Different like Jesus

#fmf

Go….

Being a round, trying to fit in a square.  It’s hard to do!

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I have always felt different, never quiet fit in.  I’m not sure why that is.  When I was a child there was a bucket full of differences.  I was the tallest never petite. I was shy never life of the party. I was average never over achiever.   As an adult things didn’t change much.  I would find myself doing things and acting in ways that, in my mind, made me not so different.  I was living a life as a christian woman, wife and mother by this time but I didn’t fully get that those little acts of striving to be the same, were called sin.

Proverbs 1:15

My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,

Through yet another “different” period of my life, I found myself divorced. The only one in my circle of relationships of course.  That truly magnified my difference.  I found myself walking off that path.   Making decisions that were not aligned with the path that He had laid out for me.  Making myself a different path.  That child was yearning inside, wanting to be the same as everyone else.

John 15:19

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

I was living a life of hidden sin that the world told me was okay.  It wanted me, it wanted to own my soul.  I felt as if I was a rope being pulled by each end, one being Satan and the other Jesus.  Then I was convicted.  Convicted of the sin I hid so well.  The part of me that fought to be the same now was seeing how being different was more like Jesus.  Jesus was not like the world.  He lived in it. He loved people in it. But He didn’t conform to it.

And this child wanted to be different like Jesus.

Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

I entered my path of studying and craving Him.  I realized through a hands on project that the clay that He molded me from is meant to be different.  If you go to a potters work shop, you will see that no two pieces of work are ever the same.  Even if the potter intentionally made the same piece with the same colors and the same shape, there are always slight differences.  That is what makes hand made pieces unique.  And that is what makes me unique.

Even though I still struggle with the desire to be the same, which means fitting in, I’m grasping the desire more to be different.  To be different is to be how He made me.

Stop…

Lord, I am grateful for all that you have taught me and all that you will continue to teach.  I pray that I will fully understand how precious being different is.  I pray that I will be able to accept others for their differences.  I love and thank you!  Amen

SIGNATURE biblegateway-com-logo_orig

 

 

That Hill

11889706_716612705109961_2514489217798177589_nKristy Horine:  I meet Kristy by happenstance.  Kristy is the facilitator of a writing group that meets monthly in Lexington, Ky.  I found out about this group by way of a friend who sent me information on a training that was scheduled at the church where the meetings take place.  After looking into the training, I found out about the group and decided to join in.  As I sit in group listening to Kristy interact with the other group members and watch her reactions to words and feelings of others, I am awe struck by the empathy that she so genuinely shows.  She is a true gentle spirit filled with Jesus.  Since that encounter we have communicated some through email and she has encouraged me in my writings.  Through following her on Facebook, I was pushed to introduce you to her.  You will find a link to Kristy’s blog at the bottom of this post.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit and will continue to engage with her gentleness.

It was that hill. Always that hill.

The entire team dreaded it, so at least I wasn’t alone. That’s one thing about suffering, or rejoicing, or living — if you do it with others, the burden isn’t so great.

I didn’t know about that hill when I first started running in junior high – circa mid-80s. All I knew back then was that I sort of liked to run in the fields on the farm. I also knew my Daddy seemed happy that I sort of liked to run. Looking back, it was the Daddy part that probably made me join the team, and it was the Daddy part that probably kept me there.

The longer I stayed on the team, the more complex the workouts became, the greater the race distance, the harder the courses. In cross-country, each runner competes for an individual score, and a team score. Each runner must do the work for the greater good of the team, as the team scores get everyone to state.

State rewarded us with that hill.

Each year, in the time of the Fall that pretended it was winter, we’d pack into vans and cars and trucks and head to Frankfort. Our scores earned our way there during the season and we joined hundreds of other runners bundled in warmups and toboggans and gloves in the low Kentucky River country cradled in a crisp fog. Our breath made personal clouds and our shoes crunched on grass. Good running weather.

Early out, and together, we walked the entire 3.1 mile course. We were thankful for the wisdom of the walk. We learned the narrow and the wide of the course, the hidden ankle-twisting holes, the tree roots that snaked above the ground, the mud and the grass, the places to conserve, the places to run wide open.

And the inclines. That hill.

By my senior year, we had run the state course five times. Even though we knew the course and dreaded it, still we walked it.

My dad walked it, too.IMG_0308

He had no part of the coaching staff. He wasn’t one of those fathers who pushed and demanded sports excellence at every single event. He’s my dad. He was just there.

He was there in the pre-dawn darkness, running with me on my childhood’s country lane. He was there at community 5k events – always beating my time, then turning back to make sure I didn’t lack encouragement. He was there at our team meets in rain, shine, snow. He was there to encourage and train with me in the off-season. And he was there at that hill.

You see, when my dad walked the course, he sought out the span that he knew would test my weakness, my endurance, my will. He knew because he knew me. Without fail, Daddy stood at the top of that hill, hands cupped around his mouth, ball cap pulled low over his eyes.

“Let’s go!” he cheered.

And I went.

“Dig deep!” he hollered.

And I did.

Race after race, I finished. Never first, mind you, but rarely last.

Somehow, he managed to make it to the finish line to join my mom who was already cheering me toward the end.

Because he was there at that hill, I couldn’t not get up it. Because he was there at the finish line, urging me to find that something I thought I had already run out, I couldn’t not cross it.

This is what I think of when I think of my God Journey because here is what I know:

Jesus was on another hill once, and He didn’t just hard-scrabble up it, He triumphed over it. Because He ran that race so well, He already knows every narrow, every wide, every hidden hole, every tripping tree root, every place to run wide open, and the agony of every hill.  As we journey together, He stands there at the top and He knows the difficulty, the pain, my weakness, my struggle, and He is my strength.

He cups his hands around his mouth, the crown of glory resting on His brow.

“Let’s go!” He says.

And I go.

“Dig deep!” He says.

And I do.

That’s it. Sometimes, I slow from a run to a walk. Sometimes, other runners cut me off. Sometimes, I sprint and catch my second wind. Sometimes I just want to walk off the course.

But I can’t not run.

And I can’t not finish.

Because He’s there.

The victor of all those hills.

Kristy’s Blog – “Write One Real Life”

Lord, I praise you and your ever present leading in my life.  I thank you for bringing others into my life that draw me closer to you.  I pray that you will continue to bless this budding friendship.  I ask you to be with Kristy, wrap your arms around her and bring others into her life where she can share her love for you.  I thank you for loving me enough.  Amen!

SIGNATURE

 

Braving

Matthew 4:1-25

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple …

Braving the Wilderness……………… I don’t know about the wilderness geographically but I’ve definitely wondered through my own personal wildernesses.  Never like Jesus was in Matthew, never have I been led to a wilderness, alone and hungry for 40 days and 40 nights.   My own have been varied, varied in length and varied in circumstance but all were filled with temptation brought to me by the tempter himself.  Some of those temptations did not win over my soul but others did.  And the Spirit continues to help me with braving the wilderness.

I was reading/audio the book by Brene’ Brown called “Braving”.  I found the acronym she uses for Braving has a very applicable process.

B – Boundaries – Have respect, expect respect, say no, be willing to ask

R – Reliability – Do what you say you will do

A – Accountability – Accept responsibility for self and make yourself open to others

V – Vault – Confidentiality, be a safe place, don’t share things that are not yours to share

I – Integrity –  Practice values, stand for courage over comfort

N – Non-judgmental – I can ask. You can ask. Talk it through.

G – Generosity – extend understanding

These words will help us weather any wilderness that we find ourselves in.  Make it personal.  We can not expect this behavior from others if we don’t practice ourselves. To have Trust we must be Braving.

Does the acronym Braving encourage application that is clearly spelled out in the bible?

Yes!

Galatians 6:5

For each will have to bear his own load.

Luke 16:10-12

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Galatians 6:1-5

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Romans 14:12

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Proverbs 11:13

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 20:7

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Proverbs 12:22

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

 

Braving the Wilderness can be hard.  I pray that this will help you walk braver.  Listen to the Spirit and follow the words of the Lord.

Help me Lord was each day braver.  Amen!

SIGNATURE

ONLY

#FMF post
Go….
Only can give the feeling of alone-ness.     Such as, “I was the only one in the room that feels this way”, “I was only one that showed up to the party” or “I am the only one that has been sick”.   Alone-ness, being by myself even if there are others involved.
Being the “only” can feel bad but if we consider that the Lord made “me” , the only one like “me”, then those feelings can turn into amazement.  There are many times in the bible that being the “only” ……. turned out to be a blessing.
He showed mercy on Abraham , who was willing to sacrifice his only son for God.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
When we feel alone and unable to protect ourselves, we “only” need to be still and God will fight for us.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Even in our ugliness of sin, God will save us just as he did Rahab.  But only if we are devoted to the Lord.
The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LordOnly Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.
Even if we only have a few copper pennies, God will do great things with it, if we’re willing to give.
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
The Lord my God is the only one that is my Savior.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
So don’t fret being the only one because we are only alone if we don’t invite Jesus into our lives.
Stop….
Lord I’m thankful! Amen
SIGNATURE

When Fall Comes

When Fall comes and everything is dying, withering away to nothing, turning many shades of brown and the days get shorter, I feel like I’m doing the same.

Why is it? I’ve heard people talk about being more irritable, sadder, less energy during the fall and winter months but I never really understood.  But now, now that I’m becoming more aware of me, my being, my feelings, I’m realizing that I fit into that category too.  This change has a name, I didn’t know that, it’s called appropriately “SAD”, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Click the link if you are interested in knowing more Seasonal Affective Disorder – Web MD .

I’ve always been able to push through the moods.  Which for me meant “doing more”.  But as I age, I’ve not got the energy to do more.

1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

And if the changes in the seasons weren’t enough, let’s throw in some life struggles to add to the sadness.  We all have them, you know, life struggles.  They don’t go away just because the seasons change.  I’m learning though.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to acknowledge my feelings.  If I’m filled with sorrow I don’t hold it in.  I allow myself to feel them.  If I bottle it up and don’t acknowledge them, then I can never move past.

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

Ecclesiastes 3:4

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Just as the seasons change and darkened days become brighter, my sadness also changes to rejoicing.  Instead of relying on myself, my own will, to push through those seasons, I go to my sweet Jesus to fill my heart.

Proverbs 15:13

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

He is always there with me through the Holy Spirit.  To comfort me, to guide down the path of each season.  To lead me when I’m too weary.  To help me!

1 John 4:16

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

I trust in Him.  The one and only that has each and every season planned out for me.  I don’t have to push through it alone.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Thank you Lord for loving me.  Thank you for sending your son to save me from my sin.  Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to walk this path with.  I ask  you that you will continue to fill me with strength and courage to get up! Lord please be with my family.  Be with my children as they are walking their own paths.  I pray that their hearts will be softened to you and allow you to guide their steps.  Amen!

SIGNATURE

 

 

 

 

Near

#fmf post

Welcome, so glad you have opened this post.  I hope that it draws you Near to our Lord as it has drawn me to him in thought.

Go:

When I think of “near”, I immediately think of good.  People who I love and the desire for them to be near me.  Drawing near to my home and near to my heart being filled with joy.  Obviously, none of us want people near us that suck every ounce of joy from our souls.

I know for me, in my current season,  my children are newly married and starting their families.  They are side tracked by life and responsibilities.  They’re doing exactly what they should be doing, by taking care of their families.  But if I’m honest, I mourn for them at times, wishing for that time back when they were near to me all the time.  I didn’t realize the emptiness that I would feel without them constantly needing me.

I know that this must be how God feels.

James 4:8

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

He created me to be near to Him.  He desires for me to need Him.  I’m sure he mourns when I get side tracked by life.  And I ask myself, does he also feel that emptiness when I don’t seek Him?  When I set my own path and don’t invite Him to be near me.

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

My children are now living their own lives, raising their own families, doing as they should.  For me, my constant Joy will only come when I draw near to the Lord.

I pray I will be reminded each time that I’m feeling empty, that those are the times that I need to draw nearer to Him.

Stop:

SIGNATURE

Familiar

Familiar
fa·mil·iar
1. well known from long or close association.
“their faces will be familiar to many of you”
2. in close friendship; intimate.
“she had not realized they were on such familiar terms
Go..
Many things can be familiar to us.  We have a friends and experiences from the past and current.  With social media as it is, we are able to see friends from the past and they are familiar.  We remember them as they were when we were young but now they have children and grandchildren. We can stay familiar through media.  We’re able to stay connected.
Families a lot of the time live apart.  As mine does, I only have a few close in my area.  But I’m able to stay familiar with how their families are doing and growing.  The new experiences they are having.  The joys they are blessed with and the trials they are going through.  We’re able to stay connected.
Where feelings and emotions are concerned, being familiar, is valuable.  I may not be familiar with the individual but I can connect with that person because of my “familiarity” with their feelings or emotions.  I find my ability to connect to others through our “familiar” feelings as a great blessing.  We’re able to connect.
Stop…    FMF post

1 Peter 4:12-13 

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Lord, I rejoice in You!  I am thankful and grateful for the love that You continually show to me.  I ask You to help be stay strong in my faith and not to sink into pits of sorrow.  I know that I am well blessed.  I ask You to help me be intentional in staying connected.  Help me to remember the importance of sharing life with those I am “familiar” with. I praise You always. Amen!

SIGNATURE

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, this word could mean many things to many people. We could immediately think about the original Thanksgiving meal. This holiday feast dates back to 1621, when the Pilgrims and Indians gathered at Plymouth for their autumn harvest celebration, now called “Thanksgiving”. Your minds may go straight to the food, the feast on the table, drawing your every taste bud to a mouth watering turkey with all the trimmings. Some sweet potato casserole with nutty crunchy goodness on top, which is my favorite, yummy home grown green beans simmered in bacon grease, mac and cheese dripping in cheese and grand-maw’s famous yeast rolls. Or you may skip right over the main course and your mind goes to the counter full of scrumptious desserts calling your name. You may even day dream of a lazy day in your jammies, watching football and parades.

Where ever the mind takes you when thinking of “Thanksgiving”, there is only 1 place our hearts should take us. To the foot of the Cross!

Mark 8:34    And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”.

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

Several years ago I read a book that pushed me over the edge of gratitude. As Ann Voskamp states,

Gratitude is not only a response to God in good times – it’s ultimately the very will of God in hard times. Gratitude isn’t only a celebration when good things happen. It’s a declaration that God is good no matter what happens.

and

We give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of Who He is.

Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Life can be challenging!   I can say that with an emphatic “Amen”!   I choose to face each new day and even face my past with Thanksgiving.  Not because I’m all that!  But because Jesus is!  I can tell you without even the smallest of hesitation that HE’s Got This!  Whether “this” is Good or Hard!  So what lives in my heart, not in my belly, in my home, on the field or in the world, is Jesus.  He is my celebration each day and I will shout from the mountain tops my love and thanksgiving for Him.

A Morning Prayer of Thanksgiving

A 21st Century Worship Resource

by The Rev. Dr. LaGretta Bjorn

Loving God, Creator of all that has been, all that is, and all that is to come;
You made us human and gave us hearts to love you and follow you.

We thank you for the many blessings you have given us over this past year.

God, we thank you for all of the blessings you have given us throughout our lives:
Food to eat,
Clothes to wear,
Shelter from the storm,
People who love us unconditionally.

We thank you for their love because we recognize that their love for us is a reflection of your love.
We acknowledge that there are times in our lives when we, ourselves, feel unloved and unlovable.
Give us the grace to love others, even when they are difficult.

We trust in your faithfulness to carry us over the rough places of life.
We trust in your love to walk with us through the difficulties of our days.
We trust in your promise of life everlasting and put all of our hope in you.

We thank you for Jesus.
We thank you that he died so that we might have eternal life.

Forgive us for our sins:
The things you asked us to do and we failed to do
As well as the things you told us not to do but we did anyway.

We are sorry and we ask that you will strengthen us
So that we will always follow you.

We pray that your Holy Spirit will be felt by people who are in pain in mind, body or spirit.
elp them to know that you are with them
and you are able to carry them through their trials.

Bless our church family.
Bless our community.
Bless our nation.
Bless our world.

Enable us to live so that your will might be made manifest in the world around us. We ask all these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior who taught us to pray as he taught his disciples.

Lord, I pray that I will remember each new dawn that You are my Joy.  I pray that I will always seek out the celebration of Thanksgiving with every new adventure.  I pray that when dealing with past, I will live only in the Grace that You have given to me.  I ask that You will wrap Your loving arms around those of this world who are hurting, those who may not know of Your Love and those even who have rejected You but are still searching in their hearts for You.  I ask You to be with my family.  To bring peace and love to their homes and fill their hearts with Joy.  I am grateful to be called daughter, wife, mom, friend and Lollie.  Amen!

SIGNATUREbiblegateway-com-logo_orig

 

Why do I write?

Revelation 1:19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.

I started small! It was when Facebook just started and I had a lot on my heart.  I would get a daily devotional each day and usually I would use a scripture from that devotional.  I would share the scripture and then write how it was speaking to me that day.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

It started out as a few sentences from the heart and then progressed into more lengthy insights.   I wrote because that was my time with God.  My time to dwell on what He was saying to me and make it pertinent in my life.   I also found that it touched the lives of some of my friends who would take a moment to read what I had written.  I did that almost every day for several years.  Then it was suggested to me to start a blog. That was a compliment to think that what I had to say may be pertinent in the lives of others but also it was a scary thought.  My personal FB page was one thing, surely my friends would be kind but to put my self out there to the world was a whole other ball game. But I did it.  That’s been a little over 2 years ago and I’ve remained steady in my writing.  I will say though that I’ve had times when I would question, “Why do I write?”.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

And I keep coming back to the same reason………. it’s my time for God to speak to me.  But now, I have the added motivation that God through me will also speak to you.  The bible is full of letters that were written to others all for varied reasons.  Some were to encourage, to warn, to rebuke, to teach,  sharing trials and rejoices.  Paul was one of many writers of these letters and was a great verbal warrior for Christ.  Can I be a verbal warrior for Christ?  Can I share my experiences, encourage, warn, sometimes maybe rebuke, teach and rejoice with you?  I hope I can!  I absolutely am not a scholar of all things bible.  I do not claim that!  But I am a scholar on how the God breathed scripture has changed my life.  How when I’ve been hopeless, he has brought me hope.   When I’ve been anguished, he has brought me peace.  When I’ve been in pain, he has brought me healing.  When I’ve not known which way to turn, he has brought me direction.  So although I may not have all the answers you want concerning the bible, God and Jesus,  I can assuredly tell you that He is My Savior and Friend and He is Yours Too.

So, if you’re trying to find a way to connect with Him.  Write!  Read!  Write!  Let Him talk with you through His words.  Then share them with someone!

Lord, I pray that I will continue to hear you speak to me.  I pray that you will guide me through your words that are written and help me understand the meaning of those words .  Make me brave enough to share them so that others may have the same hope, peace,healing and direction as you have given me. Amen!

SIGNATUREBGBG_v4.3_150

 

 

Excuse

Go

To place blame on others just to take the blame off you!  That is usually what an excuse is.  Obviously there are reasons for our behaviors, particularly if when we were young and our experiences were traumatic, but there comes a time, yes a time, for us to stop with the excuses.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

In my recovery, I have had to face up to many things.  Things that were done by my hands and things that weren’t.  Hurtful and harmful things!  But there comes a time in our recovery that we must speak it, face it and let it go.  Once you have let it go there is no more room for excuses.  To grow and mature as an adult this will be key to our recovery.

Stop  

signatureBGBG_v4.3_150