TGIF

Thank God I’m free! There’s not a person on earth, if he/she is truly honest about it, who does not desire freedom. Unfortunately, true freedom is often distorted and misunderstood.

Let’s take a brief look at God’s definition of freedom as found spoken by David in Psalm 31:4-5. ” 4. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, Oh Lord, the God of truth.”

Do you trust God? Do you commit your spirit to him in a threatening circumstance as David did? We see that three people, including David, who God references in the Bible chose true freedom. Psalm 32:5 was spoken to God the Father, by Jesus, as he was dying on the cross (Luke 23:46). Stephen also spoke the words of verse five, as he was stoned to death (Acts 7:59).

There is nothing more freeing than to look at your circumstance, whether it is a financial need, a relational issue, a spiritual test or even a life threatening situation, and say, “I am yours God! I commit my spirit to you.”

Now that is true freedom. And that is when I say, TGIF !!!

Hang in There

                                                       Hang In There

 
“Hang in there”, is a phrase commonly spoken by a well meaning person to another person who is hurting in some way. Perhaps, like me, you have used this phrase.
 

I didn’t really think about the meaning of such a statement until it was spoken to me when I was hurting. If you are “hanging in there”, you must be holding on to something. The question is what? Are you depending on your bank account, or your status? Are you finding security in your friendship or family circle? Or perhaps your child’s sporting events drive you. Do you eat when you are lonely? Or do you find your stress relief sliding a credit card at the shopping mall? 

 
All of these things bring temporary fulfillment and perhaps a little happiness to distract us from our circumstances. But what if there is a real solution? …a foundation of peace that endures through EVERY trial.

 
In my moments of weakness, just when I feel that I cannot handle another minute of a given situation, I hold on to Jesus by reading his word and crying out to him for help. And when I am weak, he holds on to me. No matter how tightly you grip things, they can slip away. But Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful. 
 
So “hang in there”…with Jesus!
 
 

Motherhood IS for Whimps After All

“Parenting is NOT for Whimps!”, I used to hear myself boldly say. It wasn’t until I came face to face with myself in the mirror and realized the sobering truth. I have been guilty of being a whimp.

Yes, I have whimp history, and I have future whimp potential. If the slightest thing goes wrong, it puts a kink in my “perfect mommy” world. What then?

As my children get older, it is becoming more evident to me just how much I don’t measure up, and how very inadequate I am for the task of “protector”. In a world where anything could happen at any given moment, am I to be stricken and completely bound with anxiety?

Now I find my remedy in crying out to Jesus Christ for his grace, “divine enablement”, sometimes as frequently as I would call or text my husband or my mom with an issue. It wasn’t until I became vulnerable and honest with God about my weaknesses that I really knew how to ask him for help.

Paul draws a similar conclusion in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he tells us of the Lord’s response to his prayer for deliverance. “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” My conclusion….motherhood is for whimps after all.

 

 

Don’t Settle

Have you ever cried out to God for healing and found yourself rationalizing that it would be ok even if things were just a little better? Perhaps you say, “Maybe Christ will allow the pain to stop hurting for a while, or maybe my friend’s cancer will go into remission, so he can rest from Chemo. Maybe I can forgive at least one of the people who hurt me, or maybe I can give up my addiction for a while.”

I was in intense prayer the other day and found myself thinking about all the examples of people in the Bible who Jesus healed. That is when it dawned on me that those people were healed totally and completely from that which they suffered.

Jesus didn’t just drive out one of the demons or heal just one of the two men who were demon possessed. He healed them from enough demons to fill a herd of pigs (Matt 8:28-32). Jesus didn’t just heal one of the blind beggars, he healed them both (Matt 20: 29-34).The lame man didn’t get up and limp around. He got up, carried his mat and walked all the way home (Matt 9:6-7). The man with leprosy was completely cured and healed immediately by Jesus (Matt 8:1-3).

At that moment I realized that I had been settling with the thought of partial healing. That is when I began to cry out to Jesus for complete healing of my mind, body and soul. I’m not satisfied with who I am in a world where man is broken by sin. I want it all, all that Christ has for me. After all, I am his child.

Romans 8:10,11 says, ” But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

Romans 8:16,17 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co- heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Now when I pray, I pray for complete healing in Jesus name.

Say What You Wanna Say? (Circle Breakers)

“Go ahead and say it!” You heard me, “Say whatever you want to say!”  What? Let’s take a moment to look at what God thinks about this idea.

When you combine two of God’s commands, “You shall not lie.” (Exodus 20:16) and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31), you will understand that honesty is not just blurting out anything that comes to mind.

Sure, we should be bold and honest, but honesty should be partnered with Christ’s character of love and self-control. Words that may bring you freedom in the moment can imprison someone else for a lifetime. Just ask someone who has been verbally abused or bullied. Damaging words also break circles of friendship and trust in family, school, church, work, etc.

This is a lesson that we all should learn, myself included! Dear God, forgive me for any damaging words that I have used knowingly or unknowingly. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Amen.

Broken Circles – The Meaning – part 2

What exactly does it mean to have a broken circle? Well, let’s start by looking at a few key word definitions.

The New Webster’s Dictionary defines the word broken as: the past part of Break, fractured, interrupted, uneven, emotionally crushed, violated, betrayed, or imperfectly spoken (esp. by a foreigner).

Webster’s third definition of circle is: a group of persons with a common interest. And it defines friendship as a relationship of mutual affection and good will, or harmonious cooperation. Relation refers to the way in which we associate or deal with each other.

So when a relationship is “broken”, the “circle” or common interest is interrupted. The harmony becomes fractured or uneven in some way. To state it more clearly, something in the relationship becomes off balanced, which results in either a shift or fracture of the circle. Unfortunately, many times, those within the circle become emotionally crushed, violated, or betrayed.

There is no way that I could possibly list all of the situations by which a circle can be broken, but I am certain that you can think of a personal example, so let’s leave it at that.

Broken Circles – Introduction

Young, old, married, single, wealthy, poor, believer in Christ, non-believer, business man, housewife….It does not matter what your status or title is. If you are a human being on this earth, then you have either experienced some type of “broken relationship” or will face one in the future.

I have found that human relationships tend to fall into the following three categories: Group relationship, which includes groups such as family, work associates, church, school, etc. and Partner relationship which includes close connections such as friends, intimate couples, siblings, teacher/student, etc. The 3rd and most important relationship is spiritual, being a personal relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ.

The “Broken Circles” devotional series will explore these three relationship categories and the Biblical healing process that is vital for personal renewal when one or more of them is broken. My prayer is that this blog series will bless you by opening the door of your heart to the beautiful healing hand of God.

Human Leeches

Let’s allow ourselves to be brutally honest for a moment. Well, we should always try to be honest, but I think perhaps brutal honesty may fall into a different category. And the brutal truth is, people can be like leeches.

Can you think of a person who just drains the energy and time right out of you? I can. In fact, I can think of several people. And I’ll go further into this strange world of brutal honesty by saying, I have been that “human leech” to someone else. Ouch! But that sounds so mean to say. Yes it does, but recognizing and admitting it is important.

I am not trying to say that we should all deny that people need each other. Of course we do! And there are seasons in our life when God places a specific person in our path who may desperately need us, whether he or she realizes it or not.

The reason it is so necessary to recognize how vulnerable we are to a place of “blood sucking death” is so that we can do what is vital to protect our own health and well-being. After all, how can we help others if we are…well..umm..dead?

Paul’s letter to the young church of Thessalonica (Thessalonians 1: 2-3) almost immediately points out three vital attributes of a healthy Christian. His or her works are produced by faith. His labor is prompted by love, and his endurance is inspired by hope in Jesus Christ. Wow!

Paul also reminds us in verses 4 and 5, that the power of the Holy Spirit works in our lives when we belong to Christ. And this is the key to survival in a needy world. The power is not from us. We run out quickly. But with the true power of the Holy Spirit working in our life, we are able to give more.

And when that power is combined with works of faith, labors of love and hope driven endurance, we become a model of faith to others. Paul concludes of the church in Thess. 1:7-8, ” And so you became a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia…your faith in God has become known everywhere, therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead- Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

So we serve a God who has conquered death. He is our life source! And with his help, we can help others in time of need by sharing his life giving love that we should be daily filled with.

“Call and Response”

Perhaps you have heard of a form of singing that was introduced by African- Americans. “Call and Response” was used as a means for African slaves to communicate secretly and safely while working in the fields. This music has influenced certain styles of American music in a unique way.

Since both Jesus Christ and music has impacted my life so greatly, I find pleasure and fulfilment in reading the Psalms. I made an interesting discovery this morning while reading about the history of Psalm 24.

Written by David, this Psalm was often sung. It is believed to have been used in corporate worship at the temple. Inside the temple, one group of people would sing or ask, “Who is this King of glory?”. Then a group of people outside would respond, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”

As this early form of “Call and Response” was repeated, the temple gates would be opened. This act symbolized the welcoming of God’s presence. And here is the beautiful thing about God. When we call, he responds. He is big enough to create the Universe, but he is caring enough to listen to us. He desires a relationship with each of us.

That is why he made a way to himself through his son, Jesus Christ. And that is why he gave his inspired word, the Bible for us to read. So give it a try. Call on him.