How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:2
Stress is it an inside job, or an attack? I was awake from 10:00 PM until somewhere around 3:30 AM. Wrestling with stress. Work stress, family stress, dog stress, people stress, health stress, just stress in general. (See previous blog) It seemed like everything that stressed me out came at me like a giant black ball and wanted to overwhelm me. It was a unrelenting attack. I couldn’t focus on anything. I couldn’t escape, I couldn’t win. It was crazy, almost maddening. I have not had a night like this for quite a while. I would try to resolve a problem in my head and then another one would pop in there. then I would find myself going back to the original problem and re-wrestling with that one. Over and over all night. I finally looked at the clock around 3 AM and said to myself, I give up. I cannot do this anymore. I must have fallen asleep and awoke to hearing my coffee pot brewing. I don’t think people realize the stress of their actions. I am sure that i have been the cause of many stressful situations. I thought of the picture above and wonder if that is my stress face and if it started way back then?
I don’t handle stress very well. I used to smoke and that seemed like a good outlet at the time. Now I am just fat. I stress eat. I am sure that’s not healthy. You would think that walking with God that I wouldn’t be stressed. You know, giving all my worries and problems to God. Well-being the fool that I am, I pick them right back up and carry them around like they are a part of who I am. Part of me wants to shut down and shut everyone out. Quit my job and get away from it all. That sounds healthy and mature. Not really. Why do we stress and worry? What’s missing and what is the cure.
Jesus was hanging out with boys and said, “let’s get into the boat and go to the other side.” So, they do, and He promptly falls asleep. Then a storm comes along. Do you think these experienced fishermen would remain calm and cool, thinking that this is just another storm? No, I think they got stressed out. Jesus was with them, and they still got stressed. Jesus got woken up and promptly calmed the storm. I need some storm calming in my life. I think all the stress in my life came to a head and tossed me to and fro. I was probably stuffing everything, keeping busy and distracting myself and finally it exploded in my mind. I can put up a good front, but in my mind i think I am not handling it so well. I look for God smiling at me and there seems to be one distraction after another.
Today is a new day. I have a lot of running around to do at work and it may be a long day. It is tough coming off a vacation. I am just going to trust God. Where else can you go, He has Life, He is the Christ. All my hope and trust is with Him. I will make it through the day, probably I will have to just give it up to God and the peace will come again. I will get the chance to try and sleep again tonight.
Do all dogs go to heaven? I certainly hope so. we lost the best friend I ever had last week. It was the hardest thing I have had to go through in my whole life. I have endured some crap in my life, but nothing like this. He never complained, was always happy to see us and just wanted to go wherever you went. He just wanted to hang out. He was the best dog I ever had. I never knew I could love something so much and miss it so much. I wonder if this is how God loves us. Does God weep a little when He thinks of us? Does God’s heart get heavy when He misses us? Do tears form in His eyes? If time heals all wounds, this one is going to take a while. Dogs have to be a gift of God.
The passing of Monty has shown me some things inside that I have long forgotten. Such as the ability to love, to care and to long for companionship. How we need each other and to look at each other in different ways. My neighbor had to put their dog down a week before we did. I have had issues with that neighbor, and I realized that it was me more than them. Yet we shared something in common and I felt that I had to humble myself and apologize for being a bad neighbor. I was rude and short and would ignore them. What a terrible guy I am. Here God says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am an angry and bitter man inside. Yet through the passing of our dogs, i was compassionate and extend my hand and hopefully my friendship. Regardless of our differences, we are all still God’s creations. Just like my dog, no matter how many times I have been stepped on, the only way to bounce back is with love.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145
If Christ who died, who rose again and has taken up residence in my heart, shouldn’t I also be this way? If He lives within you and He is called wonderful, doesn’t that make you wonderful? I tend to take things for granted, like my dog, He was here for fifteen years and always happy to see me. I think he missed me when I was gone on trips for work or when I had my motorcycle accident. I thought His butt was going to fall off when I got home. He was wagging his tail so hard. He was truly happy to see me. Here I am, feeling unlovable for most of my life and this little dog was missing me. He truly did love me and was able to show me what being loved was like. He slept with me until I was healed up. When my ankle was broken, he slept with me every night. He was a faithful companion. If only people would get the fact that we all need to feel loved. My wife gave me a big hug the other day and it felt good. we all need a hug once and a while, a physical touch, a heartfelt moment. I love those who have a deep passion for God. They have been touched by the Lord and you can feel it. It’s like an energy that you cannot describe. Holy Spirit come and do your thing, we need that flowing everywhere.
So as far as getting another dog, we will see. the option is there in time. it has been a while since we have not had a dog. My other neighbor told us we were good dog people and that we need to get another dog. She has had a pair of dogs for as long as we have known her. never just one dog, but a pair. She would lose one and then get another one shortly after that. She has been showing us pictures of rescue dogs. Her oldest dog, Maggie, just yesterday came and laid her head on my lap, like she was giving me a hug and letting me know that everything will be okay. I wonder if dogs can sense what is going on and help with the healing process. My dog was happy to go anywhere as long as you were with him. I think God is the same way. we wonder if we are doing the right thing, and God just says to step out in faith, I will be with you through it all. Anyway, “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6” or “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1”. I want to be wherever God is, where He is standing, that is where i want to be. It’s the safest place I know.
I am thankful the day Monty first licked my face; He won me over. He was easy to train. He loved to share my treats and get his belly rubbed. He was a good listener, but he liked to bark a lot. I think he had us trained. I am sure he is bugging God right now, wanting a treat and a walk. He will be waiting for us to show up in heaven, his butt will be wiggling when we walk in those gates. He will lick my face and we will be reunited again. This time it will be happy tears instead of tears of sadness that we are experiencing now. If I could only get that way with people. I have a hard time accepting and believing that people love me, but with a dog it was so much easier. Sometimes I even question my love of God and His love toward me. This Hymn goes through my head a lot. Give it a listen.
The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win; His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin. CHORUS O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure The saints’ and angels’ song. When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call, God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race The saints’ and angels’ song. REPEAT CHORUS Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky. REPEAT CHORUS Songwriters: Mark R. Harris, Dp. For non-commercial use only.
Love is always a curious thing. It is distorted by the world and perfected at the Cross. It is not taught in schools but learned in life. Receiving love is just as hard. How do you really know. Sometimes you need to let go of the past pains and try and start anew. the only one that you are really hurting is yourself. No one else knows what you are going through but you in your own mind. In time God can heal and God can help. How do those without God make it? When I look back, Monty helped me to learn what love was after all.
Do you ever go through those days, weeks, that it seems like one thing after another. You feel like one mistake after another and the next thing you don’t know what end is up. Is it an attack, did I do something wrong, is the world coming to an end? Why does it have to be like this? Where is that power and authority that I am supposed to have? Why do my ears ring all the time? Are we defeating the enemy and are we winning in Jesus? I am a naive man and sometimes in need things shown to me. Please explain, what does this really mean. If something works for you, that doesn’t mean it will work for me. I am a separate creation in God. Sure, I have a part to play, but i am cautious in what it could be. Why do people make things complicated. Maybe it is just me. I don’t want to do things the way everyone else does. I have to think that I am unique, a one of a kind. Not that I have to have things done a certain way, for example my way”. I am open to what God wants to do. You must understand, I have been wrecked by people like Graham Cooke, Rick Joyner, A W Tozier, Frank Viola, Brennen Manning, and Arlene Gifford. These people have put a spin on walking with God that I would have never thought possible. If you think that just going to church and doing the same things week after week is the way to spiritual growth, you better think again. To me that is spiritual boredom. There is more to God than the mundane. Worship is good, The bible is good, but having a connection God is great. All these elements are needed, but if you are seeking after the power and not the presence, then you will fail.
I am the prodigal son. I try to follow and the i screw up and run away. I hide with my shame and guilt. I look for help, but who understands? I then wonder who am I to walk with God. I fight and wrestle with myself and eventual God wins.
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15
A good friend shared this with me; “Papa showed me a picture of you about five or six years old where he put his ring on your finger and his robe on your back and he swooped you up on his shoulder and paraded you around shouting, “This is my son! This is my son! This is my son!””. You don’t know how much i needed that. Who else would do something like that but God. God is just happy to be with me. I have been chosen by Him long before creation. What was interesting about this to me was that I have been thinking about the prodigal son a few days prior to all this. Being a son is all I have ever wanted. To feel a part of God’s family. But then this was shared; “I hear “the door is open; you only need to walk through it. Use your authority to renounce the lies and take captive every thought. It’s time. You are needed. Only be strong and very courageous. Papa is fighting for you and he will win!”. I wonder about the door; I have been praying about it. I tend to wonder in my mind, will I make the right choice, how will i know it’s the right door? silly questions. I should just be focusing on God, and it will work out. It always does. There is a time to worship and pray and a time to listen.
Do I dare say that i dream about doing mighty things with God? I think about God a lot. Am I in or am I out? I want what God wants for me. Do I have what it takes to share the gospel? There are stories in the bible that I have read hundreds of times. I have read many books over and over, hoping I would get it. I want to know and experience everything that I can with God. I feel like it is time to do something, but i just not sure. I guess this is where taking that step of faith comes into play. Am I afraid of looking foolish, I think I am way beyond that. I just want to be confident and sure. Bold and ready. I am very introverted and sometimes that can be a hindrance. I would say that i have walked alone so long, but that wouldn’t be true because God has been with me the whole time. In fact I think the enemy has tried to take me out. I feel like this blog is all over the place. I am just venting my thoughts. It helps.
Who are we in the Lord? I wonder that at times. Am I just a person who is saved or am I someone important. Not that I am anybody, but I am someone in Christ. Graham Cooke often talked about our identity in Christ. A servant, a slave, a bondslave, a prophet, a teacher, can I be different things at different times? It’s more like, a dirt ball, a sinner, a worrisome wart, an anxiety ridden man with an unstable mindset. How can I love, yet have hate? How can I trust God, yet have a plan B? Can God really set me free from this bondage of sin? Did the work of the cross really do its job? If I am saved, why do I wrestle with so much anxiety, fear and doubt. Am I really who I think I am in Jesus. I am just happy to be saved. I know I am going to heaven, and when I share that, a catholic friend of mine asked me if I was sure of that. I had to proclaim that I believed it with all my heart. God is who he says he is and he doesn’t lie. I should have elaborated farther. Being an introvert does have its downfalls and I do run conversations in my head and hindsight is my superpower. Is that really who I am? Maybe if I really knew, I would try to take control and walk around all pumped up with pride.
Years ago, I was seeking God for a verse, something that would be just for me. A life verse, direction, something that would fit for me. I was at a motorcycle rally then, and this motorcycle went by with Isaiah 61 stickered on the back. That’s all it said was Isaiah 61. I thought that was strange timing and didn’t think too much of it. As time went on, that stuck in my mind. So as curious as I am, I looked it up, and this is what it says.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore, in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. KJV
I know that Jesus read this at the start of His ministry. He went out and did exactly what the chapter said. There is a lot there to take in. Setting captives free, preaching the good news, binding up, opening of prisons, proclaim and so on. Exchanging, raising up and rebuilding. Ministering and rejoicing. I can’t do any of this. I was a thief at one time in my life. I am just a lowly Maintenace man. I complain and so on. I am not a pastor, or a priest. Who am I, send Him. It’s too hard to walk with God. I look at what is wrong with me, my faults, doubts fears and my weaknesses. I sound like Gideon. I am the worst in my tribe. Yet God dealt with all my short comings on the cross. I forget that I am a new creation. When I gave my heart and life to God, it now belongs to Him. He has written His name upon me, and I belong to Him. If this is my verse or chapter, then I can do all things in Christ Jesus. My faith and hope is in Jesus. No matter what anyone else says or thinks. I am Gods. God is going to do what He says He is going to do. The battle is to everyday know that I am in the kingdom of God, and nothing can take this away from me. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. I pretty sure that means nothing.
When I first came to God, or He called me, we would listen to chorus songs. To me this was such powerful worship. There was meaning and it was direct. The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation, He is my God. I love it. worship songs where we proclaim God’s goodness rock my heart. when you worship and there are tears and snot involved are deep meaningful heart moments. I would go through periods where God would rock my heart and I knew He is real and He would just love on me. Powerful moments for me and my faith would grow. I would grow. Isn’t that what we are all really doing. Forgetting what lies behind us and moving forward into the deeper love of God. We all stumble and have tough days, but the man in the sandels is always there for us. Here are a couple of my favorite worship songs, give them a listen…..
I don’t own the rights to these songs, but i sure love to worship with them. I think worship songs have gotten too complicated and the focusing on God has been forgotten. Maybe I am anointed by God and I can set captives free, but before I can do anything, I need to worship. I can do nothing out of my own power, like I really had any in the first place. I love God and I am so thankful that He is in my life. I can hardly wait for my double portions, no more shame but everlasting joy. This is the year of the Lord’s favor, in fact I think this is my year of jubilee. We are followers of Christ and we are not to be messed with, in fact we are going to do the messing. We have put up with crap or settled for less for too long. Again, you are free…..
The snow is coming, and I am tired of the cold weather. To be warm again. Sleep has not been that great, and I am tired. I am not sure if I am happy these days or not. when does that joy of the Lord thing start? I have been ill for most of the week, and life still goes on. I have to admit, I wonder when is it my turn, when will someone do something for me. I know sounds kind of selfish. You give and you give, you work your fingers to the bone, and what do you get, bony fingers. A person shouldn’t really complain though. We have so much to be thankful for. Food, a house. That’s about all I got for today. How exciting though, a blizzard is coming. Thank God for snowblowers. How do those without God cope? I guess they never seem to think about it. As the troubles mount, where do they get their hope from. I hate to think that I am just hanging on until I die and then things will reset, and everything will be hunky dory. On heaven as it is on earth. That is what we need right now. God’s will be done, not my own.
Is the earth flat, or is it round? What has happened to Big-foot and the Lochness monster? How did they build those pyramids? Do aliens exist, did we really go to the moon, and does everything really taste like chicken. Question all around. I have so many that I think they will never get answered. Why, that is always a big question for me. God never seems to tell me why. I am okay with that. God is good no matter what we are going through. He does answer prayer. He doesn’t do magic though. I think He likes it when you have problems, and you reach out to Him for help and advice. Sometimes it is hard to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. Who stops and says, “I am glad this is happening to me”. Or “I like it when I am feeling this way”. I can’t understand why I am wired this way. A deep-thinking introvert with OCD and worries about the smallest of details. I was awake last night after the thunder woke me up and all I could think about was some lock I had to repair the next day. You would not believe how this tormented me with anxiety, only to wake up and go to work and find out that it was an easy fix. I think the enemy likes to attack your mind and torment you with anxiety and stress. This happens quite often to me, and you would think that I would have learned by now. Most of the time I wake up during the night, I have found myself turning to prayer. Maybe God is just waking me up to chat. I’m not sure as it seems I do most of the talking.
The other night was tough though. I have been thinking about what to do when you come under attack. I can be easily deceived and find myself pushing around my familiar wheelbarrow of sin. I was praying to God; how do I fight back. I am not always clear on what it means to put on your armor. Sometimes I need a visual aid. Maybe simple terms. I then had this dream where I was under intense attack by these black circles. A friend of mine said that it could be from occult practices. Then God said in my dream to just say no, I said no three times. each time I was getting louder. The third time i was shaking and yelled so loud that I woke myself up. I was shaking and had a hard time getting back to sleep. I had fought back. It wasn’t the first time that I had black circles in my dreams this week. The other night they were there also. As big as a car. Does this kind of thing happen to anyone else? When you get to this point in life, your perspective of God has to be greater than your fear of the enemy. The attacks from the enemy seem like they are daily. To discourage and destroy you, to wear you out until you give up. to beat you down and make you feel worthless. Where do you turn to then??
God, that is the only place you can go. The Holy Spirit will comfort, and Jesus will save. There is always something to give thanks about. God will always give you hope. Even when I didn’t know God, He still knew who I was. He has always had His eye on us. He doesn’t care what you did before, He just wants to love on you. That’s what grace is, love. He dealt with all that sin on the cross, He defeated it all. Three days was all it took. I deserve nothing, and He has given me everything. I wake up with aches and pains and wonder how I will get through each day. God’s grace. what more can I say. I cannot imagine a day or moment without Him. God first loved me, even when i was making an ass of myself. All those terrible choices I made and yet He welcomed me with open arms. Jesus really does save.
Where to start? Dead men don’t struggle anymore. “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.”. Galatians 2. It is I that no longer lives. It seems like I have kept myself in constant bondage to sin. I sin, then I sin some more. then I sin again and again and again. then I am constantly going to Jesus, forgive me, forgive me again, again forgive me. I wonder if He is getting tired of my constant nagging. Once Jesus went upon the cross, He defeated sin once and for all. The enemy wants you to think that you are a sinner saved by grace, instead of putting on the new creation that you are and walk as a saint. Your sins have been forgiven. You are a new creation. Repentance is saying that you are no longer that old man, but a new creation in Christ Jesus. He has paved the way to be free. Do not put yourself under a yolk of slavery anymore. It is for freedom that Jesus has set you free. We are gentiles and we are under a new covenant. The past keeps wanting to come back up and drag me down. What’s done is done and God forgives. So please forgive yourself and live in faith that God has. Otherwise, we are giving power to the enemy instead of living a resurrected life in God.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5. We live by His spirit. For each one of who has Faith in Jesus, His spirit is within us. God has been killing off our old nature. Mercy, grace, and truth sets us free to establish our new identity. What a freeing thought that is to me. We are dead. The old person I was is dead. You cannot change yourself, only Jesus can. There is no other way. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6
So please see the freedom that Jesus has called you too. For some reason I have awakened to this and wonder why I haven’t really grasped this before. I have walked with God for a long time and thought that I knew all this. I have repented over and over and thought that was what walking with God was like. After a while you realize that there is more to walking with God than constantly asking for forgiveness. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. His spirit is within in you. To do what he has called you to do. To set captives free, to release people from bondage, to help the afflicted. To give comfort. It is time for us to have some victories in the Lord. I have sat on the sidelines long enough. If all I thought was that I am a sinner, i will doubt who I am in Jesus. A sinner mindset will never generate new life in Christ. You cannot become a new person by living in your old behavior, you need to stop focusing on the negatives in your life. Focus on who you are already in Christ. Even if you start with, I am a child of God. God will tell you how He sees you. You are called to be a saint because Christ is within you. That can never be taken away. He will never leave you or forsake you. It doesn’t matter where you are at in life, God is always with you.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? “But we have the mind of Christ.! Corinthians 2
This is also my prayer for you; For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3
Jesus came to set us free, i cannot express this enough. He killed off my old nature at the cross. He died as me that day. He couldn’t fix the old me, so He had to kill it off. I am dead. He is not bringing my corpse back to life. Now when He sees me, he looks at me through the eyes of Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for, and it is a gift, it cannot be earned or taken away. We can have heaven on earth, we do not have to wait anymore. You are loved and accepted just the way you are. You are important and you matter. You are no longer a slave to sin; you are a saint. Isaiah 61 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Jesus, all for Jesus All I am and have, And ever hope to be Jesus, all for Jesus All I am and have, And ever hope to be All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these, Into your hands All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these, Into your hands For its only in Your will that I am free, For its only in Your will that I am free….. Robin Mark
This is one of my all-time favorite worship songs. Where else could one be free. All my hope is in Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the light. There is no other way into the kingdom. Jesus is a gift from God to set us free. Yet at times all I feel is struggle. It’s okay, the enemy is here to remind us how much we need Jesus. Almost like a sheep dog herding us to the Father. Jesus is the good shepherd and will always come looking for us. Tho at times I may stumble, He is always there to pick me up, brush me off and help me along the way. He is worthy of all worship, glory and honor. His name is above all names. He was there in the beginning. He is preparing a place for us to live. I hope to have a little shack, on the banks a nice lake. I cannot in words describe Jesus. I don’t think I would give Him the credit He deserves. He is magnificent, wonderful, amazing, full of grace and love. He is more than I deserve. Yet here He is, come on let’s go, you are wonderfully created. I have loved you since the beginning and await your arrival in heaven.
We live in a time where life is speeding by, and people don’t pay attention to Jesus. There is a constant bombardment for our mind and our heart. I am still a sinner in need of Jesus. I need Him every day. I do not know how others can get through life without Him. What a wretched man i am without Him. At times I think I know how Paul felt when he wrote those words.
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So, I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Jesus came to set the captives free. If you think about it, we are all captive to something. Sometimes i wonder if sin is there to show us the way to Jesus, to show that we constantly need Him. I cannot do anything out of my own effort. I cannot save myself. I cannot set myself free. I cannot hope in myself. Everything points to how much I need Jesus. And what about His partner, the Holy Spirit. He guides and directs, He gives me wisdom when I ask, He guides my steps, He makes the path straight, He keeps me from life’s snares. How could you lose by following God? What in this world could be better than what God has to offer? Sure, at times I am like that dog, returning to his own vomit, but there they are, The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, encouraging me to get up and keep going. Keep running the race, you’ll reach the finish line. I think they are cheering us all on, keeping going, come on, you can do it!!
I am writing all this to give glory to our savior. I want to honor and praise our Lord Jesus. I worship and adore you Jesus. I need you every day. I cannot fathom a day without you. In all the good and all the bad, you are there. You are incredible and awesome. You are caring and faithful. You are just and you are fair. You are truth and wisdom. You are compassionate and caring. You are gracious and merciful. You are worthy of all praise and honor and glory. You are my God, and I am so thankful for you. I cannot say enough. Take some time here and worship Him for yourself. Spill out your heart, He is a safe place, and He loves you very much, for He is Love….
Does a person come under attack, or do a lot of things in life happen because of our own doing? Our own choices? We live in an evil world. Everywhere you turn there is something repulsive happening. There’s wars and rumors of wars. As a follower of Christ, am I really surprised? The news, if you watch it, is more in your face these days. From killings to transgenderism, and everything in between. This is my third attempt at writing this piece. One distraction after another. Is it an attack or just the way life is. I would like to think of myself as a man of God, but i have been focusing on what is wrong or missing from my life. I feel like a complete mess and if I was taken up to heaven today, how would I ever get admitted. I feel like over the years I have fought with the fact that how could God forgive me. Why would He want to love someone like me. Am I really loveable? Why don’t I feel it or accept it. Am I just going through a rough time and have normal fears and doubts? Why can’t I just live in confidence and faith like everyone else. I always feel like I am looking for approval or acceptance. A pat on the back, or well done good and faithful servant. Do other people feel this way? Am i just the lucky one who feels like life is always the hard road.
I few years ago I was on a zoom chat with a prayer group somewhere out west. They were more interested in me than anything that night. They asked a lot of questions, and we talked a lot about God. I was able to share with them what i have been through. The hard roads and things of that nature. I shared with them my accidents and the things i went through during that period. Right away they all agreed that the enemy was trying to take me out, to destroy me. I asked if it was that way with every Christian. Some Christians don’t really know what it is like to fight a battle or travel the hard road. They think that walking with God, the road is supposed to be smooth and no potholes. In my mind I didn’t really know that there was an easy way.
In the words of Charlie Daniels,
“I’ve been thinking back over my life. And some of the questions I’ve had. I’ve thought about living, I’ve thought about dying, And what makes me happy or sad. Well, most of my questions I’ve kept to myself. Like, “Why in the world was I born?” But the number one question, I’d like to ask, I’d like to ask of the Lord. Jesus how could You love me? Oh, sweet Jesus, how could You love me? Cause when I had a choice between good and bad. I picked bad two out of three”.
Because when I had a choice between good and Bad, I would pick bad two out of three. That is how I have been feeling lately. When I look back over my life, I tend to focus on what I have done wrong more than I have done right. Where I have failed or stumbled or just flat out have blown it. I think to myself what a failure i truly am. when things go wrong, it is easy to blame myself, or feel at fault. The other day i was wonder who can really stand. Who can really enter the Kingdom at all. The worst thing ever would be to hear, “Go away, I don’t know who you are”. I wonder if Fear of the Lord is this. Without Jesus where else would you be? Yet be encouraged, all have fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, and all have sinned. There is no one perfect and I haven’t arrived yet. As long as it is called today, there is still hope. I ask God for help every day. I cannot do this without Him. I ask for forgiveness daily. I have to believe he grants it. I wish I could get beyond all this and walk in boldness and complete confidence in who I am in Christ. A person must go through all this for a reason. If you look at most of the people whose lives are discussed in the bible, they all had faults of one type or another, yet i believe their hearts were in right standing with God. They kept their eyes on the prize which is God.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6. What would you like to hear from God? You are a good and faithful servant, you are a mighty man of God, or just the fact that you are loved? Would you like to have a prophecy confirmed in your heart, a word of knowledge, or a hug? What would it take to push you into all that God wants you to be? What are you looking for? Does God really put some through tougher battles than others? The Lord is good and compassionate, He is faithful and just. There is no wrong or doubt in Him. He is sure and confident in His doing. There is no wavering. His plans are perfect in every detail, down the smallest. He knows everything and nothing escapes Him. He knew what I was going to be like from the beginning to the end. He knew what it would take to get me this far. I think my angels are still rejoicing because i was saved. He knew every doubt and fear and stumble I would have along the way. The choices I would make and resentments I would have. Yet He choose me and said come as you are. He loves me just as I am. I am someone in Jesus. Why would Jesus pick me and choose to love me, He can’t be any other way, He is love. He cannot stop loving. Even though it looks like a hard road, or it is tough going, that is what love is, as long as you are with God. Not everyone chooses God, and there is evil in this world that believes the pleasures of this world is greater. You have to stand your ground and continue to walk with God. That is your fight. Continue to believe in His grace and mercy and His forgiveness. That is why Jesus loves me and He is my Hope and salvation.
What’s God telling you lately? I wish I knew what He was telling me. I have had a series of bizarre dreams, and none of them make sense. From building endlessly, or remodeling to having been fooled three times in a row by something blue and then losing all my clothes. That dream was repeated twice in one night. Maybe I am naive and not sure about a lot of things in life. I sure have been crabby for the last month. I am not sure it has anything to do with winter or not. I have found that little things have been pissing me off and I don’t get it. Life has been going well, I think. I have been working my butt off with no relief in sight. Every time it looks like they will hire some new, it doesn’t work out. I think I am getting more tired every day. Frustration sets in and then my mind will run in a thousand directions, and it is easy to shut every one out. I have raked more roofs, and shoveled more snow, and fought with more ice dams than I can remember. I think I work harder than I should. It doesn’t do any good to complain. God said to do everything without arguing or complaining. Yet here I am.
In My own mind I am in such a tizzy that it’s a wonder that I can even think straight. It’s a wonder that a person doesn’t go anymore crazy than they already are. You don’t know where to turn or who to trust. This happens for a while, and you fight it off and try again. The battle for the mind is quite the scene. Am I right, am I wrong, am I doing the right thing, am I doing the wrong thing, is this what God wants me to do this? Am I in or am I out? How far does God’s grace extend? Is it right to take advantage of it? We just can’t keep sinning and hope God’s grace covers it. Where does it end? I believe in God’s grace, but i feel it is wrong to just go through life taking advantage of God. Isn’t there a fear of the Lord anymore? Or conviction, or what would be the point of repentance. Have you ever repented and been tempted ten minutes later for the exact thing you repented of? The enemy works hard to load you up with guilt and shame. In my mind when that happens, I can beat myself up. Tell myself it’s my own fault and then feel even worse than I did before. What a vicious cycle. It works so well. Where is that freedom from walking with Christ?
Sure, a lot of this is my own fault. About 99.9% of my own problems are my own fault. I want to blame someone else, but it won’t do any good. I think what I worry about, or fret about, or what concerns me are trivial to others. They would probably think why are you letting these things trip you up? Too me, these are big things. My struggles are real. They can make me freeze up and cause me to go into hiding. I want to run away from everyone and everything. I can’t get freed up in my mind, or even my heart for that matter. What is truth and why is it so hard to determine what is and what isn’t? What is real anymore. I was thinking the other day, maybe we are all in some sort of matrix filled with some delusional dreams and passions. What if what we are being told as truth, really isn’t? What if God’s grace is bigger than we imagine, but we lock ourselves up in fear. Being afraid of our own consequences. We do have to give an account for our lives someday. Whether good or bad. You can’t hide from God.
I struggle with being liked or loved. Does that sound pathetic? Not to me, it is very real. I am sure there are more that feel that way than you think. We were all molded in some form or another in our adolescence years. Whether at home or school. I felt like no one cared how you felt. You were always supposed to live up to some standard or the bar was set too high. When you didn’t measure up, you were labeled. I could never figure this out, they would exploit your weaknesses, but never encourage your strengths. You were supposed to meet someone else’s expectations, instead of exploring your own. Where I was strongest it didn’t matter, be who we think you ought to be. I thought Jesus came to set me free.
I trust God and believes He has a plan for my life. I can’t believe that he put me on this earth in 1964 to ride this ball through space for no reason. My prayer for the longest time has been, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”. God’s will, not mine. It sure does get frustrating when there are tough days. The other day I was reminded to consider it pure joy. But day after day? I guess no one has said that it would be easy. I wish i just understood more. Why is my favorite question that never gets answered. Lord give us all strength for another day. On earth as it is in heaven.
I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. Psalm 27 Message
Do we overcome evil with good? I wonder at times. If you watch the news all you see is what is wrong with this world. Remember we are only passing through. I want to see more goodness. It brightens my day, puts a smile on my face. I try to look for good wherever I go. If you don’t see it, try and be it. You can put a smile on someone’s face, you can brighten someone’s day. The choice is up to you. There is so much power in what you choose. We all have a superpower if you think about it. the ability to make someone feel good, to laugh, or even smile. It makes me feel good to make someone laugh. There is some healing that goes on when you have that belly laugh. You know the kind, that brings tears to your eyes. I love it. Best gift ever.
Last week it was a different story. We are in the great white north of Minnesota. I don’t mind snow so much, but when you shovel day after day, morning and evening, for four days straight it gets kind of tiring. There is a blessing in all that though. I was driving the other day, while it was snowing, and I came across an older lady who was having trouble getting away from the curb and up a slight incline. i was traveling the other direction and came to a stop sign. I could see the frustration on her face and was almost going to go on. But I decided to help. I tried pushing her car, but all she would do was gun it, making the wheels spin. So, I asked if I could try, surprisingly she said yes. Holy cow, she was short, I could barely get in her car. I tried rocking it back and forth, but to no avail. I was ready to give up. I was telling her that she may have to get a tow. Inside I felt this wasn’t right and said let’s try it one more time. Also, in that instant I felt the Holy Spirit say, “maybe you should pray”. So, I quick prayed, Lord please help us. She got in her car, and I got ready to push, and the car shot out with no trouble. It was like God sent an angel to help push. I was amazed. I remember thinking right away that praying sure makes a difference. Then as I was driving away, I was thinking about goodness. How we can choose to show goodness to others. I am sure that lady was smiling and happy she got her car moved before the plow came around and plowed her in. That would have been quite a bit more work. Or the money she saved by not calling a tow truck. She will probably never know the joy I got when God answered that prayer right away.
I do struggle a lot when things do not go right. I can feel like it is my own fault. I can feel frustration and anxiety creeping in. I have found that praying about things makes them go a lot smoother. Something as simple as putting a new lock on a door. I put on these keypad ones and if it doesn’t go quite right on the first try, it can get frustrating. I found out today that one I tried to install was missing a mounting screw. That can be okay if you hold it just right, but after a couple attempts, I could feel anxiety setting in. Usually, I can install one pretty easy, but today I couldn’t. That is when I said a quick prayer and it went smooth. You would think that by now I would catch on to praying before everything. Sometimes things happen to teach us something.
Faith, where would we be without it. How can we not believe that God is interested in the mundane things in our life. The everyday things. Why do we wait until some tragedy to pray? God is aware of every detail and wants to be involved in our lives. How can we think He is someone standing there as an observer, just waiting for us to call on Him. Oh, oh, he is in trouble, will he send out the bat signal or just frustrate his way through this problem. God is not some bystander in your life. He wants to be a part of it. God’s goodness is everywhere. You just need to look for it, chose to be a part of it. Make someone’s day. Put a smile on someone’s face. God wants to show you His goodness. He got Moses to ask to see it.
“Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?” God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.”
Moses said, “Please. Let me see your Glory.”
God said, “I will make my Goodness pass right in front of you; I’ll call out the name, God, right before you. I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I’ll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.”
God continued, “But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.”
God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.” Exodus 33 Message
God is still enticing us to ask the question, “Please let me see Your glory”. Sure we get a glimpse time to time, but it just leaves you hungry, wanting more. We will see God’s goodness. If you have troubles or problems, call out to God. Have you ever thought that these things exist in order for you to see God’s glory? He knows your voice. He sent the Holy Spirit to help. The Holy Spirit loves messes. It is an opportunity for Him to come in and do the work. At times it seems like the world is one big mess and people are forgetting to call out to God for help.