Today ends 2018. I’ve already been to the airport and back taking my kids so they can fly back to their home in Oklahoma. The house is overly quiet right now especially compared to the last week. I do love peace and quiet but I also have many fond memories to store from having all our kids and grandkids together for a week.
As I’ve begun to reflect on this past year I start with the recovery classes being organized last January and the leadership potential being identified and trained. Now that we are almost half way through our first year of conducting the classes I marvel how God has been working. It is not with a large group of people, but the ones attending the classes are finding root causes for issues they’ve needed to address and they are addressing them! Praise the Lord. I myself am one of them–finding bits and pieces of lingering hurts and lingering habits which are being brought before God Himself. This time it is God taking the lead in what to do with them. No longer are these being hidden out of fear.
I longed for the freedom I have today all of my life. Little did I ever believe it would happen. I longed for it and relented to the belief it would come when I died and found freedom in heaven. Heaven on earth was something only sung about I thought. Well, God is abundantly faithful to His Word for heaven on earth is possible when God is given the opportunity to lead our lives. I have so much more to learn about this but I do love being where I am today with Him. I’ve asked Him to show me what He wants me to know from Him about His Son Jesus and finding obedience like Jesus modeled. I’ve also asked for God to awaken me to His Holy Spirit within so I can know God’s Will in each and every day. How grateful I am for God my Father!
The Journey From Error To Heir is the title of my autobiography. This is true. However, this morning for the first time I saw the title as a statement of belief. It was almost 4 years ago when I began to write the first sentences of this book. Writing the title back then was a statement of truth about what God does for us. I also, even then, believed that God did this work for me. Four years later, what I now realize is that the depth of my belief was very shallow. If one would have questioned me regarding the heir that I’d been granted I’d have told them God gave me a way to heaven through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.
It is incredible how God simply continues to grow our relationship with Him. I realize now that the heir that I am is one loved dearly by God and His Team: Jesus and The Holy Spirit. Being an heir does mean being given access to the inheritance. I had thought the inheritance was heaven (as thought that weren’t enough), but having heaven on earth realizing the relationship we can have here with God is a miracle in and of itself.
The prayer Jesus gave before being arrested is all about God continuing His love and protection to those who believe. I know I have much more to learn in this arena, but I am so very grateful to have this belief taking root in me knowing it was God’s intent from the beginning. This is not different for you. God wants each of us to know we are given far more than a path to heaven by accepting His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God’s rich love being manifested each day in our lives is amazing!
Having a house full of family is fun even though the den where I do my devotions is taken with our year old grandkid. I got the computer out yesterday but forgot to get my bible and other devotional tools. I read my bible for the first time on my phone. I have a bible app but never used it. It was rather fun to do this.
I’ll be better organized as I do my blog tomorrow!
The book of John has always been called the one book in the Bible that emphasizes Christ’s love. I’ve been told to start reading the Bible with this book as it best describes Christ and God and The Holy Spirit. I’ve told this to many people over my life span too. As I’m reading this book of present I find myself reaping a new awakening about Christ’s love for us (me) and also His new command He gives us when He tells the disciples in John 13:34, “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you so you too should love one another.”
All my life I’ve been a doer. It is easy for me to show love for someone by doing for them. God, on the other hand, has been holding fast to the discipline of learning to “be”–be who I created you to be. Don’t try to hide who I made you to be by doing things, take all the time necessary to learn to love who I made you to be so you can love others by “being” the very person I created you to be.
As I’m reading John I am checked. First God is showing me that a new creation He has made in me is to “believe”. Now He is showing me that I’m to “be”. I am to believe who He created me to be. I am not to believe He created me to do. When I asked this morning what God wanted me to know for today I got this simple message. It was to be still and not try to know the outcome for the day. Just be still and be what I am as I go through the day with my family. I can hardly wrap my mind around this thought but I am going to do my best in today’s journey to simply “be”.
I can only be amazed at God our Father. His Word to us in the Bible is alive just as John tells in the beginning of his book. This morning in my reading I came across the word chafed. It was connected to Lazarus dying. Lazarus was sick and his sisters Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that his dear friend was ill knowing Jesus could heal this sickness. Instead, Jesus waited two days before coming. When he did come Martha first greeted him and then told Mary Christ had arrived. When Mary came to him several mourners came with her. All of them were wailing over the loss of this loved one named Lazarus. The scripture read that Jesus’ spirit was chafed. It was then that the scripture says, “Jesus wept.”
I knew the word chafed but it seemed out of context being used here. When I looked it up the meaning was: being rubbed raw. It was Jesus spirit that had been rubbed raw by the emotional out crying of love and support for Mary & Martha and the loss of their brother. In this Jesus wept. I’ve known for years that Jesus wept for this. It was today however that God showed me Jesus didn’t just weep over this one close friend. Christ has wept over and over as His spirit has been chafed by the gross hurt of sin and death His children suffer. It is for this very reason God sent His Son to die and rise again so that our death would not be the end–however, it would be the beginning of life eternal with God our Father, His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit who already dwells within us.
I’m so touched by this amazing love God has for us (me)! I want only for this new creation I am to believe each and every day and to act on each and every nudge God gives me.
BELIEVE–In the two chapters of John for this morning’s Bible reading, chapters 8 & 9, I continuously found the word believe. Each time the word was being used it was connected to a miracle that took place. Each time the miracle took place there were those who chose not to believe. Jesus even told the blind man that he had come to judge the world and to separate the believers from the unbelievers. Times are different for today as far as the culture of our nation goes, but what is still the same is the opportunity to believe what we know about Jesus Christ. If we believe exactly what the Bible says, “He is the Savior of the world,” we will be saved. If we choose to not believe this, we remain in the darkness He continues to identify in the Word.
I have been a believer “in part” my entire life, starting at a young age. But I have never until of late been a believe “in whole”. I find myself being challenged as I read God’s Word these days to trust so many things around me which seem impossible. God assures me they are impossible in the hands of man, however, He is God, not man, and nothing is impossible with Him. Even as I write this I think of things which at the moment I need to release to Him for if I continue to dwell on them I will get discouraged. I only see them through the lens of man’s work. As I do release them into God’s Hands I see HOPE rising within. I truly want to grow this discipline within me or better said, let God grow this discipline in me as I release my grip on things I cannot control.
God is Amazing and He continues to be the Miracle Worker as I (each of us) surrender what we cannot control over to Him.
Today the journey pauses to GIVE THANKS with a grateful heart to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and today I worship Him. He is teaching me so much about BELIEVING. As I read the book of John I keep finding more references to this remarkable word I’ve overlooked so much in my life. I told myself this morning I want to make 2019 the year of BELIEVING. I don’t want to any longer think “this can’t be done” or “this won’t work”, etc. as I see and work with others. I want in all of life to BELIEVE and act on The Holy Spirit’s nudges throughout each and every day. Join me if you will. God’s Kingdom Work starts with BELIEVING just as Mary and Joseph believed when God’s Angel spoke to them so long ago. Today we worship this very KING!
Today’s devotion was all about Mary believing what the angel of the Lord told her. She did believe and all that the angel said came to life. So much wasn’t told to Mary about her Son’s life, but she believed what was said to her and that was enough. In a similar way Joseph believed. Both Mary and Joseph believed and then they obeyed.
Yesterday I wrote about the torment of sin. As I got to church yesterday morning I had one of our Celebrate Recovery men talk to me ahead of the worship service. He was being troubled by some big things in his past. He has recently started into counseling but these big items haven’t been dealt with as of yet. He was struggling to believe he can find freedom and he didn’t know what to do with these tormenting thoughts. This caused me to step right into what I’d journaled yesterday and what I’d put in yesterday’s blog. I know to surrender these thoughts but letting go of them while surrendering is the tough thing–impossible thing when believing isn’t present.
As I was in the midst of my devotional time today I read what I put in the first paragraph above. As I began my Bible reading in John 5, I find Jesus approaching the invalid at the pool where He asks him if he wants to be healed? The invalid tells him he has no one to help him get into the pool as the water ripples. Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk. He did just that too. Right in the middle of this action is BELIEVE. Jesus asked the man to get up and he did–he believed or he wouldn’t have acted on Jesus’ direction to him.
Yesterday I said I know I need to surrender the thoughts which sometimes bombard my mind. What I’ve learned today is that I am to BELIEVE ahead of surrendering. If I try to surrender without believing I am still clinging unintentionally to the thoughts. There is no handle on BELIEVING for which sin can attach. When my belief is only the size of a mustard seed I can surrender and Satan flees for he cannot stay present in the presence of BELIEF. BELIEVE is a spiritual action and surrender is a human action. I know now to act on what is spiritual first–BELIEVE, then my human action can have the power Christ promises to give us in His Gift–The Holy Spirit.
As my journey continues from freedom of being owned by my sins and those done to me, I find myself wanting to abandon all memories from my past so I can live the rest of my life having no connections to it. Something I haven’t finished working through is when temptation arrives, what do I do when my past immediately floods before me? When a temptation is sexual this is what happens. I realize this is a work of Satan but what to do with it is still in the learning stage. Now that I’m awake to this and know as much as I do, I need to write it. This helps me own it rather than hide it. It is a new phenomena too because I’ve not been at this point of recovery before. I realize that as long as I’m a living human being I’ll have to deal with temptations. I use to want to die so that I wouldn’t have to live with them any longer. I know God wants me to live and I do too until my time comes. I also know He wants me to learn that no sin is greater than His Power so in this I start by BELIEVING. The right next steps will come.
Yesterday a good friend took one of my grandsons for the afternoon and helped him make 4 Christmas gifts for family members. The friend is a retired vocational ed teacher and this grandson loves the use of tools so the time was fun for him and very productive. This grandson doesn’t have a dad who connects with him so the event was even richer helping him know he is important to adult men. God is so good putting people in our paths. I love Him for this.
The days are winding down for the year of 2018 and they are winding up for all the events centering around Christmas. In two days my family will arrive in droves at our house and for a week we will have 19 in the house much of the time. Wrapping presents for everyone and doing their stockings is my assignment for the present. I kind of enjoy this part. I also enjoy the chaos of the large group week as everyone groups up to do their things with cousins, siblings, etc. and Kathy and I do the same.
Yesterday there was a funeral for a 21 year old girl from our church who was a beacon of light for God. Her service was nothing but GLORIOUS. Her parents insisted there be no mourning in the service as the service was to be a beautiful experience of their daughter’s life (as short as it was) and how Christ used her during this earthly time. It was almost 2 hours of love and laughter. Even my 21 year old grandson was present as they had worked together for Dutch Bros. before Dante moved away to take a different job.
If there is anything I’m learning of late it is that the spiritual man we will totally be upon death is overly influenced by this present human state we live in which is so steeped in the grip of sinfulness. As parents and grandparents we need to help our kids and grandkids separate this out so they can learn to let the strength of our spiritual self (reliance upon God’s Strength) be that which we live by. Stepping into problems with our kids and grandkids has to be done in a way that lets them own the problem and work through it with our support and help rather than to try and be their savior by removing them from the problem and fixing it yourself. God wants me to know this and practice this and I think He wants me to pass this on so my own grandkids learn this process too.