Jesus Loves YOU

A Dream Fulfilled & a Fear Faced

Yesterday was a BIG day for our family. It was State Fair day. 

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One of the first years we watched the State Fair derby our friend Roger Murdick was running and ended up with another car on top of his. They separated them and finished the heat. And I told Sean then, “you’re never running here!” Then in the feature someones car caught on fire. Not a little wimpy fire under the hood, happens all the time. No. This was a fire ball that completely engulfed the car, driver included. And in complete and total seriousness I told Sean, “you are NEVER driving here!” And until yesterday he hasn’t. He’s always wanted to, but for various reasons hasn’t. When trying to make his decision to run I said absolutely nothing. I refused to comment. A big part of my ministry is encouraging people to go for their dreams. How could I let MY trauma-based fear stop the man I love from doing what I encourage others to do. If I did that it would make me a liar, not to mention I would be miserable knowing I was the reason He didn’t go for his dream. 
So on State Fair day I had to push that fear as far back as I could possibly push it. I had to put my faith and words into action and actually TRUST GOD to keep my Beloved husband safe in the palm of His hand.
During Sunday morning praise and worship I actually, in fear, visualized Sean dying and God reminded me that He HAS resurrected people from the dead before and that He can do it again. There are some commentaries that say that Abraham believed that this was God’s plan when He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. 
Now, did I REALLY believe that Sean was going to die in the derby? No. That’s what Fear wanted me to believe. Do I believe that God wanted me to face this fear all along? YES, in order to get rid of it once and for all! Do I believe that it’s please God and infuriates the Devil if Sean lives out his dream and drives out into that arena in front of hundreds of people with forgiveness written all over his car? Yes!

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Do I think Satan is ticked that two people accepted the written word of God into their lives while we were there?

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You betcha I do!

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Every single one of those people in those stands SAW how forgiveness through Christ works.

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No matter how hard they beat Him and cursed Him, He forgave them. No matter how hard we fight Him and run from Him He forgives us. Over and over and over and over again until WE give in. My friends, Christ wins every time. Give in to Him. He loves you, He forgives you and HE accepts you, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

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P.S. Sean did NOT die! Although I will admit to crying a little while it was going. I am NEVER like that at derbies. Usually I’m out there shouting for him to hit them harder. Last year he had his fuel pump break in the seat behind him spilling gasoline all over the back of his car. They called the fire truck over and were spraying it out and the announcer was saying that his car was on fire. Even in that moment I was concerned but I wasn’t afraid. The State Fair derby was altogether different. I was terrified with an unnatural fear that was unnecessary. But as I stood there with fear-filled tears crawling down my face, I remembered something God taught me about emotions – feel them! Feel them and don’t hide them. Don’t push them back and deny their existence and role in your life. So that’s what I did. I stood there and basked in that twitching anxious feeling of fear and terror that was forcing my hands to shake and my legs to wobble. I stood there and focused on the feeling, the sensation of this fear that had held me prisoner for years and I found myself… enjoying it! It was strange and yet exhilarating! And just like that, it was gone! It’s power over me had ceased, and just as quickly as that I was back to yelling at him to go for it! I was back to myself in 15 seconds flat.
Yes, it was a very BIG day! 

Categories: 7x70, Choose: Fear or Faith | 4 Comments

Book Signing & Kindle Countdown Deal


Jeremiah 35:1-38:28

“Don’t try to hide the truth.” Jeremiah 38:14

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

I just have to plug my book signing just one more time before this weekend! Please come if you are able. If you’re not able, please pray that others come and BUY BOOKS AND THEN READ THEM!!!!! I pray that the Holy Spirit will compel them to come in droves, though they may not even understand why. I pray that they will be compelled to come and partake of the blessed banquet that the Father has prepared ahead of time for them. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

Please share this information, especially the Kindle Countdown Deal, with as many people as you possibly can! Let’s get the word out that Jesus loves YOU!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Jeremiah, Jesus Loves YOU, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Regaining the Things We Risk


Genesis 43:1-46:27

“But if I must lose all my children, so be it.” Genesis 43:14

When I read that phrase this morning I read it with foreknowledge of what was about to happen to Jacob. I read it knowing that he would not only regain the children he was risking to Egypt, he would also regain the son he lost many years before and had been mourning since. Yet at the time that Jacob spoke those words, all he could see was the risk. He had already “buried” one son, his favorite son. And now he was risking all the rest of them in the hopes that they *might* come back with enough grain to keep them alive for a little while longer.

The situation reminded me of Abraham standing on the top of the mountain, knife in upheld hand poised to kill his only promised son. He was risking it all to trust God and to obey Him. And because of his obedience he, and his ancestors including Jacob and all his sons, gained so much more in the process.

Two Saturdays ago God called me to trust Him and exercise my backbone a bit. It involved a pretty big risk to our finances, but I knew that obedience (and a stronger backbone) would be worth whatever risk God was calling me to take. The next day during worship at church He spoke to my heart. He knew that I was concerned about the money I was giving up by being obedient to Him and in that moment of surrender and praise He said, “I will DOUBLE the money you would have gotten because you obeyed Me.”

Sometimes there are seasons in our lives where Jesus calls us to simply trust Him. It’s not usually very easy and it’s rarely an enjoyable experience, but it ALWAYS pays off big time in the end. Abraham not only got his son back, he gained an even larger inheritance for him in the process of trusting God and obeying His command. Jacob not only got the eleven sons he sent to Egypt, he got Joseph back from the supposed grave and they lived in a land of plenty and wanted for nothing during the worst famine in years. Jesus surrendered His own life in obedience to the Father and ended up with not only His own life, but all of ours in the process!

My friend, your obedience is heavily rewarded in the kingdom of Heaven! Often times the very thing God is calling you to risk is the very thing you will regain in the end, and much more besides. Isaac asked Abraham as they were climbing the mountain, “Father, where is the sacrificial lamb?” And Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb.” There are times in our lives when God calls us to ram our heads into a brick wall. When those times come we’ve just got to run with all our might expecting a hole to appear when we get there.

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

A Fresh Start


Zephaniah 1:1-3:20

“Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:16-17

Fanfare please….. Done – da – dadonedadaDONE!!!!!!

With the publication of THIS post I have OFFICIALLY written through the entire Bible in a Year!!!!! 😀

On March 11th, 2012 I took a Sunday Siesta that forever changed my life. I was juuuust getting comfy and dozing off when out of the clear blue, like thunder the voice of God the Father Himself spoke to me, “Write Through the Bible in a Year”. I literally sprang from my bed and went straight to my computer to draw up the plans. They were simple at first, not too specific or refined. And I started out of the gate with guns blaring ready to GO. But it wasn’t long before I started faltering. The way I had planned things out, I hadn’t taken LIFE into account. I hadn’t planned for my humanity or my busy mom’s schedule. And it wasn’t long before I was waaaaay behind on my plan. So much so that on August 24th, 2012 I decided I would quit blogging in the hopes that I might still succeed in the reading portion of the plan. It was a hard decision to make, one that I got a lot of flack about, but it had to be done. I believe in that decision more now than I did then. You know why? Because I never would have made it through this time if I hadn’t taken that break. I know what that break did for me. It helped me to see with clarity, the importance of the blogging element of this challenge. The writing helps me digest what I’ve read, it helps me to formulate how I feel about it and how it applies to my own situation in life at the moment when I’m reading it. And it always does. That break was glorious bliss, knowing that there was no pressure to perform and to please. And yet, it made me hungry. I was still reading, I was still writing, I was still doing everything I had been doing before, I just wasn’t posting, and wouldn’t you know it, it just wasn’t the same. I kept writing thinking, “Gosh this is good stuff”, but then had no one to share it with! And there’s nothing like having something amazing and not having someone to share the experience with. Life was meant to be SHARED!

That “Fast” from the blog lasted about two weeks before I just HAD to share some pictures with my friends. I started posting about once a month… then on December 12, 2012 my first article was published in the (then: Sheridan Reporter) Hamilton County Reporter, so I started posting that weekly onto the blog as well. Then by March 25th, 2013 I was back to posting daily and not just writing but doing weekly VIDEOS too! I was gearing up to be an official Bible Study Teacher like Beth Moore. But something was still off kilter. There was this HUGE GAP in my posted writings and it bothered me tremendously. Finally after a lot of prayer and soul searching… and quite of a bit of help from Holy Spirit I decided that I needed a fresh start. (If that phrase just struck you like it strikes me today, you may want to read this post and watch the video that goes with it. They’re short and powerful. There is NO SHAME in a fresh start my friends.) Just because I’ve failed before doesn’t mean I should to stop trying. Every morning is a fresh start. Every day is a new day to try again at something you’ve failed in yesterday. Just because you didn’t make it “up the pipe” yesterday doesn’t mean that you won’t make it up today! (Right Sean?)

So on June 1st, 2013 I started the challenge again. This time with a new plan based on my previous attempt and experience. This time I took my humanity into account and God used scripture to give me permission to give myself a lot more lee-way than the first time. And wouldn’t you know it, when I took into account that I might need a grace day EVERY week, instead of every month, the plan worked SO MUCH BETTER! Not quite flawlessly, I discovered a couple of baubles along the way, typos, and what not, but on the whole I believe that it went tremendously. There have been very few days in this journey where I have not taken the time to write and there have been no days when I planned on reading and didn’t. For as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to read through the entire Bible. From the time I was in High School on, I’ve lost count of the times I attempted reading from cover to cover! Genesis and I know each other pretty well at this point! But I could never make it past Numbers; it was just too much for me. But back then I didn’t have a timeline or a plan of attack, I was just winging it. And I never made it through. UNTIL TODAY!!!!! It may have taken me thirty-four years to get through it, but I DID IT!!!! WE did it! I never could have done this without you guys! Thank you so much for all your support1 It’s been a wild ride and we’re not about to jump off now!

I’m taking the next week “off” from reading AND writing so that I can BREATHE and make a better plan for this next season based on the lessons I’ve learned from this season of writing. Starting June 1st, 2014 is another fresh start for this blog and this writer. J There are things that I flew with and other that I fell in, and neither gives me permission to quit, but to continue on and to keep trying. I will also still be posting my “book reports” from So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us by Beth Moore. It’s been a fabulous book so far and I really am enjoying sharing it with you.

This week’s reading covered the Insecurity roots of:

*Dramatic Change

*Personal Limitations

*Personal Disposition

And it REALLY hit home for me today! Sadly, as much as I’d love to share more about it with you, I’m out of space and time. So, I’m not quite sure when I’ll get this one to you; if at all. Maybe you’ll just have to read it for yourself. 😉 Now it’s time for this girl to take a NAP! 😀

Have an AWESOME Memorial Day Weekend friends!!!!!

I love you! But Jesus loves you more!

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Zephaniah | 3 Comments

Memories


Zechariah 12:1-14:21

“Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him.” Zechariah 12:1

It’s funny, I just sat down all prepared to tell you all about verse five from chapter twelve, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts their God.” And how tired I am, but God is giving me the strength and determination to carry on. But then I opened my computer and the rotating background picture changed to this:

And I knew I wasn’t just going to be writing about how God strengthens us.

Today’s reading was a lot of end time prophecy, things that most of us don’t think about that often, and I was planning on avoiding talking about them. 😉 Mostly, because they’re hard to talk about, partially because they’re hard to understand, but mostly because they scare me. It’s a lot of talk of misery and people suffering and being raped and pillaged, it’s like watching the news, I just don’t want to have my mind filled with these images. But then God gives me this picture and its beautiful message.

It’s not going to last forever.

The pain you’re in, the struggle you’re going through, the heartache you’re experiencing; it’s not going to last forever. Heaven and Earth WILL pass away, but His Word will NEVER pass away – not ever. Period. There is an eternity waiting for us on the other side of death’s door. There is a reality that is more real than our present reality, you’ll see. And the good years there will come and swallow up the bad years so completely that you won’t even be able to tell that the bad years even existed. The only place they will exist is in your memory.

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Zechariah | Leave a comment

I Will…


Zechariah 7:1-11:17

“Thus says the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God in faithfulness and in righteousness.” Zechariah 8:7-8

This passage sounded so familiar to me when I read it this morning so I went back and looked up some old footage. There’s a good reason it sounded familiar:

Exodus 6:6-8 “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”

Is it just me or is there a refrain in those two verses? “I will save”, “I will bring”, “I will deliver”, “I will redeem”, “I will be your God” and “I will give it to you”, it’s all about what GOD will do… for YOU. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years it’s that I’m NOT perfect. I’ve learned that no matter what I do, it’s still never good enough for me. No matter how hard I try I will still sin and I will fall oh so short of the glory of God.

BUT

I’ve also learned that it’s not about me. The Bible, life, it’s ALL about Jesus. They’re all about what Jesus said and what Jesus did – for ME. And for YOU.

In Genesis God calls Abram to come out away from his family and everything he’s ever known and follow God wherever He decides to take him. Abraham agrees and he heads out into the unknown territory. (Which, fun fact, just happens to be where his father was headed when he stopped short of his own goal.) Then in Genesis chapter fifteen God takes Abraham out to count the stars and tells him that although childless at the moment, he will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and sand on the shore. Then, in order to make sure that Abraham is able to see how serious God is about this promise He has just made, He has Abraham go get a heifer, a goat, a ram, a turtledove and a pigeon and cut them in half. Then to seal the covenant Abraham took the halves of the animals and laid them out on the ground with space between the halves so that a person could walk between them through their blood. This is what’s called a blood covenant, people would do this to symbolize that if one of the parties involved in the covenant didn’t hold up their end of the bargain their fate would be the same as the animals sliced in half. It was kind of like a gory adult version of cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye.

Anyway, the really interesting part of this blood covenant that God makes with Abraham is that when you read Genesis chapter fifteen you’ll notice that God doesn’t make any stipulations on Abraham in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham. All the requirements of the agreement are on God Himself. AND Since there is no higher authority than God, God swears by Himself that He will fulfill ALL the requirements of the covenant in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham to bless him with more descendants than the stars in the sky.

Fast forward to Hebrews chapter nine and I think you’ll find something VERY interesting. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (verses 11-12) My friends, God used the blood of a cow, goat, sheep and birds to secure His promise to Abraham and He kept it. How much more faithful do you think He’s going to be to His promises to you when they’ve been secured by the blood of His own SON!?! Hebrews 9:13-14 says, “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In the Old Testament when someone sinned they had to take their BEST animal and kill it, spilling its blood, as atonement for their sins. That animal sacrifice purified them of that sin until the next time they sinned when they would have to repeat the process. Over and over and over again. Blood was constantly pouring over the altars of Israel as their sins continued. While the blood of those goats and bulls had the power to purify, it didn’t last, it wasn’t strong enough.

BUT GOD had a better plan. The blood of a PERFECT lamb, His Son, offered as a blood sacrifice the propitiation for our sins that justified us by His Grace as a gift through the redemption of Christ Jesus. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness, at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26) See, again, ALL GOD, no you. GOD is the one who has covered you, God is the one who has justified you and purified you from all your unrighteousness. According to 1 John 4:17 as Jesus is so are we in this world.

In Zechariah 8:7-8 and Exodus 6:6-8 God says, “I will” and leaves nothing for His people to do except receive the things He is promising to do for them. Today God is saying the same thing to you through Christ, “I will deliver you from slavery to the law. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Law. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment on JESUS. I will take you to be My people and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Law. I will bring you into the land of rest that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Zechariah | Leave a comment

A Wall of Fire All Around


Zechariah 1:1-6:15

“And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:5

Once upon a time, several years ago, I was awakened in the night with the horrid feeling as though something evil was just outside the wall behind my head. I lay there trembling in fear and praying in the Spirit. Our bedroom is on the corner of our house and there are two roads that intersect on that corner. As I lay there motionlessly praying; I could feel the evil presence move from behind my head and down the first street. Then it stopped at the corner and sat there for a long time, until turning in front of our house and moving on down the street. This was one of my very first experiences like this and to say that it terrified me would be a vast understatement. Even after the presence was long gone I continued to pray, mostly just to calm myself down more than anything. That night, as I lay in my bed, without words or ceremony God showed me something I’ll never forget. He showed me our property, only there was a wall of fire that COMPLETELY encircled our property. And it was in that moment God showed me HIS protection for my family. I had never asked for a wall of fire, I had never done anything to put it there, or deserve it, it’s just there because HE is an all consuming fire and nothing to get through Him to me.

“And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:5

I don’t remember reading this verse before today, and yet it’s PRECISELY what God showed me that night; a wall of fire all around with HIS glory in the midst.

 

My friends, I had quite a moment yesterday with tears and yelling and a frustrated begging of God to SHOW me that what He’s taught me over this last year is True, and that this life really isn’t about me and what I’m doing but about Him and what He’s done; that while I DO have power over the enemy in this world, GOD has the final say over everything – including the Enemy. And then today, it’s taken me ALL DAY to read today’s Word of the Day, a paragraph at a time, but I did it! Then it’s taking missing the finale of one of my favorite shows to write this post, but I’m doing it. To say I’m frustrated with God’s lack of making these last few days a little easier for me to accomplish this task would be an understatement. If finding time today to do this was hard, making time to do it has been even harder! (Not unlike those last .2 miles of a marathon I’d imagine.) And so just when I’m thinking that God’s not answering my prayer for Him to just deal with the Enemy right now because I just don’t have the energy to do it myself, then He shows me this verse and reminds me of my OWN wall of fire all around.

And the Truth of the matter is that the wall of fire isn’t just around my house, it’s around ME. It’s around me because He is IN me. I have felt more supernatural conflict in the atmosphere today than I have in a very long time, and it hasn’t mattered where I was, it’s been there…especially if I had my Bible in my hand. Satan does NOT want me reading my Bible, because he doesn’t want YOU reading yours. He doesn’t want you to learn its Truths and it he definitely doesn’t want you learning its Words. He doesn’t want you building a relationship with Jesus through His story or through prayer. And he will do ANYTHING that he can to keep you from those things. Anything.

But GOD.

God is the ALMIGHTY. God is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end. He was, He is, and He will be. Jesus died for YOU simply because He loves YOU and there’s NOTHING that Satan can do to keep that message from slipping between his slimy little fingers because no matter what darkness does it CAN’T overpower the light! Darkness is simply the absence of light. It’s not even defined by what it is, but rather by what it isn’t. Darkness is defined by the very thing that chases it away and makes it flee in terror. Darkness may make us tremble in fear for but a moment, but it will tremble in fear for all of eternity at the mention of His name; the One, the Way, the Truth and the Life, THE JESUS!

Jesus is our wall of fire; He is our protector and our Savior. He is our confidante and our friend; He is our Beloved and our husband. He is our brother and our LIFE. And while NOTHING in all of creation can separate us from the love that is in Him. There is NOTHING that can separate us from the Darkness better than time with Him. Period. Friends, your life may be hectic. There may be days when you’ll have to miss that favorite show or game. There are going to be times when that time with Jesus is difficult to schedule in – do it anyway. It will be SO worth it!!! He will remind you of everything He’s ever taught you before. He will show you who you are to Him. And He will show you who He is to you. He will open your eyes to things in this world that will knock your socks off. He will because He is the great I Am.

Praise be to God!

 

354 days down, 4 to go. It doesn’t matter if I can do this, I WILL do this. Take that Satan!

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Zechariah | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY

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2 Timothy 1:1-4:22
“Fulfill YOUR ministry” 2 Timothy 4:5

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Categories: 2 Timothy, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Rejected


1 Timothy 3:1-6:20

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5

I come before you this morning overwhelmed, my arms heavily laden with massive messages. It’s Saturday and that means it’s time for a book report, and if the first few chapters made us want to run screaming from our insecurities, this one makes you stand and stare at them face to face, eye to eye. I’ll admit to a bit of quivering by the time I finished the allotted reading… and a sigh of relief that God had the foresight to allow us to split this chapter in half! I’d had as much as I could stand.

Today’s word of the day was the second half of 1 Timothy filled with words of wisdom and instructions for godly living. And I had my scriptures all underlined and I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, until I picked up So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. This chapter is all about digging in the dirt and finding the roots to the bad fruit of Insecurity, and there are several! The ones discussed in today’s reading were:

* Instability in the home

* A significant loss

* Rejection

Instability in your home growing up can certainly be a root of your current insecurity. Whether it was parents who argued, abuse, or even financial instability it’s not too hard to see how these could be the culprits of insecurity.

Beth says on page 65, “At the root of chronic insecurity is often the primal fear that no one will take care of us.” I don’t know about you, but THAT’S a statement that hit me between the eyes! I wasn’t expecting it in the least and the moment my eyes fell on it I felt like she knew me. I don’t remember EVER feeling like that as a child, my parents were awesome. But as an adult…. well that’s another story. I have this strange independence thing going on where I don’t want other people taking care of me, that I can do it myself. But I’m preeetty sure that that stems from a fear that they wouldn’t take care of me if I gave them the opportunity. So I’ve made it a point to take care of myself instead, making my fear null and void. Except, I CAN’T do everything. I can’t be everywhere. I can’t live up to my own expectations for myself, which makes me feel like a complete failure most of the time. Sooooo, I’m thinking that that tactic doesn’t really work very well for alleviating the fear, but rather just dresses it up in pretty dresses and calls it something else – independence. It’s still a fear of not being taken care of – aka insecurity.

But then at the end of the section Beth comes in with a verse that hit the proverbial nail on the head with such accuracy it’s comforting. “Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I
will take care of you.
I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you and save you.” Isaiah 46:4 NCV No matter how little we trust our fellow man to care for us, no matter how orphaned we may feel from our parents, God is always there. He will always be there to care for us, even if we don’t want His care. He MADE you and will take care of you. He will carry you and save you. It’s right there in scripture, His word, written down for all time as a promise to His people – you. And God never breaks His promises.

Significant loss was a section I didn’t expect to relate to that much, until I read it! Beth says on page 71 that, “Insecurity can result from a broken attachment of ANY kind, even one that seems relatively minor to others. If it translated as something huge to your heart, it is huge to God on your behalf. Before we move on, remember to always think broadly when you’re trying to analyze losses and their links to your insecurity. Even the loss of face or respect through some kind of public shame can have an immense impact. Wondering if everybody hates you takes no small toll on your soul.” BOY CAN I RELATE TO THAT!!!!! I have had more public humiliations in these last four years of writing than I think I ever had when I was growing up! And while I don’t think everyone hates me, I do certainly wonder if anyone likes me! It’s a constant question in my brain and my heart, perhaps you can relate.

Rejection: And now we get to the section where I hit my knees, rejection. All those public humiliations have taken their toll and most if not all have been received as rejection. On page 72 Beth says, “Nothing shouts a more convincing lie about our personal value than rejection, and it can reverberate with deafening pitch from any direction. Anywhere there is relationship, there is potential for rejection. … it is entirely possible to perceive that we’ve been rejected when we haven’t.” Wow! I mean really, WOW! And YES! Over the last few years of stepping into the field of ministry I have felt the sting of rejection with the best of them. My most painful have been when I have scheduled events on MULTIPLE occasions where no one showed up. And I don’t mean, where just a few people showed up and I’m calling them “no one”, I mean zero, zip, zilch, nada, NONE. One of the most brutal was when I scheduled a family movie night for the church. It was the first Friday of December and we were going to show Polar Express. I had hot cocoa and popcorn all ready. I had done all the legwork in advance, I had posted it in the church newsletter, the bulletin, I had even hand delivered invitations to parents standing in line after church to pick up their children from Sunday school. And yet in a church with literally THOUSANDS of members, many of them parents with young children, NO ONE, not one came to see the movie. I had felt so led by God to offer this service to the youth and parents in our church, I sowed as many seeds as I possibly could, but saw no harvest of interest. That night I left my family in the movie room and went into a darkened part of the church and cried in the lonely halls. I could understand why none of them had come to the Sunday school class I had tried to start for them, fear of commitment and study. But something fun like a movie with no commitment and no background study or time, just show up and watch a movie with your church family and not one single other family shows up? Talk about feeling rejected!

That wasn’t the first no show event of mine and it certainly wasn’t the last, by far! But it is one of the best examples of my experiences thus far with ministry. Seriously, tell me how I could walk out of a situation like that and NOT feel at least a small amount of rejection from my peers? I’ve constantly questioned what’s wrong with me? Why am I so unable to schedule events that people will show up to? My current solution, I’ve stopped scheduling them. Is that wrong? I don’t know. But it’s what I’ve got to do at the moment because I simply can’t bear that pain anymore. I’ve been hurt too many times by the ones I’m pouring my soul into, and if anything I just need a break from the heartache.

And yet, today, as I’m going through it all again, and boxing it all up to give over to Jesus; He showed me the cross. Who better to go to with this pain? Who on this earth knows rejection better than Jesus? He gives and He gives and He gives and we reject and we shun and we doubt. We spit at His efforts and we throw stones at His heart of love and acceptance and yet He stays there on that cross with arms open wide in love ready to welcome us home into His heart whenever we’ve exhausted ourselves enough to go there.

Thank You Jesus! You’re the BEST!

Categories: 1 Timothy, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

The Worm


2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18 & 1 Timothy 1:1-2:15

I am afflicted and I beg for relief. I am so helpless. I am a worm on a sidewalk about to be stepped on. I can’t move fast enough to avoid my own mortal doom. I’m voiceless so I can’t scream out for help or for the foot to stop its stomping towards me. I have no defenses, nothing, I can only lie there and wait for the foot to crush me.

But it never comes. The trembling earth beneath me is still.

Why?

How?

The foot belongs to someone who has eyes to see and a heart that is merciful to worms like me. Instead of a crushing stomp I receive a lifting hand, a palm of grace and mercy, a soothing voice of gentleness, a soft placing into green pastures near still waters away from harm and the fear of imminent death.

Though a mere wriggling slimy worm, deserving of nothing, I am cherished in the gardener’s hands, valued for me work of eating, tunneling and even pooping. In the gardener’s watchful care I am tended and protected from the early birds, hungry for blood. He shoos them away. In the gardener’s care I am not worthless. In the Gardener’s eyes I am priceless, irreplaceable, valuable though I am still a worm, he makes me feel like more. Much more.

“God considers it just to… grant relief to you who are afflicted” 2 Thessalonians 1:6&7

Categories: 1 Timothy, 2 Thessalonians, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

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