God is never done remaking, remolding, refocusing us more and more into His likeness. As I’m reading now in Jeremiah I see this so clearly. Jeremiah has been giving prophecies to the people of Judah to no avail. So, God is making it clear that bold consequences are now tied to the prophecies. In order for Jeremiah to be able to give such bold information, his life needed to reflect a clear, dedicated life to God.
I appreciated what Joyce Meyers wrote specific to this message. She tied it to God’s leading in her own life saying that God had told her Satan would try to enter through any door of temptation she left even marginally ajar. However, as her ministry progressed God made it clear that Satan would take advantage of any crack in her wall of protection she’d created with Him. We each need to do the same. Our thoughts, our motives, our actions, our words; if they are to be tools for God, must be fully in line with our living each and every day. I loved this clarity and this reminder.
God is never done remaking, remolding, refocusing us more and more into His likeness. For this I am most grateful!
Today, as I began my journaling, I didn’t think I had much to process with God. I was just going to write down what was to take place and then ask Him to lead in all of it. However, that quickly changed when God asked me to look around me, not just where I am sitting in my den, but look around me in each of the places I’d be today. He asked me if I see Him or if I only saw the tasks I am to do? His reminder to see Him turned into seeing the day as one where I get to work with Him instead of a day where I have these tasks to complete.
This lesson of today has such a solid, important outcome to it. Do I anchor my day, each day, on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ? Am I stepping into the day grounded? I often say this is the outcome of every day’s devotional time for me. However, this morning God pointed out my need to look around and see life as a chance to live serving Him rather than seeing life as chores to complete. This makes me sit up straight and be on alert. God is never not working and I don’t want to miss any part of it because my eyes are on the wrong target.
Did you ever hear the phrase, “Why would you ever want to share that? Those things you want to keep to yourself!” I cannot begin to tell you how many times I did hear that or something very close to it as I was growing up and as I got into my young adult years. Now, all these years later, the class Mending the Soul, has us doing just the opposite. The entire purpose of the class is to get each participant to share all of these dark secrets of past abuse and sins. The sole reason is that if it is shared “…one to another you will be healed.” James 5:16.
The class yesterday went deeply into one’s trust in God, one’s beliefs about who God is to them and so much more. One has to start with this area. If we don’t recognize how much we have stuffed into the walled off areas of our life regarding God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit, we will have little chance of ever finding the fullness of the healing God promises in His Word.
Going through this class for the 3rd time I am being awakened more and more to the freedom God has provided me. It is painful to hear others talk the very same messages about God’s Team (Himself, Jesus and The Holy Spirit), from their past. Yet, there is that sliver of Hope which they cling to. The first step is getting it spoken and recognize you are not alone. Hope grows in community and God is beginning this community of men “…one day at a time, one moment at a time accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” (The Serenity Prayer)
We walked away from class yesterday having shared some of the most despairing things to one another. I reminded each one to let what was shared linger with us as we go into the week and not steel it back off as I use to do. God’s tender voice begins to speak the truths we can rely on when we continue the journey into each day. God’s emotional/spiritual surgery is painful, yet the freedom from healing is worth it all–I know!
IT’S MOTHER’S DAY! I not only thank God for my Mom who has been gone for 22 years, I thank Him for Kathy (mom of three) and for my three daughters who are mothers to my dozen grandkids. What a blessing God gave us creating Moms!
Today in our Mending the Soul class I’m going to be reading a passage Joyce Meyers wrote in the bible I read regarding Isaiah ch. 54. The 4th verse says: “Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed. For you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth….” Joyce tells a bit about her own childhood of abuse and how God has given her victory overcoming its damning effects and replaced it with a ministry to millions helping them to overcome their own pasts.
It is always amazing to me how God puts these chapters right in my lap at the right time. Last week in class we went through our timelines of our life which included all that took place causing great shame in each man present. God is never without Hope for His kids. I thank Him so much for providing the timely reinforcement. He is so GOOD!
Our God really is amazing. No matter how much I may have on my plate for the day, if I just let Jesus lead the day all comes together. This has truly been the case these past couple days. Much of what I wanted done is selfish (gardening and getting everything planted, mowing and trimming, etc.), but God let all of this get done along with what I needed to help some others with. I sure need to learn this lesson well enough that I won’t go back to grabbing the lead and fouling up the day as I’ve done so many times.
As I was reading In Isaiah 58-59 today I couldn’t help but think of the men in our Mending the Soul class. Each of us has plenty of reason to hate what life has given. Each one is coming with a cautious hope that momentarily takes them beyond their struggles to a place called Freedom. So many thousand years ago, life wasn’t different. Men struggled then too, just as we do today. Struggles may look different, but how men handle it is much the same. In every case, God is showing us how to find His Light. Until we reveal the darkness of our soul by speaking it, Light cannot penetrate it. The beautiful thing I’ve found is that when this does happen for us, the Light we receive begins to be used to help others see their own and the Light begins HOPE for them. As I said in the first sentence: Our God is AMAZING!
God is so faithful, good and kind. Yesterday I said I had a long list of things to get done and I did. However, as I let that list go and asked God to take the lead–He did. I was able to have an important conversation with the one on my heart. I not only helped my grandson, but was able to also surprise him with an early birthday gift. When I got back home I was able to get more of my own gardening done than I’d thought. I then got to Celebrate Recovery for our worship practice and all went very well. God is Amazingly Good! We even had 4 newcomers at CR last night.
After Celebrate Recovery restarted in person last July, 2020, several of our leadership team members didn’t return. The absence of in-person meeting seemed to let them know they could move on and they did. I never saw this as a bad thing, just a reality. It did leave us with the need for new potential to start coming. The leaders who stayed began to pray more diligently for ones in our community to respond to God’s nudges and come for help. Last night one of our leaders gave her testimony. In our men’s share group I was made aware how God was answering our prayers and I hadn’t noticed. There were 5 men sharing about this “new testimony” and it was this lady’s 4th or 5th time to give it. I smiled to myself and thanked God for showing me how He is working even when I don’t notice. I told the guys at the end of the hour of sharing they were answers to prayer. It is so wonderful to have the chance to see God continuously working! I love our GOD!
Today the youngest Lewis brother turns 70. He and I are the same age until I turn 71 on July 1. I think that makes us twins for almost 2 months! He is the plumber, mechanic and carpenter and I’m the educator. I’m no good at what he does and he cares nothing for what I do. However, as brothers, he’s the best! We made a pact when we were young boys to help each other stay on track in life so we didn’t have to experience some of the hard knocks we saw our oldest ones have. So far we have stayed true to it. He’s celebrating with his own kids today and the “older party” will be on Saturday. We will start early so we can get our naps in!!
God is so GOOD! Today I am home with a mile long list of things to get done. My grandson also wants me to come and help him with his yard which I enjoy, but…. Then I took all of this to God and He reminded me to stay focused on Him and let the details come together as He orchestrates. My stewing gets nothing done and usually interferes with the joy of doing what I love–gardening! So, with that reminder from God I gave the list to Him and told Him I’d go with Him today. He’s a far better Leader!
Today is the birthday for one of the faces on my wall that I referenced yesterday. She is my Aunt Billie. She is one of the most loving people one could ever be gifted to have in their lives. I have the sweetest memories of her kindness. Her words of affirmation always made me feel valued for the moment. Happy Birthday Aunt Billie!
Today I have read Isaiah 54. It is a powerful chapter. As I opened to it I found a note which was written by my prayer warrior reminding me that this chapter’s promise is being prayed for me and for the people of our Celebrate Recovery group. This chapter tells each of us that we no longer have to be held by the shackles of shame from our youth and we do not need to be depressed. (see verse 4). I’ve been reading this bible now for 5 years. As I’ve read Lois’ message in times past it was a message of hope. Today it is a message of truth. I am no longer bound by the shackles of shame as I had been for so many, many years. Praise God! When God said He is the Great Healer, He is not kidding! There is nothing He didn’t have His Son Jesus bury at the Cross. There is no sin we’ve committed or that was committed to us which has not been buried at the Cross. The struggle had been to believe this is true for me. Hallelujah, it is TRUE! It is true too for any reader who is still struggling to believe. Don’t give up HOPE! Claim this truth for yourself today!
Today started earlier than I had expected it to. I had awakened to a mind full of things God was wanting me to process with Him and I’m so glad now that He had me do this. There are some things which could easily weigh me down at present if I let them. As I awoke they were heavy on my heart and I needed to have my time with God releasing them to Him. In so doing I not only was able to give them to Him, but He also reminded me of His Magnificent Work. He doesn’t just take the load of heaviness from us as we give it to Him, He then turns that heavy burden into a life lesson for which we can better see Him and to better give Grace to one another. The Hope God gives is turned into action as we surrender the burden. This I have now done!
In choir practice last night we practiced the song, “Grace That You Have Shown”. In it one is reminded to take a look at the faces that line our hallway of life who have pointed us to Christ. In some cases, they were our Christ for a time when Christ wasn’t known or couldn’t be found. Our choir leader gave us one of her “lectures” (as I call them) bringing out the meaning of the song. I can get lost in the technical side of singing wanting to be sure all the notes and timing are right. In so doing I lose the whole purpose of the song for worship. Well, the purpose was vivid last night after the lecture. Even now my heart is filled with gratitude for the faces of those God gave me when I needed love and value. What a tremendous God we serve!
The Mending the Soul class I’m leading for the 6 men attending had us doing a timeline of one’s life. Above the line were the blessings of one’s life and below the line are the abuses/hindrances of one’s life. This took the entire lesson time and we still will have one doing his next week. As each revealed his story MUCH HURT was disclosed and with it, a lot of confusion about God’s place in it. I was hearing so much about each of these men and also knowing God was rejoicing that we are getting started into the healing work He gives as promised in James 5:16–“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Yesterday afternoon our family gathered as we have been doing and in so doing there was a good deal of distress shared between one another. It left me feeling somewhat tormented as the day ended and I headed to bed. This morning as I journaled about this God revealed that the words we speak in this battlefield world we live in are seeds. If I plant the seeds of hopelessness for this life I will reap hopelessness. However, when I plant the seeds of God’s promises (HOPE) no matter how hopeless man might feel, God will nurture those seeds and we will reap HOPE which turns into spiritual fruit.
For a moment I saw the men of yesterday morning and then I saw the trouble in my own family and I was about to try and own it and label it. This morning God had me put my eyes upon Him by looking up to HIM. In so doing I could then see the problems outlined yesterday as the seeds of Satan which grow the strangling weeds choking out the fruit of HOPE. God wanted me to plant words of HOPE as He removes these weeds of lies planted by Satan in this earthly land of despair. I planted seeds of TRUTH–HOPE this morning as I prayed!