Friday, September 30, 2016

It is October Ready or Not

I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish before Labor Day, then I extended the self-imposed deadline to September 30, and here we are...I am not finished with a massive reorganization of business files which I began mid-August, though I did sort through 600 LBS of documents some of which I shredded and some of which I had shredded. Every 5 years per a client's contract, I can destroy hard copies of their orders and the results I submit to them.

It feels good to have more room in my office, less paperwork in filing cabinets. Many clients allow me to store their work digitally, but not all do. Paperwork and clutter are like the proverbial snowball, they begin to grow, almost as if multiplying when you skip a day or 2 of handling them. The next thing you know, flat surfaces are no longer visible under the clutter and paper. The job is now big, time-consuming, and tedious.

When we let our time with the Lord slide for a day or two, metaphorically speaking Labor Day has come and gone and October begins tomorrow because in many cases a day or 2 becomes many days. Life if busy, there are work and family demands. Schedules are interrupted for many reasons.

Another way to look at skipping time with the Lord, the little hurt/offense is like a splinter and we neglect to remove it. It goes from being a minor annoyance to an aching, red, inflamed inconvenience. The problem is bigger. Had we taken care of it immediately, it would be healed.

Our goal is to stay close to the Lord and serve Him. His Word is a lamp to our path (APV - Annette Paraphrase Version), it is a balm to our aching/broken hearts. Wisdom is found from Genesis to Revelation. We have the Lord's example of how to pray, He prayed alone and He taught the disciples how to pray. There are prayers and hymns throughout the Psalms. Open your Bibles, let them wash over you and bring solace, healing, and joy.

If you have gotten away from daily time with our Lord, it is not too late. Begin anew, He is waiting. Ask,seek, knock!

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

Friday, September 23, 2016

Meddle in Someone's Business

Wednesday night I discovered my friend and Sister in Christ is suffering terrible pain in her hip caused by Bursitis. It flared up a couple of weeks ago. Doctors have brought no relief. I looked up the spiritual root of Bursitis, it is repressed resentment. So, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I let her know. She burst into tears and wrote back to me: I knew it would have to come out someway.

Sometimes people and or life smack us in the face with neglect, abuse, tragedies, and trauma. She had long buried abuse and trauma. It was deeply buried; but recently began working its way to the surface. We can paste a smile on our faces and respond with everything is fine, God is good - All the time. Yes, God is good all the time, but life is not always fine, everything is not always fine. I find Christian women many times other won't admit there is anything wrong or they are the complete opposite and think and tell you everything is wrong and it normally takes several 4 to 5 hour long visits to do so. (These same women always seem to pop over during dinner or phone late at night and use you until they move onto to someone else.)

Christ lets us know in no uncertain terms we must forgive. The Bible is very clear on this. We cannot twist it, misconstrue it, and expect to live happily ever after. When we choose not to forgive, we hinder our walk with God. Forgiveness is a choice. We may not succeed at 1st, but I do believe God honours our heart's desire to forgive. One way I can tell I've truly forgiven someone is I can pray for them and truly ask the Lord to bless them, there is no more thinking maybe bringing a little fire and thunder down on them is a good thing.

In some circumstances forgiveness is truly instantaneous, in others it takes time. I've also noticed over the years, many people have a hard time or refuse to forgive themselves. About 20 years ago, I really annoyed a friend as she moaned about never forgiving herself over a minor offense. I said, "Good to know the Cross is big enough for me, for everyone else, but not you." Her eyes grew big, her Texas Twang increased in intensity as she vehemently denied it and realized in her case it was a matter of pride.

I look to Corrie ten Boom's example of forgiving the man who betrayed her and her family which led to their arrests and many of them were sent to Concentration Camps. She also personally forgave a guard who ask for forgiveness.

As Stephen was being stoned he asked the Lord to forgive his killers. Jesus said, "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."

I know the act of forgiving is difficult and is opposite of what we as humans want to do at times. My friend Norma Dearing shared the following exercise with me years ago. She learned it from her father-in-law. I posted it years go. It is truly timeless. So please take some time to really discern what is buried, what is hindering your Christian walk, and what is causing you to sin. He will forgive you!

4 Way Forgivenss Exercise:

After you write down the people, places, situation, pretend you are holding them in your hands like cupped water, pray, then turn your hands over as you dumping the water as a symbol of letting go.

Part 1: Hold up to the Lord all the things about the person that trouble you.

Bring before the Lord all the things a particular person has done that bother you. Physically put your hands together like cupping water, in your hands, all these things to give to Him. For example, if the person is your father, list and name those things that upset you about him. It is important to verbalize each offense as you place it in your hands. When you are finished, turn your hands over and release all these things to the Lord. At this point, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Lord Jesus: I give You each one of these things and ask that You take them and pour Your love and healing power through them. I thank You, Lord, that You have the power and the grace to redeem them. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to lift all the pain and hurt that have been involved with each one of these experiences, that You lift it from my heart, from my mind, from my spirit. I ask that You lift the burden of these things from my shoulders. I give all this to You, Lord, and I trust You to deal with it. Thank You, Lord, for taking each one of these things. Amen.

Part 2: Hold up to the Lord all the things about you that trouble this person.

Put your hands together and prepare to lift up all those things about yourself that may trouble the person you are forgiving. Then, go through the same process of verbally listing them and piling them up one by one in your hands. When you cannot think of anything else, turn your hands over and release those things to the Lord. Now, pray the same type of prayer:

Lord Jesus: I ask You to pour Your love and healing power over these things. I ask You to heal this hurt and pain and disappointment. Lord, I give You this relationship today and ask for You to deal with it. Help me to trust You with it. Amen.

Part 3: Hold up to the Lord your heart's desire for this person.

Hold out your hands as if to offer that particular person to the Lord and share with the Lord what the desire of your heart is for him or her. Say, "Lord, this is my dad and this is what I would like for You to do for my dad." (If the person has died, it is still okay to lift up the person in prayer and share with the Lord what the desire of your heart is for him or her.) List those things, placing them in your hands. When you are finished, turn your hands over and give them all to the Lord, just as before. At this point, pray a prayer like the following:

Lord, I give [name] to You. I thank You that You are able to handle [him/her] better than anyone else. Bring about Your perfect will for [name], and let Your love pour into [him/her] and Your healing power flow over [him/her]. I release [name] into Your care. Amen.

Part 4: Hold up to the Lord your heart's desire for yourself.

Lastly, hold yourself up to the Lord and share with Him what the desires of your heart are for yourself, what you would really like to see Jesus do in your life today. Name these things out loud, put them into your hands and release them.

Lord, I release these things to You and ask that You pour Your love, mercy and grace into them. I thank You that I can trust You with these things. Surround me with Your heavenly angels. Help me to know how much You love me. Continue to reveal Yourself to me in a mighty way. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Paul's Letter to Timothy

In Acts 9, we see a slice of Paul's life when he breathed murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went all the way to the high priest with them. After this, he encounters the Lord Who asks Saul why do you persecute me? His life was changed forever. He preached, he traveled, he obeyed, he wrote. We have God's message poured out through him in the Epistles. Our lives in Christ are enriched through previous generations' obedience. I hope I am always thankful for them and do not take the sacrifices they made for granted.

Paul's ministry included many years and much travel. Today, he would be a frequent flyer. We know during Paul's ministry he was surrounded by people. I am willing to bet he was a people person maybe not when he lived as Saul, but definitely when he became Paul. People responded to the love of the Lord he exuded as he preached. He traveled, he worked along the way as a tentmaker. He developed relationships with people especially Timothy who became like a son to him. His life was full. The Lord was his # 1 priority.

I think of him as he awaited his execution, virtually alone in prison. We have no record of him sitting around bemoaning his fate, crying out why me? We know he prayed, he remembered, he wrote. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did the same thing. I am reading his Letters and Papers from Prison.

I believe when we are in the desert, living through a tough season, wondering if we will make it to the other side, we need to look towards Paul and Dietrich's examples. We need to remember what the Lord has done for us, we need to pray and ask others to pray for and with us, and write - pour out our hearts on paper. You don't need a fancy journal, a spiral notebook or legal pad will work.

Life is hard, the news is dreadful, ghastly stories assault us relentlessly. We must keep our faith and stand on God's promises that are sprinkled throughout His Word.

Let us fight the good fight in praise, prayer, and love. He will never leave you or forsake you. Be encouraged today and encourage others.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

War Room

I do not have a prayer closet in my home AKA War Room. I hope to convert a closet in my office over the next few months. Late last week, the Lord gave me inspiration for a portable War Room involving a tri-fold poster board. Where were these things in the 1970's when I was forced, I mean assigned science projects? I know the inspiration was Divine because tri-fold poster boards are not a part of my realm.

I wrote out Scriptures on 5 x 7 tablet and binder paper. I wrote out name lists on sticky notes and stuck them on larger pieces of paper with Scriptures on them. I wrote names of countries and issues which need prayer on index cards. I used thumbtacks to attach everything to the board, so as I change out pages, lists, and index cards the board will not be damaged. One of the lists contains the names of school teachers, one list is names of people fighting cancer. You get the idea. When I finish praying, I fold it up and place it behind furniture. Below is a picture:

Please feel free to post comments if you have a War Room or War Room ideas in your home.

Ladies, we are in the home stretch of the election cycle. Let us pray for both candidates. May they listen to God, believe His Word, and be people who will make decisions which are righteous in His sight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fall Wreaths & Pumpkins

Yesterday my cousins from Ohio posted pictures of their trip to Wyoming and surrounding states on Facebook. I could tell the weather was very cool by their attire. If I had seen pictures of Texans from my area attired in jackets and hats, I would have wondered if it was that cool or was it 65 degrees F and felt cool to them because the day they left home it was 103 degrees F. Sometimes, the picture is worth 1000 words sometimes not so much.

Autumn is closing in on parts of the United States. People in southeast Texas hope to see it by late November. We yearn for cool fronts, a few crisp days, air conditioners off, windows open, and low humidity. While waiting, we hang fall wreaths from our front doors, place pumpkins in the yard and around the house. We will pretend fall's arrival is imminent. It is all show, no reality.

Is our Christian life all show, looking good on the outside with little reality on the inside? Are we faking it until we make it? Are we in a desert and we do not know what to do? Do we feel far from God and think there is no way back to Him? Do we feel our friends have turned away from us?

Remember ladies, God has not moved. We do the moving, He remains on His throne.

If you do not know where to begin to find true victory living out the Gospel, find hope in these words from Revelation 2:

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

Go back to Scriptures which spoke to you and stirred your spirit in the past. Re-read Christian books and sermons which led you closer to Christ. Join a balanced Bible Study. Ask good, trusted friends and or your pastor to pray for you and with you.

Make a list of promises from the Bible and read them daily until you once more believe them, ask the Lord to show you any sin that is unconfessed and repent, and remember Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. God loves you so much, He gave his only Son to save you, redeem you, deliver you, and heal you.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hate Thy Neighbor?

Due to my age, I have seen much in life concerning race relations from outright hate to true love among people. While hatred pierces my heart, it especially hurts when I see it in the Body of Christ. White brothers and sisters (in Christ) spewing horrible ungodly words about people of different races. Black brothers and sisters (in Christ) spewing ungodly words about whites and people of other colors. It seems to grow even worse if that is possible when you add politics to the mix!

I am not suggesting people not vote or support a candidate of their choice (though there is no one I want to support at this moment), but when a person spends hours a day railing against a candidate on Twitter and Facebook using derogatory language, my concern grows - especially when a Christian meme proclaiming love follows the political rants.

Why the concern? The profanity, time, and anger exhibited in the posts for one. Also, the mentality if you support someone other than I support then you are my enemy. Lastly, where is Christ in all of this? Is your focus on Him, the Kingdom, the Bible, our real home - Heaven?

I think there are problems in America, I think Americans can do better, I think we need to turn it down a notch, I think we need to be kind and loving as individuals no matter what the govt is doing, I think we need to live out the Gospel, and I think we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and run the race set out before us.

I shall climb off my soapbox on this note: Love Thy Neighbor!