THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 30, 2023

There is a point I’ve been trying to make clear (for me) for readers that I still haven’t done very well. In the past couple of days I’ve hit upon God being I AM (a name He gave Himself during the time of Moses). God is the same yesterday, today and forever so He still is I AM. The only place I AM fits is when one is in today.

Yesterday I wrote about finding God in the days of abuse which were my past. In therapy I was enabled to bring the abuse of my past to the present–the today. It was then I was able to let God be in scene with me clarifying for me who the abuser was, who the abused was and where God was in this troubling time. It was also here that God made it very clear that the gift of choice which He gave mankind could also be turned into a curse when man chooses to use choice selfishly.

The GREAT I AM can and will help us when we are able to let Him enter into our troubled pasts–today. Because of God’s Grace and Mercy, today I am free from my past’s bondage. Will I ever be anxious? Well, yes, but as soon as I allow God to enter into the scene in my mind that triggers the anxiety, I can surrender it and find that promised PEACE which passeth all understanding!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 29, 2023

This morning as I’ve reread yesterday’s post I am prompted to add a piece which didn’t hit me until today. The name God gave himself when He was dealing with Moses and the Israelites was I AM. I’ve heard many, many times over the years that this name God has given Himself testifies to the truth that God is in our present–today. In the flesh we can only live in the present so God is telling us to keep our minds in today for that is where we will find Him.

When I was in counseling (not so many years ago), one of the most grueling things for me was reliving so many times of abuse: sexual, physical and verbal. What became healing during this process was finding God in them by understanding that when God gave man choice, man chose this behavior–not God. The abuse was entirely about man’s choice–the abuse of God giving us choice. I didn’t own anything about the abuse. Only then was I able to finally let the sins I thought I carried due to the abuse–go. They were not mine to carry, they had been done to me, not committed by me.

When you realize God is I AM, we need to go back and find God’s I AM presence in our past when we are locked into a lie thinking God had abandoned us. This GREAT I AM is in each and every day we have lived and will be in each and every day we will live. The bondage of sin is the absence of finding God in that time and taking whatever steps need to be taken to let God into the time. Sometimes it is letting the the abuser own all that they did. Sometimes we have to confess a part we may have had. Whatever is needed, we can take the appropriate steps to let God be in it. Helping others do this today is such a wonderful, humbling privilege!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 28, 2023

Have you ever questioned a biblical, scriptural truth? When I was in high school and the sexual use of me was still taking place with the one older brother, I was reading I Corinthians 10:13. It says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” At the time I knew this verse was given as a promise of God–TRUTH. However, it never seemed true for me. It became one of the reasons I thought God just didn’t care much for me which led to me thinking I was more than an oops of mom and dad. I was also God’s mistake and I would have to earn my way back to Him.

In my recent years I’ve become very grounded in the truth of this verse. I’ve certainly learned that my temptations are common to man. But, more than that I’ve learned just how God never did let me be tempted beyond what I could bear. In all of the times during my life when temptations and life’s realities seemed overwhelming and all consuming, I lived through them and became a better person for doing so thanks be to God,

So, today I read Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The critical truth in growing in my walk with God has been learning to live by FAITH and unlearning to live by flesh. As I do this I find the truth of my flesh being crucified with Christ. I can claim this truth as a Sword of the Spirit when temptations come.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 27, 2023

Last night in our step study group, one of the men asked what the meaning of meek is? The lesson we were doing is lesson 6 which is ACTION. The principle for this lesson is Principle 3: “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” The scripture supporting this principle is: Matthew 5:5, “Happy are the meek.” I responded from what the lesson teaches in that meek is like humble. One recognizes the power to overcome is not within man, but is found in God’s Holy Spirit within us if we have accepted Christ into our lives. When we are meek we know our weakness and turn to God’s Strength within us through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

So, one can know this truth, but putting this truth into action is an entirely different story. We have to be honest with ourselves first and foremost. We also have to desire to have the struggle overcome. Sometimes one may want a struggle taken away, but then we come up against something in our lives and we quickly want to return to the struggle. We all know the consequence of doing this, but the temptations are strong.

In all of this, we learn the genuine meaning of “meek”. I feel like I’ve had to learn this several different times for just when I think I’m strong in the Lord, I find that this new day is now a new struggle. The Serenity Prayer is very true when it says, “…One day at a time, one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” This sure isn’t a one time lesson!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 26, 2023

Last night we had a quartet practice gearing up for a couple of events we where we are doing an hour long concert. One of the songs is “Through It All”. We have done this song many times in years past but haven’t sung it for 4 or 5 years. I happened to be signing it while I was mowing my lawn this past Monday. The words thank Jesus/God for the trust we can have in them, the hope we have, thanking them for the problems of life in order to build this trust. In part they say: “Through it all I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God…” As I was singing this while mowing I was overcome with thanksgiving. I hadn’t realize just how much I have learned to trust in Jesus until these past several months of counseling. I so often hear of one’s disbelief that Jesus truly cares for them or why would all of this be happening to them? I relate so well to this question for it was my own for so many years of my life.

The ordeals of life are overwhelming sometimes, but God’s faithfulness to His Promises are even more overwhelming if we will continue to stay with Him. He will kindly and patiently help us find Him in these awful circumstances and allow us to replace our questions of doubt with confidence in thanksgiving. I am a living testament of this and I am so very grateful!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 25, 2023

Have you ever noticed the difference in people and their expression of “I love you”? This statement is one I never heard from either of my parents as a child growing up. I wouldn’t even of wanted to hear it from my dad. It would have only added fuel to my bitterness towards him if I thought he loved me on top of his abusive behaviors. However, my mom was such the opposite. She deeply cared for each of us kids from the physical standpoint. The girls talk about mom’s care for them from the emotional standpoint also.

My sis-in-law invited me to join them for dinner last night ahead of going to choir practice. This topic of love came up. She is one who never lets her kids or grandkids leave without them knowing she loves them. I have grandkids who are exceptionally good at saying this each and every time we are together. They prompt me to do the same. This statement is truly one of kindness and affection. I know that I am much more like my mom in that I can easily care for you, but saying this doesn’t come to mind unless I’m reminded by another one’s words.

God has not let this rest in my mind and heart since last night. I need to grow in saying this–I love you. Words are powerful. My heart is in this statement so I need to get better at letting others know.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 24, 2023

Yesterday was such a nice day. One of my granddaughter’s turned 16 and she wanted her party to be at our home. Kathy was going to be gone but that was no problem. I enjoy hosting. My granddaughter wanted homemade ice cream which I have only frozen over the years, never made. I said we’d have to save this request for another occasion. However, the day after I said this I realized I can follow a recipe so I then said I’d make it. Well, it was a big success! Grandpa was happy along with my granddaughter and the rest of the family.

Have you ever noticed that when God answers prayer it is often so much more than the simple prayer was? My devotional this morning was pointing this out. It made me think all over again how I use to pray for God to remove the memories of my abusive past so I could live in freedom. Little did I realize that His plan was so much bigger and meaningful. He didn’t remove the memories at all. What He did was to replace the guilt and shame with the desire to use the memories to help others be free of their own bondage. I know I’ve written about this a lot, but it is worth writing about again. Our God is so much richer and bigger than our wildest dreams. He will complete them with His purpose in mind which is so much more fulfilling than than anything we might want.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 23, 2023

As I looked up from my desk while reading a devotional this morning, I saw the most beautiful sunrise. The sky was brilliant with red hues showing through the pine trees bordering my yard. I quickly took a picture of it. In so doing I then noticed the daffodils in the flower bed the camera caught that I didn’t even see. In all of this I was quickly reminded that God is so much more than the eye catches. I wish I could place the picture here but I don’t know how this could be done? Hopefully you can close your eyes and picture it from these words!

God is so kind and good. His surprises like this morning are all around us when we take a moment to grasp them. How much I need to take a step back and reflect allowing God’s continuous masterpiece to simply be noticed. In so doing, I get filled with gratitude for the immensity of His blessings!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 22, 2023

A few days ago I wrote about a book, Freedom Starts Today. The entry for today told of closing our garage doors. The author had forgotten to close his garage door one night and he panicked. His children were 4, 3 and 1 so he quickly checked on them and all other important items in the house. All was safe, but had been highly at risk. The author then relates this scenario to all of the garage doors we daily leave open: cell phones, computers, where our eyes look, what we purchase, what we choose to watch on TV and the list goes on. Part of our commitment to God needs to be the choice to close these garage doors so there is no conscious entry available for temptation. I say conscious here because we can prepare for what we know. The Holy Spirit will be on guard for the deceptions unknown to us for Satan cannot fool God’s Holy Spirit as he can us.

I truly liked this analogy. It is a great visual in my mind of easy entrance for temptations and what I can do to address them. As I’ve been working through this 90-day process, it is such a good way to stay focused on what easy prey we are when we do not make the choices to “put on the full Armor of God that His Holy Spirit provides for us as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18.

It doesn’t matter what our struggle is, the steps for protection are very much the same. Today I commit to being humble, admitting my weaknesses and asking The Holy Spirit to be my STRENGTH for HE is GOD within us!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: APRIL 21, 2023

Celebrate Recovery uses the Serenity Prayer each time one meets. There is a powerful line in this prayer that I’ve always appreciated but only had limited understanding of it. This line is, “…one day at a time, one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” Sobriety in anything: breaking a habit, changing what I believe, starting a new healthy habit, stopping an unhealthy behavior: i.e., swearing, being negative, etc.), and the list goes on. In all or any of these, we will only find success if we take them one day at a time, one moment at a time, as the prayer states. This much I’ve always understood.

What God is awakening in me of late is the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT within me. Whether I’m addressing a change of behavior, a habit or a belief (lie) that needs changing, the work I can do with it can only take place in the present because that is where I am today. Tying to this is the truth that God calls Himself The Great I AM. Since God is SPIRIT and I have the Holy Spirit within me, He works in me today. Tomorrow He will work in me when tomorrow is now today. This is so simple, but I’ve never seen it as simple. My “wants” have been to obliterate my bad habits. My pride has always wanted to not have to admit I’ve struggled with pornography, been sexually used by a gay brother, etc. I just wanted to be a nice, productive man who is happily married and has wonderful children and grandchildren.

God is patiently and kindly awakening in me the disgusting side of flesh when it comes to what I’m writing about. My reliance on Him is understanding and cooperating with Him and His Spirit within me. I can “do all things in Christ” if I understand the simple truth that I take it one day at a time! It has taken me a lot of years to come to this understanding, but now that I’m here–I want to stay and live this out the rest of my earthly life.