Steal Kill Destroy

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This post is not about politics, even though it could be. It is not about ISIS although I guess it could be. No this post is about the things I have been going through lately. I will not bore you with the details.

I have been through some very trying days. They have brought depression, guilt, anger, sorrow, you name it I have felt it. How can a woman that calls herself a Christian go through all of this? Those words have run around in my brain like a knife carving out pumpkin. They caused more guilt, which leads to more sorrow, well you get the picture.

I hadn’t turned from God but kept seeking to find some help. An answer to all this pain. God has seemed so very quiet. There were days when I would feel that perhaps I was on the way again, but as soon as I left my quiet time the world would close in once again. I didn’t seem to be able to hold onto the words I had just read. I am sure I am not alone in all this. Have you been there? Done that?

This morning as I was waking up the words of the title were like someone shouting in my ear. Kill! Steal! Destroy! Now, most people wouldn’t want to wake up to those words, but they were such an encouragement to me. No, I am not out to hurt or harm anyone. I finally am beginning to understand.

We have an enemy. A horrid enemy that wants nothing more than to Kill, Steal, and Destroy.

He wants to kill all our hopes and dreams. He wants to kill the future we are promised.

He wants to steal all the joy in our lives. The joy, that God gives us each and every day.

This enemy wants to destroy our witness, the way we live our lives. He wants to destroy us so we will join him in everlasting separation from our Savior.

He is the one that tells you and me that we are never going to be good enough. We are never going to be perfect or do things right. We just don’t have what it takes. God could never love us or forgive what we have done. Lies meant to kill, steal, and destroy us. Don’t believe them for one nano-second! That is what Jesus came to take care of for us.

He has redeemed us, bought us back from sure death. He paid our price.

The reason these words brought me such encouragement is because I know that I am a child of God. He is my protection against all of this. He is the Light that pushes back this darkness. He is my shelter from harm. The Bible tells us if a man knew when a thief was coming  he would prepare. Well, guess what, I now know that the “thief” has come and I can once again be prepared.

I need to keep my eyes on God. He has no equal. There is no enemy that can even come close. He has no rival.

I must be doing something right that I have something worth trying to steal or destroy. Salvation! That just makes me more determined than ever to keep walking the path with God, holding tightly to his hand.

Deserve

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You deserve a “break today.”

You deserve a “get away trip to . . .”

You deserve a better insurance company.

Have you noticed that everyone is telling you what you deserve? If you watch any T.V. at all , everyone that is selling something tells you that you deserve their product.

What have I done to be worthy of , a “break today”, “a get away”, “better mortgage percentage rate”, or “a better insurance company”? They don’t even know me! How can they say I deserve anything?

I am retired, I get a break every day for goodness sake! As for a great trip to anywhere it would be such a hassle to figure out how to get up and down with the handicap I am now sporting. I deserve!

How about you? What do you deserve? What have you done lately to deserve a “break”, or to receive a “get away”. Have you solved the great mysteries of the world? Figured out how to get the earth back on even keel? I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t feel worthy, or I certainly haven’t done anything noteworthy!

When I think of what I deserve, I shutter! Things I have done or left undone, no those folks on the T.V. don’t know what I deserve.

When we read in Psalm 103:10 there is such good news. It says:

“We sinned against him, but he didn’t give us the punishment we deserved.” When we come to Christ and tell him we are sinners and we know we deserve death, (that’s what we deserve) he is FAITHFUL and  just and forgives our sins. He alone can give us the freedom we long to have. We don’t DESERVE it but by his marvelous GRACE we receive it.

The next time you hear someone tell you, you deserve . . . think about the Grace you have received instead.

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Brave Face

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Have you ever had a day when you got up and felt like life was pressing in on you so hard you needed to put on a game face to get through the day?

I have been feeling just like that lately. There have been some very trying moments in my life and to get through the day I put on a “Brave Face” so that others would not know just how I was feeling.

You’ve had days like that? Wow! I thought I was alone in that feeling.

I have been reading a Bible study each morning called the First5 and it is entitled Christ Alone. Today’s study was sharing how it “isn’t about putting on a brave face and hoping for the best when we feel powerless.” Yeah I guess that was exactly how I had been feeling. POWERLESS.

That caught my attention. Someone had be feeling the same way and had the answer to my powerless feeling,

The next words are still ringing like a gong in my head. “We have the power through Christ, who is over every power. . . We are fully loved and accepted and empowered to say no to lesser things.”

The Power through Christ!  This is true on days we feel it and days we don’t. When we are rooted in His love it becomes a reality that anchors us.

Just like that tree in the picture, the wind blows THROUGH the leaves but since the tree is rooted deep the tree just lets the wind through and still stands.

I feel the wind, those hurtful words, the sorrow that is deep, situations that I can’t change, as they blow through. However, I don’t need that brave face any more because I am rooted in God’s love. I feel the “wind” but am not destroyed by it.

There is that deep breath of freedom once more. God is so good and his love is unending.

“This is the fullness of God.”

 

Just a Little Bit

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We were watching a program last night about animals and they were showing these ants. (eeewww) They were so small when it was just one, but then they showed the “army” as they were marching forward and nothing, I mean nothing, got in their way. They even moved this branch that was so much bigger than they. Then it showed them all together and they were like a wall. A real force to be reckoned with.

It got me to thinking of other small things that could become huge. The acorn,that becomes a mighty oak tree. The tiny newborn kangaroo that changes into an adult kangaroo.

Maybe more seriously, that “white lie” that turns into a catastrophe. How about that, ever so small sin, that leads to the separation of a couple? That little piece of gossip that loses a good friend.

Perhaps on the flip side, that tiny bit of faith you are holding on to that blossoms into a truth! In Matthew 17:20 it says;

     “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,’Move from here to      there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We are able to give those small things, like the need to gossip, or tell that white lie, to God and ask him to help us to be faithful to him instead. He is able to take our small faith and turn it into something much larger.

We learn that we can trust him with all our small things. Things like being unsure in the moment. Or things like which church to go to.

When we seek God and his will for our lives first, then we grow with each decision that he helps us make. So that when those BIG things like fear, anxiety ,and helplessness hammer away at us we know just were to go.

God is able. God is always available. God is always here. So take that little bit of faith you have and let him multiply it like only he can.

Ready For the Trip?

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There is a lot of talk these days of immigrants. It got me to thinking of what it must be like to be in a different country from the one you know.

These people have chosen this particular country to come to. Why? Did they research us? Did they look on the map and say “That looks like the perfect place to go!” Was it the closest to them as far as distance to travel? Do they have relatives here? Did they learn the language?

Then I changed course and started to think of myself. I have never traveled from the United States. I have a passport but only used it to travel to Alaska. (no, it is not a foreign country still the USA but you have to travel through another country to get there.)

If I were going to a foreign country I would want to first of all learn the language. (have you ever been somewhere where those around you are speaking another language and they look your way and smile.) Yes, definitely learn the language.

Then I would want to know how to dress. Is it going to cold or hot where I am going. Do I need warm clothes or cold ones. Important to know.

There are also the rules in that country. Do I drive on the left or the right? As a woman can I go by myself to the market? Will I be safe? Can I go anywhere I want? Should I eat the food and drink the water?

Did I choose the country I am going to because I have relatives there? Will they welcome me, as we have never met face to face?

So many things to consider. So much to learn.

Did you know that as a Christian this world is not your home? Nope!

Don’t you think you need to prepare for your travel home?

You will need a passport. (confess your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.)

You will definitely need to know the rules. (the Bible tells you all you need to know)

The food and water are the best. (The Bible tells you this)

There is no place safer, anywhere! (The Bible reassures us about this)

Your clothes will be provided. (Once again the Bible shares this)

Your relatives are eager to meet you face to face. (God your Father is waiting with open arms. You guessed it. It’s in the Bible)

Perhaps you need to get yourself ready for that journey. Start reading the guide and learn all you can so that your anticipation will be great and you will be ready to finally go Home.

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Hidden

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When I was a kid we always had “chores” that had to be done before we could play. We would work together to complete them. My sister and I were in charge of the dishes. My parents would work in the garden in our backyard. We were always in a hurry to complete the dishes so we could go and help our parents in the garden.

Sometimes when we were finished with all that had to be done my dad would pop us all in the car and we would go to the Dairy Queen and have a treat or other times we would head out to a drive in chicken place. I remember those times with very fond memories.

I remember one time that was so out of character for my mom. She never did things backwards or tried to cheat. One time my dad was almost finished with the garden and we hadn’t even started the dishes which meant we weren’t going any where.

My mom had a plan of her own. As my sister and I watched in amazement she stacked the dishes and then proceeded to put them in the oven. Yep, you read right, the OVEN. (we never had a dishwasher.)

We must  have had eyes the size of soft balls as my mom held her hands to her lips for us to be quiet as she shut the door to the oven and told us we would do them later. And off we went to get my dad and head to Dairy Queen.

I will never forget that day as long as I live. It was such a secret and so out of character of the mother I thought I knew. I am not sure if she told  my dad. I do know we never let her forget it and it seemed our little secret. We would all laugh and giggle about the day the dishes were stuck in the oven to clean.

Some times I think we think we can hide things from God like my mom hid the dishes. We seem to think that our deepest longings and even our tattered lives are hidden from him. Perhaps we think he doesn’t care about such small things or things that are personal. Dreams we have had for a lifetime.

But the Bible tells us in Psalm 38:9 that the Lord KNOWS what we long for. He hears our sighs as we ponder things. He knows the number of the hairs on our heads.(Who would ever want to know that?)

God is not impersonal. He knows us each so intimately. There is nothing about us hidden from him. Before you start to panic, even knowing everything about you he calls you BELOVED. I know right? How could he know all about me and still call me his beloved?

Well, he does. His love letters to you tell you that.

You say you didn’t get any love letters.

He sent them to you in the Bible. They are his words just for you.

Read the Psalms as a place to start and listen to him tell you of his powerful love.

Read his love letters to you and find the “hidden” love God wants to share with you each day.

Even If

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Have you ever had a time that a theme in life just keeps popping up at the oddest moments? Well for the last few weeks that has been  happening to me.

Our pastor has started  a new series entitled “Shattered”. It is based on the book of Job. How his life was fantastic one minute and the next everything was gone.

Then as I read a blog of a friend this morning it was about “Broken” and how we are ALL broken at one time or another.

Got an email from a friend that is suffering in all areas of her life.

In my life there are things that weigh heavy like a mountain on my chest.

Broken.

Shattered.

In the blog my friend shared this song by Mercy Me. Perhaps you have already heard it but take a few minutes and listen to the words once again.

Everyone has troubles, is broken, shattered at sometime in their life. Probably more than one time. But did you notice that the words said, “I know your able, I know you can.” We seem to know that God is all powerful, he is more than able. We know there is nothing he can’t do. But is that enough? Is that helping your struggles right now? Do you trust him to be enough?

Listen to the very next words. “But even if you don’t, my HOPE is you alone!” Did you catch that?

Even if you don’t. Even if God doesn’t take away the pain. Even if God doesn’t “fix” the problem. Can we get to the place where we can say, “My Hope is YOU alone”?

When Job lost all his possessions, family, and wealth. He was broken, shattered, but he was able to state the fact that all he had was from God. Then he worshiped God. God WAS his hope.

We need to get to the place where God is our hope alone.

Not what we can achieve.

Not our finances.

He is able. Even if is seems He doesn’t answer the way we want.

Trust him.

Seek him.

Then you can say just like the song,

“IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.”