A Broken Heart…? Hang on Tight…

polar bear

A Broken Heart?…Hang on Tight…

I haven’t  had a broken heart too many times in my life. But I have had it broken. Is yours broken? Has it been?

When the hurt continues to hit you relentlessly…everything can cloud up…the emptiness threatens to set in because the assaults just keep coming.

It can even be hard to hang onto our faith about the matter. Maybe you are struggling to believe God will ever! redeem the situation you are in or rescue the person you love so deeply who is off the rails.

The very foundation of your faith is being assaulted. Maybe you feel faithless because you believe (see it all) incorrectly. It certainly can’t be that God is failing you and me. He simply doesn’t. Still…the pain of being hurt so deeply can rock our faith. Oh, the agony of trying to understand how this could possibly be happening…again. How can it be allowed to continue on and become worse by the minute.

Maybe you are utterly…exhausted. Have you come to the point where you have nothing left? Maybe your mind wanders to, “What is the point? Is this all there is?”

Maybe you are a faithful parent, who has devoted your all for fifteen or twenty years and now you have a child who completely rejects you and perhaps the faith-life you so carefully taught. Maybe you, or someone you love has a spouse who has suddenly decided he or she doesn’t want to be married. Equally as painful…there is the spouse who stays in the marriage, doesn’t engage and shows no desire to find joy in the relationship. He or she has checked out. Maybe you or someone you love has been given a life-altering diagnosis.

Hang on. Hang on to God when you drag out of bed in the morning. Hang on to His love as you go through the day. Hang on to His words. Be intentional about recalling His faithfulness through the ages and throughout your own life.

Hang on to prayer and continue your relationship with Him, no matter how wobbly you feel about it all.

He is faithful…even when it doesn’t look like it. He has promised to turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) 26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

He has promised to do surgery on our hearts and the hearts of our descendants so that we can love Him with all of our hearts souls and minds.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NIV) 6  The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

He doesn’t expect us to open our confused and broken hearts on our own…or our loved ones to open their own hardening hearts or blind eyes!

Pray…for your loved ones…pray for yourself.

 Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV) 7  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

He has promised. He is faithful to do what He has promised…despite what it looks like right now. His plan is larger…broader…more all-consuming than we can possibly imagine.

Most of the time when I write a blog, I “feel it”. I feel the hope of it. Today…I am not feeling it. I am just hanging on by my fingernails to His faithfulness. Maybe you are too.

Still…you and I know He is faithful. Eventually our feelings will catch up with what we know to be Truth…

Hang on…hang on tight…

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Relationships and Rules…

wendy football

RELATIONSHIPS AND RULES…

Little ones.

You have to tell them not to touch the flame of a candle or to stick a pebble up their nose. You have to teach them not to eat things that are dirty or poisonous…not to touch their momma’s cute little figurines.

Some things are for their own good and some things are for the good of their present and future relationship with others.

As we grow older, if we are emotionally healthy, we don’t look at those guidelines as harmful or prohibitive.

Yet, as adults, some of us look at God’s guidelines as cramping our style or not allowing us freedom.

Really?

Why do we do that? It makes no more sense than to look back and think our parents were snapping us down because they didn’t want us to stick a metal skewer in a light socket.

Let’s think this thru just a little. All of life involves relationships. God planned it that way. He wants a meaningful relationship with us and then…he wants us to have fulfilling relationships with others. We are wired for relationships. It is was keeps the life in living.

Of course, the enemy wants our relationships damaged. He wants us to hold back, to be reclusive. It is what takes the life out of living.

We tend to cooperate with the enemy, because we think we know better than God. We are naturally selfish and self-protective…and often in all of the wrong ways.

Pick your poison.

Maybe you have a quick tongue and you excuse it with, “That’s just the way I am.”

Maybe it is your carelessness about developing your relationship with God. “I am too busy…too tired…it doesn’t make sense.”

Maybe it is your sex life. God tells us to confine sex to marriage. Most have sex before marriage and eventually experience the damage of that particular rebellion. Of course, selfishly, many have sex outside of their own marriage. The generations that destroys!

Maybe you are a stranger to telling the truth. God tells us not to lie. Every one of us has lied. For some, because we have chosen not to correct ourselves swiftly and do life honestly, lying has become a way to make life work for us.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.” ― Walter Scott,

Lies are horrible. They destroy relationships. They destroy your own emotional health and joy. It becomes harder and harder to see how to make life work for you without lying.  Lies destroy your family and your future, unless you are willing to see it for what it is…and do the work.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) 37  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

We resist this kind of life because we can think of it as restrictive.

Really?

It is passed off as old fashioned and simplistic.

Really?

The truth is…rejecting God’s directives is not only self-serving …it is unintelligent and lazy. One who thinks this way thinks only of the moment. There is no thought about where this behavior will take him/her…no thought of how it will affect others. No thought of the damage it is going to do down the road.

Yet somehow, it is twisted into the “better way”.

Just like a two year old, sticking that metal into the light socket and cocking his eyes over at his mom to be sure she isn’t looking…

Are you systematically exploding your own present and future world, because (by your actions) you are saying that you believe your way is smarter, more progressive, more free and full of joy, than God’s way?

Really?

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WHO’S YOUR DADDY…?

airplane final

Who’s Your Daddy…?

First thing this morning, I heard a pastor quote this verse:

1 Samuel 17:45 (TLB) 45  David shouted in reply, “You come to me with a sword and a spear, [and javelin] but I come to you in the name of the Lord of the armies of heaven and of Israel—the very God whom you have defied.”

 So then, of course, I had to go back and review the exact words to which he was replying. Here they are:

 1 Samuel 17:43-44 (TLB) 43  “Am I a dog,” he [the giant] roared at David, that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44  “Come over here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals,” Goliath yelled.

 Are you hearing this? I mean, does this not make you giggle a little? “He cursed David by the name of his gods.” What a bully. What a lying bully! He actually thought David was going to be intimidated by cursing him in the name of gods who didn’t exist!

Satan has had thousands of years of practice, though. He knows his fraudulent words…his angry threats hit the mark!

 My heart is smiling as I say to you my friends …this (little David) is us! The thing is, do we realize that the enemy has to conjure up lies in his own head about how puny we are? He knows the power of God in us! He is the bully who puffs out his chest and yells, “You little punk…who are you to stand here in front of me shaking your puny fist!”

But a bully is all bluff. He knows what he hopes no one else realizes. Secretly, he is petrified that this is the battle he is going to lose. If he somehow loses to this little runt…if he can’t bluff his way through this one…he is going to lose the fear of everyone around Puny. Then…if he loses those five guys, that means they have five more who will stand up to him and then … there are Puny’s siblings and cousins.

So he bluffs and he bluffs hard! He does and says everything he can to make Puny believe he has lost the battle before it has even started.

Like Goliath, he is saying, “Am I a wimp that you come at me with your baby friends and your tiny balled up fists? Who’s your daddy? Where is he? Oh yeah, I forgot, he is as puny as you are! Who’s your daddy? He is nuthin’! He can’t help you. He won’t help you! Go ahead…come closer…take a swing and I will tear you apart!”

Surprising even himself, Puny yells back; “You come to me with your tough looking buddies and your big mouth, but I come to you in the name of my Daddy—the very man you have just defied.” At the exact moment he finishes that sentence, Puny turns to look behind him, throws out his arm with bravado and says, “Let me introduce you to my Dad…the Commanding General of the Armed Forces…”

 Out walks the most muscular, confident, tall, fear-no-evil man that Bully and his friends could have ever imagined. Trailing confidently behind him are six more just like him. They are well armed and in full combat uniform. All eyes lock in on Bully and his friends. They are frozen…they are speechless. Suddenly…there is a wall of Power between Puny and Bully. There is nothing left for Bully and his (now somehow smaller looking) ragtag buddies to do but bolt and run at breakneck speed.

 Oh…Bully and his buddies will be back another time…probably with reinforcements. But Puny has experienced the power of his Dad. He and his friends will move forward with more confidence…more experience…more Truth.

 We too, should be armed with Truth. Yes…the enemy says (through someone else’s words or our own thoughts/doubts), “You got nuthin’ and your Daddy is as powerless as you are.”

But…we can say with confidence, “You come to me with a bully’s lies. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of the armies of heaven and earth—the very God whom you have just defied.”

 We are meant to be victorious! We are victorious when we rehearse/remember in whose Name we fight this war!

 Isaiah 40:27-31 (NASB77) 27   Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? 28   Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. 30  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31  Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Are You Fighting For…?

sunset tree our neighborhood

Who Are You Fighting For…?

If you aren’t praying for guidance or strength today, who is praying for guidance and strength for you? If you aren’t praying for you and you make poor decisions today, those decisions are not likely just for today. Decisions last. Decisions build on one another.

If I don’t bother to pray for a loved one I know is off the tracks, today’s decisions are likely to be more destructive than they would have been. If I am not praying for his protection/her protection…who is?

How many days have you neglected to pray? Maybe you have prayed faithfully but now…you are discouraged and feel your prayers have “done no good”, so you haven’t prayed for someone for days…or even months. Years?

Would you feel safe if you knew our soldiers were fighting for our freedom in a very crucial war but just got tired of the fight and took the day off? Think the enemy advanced today? What about if they took the week off, or two months? Think the enemy has been more bold in the battle plan…has advanced in ways they would not have, had they known they were up against a determined troop?

I think our problem might be that (until we are in the thick of it) we don’t really believe it is a war and…we don’t believe our spiritual weapons make that much of a difference. When we do get into the thick of it, we pray and don’t see perceivable results. So, since we lack something tangible …prayer doesn’t seem real or effective. God’s Word has seemingly lost its punch.

So we quit for a while….maybe just days…maybe months…or years.

If I was the enemy of your soul…that would be my strategy. I would work to get you to lose heart…to become exhausted and discouraged.

The very encouragement you need to keep on fighting, comes from the very weapons you are too discouraged to reach for. The very thing your loved one needs to stay out of the next step of destruction, is your prayer for protection.

After all, as your enemy, I would get two for one. Discourage you and leave your loved one unprotected. If I strategically keep that going long enough, the circle just gets broader.

Families…and then generations…lost.

If you long for victory…start fighting the battle with the right weapons!

Let me suggest that you pray these Scriptures daily for your family and for yourself. They are God’s Word…how could they be empty prayers? The Scriptures will encourage you to keep praying for yourself and…for your loved ones!

You won’t be so prone to lay down your MIGHTY weapons:

Micah 7:7-8 (NASB77) 7  But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. 8   Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.

 Psalm 138:7 (NASB) 7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

Need to know that God is working in your life and the lives of those you love? Here you go:

Jeremiah 24:7 (NASB) 7  ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB) 6  “The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB) 26  “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Sheep Hear My Voice… “Do you really think He would die for you and then not talk to you?” Priscilla Shirer

Don walking on bridge

“MY Sheep Hear My Voice…”

Priscilla Shirer: “If you don’t spend the days anticipating that God will talk to you…you will not be driven to spend time with Him and…when He does speak to you, you will just say, ‘It’s just something I came up with.’ You will assume it was something else when it could very well be God.

John 10:27 ‘My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.’

To hear does not just mean hearing with our ears. It means, understand, recognize and perceive the essence of what is being said.”

Through His Holy Spirit, God makes His Word life-giving. The “essence” is feeling…understanding…knowing that He loves us and wants to show us the most meaningful path…custom-made for our lives. From His Word (empowered by His Holy Spirit) we learn, we hope, we draw encouragement, correction and direction.

And yet…there are times I feel I do not hear Him as often as I should or in the ways He truly intends. So as I study, my hope should be to revive (or begin) my sense of His voice more strongly and more consistently.

Priscilla says about this John 10:27, “He is real clear about pointing out here a ‘relationship’… ‘my’ sheep. He is saying that ‘the result…the default position of My relationship with you is that you CAN and SHOULD hear My voice!’”

The default position! Is that your default position? Is it mine?

No wonder! No wonder the television and electronics are so readily used to do such destruction to the minds and hearts of every one of us. How can we possibly hear…or refine our hearing abilities when there are constant voices, images consuming the space in our heads, hearts and minds?

What damage we do to our marriage and child-parent relationship or parent-child relationship when we are buried in electronics or television while someone we love is trying to talk to us. You cannot do any more hurtful thing to a loved one than to make him feel his conversation has to be fitted between the screen in front of you. That…is not a relationship. Your child, parent, friend or spouse feel like he or she is an unimportant add-on. Each of your relationships needs to be nurtured and enjoyed…not left feeling tolerated between texts or television.

Remember, God longs for a real and vibrant relationship with you.

After all…He gave His life for that very thing.

Priscilla says, “Do you really think He would die for you and then not talk to you?”

Begin this day (every day) with Him. Come into His presence with thanksgiving. Then talk about the things you need to sort out. Pray for those who need prayer. Read something that is spiritually significant…something that points you to Scripture. Soak it in…ask Him to show you what you need to know and…strengthen you to apply it to your life.

But remember…be intentional throughout each day about anticipating His voice…His direction and yes, even His loving correction.

You will recognize His voice more and more and your relationship with Him will grow astonishingly strong!

Ephesians 2:18-22 (HCSB) 18  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19  So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21  The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22  You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

 

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Feeling Trapped…? Said It All? Think Words Are The Answer in THIS Situation?

lizard in don's hand (cuts tail off) Still...think this is best of the lizard

FEELING TRAPPED…? Said It All? Think Words Will Help?

 “GOD will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!” Exodus 14:13 The Message

“Explore the Bible” Exodus:

“The Egyptian chariots pursued the Israelites into the dry seabed, God caused them to swerve and stall. Even the Egyptians themselves realized that their confusion and difficulty was not coincidence; this was all happening because…Israel’s God was fighting for his people.”

As I read this, I was thinking of a heartbreaking situation that is happening in our family. Each of us has done what we know to do, sometimes to a fault, sometimes with God’s leading. We have reached a place where we know there is likely nothing left we can do. We have set out the boundaries and asked for a choice to be made.

Still…we tend to wonder…should we try/say this one more thing?

As I pondered this “one more thing” and read that “Israel’s God was fighting for his people” I thought of the words of Exodus 14:13. I hadn’t read the Scripture in “Explore the Bible” yet…I was reading the editor content first. I asked God for confirmation that “standing still and waiting on the deliverance of the Lord” was what He was saying to me.

I looked over (with the sense that I would find some type of confirmation somewhere in our reading for today…but thinking how that perfect confirmation was “too much to hope for”…it would be a “true miracle”.

I looked to the left for the Scripture passages for this lesson and wouldn’t you know it…not somewhere buried within the passage…but the very first verses were:

Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV) 13  Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

The Message Paraphrase writes verse 14 this way:

14  “GOD will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

Message received…message accepted.

Miracle received…miracle accepted.

Have you said your piece ad nauseam to get through to someone in your life who is causing themselves and others pain…or about to (again)? Have you seen no results…fought the battle on your knees until you feel you are just repeating the same things God has heard from you a thousand times before?

Our battle is a spiritual one…never stop your knee-time. This is your most powerful weapon. But don’t just talk…listen. Listen to what the Spirit is saying through the Word. Pay attention to the things He has taught you for other seasons, but be ready to be reconfigured and redirected (even through the old lessons) during this new season.

Maybe you have come to the place where you feel He is saying to “Let go”…but you are afraid. Even though He is telling you to let go…to be quiet, you are still tempted to try “one more time” or “one more thing”.

As you follow His directions to “Be still and know that I am God”…remember:

God…really is…fighting for you…and…for those you love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HIS Insight…is Freedom!

Fox peeking in tree at Stagecoach Inn Saledo

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NLT) 12  Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13  We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14  But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15  Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. 16  But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

There is such freedom in having our eyes and hearts opened by the Holy Spirit. There is understanding…and there is freedom.

Think about working on your job or caring for your family with special protective glasses that blur your vision significantly. You are trying to see what it is your two-year old has in her hand…is it dangerous? Is it too small for her to be playing with? Is it a Cheerio and perfectly fine for her?

With clouded vision, your day is constantly filled with confusion and lack of the right information you need to make timely decisions. It is exhaustion. You are shooting blind…literally.

Or you are on the job. Is that your spouse coming down the hall and why is he here? Is there an emergency of some kind? You move as quickly as you can. (Darn glasses.) Your body language says you are expectant and worried all at once. You reach out and affectionately touch his arm and press in slightly toward his body, “Is everything okay, what is going on?” Suddenly, you realize you are face to face with the company CEO.

Only minutes ago, you picked up your co-workers phone (accidentally left at your desk). Thinking it was yours, you began scrolling through, trying to make out incoming texts, just as he walked up.

The last few weeks (since wearing the glasses) have been filled with constant blind struggles. Everything is so much harder to understand…to see…to interpret. You feel less confident, your body language is tentative, nerves jangled and co-workers are beginning to have less confidence in anything you do or say.

Even your family is disregarding you in many ways.

Whether at home or work, you push forward when you should hold back…you have held back when you should have pushed forward. Others have become exasperated with you, at times and you have been exasperated with them.

You simply don’t have the vision to have the insight.

That is what is being described in this passage. If we are unbelievers or believers who are ignoring the vision of God through His Spirit in us…

We simply don’t have the insight to live life in freedom.

There is so much freedom in listening and obeying His voice!

His ways are truly higher than our ways and in Him…

There is freedom!

 

 

 

 

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