Good News

Good news!   We all love some good news.   And you sure ain’t hearing it on the TV these days or reading it in a news paper or scrolling through it on social media.  It seems as if Satan is waging warfare on our people.  You know what I mean, I don’t have to explain myself I’m sure.

I have several audio books that I’m listening to right now but I think that I need to narrow it down to just one at a time.  So I think I’m gonna stick to this……..

“Eternity is now in Session” by John Ortberg.  He says, You can tell a lot about people from where they get their news.  If people are on one side of the political spectrum they might get their news from one source.  If they’re on the other side they might get their news from another side.  Where do you get your news?  Jesus was among other things in the news announcing business.

Are you seeking  out His news?  Do you check in with Him before  you come to a conclusion about a certain topic?

There is a lot of gray in the bible when it comes to some things but on the things of the heart and our salvation, there is no gray.   His news is our BEST NEWS!

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
If you were raised a certain way, with certain beliefs, do you seek out His truths, His good news, His direction to make sure your beliefs as an adult align with His?
If you want a good article to read, start with John.  If you want to be feed some good wisdom, read Proverbs.  If you want to see that others struggle with the same problems and need help praying, check out Psalms.  If you want to know how to walk your day to day life, ponder through Acts.   There is lots of good news and sound instruction scattered through the Bible.   But the primary Good News you need to know is Jesus! Jesus is here.  He died for you so that you would be forgiven.  He gave you the Holy Spirit, His Spirit, to guide you.
So don’t seek out instruction, guidance or Good News from TV, News papers or Social Media.  Look to Jesus!
Lord, I do not know what I would do with out Your kind of Good News.  Thank You! Amen!
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Potential

What drives our potential?

#fmf

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Maybe we should look at who created us.

Omniscient  – All knowing – Job 37:16

Omnipotent – All powerful  – Gen 18:14

Omnipresent – Ever Present – Jeremiah 23:23-24

Immutable – Never changing – Malachi 3:6

Holy –  Able – Psalm 99:9 & Habakkuk 1:13

Righteous – Perfect – Matthew 5:21

Sovereign – Just – Rom 1:18

Love – Infinite love – Rom 5:8

Merciful – Forgiving – Luke 15:11-32

Veracity –  Absolute Truth – John 8:32

Trinity – 3 in 1- Never alone – Ezek 36:27

If I am made in His own image, then I have  potential to do anything that He has lead me to.

But what is driving our potential?  Is it God or is it self?  Are we following our head or following our heart?

God created the whole “ME” and therefore I should use the whole “ME”.  With all the above attributes of God in me through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit my potential is limitless.  I simply need to believe it!

So we should not doubt our potential if we are listening to His voice.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Philippians 4:13

 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Do you Trust HIM?

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As she remembers her child and weeps

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

I have walked some paths with my family members and with my friends, that have been joyous and hard.   Each path that I have walked has taught me a lesson on relationships.  Some have shown me what it means to support even when I didn’t understand fully.  Some have taught me to show them a clearer path when their path was foggy.  Some were trying and some were easy.  But they all are necessary for the lesson that God wanted me to learn and the lesson that the one I was walking with was learning.

I know that the scripture is telling us that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, in a way that is not self serving.  To let it be about that person.   To not be desiring for the good to be mine and thankful that the bad is not mine.  Just to be with them in theirs.

I am seeing this scripture in a new light now as I’ve never had to walk the path that I’ve walked this past week. And will cherish each moment that I get to walk with my friend over the next months.   This path that I’m walking is with a friend who just lost her child in a horrific accident.  This path she has never walked and I have not either but this is a path that neither will soon forget.  I am willing to weep with her as she is weeping but I pray that we will be able to get to a place of rejoicing through it too.

I have no words of comfort for her.  Nothing seems suitable.  But I can sit.  I can hug her long and hard, as if to breathe for her.   I can give her time and that’s all I have to give.

God tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede when we pray and we have no words.  I’m sure that he has heard my simple silence as I sought understanding, comfort and guidance from Him this week through this.  I pray that I will continue to hear and act when He calls me to respond.  I pray that I will learn from the weeping.

I know that He is hearing my sweet friend’s prayers too and will continue as the days, weeks and years pass and she remembers her child and weeps.

Lord, walk with me.  Amen!

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I don’t know how!

I will never think of this phrase the same.   Saturday around 3:30 pm, I got some news that totally rocked my boat.  I went through the process of shock, disbelief and pain.  As I’m rushing to the hospital to be with a friend, I was crying out to the Lord, “I don’t know how to do this!”.   I don’t know what to say, I don’t know whether to show my grief or be stoic.  I simply just didn’t know.  That’s when I had to rely on this verse to show me……….

Proverbs 3:5-6 [Full Chapter]

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.

Truth is, there are no words, there are no perfect actions, there is nothing that can make this okay.
Once I arrived to the hospital and got to my friend, she said those same words, “I don’t know how! I don’t know how to do this!”.  This day my friend lost her 4 year old to a drunk driver.  There is no right way.  There is no step by step manual for this.
So all I can do is trust.  All she can do is trust that He will lead the way.  I will pray that she and her husband stay strong in the Lord.  They hold tightly to their faith and they allow each other to grieve in whatever way they need to.  That they will not shut each other out.  That they will be honest with those around them on the days that life is just not okay.  That they will be able to rest and that they will be able to smile.  That they will not let the child they have with them suffer this loss on his own.  That they will share in each others pain and they will someday be able to rejoice with each other again.
I don’t now how but I fully trust that God Does!
Lord, be with this family. Hold them tightly in your arms and give them comfort.  Help those around them, and me, know how. Amen!
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Known & Never Changing

Psalm 102:25-27

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.

“I can always trust an unknown future to a Known & Never changing God.” by Lara Casey

What comfort this is to me.   In my 56+ years of life there is nothing that was never changing.  Many many things changed, some were welcomed and some were painful.  When I was introduced to HIM, my God, during my senior year of high school, I had no idea how this one change would effect my life.  Many many changes came and went but He was the one constant there with me.  I didn’t really understand all that He was doing in my life for a long time.  We all have moments, defining moments, when He shows himself more fully.

First major defining moment was during the divorce of my high school sweet heart. He was reaching for me and drawing me in closer to Him.  A few steps closer I became.

Then during the illness of our oldest son, God carried our boy smoothly through surgeries and treatments and ultimately healing.  He provided people to surround us, comfort us, provide for us and love us through it.  My trust grew stronger.

Still many changes………..  Jobs , empty nesting and the addition to a daughter-in-law.

Satan tried hard, really hard, to cause another change for us.  Marriage struggles, wall building, harsh words, bad behavior and it would have been easier to say “I’m done!”.  But He wouldn’t leave me, He settled in my soul through the Holy Spirit and kept me hanging on.  He gave me the courage to hang on.  He gave me the wisdom of how to change “me”.  He held our marriage together with His love because at the time, we didn’t have much.  He was steadfast and never changing in His plan for us.  I felt His presence and found the knowledge in His word through consistent prayer and time with Him.

More changes…..  Moves to unknown territory, to an unknown land, to an unknown people, to different, where we had to depend on each other and on Him alone.  He was faithful to us, He showed us the way and provided for us a path to travel.

So with all these changes and the changes that I’m sure are yet to come, one thing that I can be certain of is this…………….

“I can always trust an unknown future to a Known & Never changing God.” by Lara Casey in her book “Cultivate”

So rest in this promise, He will never leave you hanging, if you will hold on!

Thank You Lord for being the one constant in my life. Amen!

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Cultivate

2 Corinthians 9:6

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
If you’ve spent any time at all on my blog you probably have noticed many pictures of my flower gardens.  I simply love my flowers.  I have lots of them and many varieties.  I have planted more than I have in the ground growing now but they withered away.  That could have been for many reasons, temperatures,  soil types, cramped spaces, not enough sun, or too much sun.  There is a variety of reasons those plants didn’t make it, they didn’t flourish.  Most of the time it was probably because of my lack of cultivating the land properly and making sure they had the right nutrients to survive.
Life is the same way.  I’ve spent many years allowing God to cultivate my life.   I spent many more trying to do the cultivating.  I’ve said yes when I should have said no.  I’ve said no when I should have said yes.  I’ve jumped in head first when I should have tested the waters first.  I’ve made assumptions without regards for others and in turn it caused death in relationships.  I’ve spoke my truth before I sought out HIS truth.  And I could go on and on.   I was going to be in control of my life.  I was going to bring in that good soil and mix up my own concoction and fix my life to be what I thought it should be.  But life is just like gardening.  You have to seek out the instructions for growing whatever it is you want to grow.
I’m currently reading (audio) a book by Lara Casey called “Cultivate” and it’s as if I could have been her main character.  Busyness, striving, searching for who I am and who I should be, not ever really listening to Him and letting Him show me where to go.  There is a quote in the book that says, “We don’t have to fix our lives, we just have to fix out eyes on HIM”.
But that means I had to stop and listen.  Seek and study. Be open to His design for me.  I am looking to Him to teach me and show me how to do life.
I’m getting a good grasp on the direction he is sending me and I have to watch myself not to jump ahead.  I don’t want to sow sparingly but I want it to be His sowing in my life that reaps bountifully.
So I say to you…………..SLOW DOWN…………..LISTEN………….BE OPEN………….FOR HIM!
Lord, thank you for doing Your work in my life. Amen

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Hidden

Luke 12:2

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Am I the only one?  Well as I type this question, I know without a doubt that I’m not!  It doesn’t matter what comes after “am I the only one, what”.  What has filled that space?  It could be a sin that I have committed or a sin that was committed against me, either way, most likely, I am NOT the only one.  So why do we try to hide it?

Like the little tree frog in the picture of the bird house, he thought he was being sly.  That would not be somewhere we would generally find a tree frog, so he figured he was safe there.  But Nope!

Over the last several years God’s uncovered many things about me.  Some of them involved others and some of them were just between me and God.  There came a time, God’s time, that the hidden needed to be made known.   It was painful to rip that covering off but a necessary process for healing and redemption.  The fabulous part about the whole process is that each time it reminded me of the Love and Forgiveness that the Lord has for me.  Once uncovered it can no longer weigh me down!  As for the hidden that involved others, those were times of action on my part to show HIS forgiveness and allow them to work on their own redemption.  That process is not for me to do, it’s between them and God.

So I write these words to encourage you to allow God to uncover those things in your life that need to be revealed.  To seek forgiveness and redemption for those things that are weighing you down.  Healing will never come with a covering over it!

Lord, thank You for giving Your Son so that I can find healing through the uncovering.  Amen!

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Fences and Gates

Fences and Gates, they have been around for ever.  Generally they are used to keep live stock in a certain parameter so not to wonder off and the owner loose that investment.   But they have been used for many other reasons.   Whatever reason one would use fences and gates, the goal is to keep something in and keep something out.   That is why it’s such a good visual for boundaries.

Boundaries in my life have helped me visualize what is my responsibility and what is the responsibility of others.    If the situation lies within my property lines, it’s my responsibility to take care of it.  My body is my personal property line. My actions and my behaviors fall within that boundary.

Fences and gates help me determine who or what I want to keep out of my area.  It helps me understand what or who to say NO to so the ungodliness and worldly desires of my own are kept at a distance.  It also helps me keep those out that cause me harm.  This helps me be a good steward of what He has given me. My self!

Fences and gates are also help me determine who or what I want to allow in to my area.  People who challenge me to be better.  People who love me and want to support me in my Godly and personal desires for my life.   It helps me see the good and know when to say Yes to the things God would have waiting for me. My God created, perfectly loved self!

Fences and gates also help me see where I’m crossing the line into someone else’s boundary.  Helps me encourage them to carry their own load and be responsible for their stuff but in that it also helps me see where I am consciously or unconsciously wanting to pick up their load for them.  Or in some cases, where I have over powered their personal boundaries with forms of manipulation and control.

Regardless of why it is we have those fences and gates, our boundaries, they are there and given by God to help us lead a better and more loving life.

Titus 2:12

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

Some would say that fences and gates, my boundaries, are selfish but that simply isn’t a true statement.  Boundaries are not walls, they are simply fences with gates in them.  Without the gates I would keep the bad inside.  Allowing no room to open up and confess my sin and hurts so that I can be forgive by God and others and find healing.  They are also necessary so that I can open up the gate and allow Jesus into my heart and others into my life.  The gate is a vital part of my boundary.  Allows the good in and keeps the bad out.

So explore those boundaries and allow God to show you when you should open and close the gate.

Boundary Book on Amazon

Lord, You have shown me boundaries and has changed my life.  Thank you for bringing me Jesus so I would know the forgiveness and restoration needed to heal from the boundaries that have been crossed in my life.   I pray Lord that others would seek that same healing.  Amen.

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Humility

Philippians 2:3-11

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. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. …

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

 

Humility, this is a hard one. We all want to be humble but sometimes that takes us to a place of being prideful that we’re so humble.  Does that make sense?   We’re so proud of the fact that we are humble that we actually become NOT humble.   I catch myself doing that sometimes.  I catch myself doing exactly what Philippians 2 tells me NOT to do, count myself more significant than others and look to my interest over others.  Am I alone in this?   In James 4, pride is something that God opposes but yet he gives grace to the humble.  I think for me humility is a constant self inventory of my behavior and thoughts throughout the day.   Just being aware of how He would view them.  Not so much that my every focus is on it because that’s when pride can creep in but making little changes as I become aware of them.  I absolutely may be rambling and making no sense at all but surely I can’t be alone in this quest for humility.

Now for the reason I choose the picture I did for this post.  I was at CR (Celebrate Recovery) tonight and the lesson was on Victory.  Part of the Victory is turning over our character defects to God and with that turning over comes the start of humility.  So in the lesson it was stated:

Humility is like Underwear! 

Yes, I had this confused look on my face I’m sure.

Then it was said:

You can have it but you don’t have to let it show.

And I laughed out loud!

How clever is that????????????

You might not see the humor in it but I hope you understand that to count others as more significant than ourselves and to look to their interests more than ours is something that God finds favor in.  Just as in finding Victory you must, voluntarily submit, identify your defects, change your mind, turn over those defects, take one day at a time, recovery is a process and you must choose to change then and only then will Humility be a natural part of who you are.

Lord, I ask you to help me choose to Not count equally with You but take the form of a servant.  Amen!

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Repentance

It’s me again with a little bit of “Boundary” talk.  It it so confusing.  Boundaries are good for me but harmful to others, are they?  Boundaries are selfish, really?  Boundaries are just a way to get what I want and not give the other what they want, right?  All though the end result of setting boundaries may appear to say YES to all the above questions, that is not what they are intended.  They are a form of protection.  People we love and say they love us do not always accept our boundaries and causes harm to us.  Sometimes we use manipulation to get what we want from others and in that case we are stepping over their boundaries even if they don’t know what boundaries are.  Then we have the struggle of how to forgive someone that has harmed us.  Should we allow them immediately back into our lives?  The answer to this is a tough one. It depends what type of harm they have or could cause.  But it’s safe bet that they should show steps of repentance and show proof that they want to stay on that path.    Is it wrong to forgive them but say no to them being part of our life?   Well, it’s never wrong to forgive.  Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about us.  So always forgive!   And in some instances allowing them to be a part of our lives is just not a possibility.

Below is a snip it of what Henry Cloud says about Repentance:

Repentance means someone has had a change of mind about their behavior and shows it by changing direction. They turn around and do things differently. Their turnaround may have missteps in it, but you can usually see whether someone has changed or not. If someone is really sticking to the plan and fails and then repents and gets back into the plan, be patient. If repentance has no change of direction, go back to setting limits. 

You can be patient with some things while they are being resolved without giving the other person freedom to hurt you. Patience doesn’t mean that you let down your boundaries. Some things, such as physical or drug abuse, are too hurtful and dangerous to be around to just forgive and forget. Forgive and remember to be careful while you are being patient. With less serious things, if the pattern is being addressed, forgive and forget. 

Here’s a snip it of what the bible says about it.

Acts 3:19

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.j

So all this to say.  Love others but love yourselves too.  Forgive doesn’t always mean forget.

Lord thank You!   Amen!

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