Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Skunk House



I have a very old house. Such an old house that the basement is not ventilated; there are no windows that can be opened, there is one door but it can't actually be opened  because we had a lot of problems so it's more like a weird part of the wall.  I have always been bothered by the fact that it's been enclosed and so musty...always been a pet peeve, or irritation.

Lately, we have had a skunk living under the house. And when I say under the house, I don’t mean under the front porch and not a big deal…I mean under the house as in if I wanted to cut open the floor it would be right there… Yuck.  The skunk has been kind enough to make sure he's known frequently that he is also a resident here. In the past month we have gotten our house sprayed several times, I think we are up to 4 or 5, with one time being absolutely atrocious! Most days there was "regular" skunk smell or just a "hint of skunk". How do I know there's a hint of skunk? It's because I have a nose like a hound dog apparently; people tell me often that they don't smell things and I do. So for the past month we've had the skunk just stinking up the place. I called the man to get the skunk removed and it didn't want to leave... A trap was set for a few days and it just wasn't happening. So, they removed the trap and said they would try when it wasn't so rainy. (Did you know that skunks don't like rain... I do now).

Well, we waited for the cool rain to stop... Got skunked again and had to call. The man said it wasn't going to fall for a regular trap so he was going to use a different one. Good! Make it stop! :/  Well, day one there was nothing, and day two, nothing :( but day three!! Day three I woke up to the smell of skunk again :( and I checked the trap (which means I carefully and slowly walked to the back stairs-from the front door- and glanced and ran away) and there was a skunk! Gross. But it was going to be gone! It was...the smell wasn't... and it was getting stronger.  We left for church and when we arrived home, we got a punch in the face of skunk smell as we walked in the front door. I checked the trap in the same fashion as earlier but just a little bit more bravely since I called the man that was trapping it between Sunday school and regular service and just KNEW he would have removed it. He did! :)  Later, when we got home from evening church I opened the door and was so excited to not smell skunk! Yippie!!  And my nose has been smelling it for a month, so this was making me do a happy dance.

Today, I went downstairs to do laundry and ya know what!?!?? It, for the first time in at least a month, smelled like A MUSTY BASEMENT!  I was SO HAPPY! Yeah! My basement smells like that musty, old basement smell.  I love that smell today!!


So what does this have to do with anything spiritual? I'm glad you asked! ;)

Often, we have something and it isn't as good, nice, in style, or even just what we want or think it's what we deserve, but it is quite functional and serves its purpose and really is just fine.  My basement has issues but that doesn't mean it isn't doing its job...it's the foundation of my house so it seems it's doing a pretty good job. And I can do things so it isn’t as strong… and I did/do…I learned what needed to be done.
I am not an expert on waiting for God to answer and smiling through the trials. Oh no! Quite the opposite but I am learning.


God gives us what we need. He says in the bible that he knows what we need before we ask.
Matthew 6:8b for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

God doesn't give us something because often we are asking for something we want.
James 4: 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

And God uses what he needs  to get us  where HE wants us to be.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.



Here is my conclusion from today when I enjoyed the musty smell that bothered me so much before:
-God was so good to remove that stink so quickly!
-I need to appreciate things that aren't really what I want because, it could be worse.
-I need to focus on God more than what's around me
-Sometimes what you have really isn't as bad as it seems.

Today I could smile at what made me frown before. Something changed...a nasty smell, but sometimes we just have to wait until it's the right time. God wants everything in our lives to turn our hearts back to him. I REALLY don't think I need a skunk stinking up the place for me to turn to him, but ya know what? It worked.  I have talked to Him a lot about it and I dealt with it. I didn't "flip my lid" (the skunk doesn't care). But I did just keep going on with my walk with the Lord and did what I could do. (and asked I wouldn't smell that smell so well!)
  
Am I thankful I had a skunk???  No way!!!  I am thankful that I can praise God I don't usually have one, that the smell is gone, the dog didn't get sprayed, that it is gone, and that God was still here even during this!

We all have things cross our paths. Rather than see them has another thing going wrong in our lives, let's try to look to God and realize sin is in the world and Satan is attacking. Let's not let him win because our God is amazing and stronger than anything Satan can throw at us!!

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Most things can glorify God, if we let Him work.  And what will I do if a skunk comes again? Same thing as I did this time:  Pray.  Keep a spiritual focus.  And plug my nose. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Detour We Didn’t Know We Took



My mind is moving so fast with the thoughts are going through my head so I hope I am clear with what I am saying. I am especially thinking about one person as I write these words (not the one I was on the phone with). This person is a very special person to me and it hurts me to know how much she's hurting right now.

I just got off the phone with a dear friend; we are talking and working through a lot of different things from the past. I don't want to sit and point and blame, nor not take responsibility nor do I desire to stay stuck where I have been, but I often find myself doing those things.  But that is completely not my goal.

I think that in our desire to follow God we took a detour we didn't know we took. I think that in living the Christian life we forgot about Christ.

My friend said something about taking the side road and turning left, when we didn't know we did. In this post, like I said, I'm not pointing fingers, I'm not blaming anyone, but I'm just kind of clarifying what's in my head and my heart.

No one can understand each person's personal journey as they continue to move forward to a better relationship with the Lord; however I think that we all share some of the same things very often.

First, I think that we need to focus ourselves on Christ. How you do this is totally up to you and between you and God. No one can tell you what it will take for you to get to a point where you finally understand his love and grace and his commitment to you.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Second, I think that we as believers need each other. I think that there is a difference between getting encouragement and gossiping. I don't know that line was ever clearly established that we would know the difference however the Bible even tells us we should get godly council.
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Third, we will be tempted to use many different things to replace God. It's so easy for us to see the physical, here and now, but we need to focus on the eternal rather than the physical.
1 Corinthians 10:13–14 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Are you on a detour? Did your Christian walk turn into more of a wandering? I know these things were true for me and I'm sure at times will happen again. But right now, I'm focused on God and can see him working. It doesn't change what may or may not have happened, nor does it change everything about my life, but my perspective (again prospective) has changed. Focus your eyes on God and ask him to change your heart and change your mind to lineup with what He says in the Bible.

A detour is used temporarily because something needs to be straightened out, adjusted, fixed, corrected... whatever.

It's time to get back on the main highway.

To my friend whose name I am not saying, God knows. God sees. God loves you. God will use everything that you have gone through. God cares that you are hurting. God knows what you feel and think...He understands.

AND YA KNOW WHAT?

HE STILL LOVES YOU AND WANTS TO BE WITH YOU.  Turn to Him. He is our help.

JESUS is still the answer.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Triumphant Reflection



My perspective has been totally focused on the past, the hurt, the trail, the resulting confusion, and even dislike of where that has me.

My world has changed. Not that change is bad...but change is change. It means adjusting to something whether it was brought on by us or someone else.

Over the past several months my prayer has been rather simple. I kept asking God to change my heart and my mind. It is all I have felt I could say. Each person has to deal with their own questions when something in life has been thrown at them and they have no answers for in their situation.

 All I knew was that I didn't really feel "safe and comfortable" like I used to.

But I have learned something.

Today is just one more day. A lifetime of things defines who we are and each day we make important steps. They've learned, although I haven't shared on my blog, that living triumphantly is simple. Simple in the fact that it does not mean I have to do anything extraordinary, spectacular, or world changing. Living triumphantly is a living through whatever we face on our journey through this life. Sometimes just the fact that we got through another day is a triumph in itself.


Living triumphantly is just doing what's hard for you.


So how my doing on my journey this year of living triumphantly? Had you asked me during those three months that I was not blogging, I would have told you I was doing a horrible job. In fact, that's why I was not was not blogging. I want to write. I want to give anyone who reads this hope in God. A glimpse of how good He is. But sometimes I get so focused on what I don't have what I don't see, how what I have that I don't want and that I can't see anything clearly enough myself to even share that with you. Above all I want to write from my heart. My heart, Jeremiah says, is desperately wicked, however when we're in God's word our hearts become godly and that we want to follow God. God the Spirit will yield the godly heart. In the flesh, I will always have a wicked heart but the triumph is overcoming by the Spirit.

I am still asking God to change my heart and mind.  I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me.  I ask to see things as spiritual battles rather than physical ones.  I get encouragement from a godly lady.  I read my Bible. 

So, how am I doing living a triumphant life this year?   

Great!  I am focusing on God and He has triumphed over it all and I just try to see that.  And when I don’t, and I am in my flesh, I turn my head again to Him… because that’s triumphant!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Faith



Don’t you just love it when you read your Bible and something you probably have read a number of times jumps off the page? I do!

That happened just the other day.  I was reading 2 Corinthians, not a book I look at a lot really but I wanted to go through 1 Corinthians and when it was over I just kept going. J  Anyway, the verse that stood out was 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.  

It struck me because Paul said he wasn’t to have dominion over their faith but help them to have joy.  Maybe most people don’t have this problem but I imagine that if I thought it, someone else has too.

Building faith is a personal experience.  I can see something someone else has gone through and have my faith increased, but there is nothing like experiencing a trial to really make your faith grow.  Here are the things that I noticed most out of this verse. ..

We are to be joyful.  A joyful Christian can show a lot more of God’s love than someone who is just doing what needs to be done, no matter what their motivation.

We stand by faith.  Each one of us has decided to follow God…that is faith.  Step by step we are on a journey to get to know Him and experience Him in new ways.  Our “walk” shouldn’t be a list of things we can or cannot do but a desire to believe and see who He is.

We are to have dominion over our own faith. This one struck me the most!  I can learn something from anyone.  Learning from someone else doesn’t always mean they did it right, we can learn from other’s errors too.  But in that learning, we have to remember that each one of us has dominion!
Dominion is, according to Webster’s, to rule, supreme authority, and absolute ownership and Strong’s say, to be lord of.

I have dominion over MY faith… of course I do! Absolute ownership?! Well, of course!   I pick what I believe and what I do.  I am controlling myself.  I should, out of love for my Saviour, pick what God has shown me in the Bible and is speaking to me about, but I should never give control of my faith to anyone. 

As a Christian, we have one God. Each person has their own faith.  That faith will look different in each person. We don’t read our Bible, read books, go to a conference, or even go to church so that we can all do the same thing.  We read and go to those places so our faith can be stronger. I guess in my years of reading books, going to conferences, and even attending church, I never really got that I have dominion over my faith.  As odd as this is, I think I “gave” it to others, not really knowing I even had it in the first place or maybe it was I was waiting for faith to find me, I don’t really know.  I see it now, but I didn’t see it at all before. 

Faith that can be tried. 
Faith that can be crushed.
Faith that can be grown.
Faith that is sometimes small.
Faith that is sometimes great.
Faith in a God that loves me.   
Faith in my Saviour. 


The Lord is ruler of my life, but while walking on this journey, I have full dominion over my faith.



No matter who tells me what, my faith is mine alone to share with the One that loves me.





Friday, May 9, 2014

Confusion and Perspective

I have been struggling for years with my Christian walk and faith.

Last July, my pastor resigned. The church voted in a new pastor in September of ’13. Although I was looking forward to having a pastor and the changes that would be coming, I still struggled with the past.

I am certain that anytime a pastor leaves a church there is confusion, sadness, and a multitude of other things.
I have been struggling for this past year.  I wanted to “move forward”, but I didn’t seem to know how.  And I don’t know that anyone can answer that for anyone else.  I had so much confusion from the past… Confusion is something I know every person can relate to.  It happens all the time, something throws you off and you wonder what you could have done differently or if you could have done anything at all, or wonder if what you thought or believed was even true. 

Was anything real? Is there something better somewhere else?

I still have LOTS of questions.  They will never be answered. The doubt and confusion will always be there about certain things; but, I know that the confusion doesn’t have to HOLD me there… it can, but it doesn’t have to keep me there. There comes a point when we have to start getting back to life, and usually it is much sooner than we are ready for.  So, we get up and do what we have been doing that makes our lives go and seem normal again.  Unfortunately, there are so many people walking around with a gaping wound that don’t show there is anything wrong. 

This past Sunday, someone in my church thanked me for something I had done at a church event; I said, “You’re welcome”.  She then stated, “I think we need that”.  I replied, “It was the shot in the arm I needed; I finally feel like I am back”.  She replied, “I didn’t know you were gone”.  Something SO obvious to me and she had no idea. How could she?  It was my “plan” to keep being normal until something changed…
Something did change…But it was something IN me that changed…my perspective.

I have realized that we all go through things, things we bring about ourselves, brought on by others, or just as a result of “society moving forward”; but the only focus that matters is the one God has for each of us. But even more than that, was realizing that God’s plan and purpose for me haven’t changed based on what is going on around me, but that He really is in control of everything and can and will use everything that comes into our lives to make us stronger, better Christians.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


Oh, sounds so simple.  It took me the past year to really get something and it took work, prayer and a focus on God and most of me didn’t even “care” to try to do any of that. Except, God was still working in my heart…and I was allowing what had happened as an excused for my turning away from God.   But I ACTUALLY realize now, that we aren’t battling everyone around us, even though it often seems it is one person after another, but we are, in fact, dealing with our physical lives with a very real spiritual aspect.


Don’t get me wrong, I have not been transformed into Super Christian, no, nowhere close.  I have just decided that no matter what happens in my life, that I will still follow God.  I may get knocked down hundreds of times, but I believe that God is the one true Lord, and that no matter what I am dealing with He is still God.


And what’s my plan to keep this focus? The plan is simple enough; ask the Holy Spirit every day to help me see life with spiritual eyes rather than my physical ones.  

Will it be easy?

Nope. 

But in the end I have a hope that it sure will be worth it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Pathetic Truth

That truth is how wicked I am.  As I was reading my Bible this morning, I had many different thoughts go through my head, but there were a couple that were in there that were not good at all.

Seriously???  While I am reading my Bible I can’t even focus on doing right?

God says in Romans 7:21, I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

The truth of the matter is, I am living in a fallen world and evil is everywhere, even in me.  I am “nice” or “good” sometimes, but really it is in there.  In that chapter, just a couple verses above that last one is, Romams 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  Should I then be surprised by the fact I can’t even read my Bible without having mean or even wicked thoughts?  No, no I shouldn't. 

I don’t like it. at. all.  But it is who we are. Who I am.

After I was done with the passages I was reading I started to pray.  I prayed today for my family, but mostly I just asked for forgiveness for not even being able to get through my Bible without “being right”.

And ya know what?? He knows. I know it too. 

But do you know what is even better than realizing (again) how awful I am?

These verses in Romans 8
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you

As simple as it is, I have God dwelling in me.  Yes, I have wickedness in my flesh, but glory to God, Jesus has overcome all of this!!

Stop today and read Romans 7 and 8 and realize that we aren't good but again the WHOLE point is:

WE NEED JESUS every day, every hour, every minute!

That’s just how it works. 

So, lets not beat ourselves up for failing, but rejoice in Jesus like we should because that is really all that matters.