Why is it so hard to have Faith?

Luke 8:22-25:  We are talking about understanding the word.  Take this for example, we know that at least 4 of Jesus’ disciples are experienced fishermen.  This passage mentions a squall: a sudden burst of winds around 40 mph,  which does not last.  It does not say a terrible storm, a hurricane.  The point is at least 4 men in the boat most likely would have dealt with this type of weather on a boat. Yet the passage states they were in fear for their lives.  What could have happened to make 4 experienced fishermen fear for their lives in a squall? This story is about faith.  When we realize that those close to Jesus struggled with faith; then we are able to accept our own lapses.  Constant faith is hard.  It takes an effort.  Even then, if I feel afraid, I don’t beat myself up because I lost faith.  I just pray and get back on the horse. 

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

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Taking the difficulty out of prayer

Matthew 6:5-14:  The disciples asked Jesus how to pray. It is a question many still have today.  The answer is not a long drawn out prayer.  The answer is found in the Lord’s prayer.  It is actually just a few lines.  We give up our praises acknowledging that God is in charge. We pray for provision for the day. We ask for strength and wisdom, then forgiveness and finally we turn it back to God.  Amen. If it is good enough for the disciples then it is good enough for today.

I have to love the unloveable?

God tells us to love, that even means the neighbor that keeps you up all night with all that noise.  Ouch, that person is hard to love. Lord, I need your help loving that one! Who do you need God’s help to love?

Philippians 1:9-11:   And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Psalm 31:1-5: Trust in the Lord

I have had people thank me for writing about being down. It seems many struggle.  That is why God gave us David. David struggled, but he always turned it back to God. I think that is the key, Give it to God.

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Adoption : sonship / daughtership

You are probably wondering if there is a difference.  Yes, with the word ship at the end, it means a legal process, and full inheritance. It means we have a new identity.  It is more than we lived in a home, thought of this person as dad, he is the only dad we really know. Our birth dad, does not matter he is ‘no one’ to us. But this dad, the only one we ever knew did not go through the legal proceedings to give us his name.  Therefore we do not have sonship or daughtership. However, there is one who gives us this privilege of being a son our a daughter , Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3-10: I am not sure how many times I have read this passage. I do know that this time; I had a different understanding.  The word sonship in verse 5 struck me. I looked it up it states that this word means full rights under roman rule to be able to inherit. Not just an adopted child, no under Roman law, you need the deeper meaning to be able to carry on the family name, to inherit the family property. In other words, it was a legal process. If you have ever gone through a legal process, you know it is not an easy task.  When my husband adopted my sons, they became his sons.  Although the boys  already considered him dad, they wanted it to be legal, they wanted to change their name. Not only did we have to hire an attorney for us, we had to have meetings with the attorney.  On the next to the last meeting, he informed us that we had to hire an attorney for the deadbeat. We did. Thankfully, it was not near as expensive as our attorney.  We only had to hire him for an hour.  The state of Louisiana looks dimly on deadbeat dads and make it fairly easy for a father to adopt his children, when dealing with a deadbeat. The only purpose the other attorney had was to make sure we did everything we could to notify the genetic donor, that he was losing his parental rights. I mean why shouldn’t he? The actual adoption process took about 20 minutes. He showed us the certified return receipt that he has been served with the warning that he was losing his rights. We verified that he signed the slip. Then the hired attorney for the biological signed over his rights. That was what was in the certified letter, that by accepting this letter, he had so many days to contact the attorney if he intended to hire his own lawyer to contest it, he was accepting that this attorney would act as his agent with the intent of giving up his parental rights. And then, my husband signed that he accepted my sons as his and he would be responsible for them. Then I signed stating I agreed. Then the attorney sent of adoption letters requesting the name change on the birth certificate.  Now both birth certificates have been changed it is as if the biological donor never existed. It shows my husband as being their birth father.  This gave my sons a new inheritance and they are now our sons instead of just mine. Before their legacy was a man that was in and out of jail, a man who injured them physically and mentally. A man that did not visit, did not pay child support, a real looser. Now their legacy is a true father, one that will stand beside them no matter what. A man that loves them, has always been there for him.  I do not know how many times he got up in the middle of the night to go jump a car so the son could come home. Our oldest son is famous for leaving his lights on, locking the keys inside the car, and driving the car into the ditch or a cornfield. Every time, their father was there.  Jesus gives us this inheritance when we accept him as our Lord and Savior.  He gives us the rights to go to the Kingdom of Heaven with Him.  He forgives us and writes our name down in the Book of Life. He does not care about what we did, now all that matters is that we follow Him. The other blessing, is that Jesus is always there. Can’t sleep? Pray. Don’t know what to do, Pray. In those moments when you feel as if you are losing it, if you pray, God will give you peace. Sometimes he gives you the right words to say. Just like my husband does with our sons, he tells them what they need to do.  Does not mean they will listen, but he tells them.  Jesus is the same way, he tells us what to do and how to do it, doesn’t me we will listen, but he tells us. He also calls us His Children.

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he  predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he  made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Does it really hurt to grow up fatherless?

Psalms 10: 14: But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

I grew up fatherless, not only was I fatherless, there were not any males in my household.  I did not think that this was a problem; until some well-meaning preacher made it a problem.  I have been thinking about this lately, because I have reconciled with the pastor’s statement.  The statement was you cannot have a good relationship with your heavenly father without reconciling with your earthly father.  He repeated that theme for a whole half an hour.  Suddenly, the relationship that I have with the heavenly father, was it a sham?  I like so many did not even remember my earthly father.  There are many my age who never met their earthly father; they died in Vietnam without meeting their child. Then I started to think, what about these people?  I know some that have never met their earthly father yet have amazing relationships with the Heavenly father.  I start thinking that this guy did not realize the potential damage of his statement. ‘you can’t have a good relationship with your heavenly father, unless you have a good relationship with the earthly father’.  He had no idea how many people are in the boat as me.  I am supposed to go look up a man, that I do not remember, to have a great relationship with God?   I though I already had a good relationship with God.  Then the pastor said the second most dangerous thing he could have said.  ‘If you have not reconciled with your earthly father, the man whose genetics you share, you will never have the relationship with God that you could have. Your anger will hinder it’.   Wait a second what?  Oh, he may have a point, I do have anger against my earthly father, anger that he did not care enough to take care of us.  I knew he knew where we were and how we lived, how ends didn’t meet, how we often went to bed hungry, how there was never enough. I knew he had money.  I was angry that he did not care enough to help.  How did I know that he knew all this?  My now deceased aunt explained to me the animosity that my mother had for their other sister.  One of my mother’s sisters was still friends with the man who divorced my mom on her birthday, had her excommunicated on her birthday, took her to court so he would not have to pay child support. I detested my birth dad.  I have not ever thought to call him that because there was not another man in my life until I got married.  I hear the pastor speak again, he goes on to say ‘if you don’t have a good relationship with your earthly father, you will never have a good relationship with your husband’ (it was a couple’s retreat).  What now the relationship with my husband is dependent on reconciling with this man? Why I was not even sure where he lived.  I have not spoken to him in years.  Do you mean that the reason that my previous two husbands were abusers is because I never learned how a man should behave? Okay you might have a point there, but I got it right the 3rd time. He is not an abuser. I did eventually figure out how a man should behave.  A prospective mate explained it to me one night during a very long talk, as he was explaining to me why he was not a good mate.  Not only did he explain it all to me, he explained to me what I should be seeking in a mate. He knew my fatherless past and I guess he cared enough about me to explain it all to me.  If you read this Thank you, you saved me from picking duds. The next boyfriend has been my husband for 22.5 years. So reluctantly I looked up my dud of a father.  Needless to say, it was a disaster.  He had the nerve to tell me that my own kids wanted for things, material things and I was a lousy mother. He confirmed what my deceased aunt had told me so many years ago, He is a scoundrel, not worth my attention.  He actually divorced my mom on her birthday. He sent her an annulment notice on her birthday.  He did have her excommunicated on her birthday. He got one of my wonderful aunts testified against my mom in order to avoid paying child support.  Money that in our household was desperately needed.  Maybe I would not have ever gone to bed hungry if my earthly father had of cared about me. How can a relationship with this awful man improve my relationship with God or with my husband?  Both who waited patiently while I worked through this issue.  What the pastor did not make clear, or maybe I missed it; is that you do not have to reconcile with the man; you have to reconcile with what he did. You must forgive what he did. It was not easy.  The actual man, may be deceased or like mine, worthless. He may have been a one night stand and your mom may not be sure exactly who he is.  Maybe he raped your mom, maybe she was a victim of human trafficking. Who cares!  What the point is you do not have to reconcile with the man, you must reconcile with the feelings you have because of what that man did or did not do. That is what is hindering your other relationships, it is not some crummy man on earth, that idiot is over 70 years old. If he had remorse or was going to have remorse, it would have happened years ago, when reconciliation is not an option, we have to reconcile with our emotions caused by the crummy man. The pastor might not have explained it very well. I don’t think he did, because I have heard the same message from other pastors.  When they say that, they miss the boat. What they really mean is you must let go of those yucky feelings and let go. It was not your fault, you do not carry the blame.  If they don’t care enough, then it is on them. But when we have anger in our hearts it hurts our relationship with God, with other people, just forgive.  Yes, this is one of those things that takes time and prayer.  On my own, I am unable to forgive my biological father. But with God, all things are possible. If you are a pastor who has preached this message, be careful to explain that if your biological father feels he has nothing to reconcile, then we need to just work on forgiveness and to not worry about going to the ballpark with our Biological fathers. That is a relationship many will never have with their deadbeat dad. But it does not mean that a relationship with God is not going to be wonderful.

Maybe I still have some forgiving to do, but I know God has it.  To the single mom’s out there, the ones who struggle because the father of their children is a deadbeat, Trust God, and know that your heavenly father loves you. Share that love with your children. I never doubted that my mom loved me. Would my life have been better with two parents? Maybe, but not with my biological father, he is a mess. Is some of the mess in my life his fault? No, it has more to do with not understanding, not having a clue about how a real man is supposed to be.  I want to take a special shout to all the men that are not married to or with the mother of their children, yet still take care of them. I am not talking about the ones that make a court ordered payment.  I mean the ones that participate, the ones that help above and beyond the court ordered child support. Stay involved your presence matters more than the money.  To the parents raising children alone; teach your kids what a real man or woman is. If you are not sure yourself, find out.  But know this just because you have a non-existent relationship with your birth dad; you can still have a wonderful relationship with your heavenly father.  The catch is forgiving the idiot that helped bring you into this world and left you stranded, maybe he just didn’t know any better. Maybe he does not have a real relationship with the Heavenly father.

 

Was your week long? It is worth it

It has been a long week.  But we all have long weeks. Sometimes it feels as if every week is long.  Over the past few years, I have learned it is more important that we don’t neglect our relationships just because we are busy.  Not just our relationships with our immediate family, but during those busy hectic weeks we often forget to touch in with God.  I know it is hard.  There are days that I struggle to read my Bible or pray. One thing that helps is a Bible app.  Before apps, I used to take some time to write a couple of verses on a 3 x 5 card.  I kept it in my purse.  Now almost everyone has a cell phone and can get a Bible app, most are free. If you open the app when you are at home and on the wireless; the verse of the day will stay on your phone even if you are not www connected. Just take a minute every few hours to read the verse of the day. It builds your relationship with God, and It is worth it.  When that relationship is good, the other relationships are easier. Family, friends, co-workers they will all see a difference.

And if you are a regular reader, you already know that even a thought (OH God help me) is a prayer. I know it is hard you get busy and the day gets away from you. It takes an effort, but it is worth it.  Once you make that effort and are comfortable with saying a Hey God in your head, the more peace you will feel.  Let’s face it when your relationship with God is good, then it is so much easier to maintain those other relationships. family, friends, will all see the difference. What do you have to lose?

Audible not needed

I frequently see prayer requests on my social media feed.  Recently someone said I pray in the moment. – Oh so happy to hear!!  But that is how it should be.  If I am scrolling in social media and I see a need for prayer, then I do it when I see it.  That is how we should be with our entire prayer life. We should pray on the spot.  WHAT????  I don’t have time to pray every time something bugs me or I see a need.  Do you have time to think? Then you have time to pray.  Prayer is as simple as thoughts between you and God.  I mean he lives in you, the intercessor (Holy Spirit) is with you; God knows what you are thinking. All you have to do is direct your thinking towards God. Prayer does not have to be audible for God to hear. Audible might be more conventional and when you are alone in your prayer time; audible is good, but people will start to think you are crazy if you are praying out loud all the time. God can hear all your thoughts, how many times in the Bible, does it say Jesus knew what they were thinking?  The catch is God responds to being addressed.  Now let me ask you again, do you still think you do not have time to pray? James 5:13-16 reminds us why praying for others is so very important.  Next time your news feed says blah blah, I am so afraid, scared, sick, etc Say a quick God be with them, heal them, or whatever the need is. Just because someone didn’t ask you to pray, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.

James 5:13-16: 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

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