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Just As You Are

jesus doorJust as You Are

I’ve mentioned before about the bells that are rung by the Baptist Church in town, a few times a day. They aren’t actually rung, it is a computerized system. I don’t know exactly what time they are scheduled to play, but I have heard them several times in the early morning when I step out to say my morning prayer. Each one is a hymn done with bells and it’s beautiful to hear them. When I stepped out the other morning, the hymn they were playing brought tears to my eyes, happy tears because of the wonderful memory they brought back.

It made me take a look back at my life, what it had been, what it is now, and the promise of what it will be tomorrow. The first verse and the third mean a lot to me. “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” “ Just as I am , though tossed about, with many a conflict and many a doubt, fightings an fears within, without O Lamb of God, I come, I come”

All through life we run into people who would try to change us. Some are acting under good intentions and others are just controlling, hateful and using people. I’ve known both kinds. Simple remarks like “you should fix your hair differently or try a new style of dress” can be hurtful but none the less are meant in a harmless way. When a person tries to change you, completely change you, it is not in your best interest. I had one who forcefully tried to change everything about me, from the way I looked to the way I acted and talked.

There are many people, who say that they accept you as you are, but secretly they are looking at you and saying in their minds what they would change if they were you. Unfortunately there are so many that are kind but think they know what is best for everyone else. Don’t let yourself fall into that category. Learn to accept people “just as they are”.

It was a cold February evening in 1993 that I first heard that song, and as it kept playing I found myself walking to the altar with tears streaming down my face as I knelt and asked Jesus into my heart. It is one of the most cherished memories that I have. He accepted me “Just as I am”. He didn’t tell me I had to go through a bunch of classes, training or change my mannerisms or the way I dressed or talked. No He simple said “Just as you are, come to me”. He didn’t say I had to change my style of dress, where I lived, where I worked, no he said “Just as you are”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is that one who will accept you “just as you are”, with all your sins, all of your past, all your hurt, your anger, your regrets, he accepts you. With all that you are and all that you aren’t, all that you want to be and all that you can’t be, he accepts you.

Whether you are rich or poor, depressed, angry, and addict, an alcoholic, a hateful person, a lost person he wants you to come to him “just as you are”. He accepts you “just as you are” and wants to love you “just as you are” and when you accept him and feel that love, you will know what needs to change and you will do it without anyone else telling you to do so. You will do it because it is what you have wanted to do all along. So, today come to the Lamb of God “Just as you are”. He wants to love you “Just as you are”.

 

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Its-A-Wonderful-Life-3It’s a Wonderful Life

I’ve spent a lot of my life living in large, cold, unhealthy cities. I can remember that most of the places I lived, the neighbors hardly spoke to you. Even back then people were starting to keep to themselves because they didn’t trust anyone, crime had already started to escalate.

For example; when Ken and I first got married, we lived in a downstairs apartment, in a not so safe neighborhood because we couldn’t afford anything else. The people upstairs had some teenage boys who were known for stealing and causing trouble. Ken called me one day and said he was standing in the living room watching out the window as the guy in the upstairs apartment across the street was shooting at the boys in our building as they were running after breaking in and stealing a gold chain. Apparently he was a gang member, that disappeared before the police showed up.

There are some communities across America in the larger cities that do their best to stay closed, get to know each other and work together to keep it clean of crime and intruders. Not many though, and even those closed communities can often be standoffish to their neighbors, not willing to get to know them and not wanting them to nose into their lives.

There is a classic film that is played on at least one channel every year around Christmas time. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is about a small town business man that almost loses his bank because of a run on it, and then his uncle loses an 800.00 payment to the rich guy in town. He is threatened with legal action and becomes so depressed he thinks about suicide. An angel is sent to rescue him and take him back, to show him how much he had done for the people in that town.

Since I have lived in this rural town, I have seen the community come together when someone had a need. I’ve seen them collect and donate food, furniture and clothing to those who lost their home in a fire. I have seen them run boot drives to collect money for medical bills for those who could not pay for their cancer treatment and I’ve seen them hold garage sales, sidewalk sales and special events to help others who lost loved ones and couldn’t pay for funeral costs.

A community caring about it’s people, wanting to help those in need, reaching out to those who live there is a wonderful site to behold, is a wonderful experience to have. Just the way everyone knows everyone, most everyone reaches out a helping hand reminds of the way that the town came together to help George Bailey in the Movie. When I stop to think about all the things that have happened in my life and compare it to where I am now, the people who are my neighbors and friends, I too am blessed with a “Wonderful Life”.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Isaiah 58:10-11 If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

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Overwhelmed – Put on the Whole Armor

KnightOverwhelmed / Put on the Whole Armor

I know I haven’t been writing lately, but sometimes life overwhelms us. Just when we think that everything is going good, Satan shows up with his back of tricks. He is working overtime to destroy all the believers in Christ that he can, not just spiritually but emotionally and physically as well for he knows that his time is quickly running out.

We had some needs that needed to be taken care, some things that we just couldn’t find a solution to so we gave them to the Lord and just kept on praying about them. In one day all three prayers were answered even though only one of them so far has been completed. We were praising him, walking around with huge smiles on our faces, feeling good inside and thankful for the answers.

No sooner did the answers to these prayers come out that other things begin to happen. We couldn’t use the air conditioning, and the heat was getting unbearable, literally making us cranky and physically sick. We were snapping at each other, walking around with scowls on our faces trying to find some kind of relief.

Shortly afterward, I stuck my fingers, accidentally, of course in a stray cats mouth. Three little puncture wounds sent me to the ER and being admitted for for 24 hours while they pumped me full of two different IV antibiotics, and anti-fungal medicine, blood thinners, steroids and breathing treatments.

How weird it is that you feel like you have a slight injury and end up on all of these medicines that make you feel like you want to just roll over and quit breathing. I’m tired but I’m wired at the same time. I’m edgy one minute and calm the next. It’s like I’m on some kind of roller coaster ride. I walk around just feeling weird inside and to add to the mess of all this , the antibiotics have caused another type of infection that I am now treating too.

As I am going through this pharmaceutical illness, the first of the month rolls around. I have two more doctor visits to pay for than just the normal one. We have to run here and there to get the bills paid, get to the food bank and still get to all the infusion appointments on time. Besides all of these there are now some concerns over the well being of several family members.

It’s times like this, everyone has them, whether it is financial, medical, or emotional, we start to feel overwhelmed. It’s times like this that you just want to holler up to God and ask why this has to happened right after you have received a big blessing.

I know the answer and it is what I said before. Satan cannot stand it when god blesses someone and he will throw everything he can at you to turn your mind away from God. It’s times like this that we have to stand up and put on the full armor of God “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.” Ephesians 6:12

Ephesians 6: 13 Therefor take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the vile day and having done all to stand firm. 14. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15. and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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Fighting Back

older woman prayingFighting Back

I was diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD years ago. While they tried every antidepressant they could, they never actually helped with the depression, they just numbed me. I walked around like a zombie, not feeling much of anything. I didn’t feel joy, love, hate, or any of those emotions. I guess the best way to describe it is that I felt indifferent to everything around me. I had no opinions, I had no goals, I had not ambition to do anything.

Taking these drugs I was drowsy all the time. I fell asleep on the bus on the way to work, I fell asleep in front of the television, I even fell asleep in church, all the time, not because the sermon was dull, but because this is what those medicines do to you. My metabolism slowed down, I craved sweets, I didn’t eat right and I gained weight. These medications encouraged me to let my health go.

We are human and being that we often try to do everything by ourselves before we ask God for help. I thought I had my depression under control and that’s when Satan started shooting more arrows at me. I lost my job, I became disabled, then my step father passed away. Two years ago my only child died, seven months later my sister passed away. I finally realized recently that I was more depressed over these events than I led others to believe, more depressed than I thought I was.

I would get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and if we didn’t have to go to the hospital for infusion, I would sit in front of the computer, scrolling through the news, scrolling through Social Media, maybe writing an article once in awhile. Before I realized the hours had passed and it was time for the main meal of the day.

I would make myself do the normal chores like making the beds, picking up clutter around the house, doing the laundry and doing the dishes. But that was where it all ended. I had no desire to do any of the things I used to like to do, like organizing everything, crocheting, sewing, container gardening and “writing”. I would sometimes lay down 4 hours after I got up, or after lunch and would sleep for 2-4 hours.

I tried exercising, the ones that I can do without stressing the conditions that I have. That would last for a day or two and then it might be a week or more before I would even try again. I tried eating healthier meals and again that would last for a day or two and then it would be go grab a piece of lunch-meat and cheese or a danish and that would be my main course.

In the evening I would scroll through social media, trying to focus on other peoples problems and pray for them, assuming that getting outside my own concerns and worrying more about others would help me and sometimes it did. Then I would play games until I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I didn’t even play them to win or get to the next level. I just sat there moving objects around until I ran out of lives and then I would go to the next game.

I noticed a change in my attitude. Even though I wouldn’t voice out loud what I was feeling because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I still felt agitated at certain points. Something as simple as someone taking up too many minutes talking to us in Walmart parking lot would start to irritate me. I found myself becoming argumentative with others, something that I didn’t used to do.

I had a very long talk with God last night. I told how ashamed I felt of the way I have been acting for many months now. I asked him to forgive me for becoming lethargic, lazy, lukewarm. I told him I needed his strength, I needed to know he was still there for me, he still loved me and I definitely needed his guidance. The person I was becoming wasn’t me, wasn’t the person I desired to be. I told him I needed him to help me fight back.

It is so easy to fall into the traps that Satan sets for us. He uses one unpleasant incident or a string of incidents to encourage us to fall away from what and who we are supposed to be. God has a plan for everyone, no matter how young, how old, or decrepit or how physically strong we might be. He doesn’t always tell us what that plan is but the only way we can complete what he wants done is to cling to him, have faith in him, recognize the snares that are put in our way and cling to that joy, that redemption, that love and that eternal life that he alone can give us.

But through the grace of God, through his love, through having a relationship with him I have decided that “I AM FIGHTING BACK”.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.


Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

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Water Under the Bridge

bridgesWater Under the Bridge

Life is a long, winding road of experiences, some bad, some good and some just so-so. Satan uses every way he can find to destroy the believers in Christ. He is not omnipotent or omnipresent like God is, so he isn’t everywhere at the same time, but remember that he took 1/3 of the angels with him when he was thrown out of heaven. That’s how he is able to attack so many people. Not only does that 1/3 go around spying on Jesus children but also facilitates some of the actions taken against them on behalf of the King of Liars.

So when you are going through something, Jesus did say there would be trials and tribulations, Satan knows just how to attack you. He may heap more problems on you that it seems you can’t solve any of them because they are coming so quickly. He may use events that happened to you in your past. He will put something in your path that will remind you of terrible times you went through. He will bring to mind the people who may have hurt you or deserted you in a time of need.

You may suddenly have a dream about a person who insulted you, berated you, lied about you, gossiped about you, tortured you physically or mentally or both. The hurt and the hatred find their way to the front of your mind and you wake up feeling like your dreams beat you up. You may keep that dream in your head for days, letting it fill you with pain, hatred, sadness and thoughts of revenge.

He will take the mistakes that you made and throw them in your face, just out of nowhere. Suddenly all the guilt over the things you did wrong overwhelms you and you start to regret everything you did, every mistake you made, even though you know Jesus has forgiven you. He will fill you with sadness, guilt and regret. He will use your sorrow over the loss of loved ones to make you feel like you didn’t do enough for them.

I’ve been through this several times in my life. I suffer from PTSD and Chronic Depression over one level of my life that lasted almost twenty years. I have dreams that frighten me, even though my abuser is nowhere near me and is not a person I include in my present life. I will feel trapped in the dream, like I can’t get away, there is no escape.

But over the years, with the help of the lord I have been able to wake myself from these dreams. Thankfully now, as I push those memories from my mind, the dreams are farther apart. And when he attacks me with my failures and mistakes, I remind myself that all of that was washed away the day that I went to Jesus, asked forgiveness of my sins and started living with him in my heart.

After all, it is all water under the bridge. It has flowed away with time and we can do nothing about the past except allow the current to carry it away. I Pray today that many of you will find peace about the past as you realize it is only “Water under the Bridge.”

Philippians 3:13-14 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

1 John: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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“It’s Never Too Late” is a Falsehood

expiredOver the years I’ve heard many different ideas and opinions on God. I heard or read somewhere that a lot of people believe that when a child is born he has known God, that he knows heaven but as that child develops, within the first year of his or her life, those memories soon disappear as they are replaced with the events in their environment, the people around them, raising them, influencing them such as parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, teachers, preachers and even other children.

I’ve often wondered why God doesn’t let us retain that memory, why we have to lose it and face this failing world and all the trials and tribulations that come with living in it. Why must we start from the beginning, learning about him, sometimes later in life after we have traveled down various and sometimes dangerous roads, making mistakes, getting hurt, maybe abused, maybe getting into things we shouldn’t have, possibly destroying our minds and bodies on those trips down different paths.

Some people believe we are born with an ingrained concept of right and wrong, good and evil, and yet we stray from that ingrained knowledge as we get older, influenced possibly by non-believers or those who have chosen the destructive paths in lives. We are, in the beginning products of our environment and often carry that environment with us into our adult lives. Children learn from repetition and example. What they see, hear and feel as they grow up can, a lot of the time, determine what they will be as they get older.

Some things are forced on us by others but often we just want to fit it, want to be part of the crowd, want to belong and because of that we push back that knowledge of right and wrong, feeling that just this one time won’t matter. It is later that we might realize we joined the wrong crowd or person(s) to fit in with. Often times it is hard to get out of those crowds or away from those people, and some never make it out.

I always had a sense of right and wrong. I never went out of my way to hurt people, but there was a time when my heart was hardened and I did and said what I believed would ensure my survival at the time. Sadly I have said things to people in my early life that I regret to this day. I took out, verbally on others the frustration, hate, and yes fear of my own situation on them because I couldn’t let my voice be heard in front of those I feared.

I often regret that God didn’t call to me until later in my life, in my late 30’s and early 40’s, but when he did, when I stopped and listened, he opened my mind, he softened my heart, and gave me an desire to learn more. I am thankful that he did call me but I often think of how I missed sharing him with so many people from in my past

He has taught me so much since I became a Christian and I am sometimes sadden that I didn’t have that knowledge when I was much younger. I have to remind myself that his ways are not our ways and that he has his reasons for allowing our lives to take certain paths.

My only wish is that now that I know him, that he will still give me many more years to share his love, his plan of salvation, his daily blessings and allow me to be a blessing to as many as is possible until the day he decides it’s time for me to come home.

Do you know him? To know him is the ultimate experience in this life. No earthly device, no man made convenience can ever equal what he has to offer us. Do you want this experience? It’s simple. You don’t need to go to a church, you don’t need to wait for someone to lead you in prayer.

You can speak to him yourself at any time, anywhere and in private. Just ask him and he will be there. Just tell him you realize all you’ve done wrong and ask his forgiveness,ask him to come into your life and guide you on the rest of your life in what he would have you do, then go out and share his love.

Not everyone is called to teach or preach. You can be a living example to others, showing his love, his mercy, his forgiveness and his kindness. And when someone asks how you can be so happy in a world that is dangerously close to destroying itself, tell them the truth. Tell it is because you have Jesus and suggest that they might want to meet him too.

You’ll know what to do and what to say for the Holy spirit will guide you. You will still suffer while here on earth but you will enjoy eternal life without pain, sickness, grief or suffering forever when he call his children home and maybe you will bring some other lost souls with you.

The saying “it’s never too late” is a falsehood. He’s coming back and it may be real soon and if you haven’t made the right decision by then “IT WILL BE TOO LATE.”

Isaiah 55: 6″Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.”

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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The “What If” Stage

question markThe “What If” Stage

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have found solutions, or what to say after the fact. We all go through this. We rethink something over again and again, and then maybe years later it pops into our mind “What if I had said this” or “ I should have done this” or “If maybe if I had done it this way or said it that way”.

Unfortunately we cannot turn back time. Life is a long line of learning experiences, some that we can use later on as life goes on and some we can share with others that may help them before they make the same mistakes we did.

I have so many friends that have lost loved ones lately and my heart hurts for them because I know they are going through the “what if” stage right now. Rethinking everything they ever did for or with that loved one and everything they ever said to them, wondering if they missed something a long the way that might have kept them here longer.

It just doesn’t work like that, oh I how I wish it did. I went through that phase with Ken when he passed away, looking for that one thing that I might have missed that might have kept him here longer, but I could not find anything even though I was certain that I missed something.

I did it with my son and sister within the last two years. Wondering if something I said or did could have changed the road my son chose to go down or maybe there was something I missed saying to my sis that would have changed her mind about getting an operation that she knew she needed.

We can’t change the past. We can only learn from it. There are a few hard facts we have to face. First, we cannot live someones life for them, they have to live it themselves and sometimes no matter what we say or do for them, it doesn’t turn out right. The other one is that we are not perfect. We don’t come into this world knowing everything and we don’t go out of it knowing everything. The major hard fact that we have to realize is that we are not God. His ways are not our ways and everything is in his hands.

I thank god for helping me through the “what if” stages for it is a tool the devil likes to use. He wants us to feel guilty. He wants us to believe that no matter what we do, we fail and will never be forgiven and will never see the Glory of God. He would have us believe that when a loved one dies, it has to have been because of our neglect, it had to have been our fault.

Rest easy in the loving hands of the Lord. He tells us we will never be perfect and he tells us our sins are forgiven if we come to him in true repentance. I know I will go through many more “what if” stages before I go home to God, but I have his guarantee that he is still in control, not just with my life, but of those that I love also.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand

Isaiah 45:6-7

That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things

Job 12:10

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind