THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 20, 2019

Today is reunion day for Kathy’s family. There are so many of them I only know by face and can’t remember their names. It is always good to see them for they are a very friendly bunch of people. God is an important part in most of their lives too which makes being with them even more rewarding. Kathy’s brother that lives in Hermiston, OR will be arriving this morning so we will get to see them also.

There were many little chores needing to be done yesterday which Dwight and I had done by about 2 yesterday afternoon. He suggested we tackle my computer getting files from the old one to the new one. I had no idea how long this might take but in 20 minutes it was all done. In watching him masterfully take care of this he looked at me upon completion and said, “Now you can know what to do next time.” I laughed. I told him that watching this type of work doesn’t teach me how to repeat it. I’ve got to have someone helping me to actually do it and do it many times in a row for me to get this into my head. I said this new computer was going to be my last laptop purchase for it will last longer than my consulting work will continue. Thus the need to do this again won’t need me trying to learn the skill.

There is a calm in this morning. I love early mornings when no one seems to be up but you and the birds singing away outside, I thank God or these moments of calm. God is so GOOD!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 19, 2019

We are in Wallowa, Oregon with Kathy’s family. It is always fun to be with them and to also be away from the routines of home for a few days. As we arrived to Kathy’s sister’s place, we unloaded and headed to her store in Joseph to see her. While visiting with her a person I know well from my consulting work walked by. I didn’t say anything but told Kathy and Mary about her walking by. Instantly they both said, “Why didn’t you say something?” This took me by surprise because I knew I hadn’t said anything knowing this person wouldn’t want to say anything to me. We have a great relationship, but my response comes from the depth of “old me” rather than the new creation I am. About 30 minutes later Kathy’s niece by marriage walked by and saw me. We talked for several minutes. She brought up an incident I didn’t know she even knew about. It was a time when her husband and I were throwing horseshoes 20 years ago. I was winning and her husband got very mad. I told him if he was going to behave this way I would simply leave which I did. The next day he apologized for his actions and that was the end of it. Now 20 years later she was bringing it up to me. She said her husband thought I was taunting him with my winning and that made him mad. She had told him this–“You think this ‘nice’ man would do that to you?”

These two scenarios left me a little more awake about how I see myself. I would always say that I want to be nice but I actually track what I do that isn’t nice. I want to talk to people I see but if they don’t engage the conversation, rarely will I. I always think I’m bothering them. All of this just tells me God isn’t done with me yet.

Lastly, in this morning’s Bible reading I once again see the kings of Judah doing what is right with God but not tearing down the “high places”. I use to read this and think the kings should have been more awake. This time when I read this I realize I’m just like them. I do what I think God wants me to do but I want those high places close by just in case I need to fall back on them. As I write this I realize how dependent I’ve been. I’ve kept them so I would have something I could feel good about just for a moment robbing myself of the opportunity for God to “make me feel good”. All of us have behaviors/habits which we use like this. However, I sense God’s nudge to let these go completely now. I don’t need them close by any longer. Wow, our God is so amazing and good!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 18, 2019

Today Kathy and I leave for Wallowa, OR for her family reunion on Saturday. I talked yesterday morning with her younger brother who will be staying with their sister as we will. He is the one who introduced me not only to Celebrate Recovery but also to the Restoration Ministry topics we started a year ago. He and the director of the ministry where he lives both came almost two years ago to our church introducing us to the work they do for God. I look forward to talking through where we are and where they are in our journeys of this ministry work of God.

This morning’s Bible reading has me into II Kings where God leads Jehu into ridding the last of King Ahab’s descendants. He also has Jezebel destroyed. It would seem that Jehu is doing just what God has led him to do. However, as you get into II Kings 10:29, you read that Jehu did not give up the sins of Jeroboam. Jeroboam was the king who broke away from Judah after Solomon died. In reading this I first thought it was some type of contradiction. How could we do God’s work and not give up sin? Instantly, God began to show me that all of my adult years I’ve done work for God which He has wanted me to do. However, while doing it I had not given up the sins of my past. The more recent one had been porn. It is very possible for one to do God’s work and still have other gods before him.

As I began to journal God was helping me see that my fears, when I give in to them, make me vulnerable to temptations of the flesh. It is when I surrender the fears to God admitting my human weakness that I turn away from these gods of my past. It is very easy to step back into old habits, but God is helping me to see this ahead of time. This is the day to day living that The Serenity Prayer focuses on when it says: “Living one day at a time, one moment at a time, taking hardship as a pathway to peace.” He has given me accountability which I daily use. Most of all, He has given me the assurance that I am a new creation to Him because of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice. I know that as along as I live in the flesh I will battle the temptations of flesh. However, now that I am growing stronger in “believing”, I believe the God I serve is our overcomer of the flesh through His Son–Jesus Christ!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 17, 2019

The meeting with our Life Group pastor really went well. Not only was he interested in the book mentioned in yesterday’s blog, but I get to promote it with all the life group leaders when he gathers them in early August.

When I mentioned yesterday about meeting with our friend on Monday, I didn’t tell something that had stood out to me. The past they had has a lot of similarity to mine. They mentioned they were only two years old in addressing it and they could see I am further down the road of recovery. We talked some about my writing my recovery story in my autobiography–The Journey from Error to Heir. They hadn’t read it and I gave a copy to them. I also talked about this daily blog which I started because I realized my journey didn’t end with the writing of the book. I write this now because all of this conversation helped me see once again just how miraculous God’s healing is in trauma. My friend was saying how they had to step out of denial as their own past was being revealed to them through the therapy of EMDR used for PTSD. I find this so true still for me today. I often don’t want to remember that my past was one of abuse. My pride doesn’t want me admitting “I was weak”. As I listened to my friend I could easily see how they weren’t weak–they were abused. The same is true for me–I wasn’t weak, I was abused. I can admit that much more easily today, but there are times when Satan wants me to believe I was just weak.

I will never get over the loving, miraculous ways God uses in healing if we remain faithful to Him in addressing it with Him. Sharing our past becomes part of the healing agent. It helps me see that my past doesn’t own me as it so used to. The new creation He has made me to be is growing roots–Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 16, 2019

Yesterday was an enjoyable day. Last night we had our first corn on the cob (from my brother’s garden for mine is not ready) and our first green beans I’d picked from my garden. Only a gardener knows how something like this pleases one’s heart!

The best part of yesterday however, wasn’t the supper, it was the company we had. Friends we hadn’t seen for many years came for lunch and the afternoon. There is a story behind the years of absence but that is not my story to tell. This friend has a past quite different from my own, but nonetheless, a story of childhood abuse which is getting the Godly help needed today. Much of the afternoon was spent with our sharing the work of God in our lives. This friend’s help is recent enough that yesterday was the first of sharing it outside of the professional help. It seemed good for us to be the safe place for this first sharing. Surely, I understood what she was sharing. The pathway to finding God’s freedom from the bondage of abuse is strengthened when we find a safe place to share.

This morning I’m meeting with one of our new pastors who is heading our life groups at church. There is a big meeting set for the first of August where all the life group leaders will meet with him. I haven’t taken part in life groups since Kathy and I started with Celebrate Recovery 11 years ago. It has been our life group. Some of our present life groups provide meals for us which has been a huge support. Now, however, with the coming of Christopher Yuan in September, I am hoping our life groups will be motivated to read his book on Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. This book enlightens the readers to so much truth from God’s Word. It also calms much troubled water regarding the present situation of the LBGTQ community and the church. I find most people understand the sin of homosexuality when acted upon, but they don’t know how to accept or associate with someone who may battle this. Christopher adds tremendous insights. So my hope is that our life groups will take his 8-week study guide in the back of the book and walk through it as our Restoration Ministry is gearing up to reach out to our own community. I’d love for this community to find our church to be a safe place if they are looking for christian fellowship and/or forgiveness from a life of this sin.

As I journaled this morning I was struggling with knowing how much of this is of my own selfishness and how much is actually God’s leading? He assured me that I will know the difference as I take each step I’m to take. Doors are open when He is leading. My faith is not to be built upon what my mind can grasp. God told me this morning that Faith is when I will step into what my mind can’t grasp but yet I am led to take the step regardless. Today seems to be one of them and I look forward to seeing what the outcome is.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 15, 2019

I know there was no post yesterday. It is not that it wasn’t typed, it just didn’t publish. Why, I don’t know? Throughout the Old Testament God shows Himself in so many ways. On the other hand, man defines God in so many limited ways. This morning in I Kings Israel is going to war with Syria’s king and army. King Ben-hadad, the Syrian king had already lost the first battle with his men saying the Israelite’s god was one of the hills. This time they will fight on the plains because he wasn’t a god there. Well, they lost again.

All of this makes me realize how often we today limit God with our own definition of what He is able to do. Mostly I limit God because I don’t include Him in the details. I remember to include Him when the problems arise which are bigger than I can quickly resolve. This morning God has been revealing that even though man’s mind cannot grasp the enormity of Him, it doesn’t mean my trust and faith have to be as small as my mind’s limits are. I can trust God to be as Big as He Is and let things go which I shouldn’t be doing. Instead, I should let The God of the Universe take care of them.

As I began to journal I was writing out the things I thought I needed to do conflicting with some others. I quickly realized the conflict was my own control being in place rather than asking God to be in control and then I do what He leads me to do. All of a sudden I was limiting God with my own selfishness rather than waiting to see how He would glorify Himself by me simply stepping back and letting Him be in control and I being His servant. At this point I don’t know how this will all work out but I do know I won’t be taking the lead in deciding. I’m going to let the God of the Universe be in charge of the details and I’ll do what He leads.

the journey continues: july 13, 2019

Today is quiet. The night was noisy at times with the rumblings of thunder around. I got up to no coffee brewed since the electricity had gone off at some point. (That was a momentary crisis!) But, important now is that the storm is past, the morning is quiet, the coffee is brewed and the day is beginning.

I’m taking care of some vehicle issues this morning for my youngest, running a couple additional errands, and then the rest of the day I want to devote to my own reading of the materials we will use this Fall. There are lose ends to tie up in several areas, but I want to have myself mentally and spiritually prepared. God has gifted me some time to do this and I don’t want to waste it.

In my bible reading of I Kings I’m reading about Israel being divided following Solomon’s reign. In all of Solomon’s wisdom, he fell short using it in his own living. His desires/lust for foreign women drove him away from his One True God and in the end, the country was divided. A footnote in the bible said, Solomon’s gift of wisdom which God had granted him did not equate to obedience. I sense God’s Spirit telling me to take much heed to this message. Wisdom from God’s Holy Spirit–following His nudges takes obedience. This obedience is what the “new creation” does and it has to be done each and every day. My grasp of being a new creation is in place now. What I’m learning is that my commitment to living the life of a new creation takes obedience with each nudge The Holy Spirit gives. No excuses, no questioning, sheer obedience by saying, “Yes Lord” and then following through.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 12, 2019

Yesterday brought forth the details of preparation which are needing to be addressed before we can have a healthy start to our fall ministries. It is not easy sometimes to take care of them as the work involves adjusting people who don’t fit the assignment they are presently in. It becomes important to address this with them yet do it through God’s leadership rather than man’s. We presently have a few important adjustments needing to take place. I fond myself dismayed and frustrated when I heard what a few people have said and done as though they were in charge and their actions didn’t matter.

Last night’s lesson in Celebrate Recovery was RELAPSE. In the lesson was some clear guidance I needed to be reminded. Stressful times are used by God to help sculpt us into the new creation He is making us into. We can allow these times to hone us or we can resist them and submit to “earthly ways” which Satan is always tempting us to do. The outcome is always telling. When the stress is handled, does the outcome look like God’s Work or does it look like man has handled this?

As I listened last night to the lesson and applied what I was hearing to the events of the day I knew God was helping me see the steps He wants taken. God’s Work always leaves man in awe. When this happens I always think–how in the world did that come about? I then look up and thank God for His Leadership. He is so GOOD–all the time!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 11, 2019

God is Faithful. This is something I can always bank on. When I get overly focused on something I think is critical only to find it isn’t, it was just my thinking, I can always rely on God to bring His Purpose to the forefront. As I personally prepare myself for this coming fall’s kickoff of restoration ministry my mind and passion begin to scream at me with things we MUST do. Yesterday’s meetings at our church brought a sense of calm to all of it and a means to address what needs to be done. I learned a long time ago to take my thinking to others I trust in the profession I worked and see if they agree. Yesterday was one of those days for the ministry work. I truly thank God for giving us people who balance us.

God is good all the time—all the time God is GOOD.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JULY 10, 2019

Yesterday’s fishing trip was a day to remember. Taking my 8 and 9 year old grandsons with my younger brother equals memories to keep. Even my brother thanked these two boys for a fun day for him. We didn’t know it at the time we quit at the lake, but we got home with 100 fish, 98 crappie, 1 -8″ bass and 1-12″ perch. We didn’t keep at least that many others. We called this day a fishing success! Last night I pan fried fish in our largest skillet thinking the boys would take the rest home for their mom and siblings. They ate them all! I helped, but I was amazed at how they much they loved them.

Today I’m meeting with a couple of our pastors planning for the big weekend in September when Christopher Yuan comes and then we kickoff our two Restoration Ministries. There is so much I want to have happen to ensure that every single person who ought to be present will be there for the weekend. Then, I pray that every single person who should come to the classes will find the courage to take their step to find the healing for that which haunts them.

This morning God reminds me of Who He Is! He also reminds me that I am free to work for Him, believe in Him, promote Him through the Kingdom Work He wants me connected with. For a moment I reflected on my recent past. I use to be involved in God’s ministry work to hide who I really thought I was. Even though I love doing God’s work, I’d pray it would give me the merit in God’s eyes so I could live with Him forever. Now, these lies I can tell are what God uses to help others step out of their traps set by the evil one as he’d done to me for so long. How amazing our God is!