It was as though I’m not to write an entry today. Kathy and I are in Wallowa County, OR for her grand nephew’s graduation and staying with her sis who lives in Joseph. I’m trying to use my laptop to write this entry and for some reason all of the entry points saved on my laptop would only let me view past entrys. I finally had to enter and create a new password so here we go.
There are a couple of striking things to me about walking with God by my side (as I wrote about yesterday) along with Jesus and The Holy Spirit within me. The first and comforting one is that I’m never alone. The second and more intimate one is that relying on God and following all of His Ways has blessings which never lead to anything but gradification and thanksgiving. If we take a moment to try and gradify ourselves any other way we may have a moment of gradificaction, but it is quickly followed by guilt and shame. Following God’s lead always has nothing but a blessing that makes one wonder why he ever wanted to do his own thing?
WOW, GOD IS SO GOOD!
It seems I could daily write this blog just from the 90 day book/devotional I am going through. The messages are so directly hitting me right where I need to be hit! Last night I taught the lesson on GRACE for our Celebrate Recovery group. A major component of this message is that Grace is best understood when one knows well its Giver–Father God. Even the grace we receive from Jesus starts with our Father. I confessed in my lesson that growing into a loving relationship with God as my Father was not an easy thing to do. It was far easier to let this slip by and go to Jesus and The Holy Spirit. They were given to me to live within me so that I could do. Only in recent years have I been able to go deeply into what I have needed to do in order to have a loving relationship with God Himself.
Trusting a relationship with God requires me to separate my dad’s behaviors from God. I have hated going deeply into my own dad’s behaviors for within me I don’t want to process the ugliness of dad’s actions. When I did go there it fed right into the “why did God allow this”? I’ve indeed processed this and understand that Father God has never been my earthly father. It is finally time to simply let the old memories go and allow myself to settle into the Hands of my Heavenly Dad. Walking by His side throughout the day is a whole new concept, but I want this and I know He has been waiting for this to come. Everything Jesus and The Holy Spirit are is within Father God.
WOW, WHAT A FATHER!
Today’s devotional message is one that awakened a truth in me I have never realized. Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” I have known this verse for years. Yet, the clarity of the verse’s message hadn’t hit me until today. I have always interpreted this verse’s meaning as to walk with the Spirit within me. Some translations even say to walk in the Spirit. However, today as I read this scripture I, for the first time, pictured God walking right along side of me through the day.
The devotional message today was attempting to emphasize the point that when children are out with their parents, they need to stay close to them for cars can’t see little ones in their mirror but parents can be seen due to their height and size. Thus, staying close to the parents, they are safe. You are free from danger. I have always wondered why God’s Spirit seemed to disappear within me when I’m hit with severe temptations like porn. It seemed I’m always left to face this one on my own. Today’s message let me see God right by my side. I can simply look up to Him and say–“this one is yours Dad” for I know you are right here.
I’ve always struggled with my relationship with God. (I know this has been driven by my distant relationship with my own father). It is so much easier to stay with my relationship with Jesus and trusting God’s Holy Spirit within me. They were given to me because I accepted Christ into my life. Today’s message allowed me to see God as intimately close to me as Jesus and The Holy Spirit are. Later in this same chapter of Galatians Paul outlines the Fruit of the Spirit. I can have all of these when I rely on the Spirit within me and God along side of me. What a humbling and gracious picture of love and support!
The 90 day journal/devotional I’m presently doing had a devotional writing that asked the reader to read a chapter of the bible and thank God for His Word. I had already had my bible reading ahead of this so I wasn’t going to read anymore. After all, I have several little chores I want to get done before I head into the activities of the day. However, the Spirit was prompting me to be obedient. The scripture reference for the devotional was John 17:17 so I grabbed my bible and read the 17th chapter. In this chapter Jesus is praying to God thanking Him for the opportunity to serve Him. He goes onto ask that in the same way God led Him for the 33 years on earth, please now lead His children (you and me) in the same manner. My word, I was filled with GRATITUDE!
Tomorrow night I teach our Celebrate Recovery lesson which is GRACE. God’s Grace is just what John 17 is all about. God gave to us Jesus Christ to be our Savior and hopefully Lord (if we will determine to live for Him in our daily lives). More than any of this, when we accept Christ into our lives, God sees Christ in us so all of our sinfulness is never seen–He only sees His Son Jesus. The reality of this truth is so humbling and amazing–this is GRACE in its fullness. How grateful I am!
Yesterday was a grand day. I had 3 grandsons come and help me get our pool out of winter mode and ready for summer use. I am most grateful for their help!
I have written many times about my dad’s prideful ways. Most of our beatings as a child were driven from his pride being hurt in some way only he could determine. I’ve always thought of pride as an ugly beast. In my current years I’ve found that pride is simply an emotion like all others. It isn’t right or wrong until we act on it. I’ve also found that my own pride is huge too. When I looked at the three grandsons helping me yesterday I was filled with pride. They not only helped but they were great workers as well. Of course grandpa would be most proud. Where I stumble is when pride for “my way” gets into the way of obedience. The selfishness of pride can be very sinful.
As I am reading through Proverbs presently, there are so many scriptures talking about pride and selfishness. I see myself way too often. Instead, I want to model Jesus and have others see Him in me. In order to do that I have to have more than an exterior that looks right. I also must have a motivation from within that is driven by my prideful spirit being surrendered to The Holy Spirit. This is an everyday surrender and I can only live it out one day at a time.
Today is Memorial Day where we honor those who have gone before us. This focus is first and foremost for the veterans who have died for our earthly freedom. Along with this I want to honor those who have modeled living the spiritual freedom which God gives as we surrender all of our struggles to Him. This was first and foremost modeled for me by my grandma Wretling. Even when she was in the nursing home her spirit of freedom was alive and well. She had over 60 grandchildren including the greats and great greats. She said she prayed for all of us and I asked one time how she could remember all of our names? She told me that she didn’t but she knew Jesus did and she was holding Him accountable for every single one of us! Her freedom was so solid in Christ that she held Jesus accountable! I’ve never known of anyone else who had such a solid relationship with Jesus.
My mom was my other freedom modeler. Mom was a quiet individual much like my grandpa. However, mom lived with dad for 72 years and I never once heard her complain of him. She modeled for all of us kids what living in the love of Jesus was like. She never complained but simply did all that she was to do with a sense of peace. How she did that I will never know. I can only chalk it up to the peace that passeth all understanding which only Jesus provides. I honor these two ladies today!
Paul refers to the Christians of his day in his writings as saints. In Corinthians he refers to the sins of the believers, but he still calls them saints. This is the message in my devotional this morning. (And I love it). It identifies us as God sees us through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, not as we often see ourselves. Paul wants us to believe how God sees us, while Satan wants us to see ourselves as he sees us. Well, I’m going to follow what Paul’s suggests and see myself the way God asks us to. I encourage you to do the same! We are SAINTS! Thank You Jesus!
Jesus is the Solid Rock upon which I want to daily live my life. I loved the message in my 90 day devotional which stated that when we are fed a lie in our thoughts, we can question and dispute it, embrace it, or we can put it up against the Truth of God’s Word. Lies cannot stand against Truth–just as Satan has to flee in the presence of God’s Spirit, so do his lies and the lies of our flesh.
The reason I love this message so much is that I have struggled most of my life believing lies I thought were truths about God and me. Today, I know and believe what God’s Word tells me. I have to confess that there are times when I must remind myself to believe them, but as soon as I do I have a quiver full of arrows I can shoot at the enemy.
Last night I had a young man text me who was struggling to believe what we have been working on in our counseling sessions. My return message was to take the 3-R’s and put them to work: Recognize the lie, Reject it and Replace the lie with the TRUTH of God’s Word. (How often we all need to have this reminder). In a short while the reply came: THANKS!
Yesterday was a remarkable day. I had been invited to my old school to attend a retirement luncheon for one of the teachers I’d hired 26 years ago. She wasn’t new to teaching when I hired her but new to our area. She had all of the academic background I was looking for and seemed to have the “spirit of teaching” within her. Twenty-six years later this spirit of teaching has been SO evident. It was a tremendous tribute. When I retired 16 years ago from the district I had prayed the Spirit of God would remain. Looking back I somehow thought this would be at risk. All these years later one could immediately know that God’s Spirit was rich in presence. This was never about me, but always about God. These things I “know” but struggle to always “believe” are evident and God is faithful to continuously teach that HE is ALWAYS present. All we need to do is reach out. Hiring people who know to reach out to God keeps His Presence alive.
Secondly, last night I sat down with a young man who came to Celebrate Recovery for the first time. It is always amazing to hear one’s tender, broken story with the hope that the story can change to one of Glory with God’s help. God has been working on him and he’s ready to do his part. What an honor it is to get to be a part of God’s Work in this ministry. GOD IS SO AMAZING!
I have talked infrequently about someday completing my lifetime story I started with my autobiography being published in 2015. The book ends with the section called “Finding Freedom”. In order to complete this autobiography I’d need to write what I’d call “Living in Freedom”. This last section would start in 2020 when I went to my prayer warrior Lois. She had given me the book, I Give You Authority. The author talks about what I call the 3-R’s. (I’ve written about these several times in the past few years). They are, Recognize, Reject and Replace. We need to recognize our struggle, reject it and replace it. In my case I was struggling to believe I could ever be a new creation. I wanted to believe what scripture says is true for me, but I had to many lies going through my head. I recognized them and rejected them, but I couldn’t find anything to replace them with.
When I shared all of this with Lois, she prayed over me with her hands on my shoulders asking God to help me find, self-love, self-appreciation, and self-confidence. These became my 3-S’s to follow the 3-R’s. The voices would scream in my head that to love self and appreciate self were arrogant and selfish just as my father had pushed me away telling me to go off and do my thing. I didn’t care about my family. I just wanted to live for me and do my thing. This was never true, but the hurt of the message had never left me.
As I began to pray for the 3’S’s to be real for me–they began to become real. Amazingly, this truth of believing (more than just knowing) we are fearfully and wonderfully made (as stated in Psalms 139:14), is real. It doesn’t make me arrogant, but instead, it has made me grateful. I can more than know this truth, I can believe it for me. Living in Freedom has so much gratitude in it and a genuine absence of self-doubt and ridicule. How grateful I am for God’s faithfulness to each one of us!