Category: Jesus

50

2 Peter 3:8  (NIV) 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 50. Half a century old. Me. Wait- what?! How did that happen?! When I … Continue reading 50

Connecting the Dots

John 17:20-21  English Standard Version (ESV)

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…”

Connecting the Dots5

 

If you have ever struggled with feeling like you don’t belong, I understand.  If you’ve ever struggled with the worry that people just wouldn’t understand you, I do understand.  If you’ve ever wondered if anyone heard your cry, I’m listening.  If you’ve ever struggled with how you fit into the grand scheme of things, boy, oh boy, do I know how that feels.

I’m finally starting to see where God has been leading me my entire life.  Funny thing is that, as much as I fought it, it is right into His arms. Funnier thing is that, when I got here, there were a whole bunch of others here, too who had thought the same stuff!  We are now connected in Christ.  My dots are connected to their dots now.  And there is strength in numbers.

The scripture I started this post with is where Jesus is praying that people would come to know Him by hearing the gospel and the testimonies of the ones who were with Him.  That people would believe in Him and come to the Father through Him by being witness to the changed lives of His disciples.  His prayer was that those who came to believe because of those lives would become one with them, and one with Him, just as He is one with God.

That’s not the only time the Bible says that He prayed for us.  Luke 22:32 shows that Jesus prayed for Simon, that his faith would not fail him.  John 14:16 says He would pray for the Father to send us an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be our helper so He could be with us forever.  Most importantly, in my opinion, when he pleads with God to “forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” in Luke 23:34. No doubt about it- Jesus is our great defender.

By praying for us, Jesus set an example of how we should lift each other up.  In this culture of “whoever looks best in their neighbor’s eyes wins,” that’s a challenge for most of us.  I take the challenge seriously now.  In fact, I published my testimony the other day and I can’t even describe the whirlwind of  response it has received.  I prayed it would open doors for people who thought they were alone.  I prayed it would give others courage to do whatever it takes to get their voices back. I prayed for grace as people came to know my secrets.

Then I realized that, wait- people would know my secrets!  But then they might come to understand that they are not alone. And maybe some of them would come to understand that they were meant to hear my story because God is calling out to them!  Yes, that He is calling their sleeping spirits awake because they need to know that He is still on the throne and that He is still in the business of setting the captives free!

I have no more secrets, at least that I am aware of today.  All of what has been done to me and all that I have done has been confessed to God and to a small handful of who I consider to be safe sisters in Christ.  As I continue to walk in His protective shadow, I am being equipped to handle any other secrets that come to the surface but I am also being prepared to address the wrongs I have committed.  I have not been blameless in this life.  But I am free.  I am happier than I’ve ever been.  I am no longer ashamed or afraid.

So I pray that you are free.  I pray that if you are not free, you would find a way to start that process.  It can be as simple as looking at a friend and saying, “Hey, do you have a minute?  I really need to get something off my chest.”  Or maybe over a cup of coffee, you can start asking God to put someone in your path that would speak to your heart.  Someone who would speak to your pain, be the first to say it so you can say, “Yeah, that happened to me, too.”  Oh, the dots that are connected when we find we aren’t alone!

•     •     •   

There is healing in Christ.  There is freedom in Christ.  There is joy here.  No lie.

Peace y’all….

I’m No Billionaire

Mark 8:36 English Standard Version (ESV)

36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

POWERBALL2

I woke up today with absolute certainty that I had not won the lottery, the biggest in history, from what I understand. I might have wondered differently if I had actually bought a ticket.  Now, before you start thinking I’m being a judgmental self-righteous Christian telling you gambling is a sin and that you’re doomed to hell for buying tickets, stop right there.  Stop reading this post right now and go back to the very beginning of this blog where I tell you it’s all about me.  This blog is about me; the failures described here are about me; the interpretations of the scriptures are about me. It’s my life I’m talking about, not yours. Ok?

We good?   Good.  Let’s move on then…

I have never wanted to be rich.  I’ve always wanted to be debt free, but that’s a different concept.  I’ve lived through too many examples of the kind of damage that having too much money can do.  I was raised poor but with all of my needs met and once, when I had a job making three times as much as the highest paying job I had ever had, I became a complete idiot with the money.  I’m blessed to have survived the aftermath of a layoff with my sanity.  I know a lot of people that were laid off with me lost everything.

The scripture from Mark that I used at the beginning of this post is about more than money though.  To me, it’s about what we treasure most.  Look at today’s inCouragement calendar:

January 14-

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~Hebrews 11:1

I’ve always thought of those words in the context of believing in God.

But that morning it seemed the One Who Loves Us whispered that part of faith is also about believing that our obedience makes a difference- when we can’t see the results.

~Holley Gerth, Heart to Heart With Holley

My Input:  Holley’s thoughts about faith had never occurred to me but the concept isn’t too far fetched.  I mean, I used to see the Bible as a rule book that I just couldn’t keep up with.  I used to think I had to beg God to help me or to bless me and then list all the things I had done or not done in order to convince Him I deserved it.  Winning the lottery used to be on that list.  Oh, yes.  I used to try to convince God that He knew I would just turn around and give most of it back (after I got myself and my family out of debt and bought an island and a new truck and all the other junk I didn’t need)… yeah, I made those promises. You ever do that? Tell God,  “I’m gonna buy a piece of land so big my whole family can all build houses on it!” We all know better… I’m convinced God does, too.

I tried searching the Bible for wisdom on the topic of gambling and it all boils down to Matthew 6:21 for me.  Where my heart is shows what my real treasure is. If what really drives me is money, or if it’s sports (Go Vols), or my kids, or service to my church or my job; if it’s anything BUT chasing after the heart of God, then that thing becomes my God.  If He’s not first, in my life at least, He may as well be last.

Only this past year have I come to understand that the more I choose to seek the face of God instead of His hand, the more obedient I become.  I mean that like this: the more I choose Christ and the more I strive to respond to this life like He would, the more willing I become to lose things- things like bitterness, rage, hate, competition, envy, jealousy, greed…The more I lean into Him, the more thankful I become for the grace that was shown to me, the more grace comes to me.  Is that crazy or what?!  Gratitude with an open and obedient (meaning, “Yes God, please change me because I’ve been such a stinking train wreck all these years!”) heart causes change in my life that leads to more gratitude!

So, there you go.  I didn’t win the lottery.  I’m no billionaire today.  But I am rich.  You better believe it!  Because I accepted Him, I am a child of the One True King!