The Journey Continues: Jan. 11, 2018

The time of testing is upon me.  Will I choose to live by faith or will I choose to live with the need for evidence?  Of course I’m saying I will live by faith.  That is what I’ve been taught all my life and that is exactly what I want to do.  However, God is vividly  showing me the flaws of my actions when I so often say I’ll live by faith but while I’m living each day I’ll interject my choosing in this one instance and in that one.

God has given man choice.  From the very beginning to time man through Adam and Eve have demonstrated and lived by choosing selfishly.  If man desires it man will most often choose desired things over what is likely better for him in the long run.  The last couple days I’ve struggled with my involvement in the things I’m doing.  Is there any evidence that God is glorified and am I the right person to be doing them?  Why are the others connected to the work not seeing the need to act right now like I am?  Is it because I’m off track with God?  Even things like writing this blog is likely a waste of time only done by me to appease my ego so that I am important to man if I can say I write it.

I’m rereading Romans in my devotions.  There’s much there God has been prodding me to better grasp and act on.  This BOLD lesson of today is FAITH through righteousness.  If I am going to have faith and live by faith I must fundamentally trust what I’ve grown to know as The Holy Spirit’s voice within me and act on it.  That very action is righteous living.  If I live by choosing to only act when I feel ok about it, I continue to live by my selfishness and righteousness is set aside.  God wants me to see the darkness in this and I saw it today.

Matthew 17:20 says even if I have the faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for me.  What I want to be sure about is that the faith I have is leading me into total obedience in listening and obeying God’s still small voice with me.  That’s where I want to act–no matter what man says about it.

The Journey Continues: Jan. 9, 2018

I can hardly believe the events of yesterday as they unfolded.  I had blogged that I was returning to work after spending the two weeks with family matters.  In so doing, I got to the school to find the principal wasn’t there.  Her father had passed away and his funeral is tomorrow so she wasn’t returning until the end of this week.  I then got a call that my grandson who lives with us had a car accident very close to our home as he’d headed to work.  This was turning into last Friday’s story.  I left the school and went to the scene of the accident.  He was fine but the person he’d hit was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  Both cars were totaled.  He and I spent most of the day working on details of insurance, his own hospital visit to ensure he’s ok, etc.  God is working all the time on things I know nothing about until they happen.  He wants me to be ready to do my part joining Him.  I’m learning some lessons about staying more loosely attached to all these earthly things I’ve called important so I’m more able to be involved in what God calls important.  Then it’s knowing what steps to take to complete what He wants done rather than trying to take charge as soon as I arrive.  One step at a time I’m learning.

In this journey I’m presently learning that God wants me trusting always and using faith as my motivation to take the present steps He wants me taking.  My devotions this morning were talking about Jesus spending ample time each early morning in prayer.  I do take this time but I certainly see my need to listen more closely to The Holy Spirit so I learn better how to respond away from the early morning and I’m in the events of the day.  Learning to lean and not lead is a lesson of present for me.

The Journey Continues: Jan. 8, 2018

Yesterday I wrote about the lack of accomplishment I had during the Christmas break.  There were two full weeks that got little done pertaining to ministry or work.  The past week I had used time for work prepping a school district I’ll be working with starting tomorrow for 3 days.  But that didn’t accomplishment anything for the recovery ministry work needing organized for proper implementation this year of 2018.  God pointed me into the right vein of thinking however as I did the post yesterday.

As I got to church there was the pastor who had been sick all week.  I was able to talk with him and we are meeting today when I’m done with the school I head to in an hour.  After step study was done I was able to talk with the other gentleman about the accountability I wanted to strengthen in this coming year.  God just took care of my silly concerns in one morning.  He had reminded me that all of this is about His timing and not mine.  I get anxious instead of believing.

This morning’s devotion had me reading the last two chapters of  Romans.  In chapter 15 verse 13 it says:  “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope.”  For two weeks my responsibilities in life had shifted to family.  My time was to be spent strengthening these connections.  This past week the family had gone home so I wanted to get right back into the “work” and God’s timing wasn’t with me.  This quickly led me to thinking I’m incapable, the wrong choice and of course the voices of evil were leaving their destructive messages.  Then I get this message from God this morning about believing and hope.

I really do trust God and believe fully in Him.  I believe in The Holy Spirit.  I find that I do this best right now in the start of my day.  God is asking me to be more awake to Him throughout my day and watch how He is at work in the day.  I’m going to be doing this while I’m in the school and also in my meeting for the recovery ministries.  God is amazing all the time, not just early in the morning.  I want to awaken more to the rest of the day watching how He is working instead of thinking how I’m suppose to be working.  Thank you Father for continued clarity.

The Journey Continues: Jan. 7, 2018

Today as I started my devotions I felt this ache in my gut.  It was as if I’d failed God’s assignments for Christmas break.  I had two weeks to get things done and ready for the beginning of this work in 2018.  Now that it is Jan. 7 and I have only gotten some of it done and there is much still to do. It is not that I haven’t tried.  People were sick and the meetings couldn’t happen.  I took all of this to God and just as He always does, reminded me that His Work is done in His timing–not mine.  I wanted all the steps to be done as I go back to working with schools tomorrow.  He wants me to surrender my will to His much Greater Will.  It is His Will I want to complete anyway.  I just so often have to remember that Will and Timing are in His Control and not mine.

Matthew 12:43-45 says:  (and I paraphrase here) “that when an evil spirit leaves a person it goes into the desert seeking rest.  When it finds none it returns to the place it left finding it swept clean and put in order.  It then goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself and they go in and live there causing the condition for the person to be worse that it had been. ”  As I’ve been reading through Romans this message keeps talking to me.  I, along with any other person wanting to break a sinful habit, needs help to do so.  I confess it, giving it up (casting the evil spirit out) and Christ’s forgiveness cleanses me.  I feel good and move forward.  Of course we all know that the temptations return and we fight them but eventually if we are doing it on our own, they win out.  As I’ve been reading Romans I see a plan I often overlook.  It’s God-intended power helping us resist.  We all know that replacing a bad habit with a good one is the right thing to do.  So, as I’m attempting to break a habit I replace it by confessing the bad habit to my accountability person or sponsor and then call him when the temptation returns.  Calling and confessing the temptation is the new habit taking root instead of allowing the old one to return.  If I try and fight it on my own I almost always lose and cave.  This is like allowing the evil spirit to return with more evil.  Starting the new habit takes humility because I (we) hate having to admit we struggle with it.  Yet, when we confess, there is a peace that only comes following confession.  We never know it without confessing.  Jesus waits for us to take this simple, yet humbling step.

For several years now I’ve witnessed my own failures along this line and those of others wo don’t want to call someone.  However, as I’ve been reading of late God is showing me how critical it is to replace the old habits with new ones and the need for us to come along side the new habit giving it nutrition.  It doesn’t matter the struggle, we all need help/support.  I sure don’t want to be a silent failure any longer.  Being bold and vulnerable in this arena is what God is asking me to be.  He is also reminding me to Trust in Him.  This is His Work and the Timing is now.

The Journey Continues: Jan. 6, 2018

Yesterday was an eventful day and not in a way I’d want to repeat.  It started early with me going to the dentist for an annual check up and then onto the car dealership to have the old changed in Kathy’s car.  While there I was waiting for the car to get finished I got a call from Kathy that our youngest daughter was in a wreck very close to where I was.  I walked outside instantly to see if I could spot it and couldn’t.  My car wasn’t ready so they gave me a ride to the accident location.  I spent the next 3-4 hours with my daughter while the police investigated it, helped her call her insurance co and get directions for steps to take.  The car was eventually taken by a tow truck.  We then walked back to the dealership and got my car.  I took Angie to the wrecking yard so we could get all her things out of the vehicle.  My last item was to take her to the car rental to get a vehicle until the insurance company decided if they were totaling her car.  We got her replacement and I was then planning to leave.  My siblings and spouses were having our get together that afternoon and I was headed to it.  Angie said she was going to the hospital to get checked out as the police and her insurance had asked her to do this.

When I got to my brother’s place Kathy was just leaving.  Angie had gone to work instead of the hospital.  She was confused and bewildered.  Kathy went straight there and took her to the hospital.  She has a concussion and quite a bit of bruising.  I felt terrible leaving her in that state.  I hadn’t recognized any signs of a concussion.  I’d watched her be totally with it during the wreck and all the police info as well as talking with the insurance co and then the rental car place.  Yet as soon as I’d left she did just the opposite of what she was to do.  I left my brother’s and went back to be with the kids until they were to go to their dad’s for the weekend.  She will be ok but needs to rest during the time she has in the weekend.

As I was wrestling with God this morning about all of this He reminded me that I was to do my part and let Him do His.  I also needed to let Kathy do her part as she has a different sense of help than I do.  My help is way more in the arena of action where Kathy is far more sensitive to the emotional need.  God is not absent in all of this but He does like us to point people to Him when He nudges us to do so.  He doesn’t create the chaos in this human world we live in.  We do this quite well ourselves.  However, He is miraculous at using all of this chaos to help us see our need for Him.  I’m very grateful for this!

The Journey Continues: Jan. 5, 2018

Well, my fingers are getting better.  Today was the first time I typed 2018 without correcting the 8 from a 7.  That must mean the habit is being recreated.  There really is some dedication that needs to be put into place in order for habits to be broken or recreated.  We all deal with sin habits that we want broken.  Personally, that’s one reason I enjoy Celebrate Recovery so much.  It keeps me, as well as all that are attending, focused on God rather than the habit and that the habit is addressed by our surrendering it to God rather than trying to tackle it from our own strength.

I’m right in the middle of the book of Romans in my scripture reading.  It is, and has always been, a challenging book.  It nails our need to develop faith in order to have a relationship with God replacing what we thought was our need for good works.  I’ve kind of known this my whole life but I’ve lived my entire life as though I didn’t know it at all.  My relationship with God, even though real, was so dependent upon my “doing good” for Him.  All my doing good had to be done to override what I thought kept Him from loving me. I just saw myself as too dirty.  All this time it was I who didn’t have the relationship with me.  I couldn’t love someone with the dirty past.  Once I was able to separate my past from the person I am (this isn’t done but I’m much further down the road with it) I could then accept Christ’s work on the cross for me.

God is such an incredible God.  This love He has for us is inconceivable from our human perspective.  However, I’m so grateful He is lovingly patient as we grow into a much closer walk with Him.  Don’t give up until the miracle has happened for you.  God so loves you (and me)!

The Journey Continues: Jan. 4, 2018

Today is a new day–“….I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24.  Yesterday was a powerful day in many ways for me.  I had my meeting with the pastor at church and wanted to have the 2nd one but he is sick in bed.  My message in part from recent devotions including today is patience–waiting on the Lord and doing so with trust rather than with anxiety.  God was reinforcing this message for me throughout the day.

As I got to Celebrate Recovery last night I found that the live testimony we were to hear was delayed so we had a DVD testimony.  The gentleman giving it identified himself as one who struggles with same sex attraction.  I immediately was on edge.  I hadn’t heard a testimony where this was the identified struggle.  This man was raped by his father and labeled a fag by him.  This message and his inner voice kept him bound for over 25 years.  Even though I found this tough to hear, I am far enough along in my own journey that I could hear out of the desire to learn rather than the anxious state of “don’t let anyone know this could be you!”

God has been continuously good at His constant reminders of resting in Him, waiting on Him and His Holy Spirit to complete His work in His timing.  Satan has been a liar and manipulator for so many years in my life I can hardly stand it.  Yet, I’m so grateful to be stepping into a new area of living that challenges me to be patient in waiting know that “…He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”  These promises I now know are for me too along with each of you.  Lets hold each other up and reach out to others when we struggle with voices inside us that want us to believe lies.  Our confession will be good for us and it will help others know it is safe for them to share with us.

The Journey Continues: Jan. 3, 2018

It is so much easier to deal with someone else’s problems than with my own.  When someone opens up to me I do my best to be a good listener and respond from the nudging I sense within from the Holy Spirit.  Once the setting is done, I walk away and usually leave whatever is left to do with the one who has it.  I’m writing this because when the problem is mine I can’t walk away from it.  It keeps lingering inside and attempting to damage as much as it can.

The last couple weeks have been the annual Christmas/New Year ones where everything in life shuts down so families can be together to whatever degree this happens.  I do love these times but the days following them to reconnect with life in the world haunt me.  They always have.  It is these down times when I get mentally attacked about the work/ministry I do.  Because I spend time reflecting on them, it leads me down the wrong path.  I tend to go on the path of destruction thinking things like–“This best end soon so I don’t destroy it,” or “This will never come together until the leadership is someone else.”  When I am steeped in the work I still have these fleeting thoughts but they dissipate quickly because life is moving on.  However, during these down times the thoughts take deeper root or attempt to.  I’ve been talking to God about them in my devotional times because I realize they are Satan’s tools rather than God’s.  I’m also realizing that they come in dreams when I’m asleep as well as when I’m tired from the end of a day.  Also, if I don’t verbalize them they tend to own me much more.  Writing this here uproots them so I can see them as only futile lies.

2018 is the year of growing our Recovery Ministries at our church.  There are so many people hurting silently.  Satan is destroying any hope they have that there can be light/healing for their hurts.  Today I’m meeting with one of our pastors as we begin to take steps of readiness for these ministries to materialize.  I know these are the reasons I’m having such a present struggle.  Please join me in praying for the hurting ones.  Pray  that Satan’s attempts are thwarted and God’s Light will penetrate their present darkness.  Pray for unity of spirit as we step into completing what The Holy Spirit’s prompting.  I want only to step as He opens each door.  To God be ALL GLORY!

Journey Continues: Jan. 2, 2018

Have you ever thought about what you look like from God’s perspective?  Today, my devotional I’ve begun to use asks me to take a look at myself from exalted God’s perspective?  It seemed instantaneous that I knew why a year and a half ago God asked me to begin to journal to Him.  He wanted me to know my exalted God.  Once I could see Him as Exalted I could then see myself as redeemed by Him and His work with His Son Jesus.  My life had been lived attempting to please a God who was never going to be pleased because the God I knew wasn’t the One True God.  The God I knew overlooked the flaws in me and the sins of me because I worked hard to please Him.  Well, now I know the lies of my thinking.  God also knew I was never going to turn myself around so He asked me to journal to Him so I could actually find the One True God who loved me unconditionally.  He had wanted me to know the extent of work He and His Son had done so I could stand before Them one day–redeemed.  I find this so amazing!

Yesterday’s post was telling of my inner struggle even today as I continue walking with God completing the work He wants me to do.  By the end of the day I was going back to the unworthy, unfit person who couldn’t do this.  This morning I asked God when I would ever get to the place of stability with Him?   He told me I would not get there this side of heaven.  This is something He wants me telling to the world so the world knows He doesn’t need us to be perfect to come to Him.  He already has paved a perfect plan for us.  He wants us to accept it and believe it is real for each of us.  My confession will help others take their step.  If we believers don’t confess our own deficiency others won’t either.  I guess this simply empowers me to be ok with my humanness knowing God is ok with it too.

God is truly the one and only Exalted God.  Taking a moment to let yourself be seen at His level will allow you to see Him at His level.  There is no condemnation there.  That was all down here with me not with Him.  All this starts with me believing.  Wow, isn’t God amazing!

The Journey Continues: January 1, 2018

I have no idea what’s going on with my internet and my computer but I can’t get to my blog on it. I can with my phone so I’m writing this from my iPhone.

Happy New Year! I got up this morning knowing I just can’t do the ministry at church being called the recovery ministry. I’m just not qualified and I still sin and on and on. This new year needs to start with honesty and this is my honest confession.

As my devotions began I was starting my new devotional by the Blackaby brothers called Experiencing God Day By Day. It mentions how loving God is and how He equips is to do His Will. His equipping isn’t so much by my skill as it is by my belief in Him. Do I believe I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength? If so I have to believe and that’s the final answer.

I’ve never wanted to do anything more in my life than do this ministry. God has been preparing me for some time now–a life time. Satan sure doesn’t want me doing it. He wants me believing my old self lies. Instead I’m choosing to believe what God promises–I can do all things through His Son Jesus who gives me strength.

I’m going into this new year believing. God has much to teach me here and I’m ready to begin. Join me in believing!