We’re in California for our sister’s service later this week. All is good with this.
I was thinking this morning as I had my devotions that Jesus was always pleased with me. He was never ashamed of me like I was for most of my life. All of the efforts I put into trying to live well for Him were an attempt to make me good enough for me, not God. He was already pleased with who He created. I was the one who hated myself and what had been done to me.
God has created everyone of us in His image. He didn’t leave something out for us to fill. Sin did that. He loves His creation and He wants me to use what He’s given to me for His purposes. I’ll live the rest of my life for Him.
It’s quite early in the morning as I write this. We are headed to the airport in 40 minutes and it’s now 4 am. I keep thanking Jesus for all He has done to guide us in putting Alice’s service together. Her daughter, when I called her yesterday, was pleased that we were putting a salvation component in the message. God’s Holy Spirit completes Himself in all that He wants done. Miles do not matter. His omnipotence and omnipresence is always thorough.
Each year when we make the trip to California to visit our family it is something we look forward to. This year, I keep trying to tell myself that it will turn out that way. In my flesh I anguish over the decline in health that is ever present. These are the ones I’ve loved for so many, many years. I do thank God for them being part of my life and being such encouraging ones. It is time for us to return the favor and encourage them in these years. My Aunt Billie who is turning 90 in May is no longer able to keep any details, yet she is hosting all of us at her home with the help of my two cousins. I know I’m lamenting as I write this, but this is today’s journey.
I know God’s Love and Grace will be very present in this week. I’m rejoicing in it. A moment to lament is now done for the day. Now, it is time to rejoice!
Early tomorrow morning my two brothers who live locally with our wives will fly to San Diego for the celebration of life service for our sis Alice. I have been working on this service staying in touch with our niece who lives there and is putting the physical details for the service together. I will conduct the service which will be Friday the 10th.
All of us kids grew up in the church during its hell-fire/damnation message years. I had never heard a Grace message until I was later in high school. All of us kids have our relationship with Jesus, but for several, church wasn’t a major part of living life. The messages, tied to our dad’s double standards for his living, gave a very tainted view of Christianity and church. This is all in the past, yet the damage it caused still rears its head at times.
There will be many 2nd and 3rd generation family at this service. I asked my brothers and wives yesterday what they thought about my including in what I say, the salvation message–brief, but concise? They thought Alice would want this, but done with Grace rather than the hellfire we knew when we were young. I’m going to talk with my niece regarding her thoughts, but most importantly, I want to honor God’s nudge. I know the Holy Spirit will make this clear. Salvation is a choice God gave us. I sure don’t want any of us living longer not realizing how important Jesus Christ is to us and His connection to eternity with Him and our loved ones.
As I was journaling this morning I asked Jesus, as I do each day, what He wanted me to know from Him for today? The first thing I heard from Him was the reminder that He is Almighty God. Then secondly, He asked me if I heeded His message during the day as I do the beginning of the day? This question hit home for me.
At the beginning of each day I am tuned into God. I am journaling, reading the devotionals and then reading His Word–the Bible. Afterwards, I pray through my prayer list. As I journal I anticipate hearing God’s Voice and writing His message in my journal. How well I listen to God’s nudges once I leave my devotional time and enter into the day itself, well, I see how different I am. At the start I am anticipating His Voice, afterwards I hope I might hear from Him when things get tough or sticky. Otherwise, I simply take care of things on my own. When I get tempted I always hear a Voice reminding me to step away. It’s at these times I know I am to obey, but the temptation seems harmless–Ha Ha!
God’s question this morning reminded me that I need to be as diligent during the day as I am as I start the day. I’m not to be an obedient, new creation only at the start of the day. God wants me heeding Him and His Spirit’s guidance throughout the day. The need to grow in my walk with God never ends. How grateful I am for a God who loves and cares so much for me and each one of us.
I don’t know how often you get to see God at work, but when it happens it is simply amazing. A couple I’ve known for several years has begun to have some marital counseling regarding a couple of issues which had arisen in their marriage. I wasn’t sure I was the right person to provide the counsel but their schedule only fit with mine.
Last night we tackled one of the issues causing the deepest distress. In so doing some very ugly things were brought forth. Some of these were fears and some were built on actual facts. As I probed with each one to go as deeply as possible into root causes with the other member listening for understanding, I was wondering if this hour was only going to end with greater grief. I had said a silent prayer for God’s 2-edged sword of Light to penetrate this darkness. All of a sudden what was being shared did exactly what was needed. It shed the Light of Truth. The one party began to cry with relief. They understood.
Later in the evening I received a text from one of them telling me they had a very nice evening following up the session. The darkness, the bitterness, the division that Satan’s deceptions cause are only penetrated by God’s Sword of The Spirit of Truth. It was so nice to see this take place for this couple. What a humbling honor to be able to witness God at work in this way.
I never realize until afterwards how something impacts me. My wife has been gone since last Saturday and returned last night. When I got home from Celebrate Recovery she was here. She had been on a buying trip with her sis for her sis’s store in Oregon. As I got up this morning I found myself more awake and more relaxed. I’m always reminded that disrupted routines have their impact.
This morning God has been reminding me to keep my eyes on His Son trusting Him to be the One I trust and praise. I know this and remind others of this all the time, but when I have my own concern and details to contend with I so often forget to do this. So, in the middle of my journaling when God gave me this nudge, I stopped writing and took time to thank Him for what He’s already done and for what He’s doing and will be doing as the days move forward. It was the reminder I needed for this morning and the focus I needed for today.
I don’t care where we are or what we are doing, God wants us to know He is right there. As I was journaling following this moment I thanked Jesus for being right with me and He then reminded me that not only is He with me, His Holy Spirit is within me. What a blessed people we are to have our Almighty God who is so very caring!
A counselee I’ve been seeing last night moved allowing me to observe a session another counselor was having. This is one of the two “guinea pigs” we started with last June when I observed for two months this counselor and this counselee. I know the man well and they said it was fine for me to observe. It was very enlightening. This man has struggled from a childhood similar to my own and I knew they were tackling some issues I’ve needed to do in my past. The counselor was working to help him find his strengths/gifts God gave him as a man and believe this as truths for himself. He started on this and with a little help was able to agree to a few good points.
Later in the session it came out that he was good at his work because he is sensitive to his customers. At this point I interjected that another strength he has is his sensitivity. He looked a little confused but agreed he was sensitive.
This man is my sponsor and I am his from our Celebrate Recovery years. We text twice a day for accountability purposes. As I got home last night I found a text from him thanking me for pointing out that his sensitivity is a strength. It had always been seen by him as a weakness which went clear back to his childhood and the criticism he received at that time from his dad. I’ve needed in my own past to see that my sensitivity is a gift rather than a curse. God is now showing him the same. Our God is so GOOD and thorough!
I know that February is still winter, but spring is now only a month away so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel–Spring is coming! Even though it is only 13 degrees outside as I write this, I know that winter is soon to pass.
I want to take a moment to write that my message yesterday led me to take the steps I was told to take. In a matter of 15 minutes I had it done and it was a simple process. It is amazing and sad at the same time how one can be so sure how something should work out only to find how wrong he is. I, most of the time, have a picture in my mind how something is to work out when I’m heading it. My quick assumption is always that if I have it in my head, it must be from God. Well, once again, I see the flaw in this. Did I ask God? Unfortunately, my answer is, “well, no, I just assumed it.”
One thing has changed in all of this for me. Instead of beating myself up multiple times in my mind calling myself those ugly names from my past, I can see this as a good lesson about obedience to God’s leading in my life. I don’t need a beating or several beatings to learn from it. That is another kind message from God I have needed to also learn.