I can share what He shows me to you.  I choose to sit one of one with ladies, living life together, sharing joys and trials, encouraging each other to seek God more in our lives.  I choose to serve others in church and community.  I choose to love my family with my time, share God’s love with them, tickling my grands and laughing out loud, singing songs & making silly faces.  I pray and I share my life with Him many times a day.  Right now a lengthy chat is not available.  There will be time in a different season of my life to sit for a couple hours in the mornings, talking to Him and waiting to hear Him speak. There will be time to do lots of different things but for now, I have 8 hours and I believe that as long as my heart desires for my life to be devoted to praising God and loving others, then that is all that HE expects of me.

Give yourself some slack!  That’s all HE wants from you too!

Ephesians 5:15-17

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Jesus too, had only a certain amount of time.  He had lots to do in that short few years in his mission to save us.  He carved out the time he needed to be alone with God.

Matthew 14:23

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

So, don’t be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is for you.

 

He has an overwhelming, never ending, reckless love for you and me.

Lord, you give me time, help me use it wisely, help me hear your leading and help me love with my time.  Amen!

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Other

#fmf

This word, we use it all the time and probably don’t even realize it.  In the NIV Bible  version it’s used almost 1000 times.  But do we really understand and do we really want to grasp what it means?  It literally means there is additional, differing in nature or kind and an alternative.  When we are deal with a culture  that is all about “ME” and yes that includes “ME”, having an “other” in the picture may be difficult.

God is the only one that can instruct us to worship no other god, because He is like No other.

Exodus 34:14

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
The bible is clear about how we should look at the other…….

Luke 6:31

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

John 15:12

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 15:1-2

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

So, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, size, shape, personality, upbringing  or any other things that would draw us away from the “other” and it just simply may be because they are NOT LIKE “ME”, the bible tells us different.

Lord, help me be open to the “other”.  Amen

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He Filtered it, Felt It & I give Him Glory

Juanita Everman:   I met Juanita soon after moving to Kentucky.  She was an energetic women with a push to help those who struggle, like none I had ever witnessed.  Quickly after is when she was told of her cancer and started treatments.  We’d have private lunches at her home during the day and pray and talk and pray and talk.  This was a time that we became real with each other.  We have very similar stories of struggle and because of Jesus we also have very similar stories of victory.  I’ve been blessed to call her friend and look forward to many more years of praying and talking.

IMG_4501This is my God story.  How He didn’t give up on me and how He has carried me through my trails to see the joy on the other side.

I knew of Jesus and went to church some as a child.  By the time I was in elementary school we quit going to church.  I wouldn’t seek Jesus until I was so desperate and hopeless in my life.  I became a Christ follower at 43.

His word says in Romans 5:3 – 5 says Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom has given us.  I love this verse – it tells me that life is not going to be all roses when we serve Him.  It tells me we will have troubles and suffering, but – look what we gain HOPE AND JOY.

My life has been full of suffering, some from my own choices and some from life. I was sexually abuse as a child.  It was hard to have safe feelings in intimate relationships.  I had no self-worth and I was afraid to express my feelings and stayed in harmful relationships to long.  I have been married three times and divorced twice. My husband and I are celebrating 27 years of marriage and 21 years of sobriety.

Before turning my life over to Jesus I lived in the world.  I took everything it had to offer and lived my life taking chance after chance.  I had so many troubles and I had no idea how to fix them.  This life was of my own doing.  I had to suffer the consequences of my actions.  That was my choice, my fault.

How do you keep on living and have hope when you’ve just been told you have cancer? I thought I was doing every thing right.  I was living for Christ.  Giving my all and now what? My first diagnosis was in 2013. 172 I went into surgery for a fibroid tumor and when I woke up I was told I had stage 2a Ovarian Cancer.  The next few months were very hard.  I tried to keep my focus on positive things.  The chemo treatments made me so weak and sick I didn’t think I could continue them.  And then I would think of my husband and children how could I leave them.  How could I not do everything I can to get well.  It was hard not to get in that dark place where I would give up.  Its hard to describe the feeling of just wanting it to be over, not wanting to be so sick.  But yet not wanting to give up.  I only went out to go to church and that was not that often.

It was because of God’s Word and my sisters and brothers in Christ that I was able at stay positive and make it through this trail.  I kept asking God what I was to do or to learn.  I realized all the pain and suffering He had gone through for me – for us all.  That no matter what I went through He had already been there.  He knew what I would go through and He was there to comfort me and give me the strength and hope to get through it.  I started serving at Celebrate Recovery as soon as I could and going into the jail to do CR Inside.

In January 2017 my cancer had returned.  There was one spot and the only way to reach it was surgery.  I was heart broken.  Why again?  I had all the fears and doubts again.  The sinking lost feeling of dying.  But I prayed Your will not mine.  I was ready.  I didn’t think after the first time that I would face it again.  After surgery I made the decision not to go through chemo again.  It was one spot.  I would leave it up to my Heavenly Father.  I am seeing a holistic doctor and I have changed the whole way of take care of myself.  This is very hard also.  Especially when it seems everything is geared around food!!  I take my own food a lot or just eat at home.  I have tried so many times to lose weight only to fail.  I have lost so much weight – I didn’t even notice because my focus was on living a healthy life and not my weight.  I wanted to live for Christ and my family.

September 2017 I had a CT scan come back with a spot on my lung.  I prayed and prayed.  I had a PET scan to see if anything was there.  This was just before my youngest daughters wedding and also the Rally4Recovery.  I had to stay busy.  I couldn’t think about what the news would be.  I was ready to give up.  I had fought all I could fight.  If it was back – I would let God guide me on what steps to take.  I started to think about the things I needed to get in order.  What I had to take care of so I would be prepared.  But with in few seconds of feeling like giving I heard a small voice.  YOU CAN’T GIVE UP! YOU HAVE TO MUCH TO DO!!

The spot did not show up on the PET scan.  I was so grateful to God.  I choose not to have the following CT and PET scans three months later.  My blood work was good and I decided I would except that as answer that everything is ok for now.  God is so good.  God is so good.  I listened again to that small voice that I heard in 2013 to have the pain checked out.

I listened and I didn’t give up!   I was working on a non-profit organization with a friend.  An organization that carries out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and peer-based recovery support services.  It is in the process of starting.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve those in need.

IMG_4704I choose today to take each trail as a way to look at what is going on in my life and how can I direct it back to Jesus.  He has already filtered it, He has felted it.  Now I have to use it to glorify my Lord and Savior!  God never waste a hurt.

Lord, I thank You for my friend.  I ask that You will continue to bless her life as she continues to give You glory.  I pray for those around her that are influenced by her gentle and loving spirit.  Amen!

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Release

#fmf

We are told to in  1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

That means to release them to Him.  When we wake each morning, eyes open and our minds go immediately to the thoughts that haunt us.  Those that keep us awake at night, those that cause us to react to others instead of love and those that tie us down to sin.  When we wake each morning, not releasing those thoughts to Him, we are not allowing the blood that flowed from Jesus to cover us.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Trusting in the Lord completely means releasing it ALL to Him.  Holding nothing back, letting go of it, freeing ourselves from the weight.   I have released, taken back, released again, found new ones and released them.  No greater freedom than knowing that He is carrying it for you.  That I can lean on him and he will guide me.

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 God transformed me, he allowed me to release my sin, my pain, my shame, my anger, my control to Him.  I am free of them but they are not forgotten.  He wants me to use those former things, to help others.  Sharing allows others to see they are not alone.  Helps them find their strength through Jesus so they can be free.
“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

John 8:32

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I am free indeed.  Thank you Jesus! Amen!

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Settle

#fmf  on Monday

Romans 2:6-8

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

What is your first thought when the word settle is brought to your mind?

Settle a score……..

Settle a debt……….

Settle the noises……..

Settle down………

This word could bring up a number of thoughts and emotions.  It could bring thoughts of peace or rage.  It could only involve yourself or…..

Mark 8:36

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

It could involve others.  But when I think of Settle, it involves me and Jesus.   I have gone to Him many times to settle my soul.  I have reached out from the point of pain and of shame.  Each time He draws me near, forgives, loves and redeems me.  Each time He settles my soul.

Psalm 23:3

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

You alone are the one I can trust to settle me Lord.  Amen!

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He has Risen

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

I was brought to know God through a neighbor.  She had no idea what I had already been through or what my future would hold for me.  But she did know that I didn’t know where to find hope.  She knew that my life would find pain, as it does for everyone.  She knew that there would be trials and temptations, as everyone has. She knew that I didn’t know Christ, as we all need to.  She took me and choose to be intentional with me.  She knew that I would need Him, as everyone does. So she was brave and shared with me .  That bravery saved me!  Without Him, I would be nothing, with Him I am enough.

“I will Rise” by Chris Tomlin

Christ did that for me.  Even before I was a thought, Christ died so that I could be free and he was resurrected so I would have hope.

Grateful! Amen!

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