THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 21, 2021

This YES lesson from Thursday night is not leaving. Yesterday morning I wrote about it and today the topic still is in the forefront of my mind as I stepped into my devotional time. I began to journal that it seems my life is too filled with commitments. However, as I began to write this I was struck with the reminder that everything I’m committed to right now had a conversation with God before I said Yes. With that, I used the 3-R’s I’ve written about. I recognized that Satan was trying to undermine what God is wanting me to do, I rejected it and then replaced those thoughts with the truth–I am committed to do whatever God leads me to do and I will say YES to it.

To add to this, the Bible reading this morning was the last two chapters of Mark, 15 & 16. Jesus’ commission to His disciples was, “Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news to every creature.” Mark 16:15. The last verse of ch. 16 says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied. Amen.” This verse truly hit me. Joyce Meyers writes a life point to this verse which says in part, “…believe God for miraculous breakthroughs to follow the things you do to serve Him. Jesus heals us everywhere we hurt. When we are about His business, we can expect signs and wonders to follow us.”

God has been awakening in me the truth of these verses and that they are true for me. I use to believe this was all true because my Grandma Wretling said so. However, today, I know it is true because God’s Words says so.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 20, 2021

The lesson for our Celebrate Recovery last night was YES. It is lesson 24. There is only one more lesson before we start our new year in mid-September. As we went into our small groups to discuss what the lesson spoke to us, the processing question was asking what we were willing to say yes to with God? There were 11 men in the group. As I looked around the room there were many hurts, hang-ups and habits represented. Yet, each one had something to say about what they were willing to say yes to.

One of the things God has been challenging me to do is believe when the other just can’t find a foothold for believing at the time. I know this has been done for me when I couldn’t believe and now God is placing it on my heart. It breaks my heart at times to know their stories and I want to lift their hands and eyes to Jesus and say that He will and is helping. Sometimes we just can’t see it. When I was in this state I needed others to believe for me. Now, it is my turn.

I think one of the best lessons I’ve found in this journey is the relationship with Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit. The longer I stayed on the journey of recovery, the more I began to understand and trust. Jesus keeps reminding me to look up and see Him as I listen to each man’s story. In so doing I see His head nodding and I hear–Trust Me. This I will do until they find their own foothold with Jesus.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 19, 2021

Today I go to my last new school for this year to get started with them. I met the staff a week ago but today I will go and meet each one in their classrooms as kids started back yesterday. I look forward to getting rooted in this school.

As I was busily working in my yard yesterday taking advantage of being home, I received a text message from my prayer warrior. She was telling me to read a passage in my bible as a promise for our Celebrate Recovery folks. It is an excerpt Joyce Meyers has written regarding Rahab. Remember that Rahab was a prostitute at the time the children of Israel were approaching Jericho in the book of Joshua. The excerpt says in part: “…No matter how bad your past is, always know that God has a new beginning for you. Like Rahab, you may have a past, but you also have a future. You can get past your past!”

Last night Kathy and I met with the couple facing divorce. We started meeting with them only a week ago. Even though we were somewhat at a loss for knowing what to do when they came, we had thought we’d use whatever time to check for progress or lack thereof. In so doing, plant seeds for growth and nurture any growth during the week. It turned out they liked the idea and so we will continue this process each week for a period of time. As I read my prayer warriors’ message this morning I thought of this couple–you can get past your past! They are not convinced of this as of yet, but I know God is convinced of it as He is the One who will get them past their past if they will continue to open their hearts and mind to Him. God is the Faithful Healer of all wounds and all pasts!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 18, 2021

Today I get to stay home and I’m so very glad. But, before I get started on my own to do list, I want to write down some things God is putting before me on today’s journey. First, when I got up and started my devotions I recalled I hadn’t listened to my daughter’s sermon from last Sunday. She preached at her church in Oklahoma City. I thought I could listen to it while I had my own devotions–I won’t do this again. I don’t think I appreciated either as much as I should have. I am not one who can do two things at the same time and keep focused on both.

Yesterday’s message in scripture about Faith was challenged today with Trust. Trust was the big point in my daughter’s sermon and it is the focus of today’s devotion. It also tied directly into a conversation I had last night with a young man who came to talk with me. His wife had him served with divorce papers and he needed to talk. This was not our first talk as he knew these papers were likely coming any day. He desperately wants to have his marriage work and “this time” he is putting his all into it. I’ve asked him if he would put this much effort into this if it were only for himself? He thought and responded that he would. I then reminded him to put this answer somewhere so he could see it often. Jesus doesn’t want to change us for someone else. He makes us a new creation first and foremost for Him and our relationship with Him.

Having Faith in God and having Trust that this Faith will hold true in any test is no easy thing. However, right now, I am anchoring into the Faith God Himself has. I can fully Trust Him and I will do this for this young man. I don’t know about the marriage, but I do know God is changing this young man into His created image. God is Amazing and one can see it so much more clearly when I get my own selfish thinking out of the way.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 17, 2021

In Mark 11:22 Jesus is telling the disciples to “have Faith in God.” He goes on to tell them that a mountain can be cast into the sea if they believe and not doubt. I’ve always thought this was a wonderful passage, but…. How does anyone believe without any doubt? I can’t think of a time when I have had this strong of faith.

Joyce Meyers will write sometimes at points like this regarding her own life experiences. She put a “life point” comment regarding this passage. She says, “Notice in Mark 11:22 that the first thing Jesus tells us to do is to have faith in God constantly. …There was a time in my life when I had my faith in my faith. I relied on my ability to believe God rather than relying on God Himself….” This note she wrote awoke me to a fact I’ve needed. I have always measured my faith by “my faith”. The thought of measuring faith in God’s dimensions had never crossed my mind. Now that I realize my faith is to be in God’s Faith I can easily see that there is no limit to it. This makes “all things possible” (another promise I’ve struggled knowing how to believe).

I don’t know about you, but this truth absolutely sets my mind free. I have no reason to doubt for when I do I can easily see that doubt has its eyes on me rather than on the One True God I serve. Oh my word—How I love being awakened!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 16, 2021

Yesterday was quite a day. In our class–Mending the Soul, we were addressing the first part of the chapter entitled Shame. One of the men said this chapter made him sick because it is simply too true regarding his life. I have always said that dealing with my own shame has been the most difficult part of facing my own past abuse. My dad’s attack on my personal makeup and personality only fed the lies I had about myself being used by a gay brother. I was amazed to hear these men being so open to their own shame and its ownership of them. The chapter does a thorough job getting each participant to face and address this is their life.

The other thing about yesterday’s class which has been amazing me is that by this time in a Step Study for Celebrate Recovery, a few of the men have dropped out. The topics are too difficult and they are not ready to face them. However, in this particular class of men, no one is dropping out. Instead, they are coming early and talking ahead of class about what is taking place in their lives, the difficulty of the curriculum, but how much it is clarifying what they’ve not wanted to address and mostly, didn’t know how to address in their lives so they simply kept stuffing it. I am so grateful to see this taking place. God has helped these men be ready for this time of healing and it is a real honor to weekly experience the growth. How patient and merciful our God is!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 15, 2021

Today’s message focused on a couple of items for which I needed reminding. The one is that trials in our lives are nothing more than lessons God is using to bring us into more of His likeness. The other focus is that reasoning is quite different from discernment. A gentleman I’ve been meeting with is truly struggling with trials in his life presently. As we talked yesterday for a moment, I reminded him that his obedience to God’s leading today will take these trials and turn them into growth lessons which will result in his being more Christ-like. He’s very discouraged with himself presently. I think all of us have been at this point in our lives (more than a couple times!).

This other point about reasoning vs discernment is a real awakening for me. When we are in the midst of deep trials–struggles in our lives, our minds try to give us guidance: flee, fight, ignore, lash out, etc. However, God’s Holy Spirit often gives us a discerning message which doesn’t make sense at the moment, yet, if we listen and obey it, we find a peace in the midst of it. God’s discerning message is to always follow His timeline and not to create our own from our own reasoning. Discernment requires Trust and Obedience. Reasoning requires answers which satisfy our self-thinking.

When Jesus was telling His disciples about what He needed to do: suffer many things, be tested, be disapproved, be rejected and lastly–put to death (Mark 8:21); Peter took him aside to rebuke what He was telling them. However, Peter’s reasoning was way off-base. He hadn’t yet learned to discern–TRUST what Jesus says. This is a huge lesson which all of us must face in life far more than one time. Yet, in so doing, God becomes more and more real and intimate for He is our One True God!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 14, 2021

Well, God is always Almighty! The meeting yesterday was actually very touching. To my surprise, one of the teachers was at college when I was there (a class behind me) and introduced herself to me saying she was glad I could be part of them for a year. Another teacher came up and introduced herself as a teacher who had been in another school 10 years earlier where I’d worked. It is always nice to have an entry point so one is not a complete stranger.

As the day went on I wanted to get several things done at home in my yard and garden. My one grandson came to help. He had lost his wallet a few days ago and had been unable to find it. He helped me pick almost 4 gallons of blackberries and them we picked over 5 gallons of green beans. When we took a break he sat down in a recliner in the family room only to stick his hand down alongside of the couch pad. He yelled, “Grandpa, here’s my wallet!” When he had been staying at our house a week ago while I was with the school district in Montana, it must have worked out of his pocket. He was so happy and I thanked Jesus for caring so much!

I am always touched by the caring nature of our One True God–Jesus Christ! There were several other little details which took place yesterday where I thanked Him. He reminded me this morning that putting my faith fully in Him and keeping my eyes always on Him will keep fear and anxiety at bay. How thankful I am for our One True God–Jesus Christ!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 13, 2021

Today I meet a new staff of teachers as I begin to work with this new school for the year. I have met a couple of times with the principal and today is the staffs’ first day back. I won’t stay long for the purpose is for them to know who I am and remove as much of the stigma as possible as I begin next week coming to their classrooms. The work with them is to prevent them from falling into an under-performing school. This year is their last year to improve their student learning before the problem is identified as severe. The superintendent and principal have asked for this help ahead of time which is good. Sometimes one walks into these situations and finds a good deal of resentment and fear. However, my role, even if these characteristics exist, is to move forward with help and let them know I’m nothing more than a helpmate for them.

When I was younger a lot of what I felt nudged to do by God’s Holy Spirit was fear invoking and many times I’d just not do this fear. Having learned and experienced the truth of God’s nudges–He never nudges without giving the strength and wisdom to follow through–I’ve attempted to apply this to the work God has me doing. I never come with an ax and hammer and neither does God when He is leading us.

My scripture reading this morning was Mark 4. In it Christ is sharing the parable of the farmer sowing seeds. Today I will be sowing seeds which I pray fall on fertile ground so the crop is abundant as we grow the seed throughout the year.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: AUG. 12, 2021

I wrote yesterday that we’d be meeting last night with a couple whose marriage is highly at risk. We did that and there were a couple of things which came from the meeting for which I wasn’t expecting. One of them was helping the man see his need to change for his own sake regardless of the outcome of their marriage. No wife wants to be married to a raging man. In fact, no man wants to be married to a raging woman. Anger is an ugly beast when left unattended.

The second awaking for me was personal. The gentleman wanted to talk privately at one point so we went to another part of the house to do so. It was there that I began to recognize some strongholds he has which I no longer have. As he talked about the grip of fear and anxiety which trigger his anger, I could quickly see that the grip of fear and anxiety which triggered my silence for so long is gone–simply gone. I remembered their grip, but the shackles he knows are no longer a part of me. We didn’t talk about that but I simply thanked God for this wonderful gift He has provided me.

The evening ended with a spotlight on the gentleman getting focused on himself and his relationship with God and a few other support men for accountability. Only God knows the outcome of this marriage, but what I know is that when we stay focused on God’s agenda in our lives, we not only become the new person God created us to be, but God becomes the True God He is. We begin to know Him as our LOVING FATHER!