The Journey Continues: Oct. 31, 2017

What a beautiful morning it is.  In our travels of the country yesterday we discovered some gorgeous farm fields and towns.  Met some truly delightful people who have lived here all their lives and love it.  In their words, if one wants to enjoy their country, come in the spring when the trees are blooming and the shrubs and flowers are coming to life.  I resonate with that.  The fields are being harvested:  cotton, soybeans, peanuts, sorghum, and lots of types of beans like butter beans.  I do love the country and what man does with it.  My word, everything is covered with trees so any field farmed was once a field of trees.  No small task getting fields ready.  Our country removed sagebrush but that would be a piece of cake compared to sawing down trees.

This morning I began reading in Matthew.  The lineage of Christ is told as one begins the chapters.  I was stricken with the reality of man and his selfishness.  How far we remove ourselves from our One True God.  I know we are a selfish being, but to get so far from God is just sad and we do it over and over and over again.  God keeps bringing us back to Him and He does it through His Son Jesus.

I keep feeling like I need to be doing something for God here but He keeps reminding me that coming to Him is what He wants me doing.  For months now I’ve had written “new creation” at the top of my prayer list reminding me that God wants me to remember I’m a new creation.  Well, it seems God is bringing the point home that a new creation in Him rejoices in Him first and foremost.  The need to do something for Him is far more about me and my nature.  He wants me to love and worship Him.  This I want to do well.  What a tremendously great God we have (notice I didn’t say serve).  I’m glad God brought me to this point in time better equipping me to simply love and worship Him.  Serving Him is not always about doing as I often think.  It is far more about loving and worshiping Him.  “I worship You, Almighty God–there is none like You!”

The Journey Continues: Oct. 30, 2017

Today I feel rested and ready to explore this new territory.  We spent yesterday staying close to “home”.  Found a great little place to eat lunch–breakfast and got some good ideas for eating other than chain restaurants.  Today we will explore the inland mountain towns.   It will be cooler today than the rest of the week so we are waiting until tomorrow to hit the beach.

As I started this morning with devotions I found myself more rested than I’ve been in quite a while.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  I finished the Old Testament, did my journaling and asked God what I should make of this peacefulness?  It seemed he wanted me to enjoy it–so I am.

I got started reading in the workbook I recently purchased to address a recovery group focusing on homosexuality.  I believe it will be great.  I know I want to go through both it and the one for sexual abuse.  But, I don’t know where I’ll start at this point.  We will wait and see where God opens doors and how our pastors feel once we hit the first of the year and know better who will be co-partnering with me.

Wow, my spirit feels whole today.  There are no longings, just a sense of contentment.  I’m sure this is a good thing, but it is somewhat foreign.  That awakening yesterday morning about reconciling my worth to God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit is likely the root of this, but I’ve also learned not to jump too quickly into less rooted beliefs.  I know in my head They have done this work for each of us, including me.  I’ll just leave it as peace one day at a time.  Satan will try and destroy it I’m sure, but I will be better equipped to surrender the attack rather than fight it on my own.  To God be all Glory!

The Journey Continues: Oct. 29, 2017

Well, we made it.  Kathy and I are in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  We are not relishing in the way we got here, but we are so glad to be on ground and in our place we booked so many months ago.  As we were to leave Boise yesterday morning, one of the plane engines wouldn’t start so the pilot taxied the plane back for maintenance to take a look.  I still don’t know what was wrong but finally, 5 hours later, we were rerouted to fly here through Chicago rather than Houston.  This got us to Charleston, SC at 10:00 pm rather than 4:30 pm.  Thus, all I can tell you is that our place is lovely, there is a beautiful pond and fountain out our view and someplace, there is a Walmart within 5 minutes.  We arrived shortly after midnight to our accommodations so we had no means of seeing anything.  When I registered they wanted to know the color of the car and the license plate #.  I didn’t know any of this.  Turned out the car plates are Mississippi and I still don’t know the color.  It does drive well so that is good!

This morning’s devotions was in Malachi–the last book of The Old Testament.  I found myself being challenged to visit a dark place in my memories.  They were the beatings of childhood from dad.  Malachi was telling the Israelites they needed to obey God and that their punishment was a result of their sins.  Joyce Meyer was saying in one of her responses that we sometimes need to forgive God even though we know He is a Perfect God.  If we are harboring resentment/bitterness from childhood, we need to let it go.  God understands.  I thought I’d done all of this but dad’s beatings came immediately to mind.  As I took these memories to my journaling I found myself needing to tell God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit that the actual beatings I had as a child were not from my sins of disobedience, they were from dad’s pride and anger.  I have no memory of a beating from disobedience.  I said I forgave them for not stepping in even though I know this is part of God’s commitment to man–choice.

The results of this were nothing less than pure mercy and grace and felt like pure kindness.  I sensed The Holy Spirit telling me, “See son, I’ve been with you all along.  Now you know I’m with you and we can be a powerful team.  You don’t need to question your value to US–God, Jesus and Me.  We have cleansed you, redeemed you and made you whole.  I wept.  Isn’t God amazing!  I love Him so.


The Journey Continues: Oct. 28, 2017

Today’s journey takes Kathy and me to South Carolina.  It would be nice if I could say there is some dynamic reason for this location, but there isn’t.  It is a place neither of us have gone and we like to explore new places.  It is also housing some of the Appalachian Mountains where the colors should be rich about now.  Next to the colors I want to have a week of Southern cooking.  I don’t want the spiciness of it, but I do love fried chicken and ribs, cobblers, and more!

I’m also taking several materials I want to simply have time to investigate.  These center around the recovery ministries I’d like to see us use this coming year at church.  They are childhood abuse and homosexuality.  These two topics are like deserts in many churches.  People know about them but they don’t know how to respond to someone desiring help overcoming the bondage of them.  I know them well and have hidden the effects of them on my life.  I know God is wanting me to use my experiences as His tools the rest of my life.  So, this time will be good allowing me to walk the path and let God speak.

I’m also working with a couple schools for the remainder of this school year–June of 2018.  I’m taking some materials they are wanting to implement so I can be of good assistance for them.  All in all, this will be a time for God to have His Way with Kathy and me.  We will be driving all over a few states bordering S. Carolina and the three of us will have time just for us.  I treasure this opportunity.  God is so Good!

The Journey Continues: Oct. 27, 2017

Yesterday I blogged about the spiritual emphasis I’m experiencing presently on my journey of life.  Last night I awoke about 2:55 am filled with fear and despair.  These aren’t new feelings for me.  Typically I steel them away trying to discredit any reason for them.  I told God I was wanting to surrender them to Him but wasn’t sure if there was something from them I was to know?  There didn’t seem to be substance to them, just that sense of great fear–but about what??  I was eventually able to go back to sleep.

This morning as I’ve had my devotional time I asked God if he had something He wanted me to know from this experience?  He took me back to the training I went to in Albany, OR for the Mid-Valley Fellowship–the same man who came to our church almost two weeks ago for our Hope for Hurting People conference.  In his training he used a PowerPoint which emphasized entry points that evil spirits have in our mind.  When one has abuse in their past, there are gaps in our boundaries which allow temptations to come, false beliefs to be established, etc.  These are what he called doors for evil entry.  I had thought at the time this was a good demonstration for I know these entries well.  These entries are real for any man.  They are the holes in the boundaries we have or need to have.  As I was asking God this morning for clarity He pointed out that fear and despair are entry points for evil.  If we allow fear to dominate our life we don’t take steps into what the fear is caused from.  We tend to flee from it, isolate from it or simply stay frozen in place and not participate.  Boy do I know these responses well!

As I’ve been wanting to enter more fully into ministries of recovery I’ve been told to prepare for attacks.  This is exactly what last night was all about.  When I surrender the fear the Holy Spirit closes the door (or entry point) to the evil spirit.  If I don’t surrender it, the evil spirit will paralyze me as it has done so much of my life.  God was showing me how the same is true with temptations for pleasure that leads to sin hit.  If I surrender it (call or report my temptations to accountability) The Holy Spirit can close the door or opening for the evil spirit.

One more thing I was made aware of this morning was what happens once The Holy Spirit closes the door to evil.  If evil were to enter and plant the seed of whatever sin, it roots quickly and I (we) sin.  However, if we surrender and the entry is closed, the seeds God is planting are able to grow without the weeds of sin choking them out.  God showed me this morning how He has been planting these seeds.  This looks like our Celebrate Recovery ministry and all the lives which have been changed due to His seeds being planted in this fertile soil.  He said there is much more to plant if we (I) are/am willing to keep surrendering.  So, I am on the surrender track.  For so long I was scared and feared God’s purposes for me thinking my past would stop it in their tracks.  Now God is saying that my past is what He wants to use in this fertile ground.  Wow, He is SO AMAZING!

The Journey Continues: Oct. 26, 2017

Today I started in the book of Zachariah which is the next to the last book of the Old Testament.  He was a major player in the Jews rebuilding the temple when they had returned to Israel after their 70 years of captivity.  I’m not sure, but Zachariah seems to address more clearly the work of God’s angels and spirits in how they talk to him and inspire him to do God’s bidding for him.  I know I’ve been on a trek for some time now to better know, sense and be open to God’s Holy Spirit within me.  I know I have glimpses of this in the morning devotional time, but as I step into the activities of the day, I lose this connection.  I’m in the flesh.

The spirit world is just as real as our human one.  They coincide completely but we are so unaware of this or at least I am much of the time.  It is always after something takes place that I awaken to the reality that–I’ll bet God’s Holy Spirit had a huge part in what I just saw or experienced.  I don’t know if I can be more aware all the time, but I sure want to be open to growing in realm.  A big driver for me is that temptation is fought by The Holy Spirit.  I know fully that I cannot win over temptation if I’m fighting it alone.  Surrender is the key.  Calling on accountability is critical here for confession of need for help is big in surrender.  I’m certainly better than I use to be a short while back, but I’m not good at this yet.  More than this however, I want to live by God’s Holy Spirit within me.  I would love to be more like Jesus which is exactly what The Holy Spirit is to help us with.  Galatians 2:20 says:  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”   I truly want to die to this human self so the Spirit of God can be as live as possible within me.  To God be all Glory!

The Journey Continues: Oct. 25, 2017

This morning God knew I needed some extra time with Him.  He had some things He needed to square away with me.  I think I’ve mentioned my weekly meeting with one of our pastors.  We are working our way through a book by Timothy Keller–Jesus The King.  The book is written from the Biblical book of Mark.  Today’s chapter that we will meet about is the third one entitled:  The Healing.  It is primarily centered around Mark 2:1-5.  In it the paralytic is lowered to Jesus through the roof where Jesus is preaching to the multitude of followers.  The striking message from Jesus is that He tells the paralytic that his sins are forgiven and then He heals him physically freeing him to walk.  The chapter goes deeply into the relevance to us (me).  What is the healing I always wanted and what is it that Jesus wanted?

As I was reading the chapter I found myself realizing (and I’ve said this before) how much I’ve longed for the removal of the shame and guilt of sin done to me.  Over time this has been taking place.  Along with this, I’ve realized how important it was for me to fully become aware of my own sin and what I fled to when I was deep in shame/emotional pain.  I would want to flee to Christ, but I would initially flee to other gods–porn or self-gratification.  Christ has all along wanted to replace these gods with Himself.  My lifetime plea had been to be healed of something that would address the surface problem, but Christ longed to replace the deeper one–the one blocking me from truly embracing Him.  The new creation He had made me to be is being guided into only looking to Him as my One and Only Savior.  How long I’ve known to do this in my head but how long it has taken me to live this out one day at a time and one moment at a time–trusting and obeying.

I’ve always seen myself different from other men.  Christ is showing me that I may be different but that isn’t meaning less than other men.  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.  I am part of the all, not less than the all.  The sin done to me and the sin of me has all been forgiven by the same act of Christ’s obedience to His Own Father–God Almighty.  How much I love Him for this and for His patience helping me know fundamentally that this is done for me too.   Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

The Journey Continues: October 24, 2017

Have you ever had a day when everything got done but the means of it getting done were nothing like the way you had planned?  Well, yesterday was pretty much that way.  After taking Kathy to the airport I came home and had my devotions and wrote the blog entry.  God had specifically told me He wanted me to be a good steward of His attitude as I went about completing my work of the day.  This started with my youngest daughter.  Our meeting began as a typical Earnie and Angie conversation.  In the midst of our battling I was reminded of God’s message to reflect His attitude.  I attempted to do this and the atmosphere suddenly changed to understanding and acceptance.  We made a good agreement and went forward.  When I got home from her place I called my daughter in Oklahoma.  It was amazing to hear that God is working on her in the same way He is working on me.  Doing God’s work and representing His Ways as we do it are certainly no minor endeavor.  My attitude and emotions get in the way all the time.  I know now better than ever how much work (surrender) I need to do in this arena.

It was fun to begin the work with the new school yesterday.  The principal is one whom I hired 30 years ago right out of college to be a 4th grade teacher at my school.  Now she has completed her doctorate and is a principal herself.  Having not done this type of consulting for a few years I found myself needing to reawaken some strategies I hadn’t used for a while.  It also awakened a demon of laziness I’ve always fought–detail.  I truly enjoy building a big picture for the work but putting it into day to day tasks I like to leave for the others.  However, in this work I need to step into it just as I had done living this work out myself day to day.  So, as I was talking to God about it this morning I felt His nudge to “do the work like Him not like me, just as He’d told me yesterday.  Today I meet the 2nd principal and her school.  I don’t know her at all.  I’ll try and be more reflective of my BOSS as I do this.

God is such an amazing God.  I say this often and I truly mean it.  To God be all Glory–great things He has done and great things He wants to do with us if we only Trust and OBEY.

The Journey Continues: Oct. 23, 2017

This past weekend was a blur of fun, laughter, tears, hugs, prayer and watching God work in so many ways.  I didn’t blog as you know due to the lack of private time and space.  However, this did not in any way impede God’s ability to work and use the time wisely for His Kingdom work.  The friends we were visiting started their restorative talks and plan.  God is always at work and how much I praise Him for this.  It was a time of participating in God’s work when everyone was ripe for the harvest.

We got home just in time to leave quickly for two of our grandkids’ birthday parties.  This too were fun.  By the time we got home last night I was exhausted and, knowing I had to be up by 5:00 am to get Kathy to the airport, I needed to go to bed.  However, there was still one more unexpected assignment.  A lady I admire and respect wanted to talk so we talked through a very tough time she’s experiencing presently.  God is showing her some bondage that needs to be addressed and released.  It was actually nice to talk this through with her as she has had much of the same therapy as I so I could reawaken for her steps that I still use each day to keep me in touch with God’s voice and leadership in my life.

Today now has much in it.  I start the work in the two new schools where I’m consulting.  My youngest daughter wants to talk through a business loan and more.  I keep being reminded to take all of this in stride for God is in charge.  In fact, this morning I was reminded by Him that He not only wants me doing His Kingdom Work, but as I step into it  this day He wants it to look like Him and not me.  If my attitude isn’t tuned into His Ways, I will only reflect me.  When I’m working with my own kids it is not always easy to keep my attitude in check.  However, I want to be a good steward of God’s attitude towards us.  So, here we go.  God is such a loving, kind and caring God.  I love receiving His love and giving it.

The Journey Continues: Oct. 20, 2017

Today Kathy and I go on a weekend trip with another couple visiting friends in another state.  These are very close friends we are going to see so I know the time will be filled with fun and laughter.  However, there is an overriding sense of heaviness which supersedes all the other feelings.  That heaviness is weight of bondage.  Our trip is primarily to give support where it is needed.  These friends had found freedom from their hurts, hang-ups and habits while living here.  After their move the old temptations began to return.  Support is thin where they live and reaching out is not happening except to those here.  So, in some way, I feel like we are on assignment today and through the weekend.  I don’t have a plan except to listen closely to God’s Holy Spirit within and respond accordingly.

Yesterday was spent reactivating the consulting work I haven’t done for a few years.  I spent the day with the two principals I’ll work with in their schools as well as with their superintendent.  I felt as though we can make some great progress as we move forward.  It will be a good team.

Many months ago I thought I needed to pull completely away from this consulting work but God helped me understand that my pulling away was more about what I thought I was to do for Him rather than what He wanted me doing for Him.  Now that this is clear, I feel free.  The bondage of completing a task for God hoping I’m doing it well for Him is replaced with the inspiration to complete the work with Him.  God never ceases to be AMAZING.