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.

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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.

 

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.

Daily Prompt: Maybe

via Daily Prompt: Maybe

Maybe people could learn to be nice to one another.

Maybe we could all get along

Maybe people wouldn’t see me as poor

Maybe people would see me for who I am.

Maybe pain would go away

Maybe people would stop hurting each other.

But the God gave us free choice so we would not be mindless robots. And When Satan chose his own path away from God, evil entered the world.  When Adam and Eve chose to eat the apple.  When each of us choses to sin, evil is lurking.  There is Salvation, there is hope; God sent His Son to save us. He sent the angels to bring us hope and comfort. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Maybe some day there will be peace in the world. But until that day, I go on, I believe with others like me. We pray, we try, we do, we work to make this place called earth a better place. In this world it seems as if we are failing.  But I know in the end, God wins. We win.

Maybe if each of us could try just a bit to be nicer to someone else. Maybe if we could think less of ourselves and more of others. Maybe we will see something beautiful at least in our corner of the world. See I can’t change the whole world, I can just be a brighter light in my tiny corner. Maybe you can too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use the word to protect your mind

Isaiah 59:17, Ephesians 6:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:8:  I had a hard time with the idea that Salvation protects your mind.  To me it always seemed a matter of the heart. So why doesn’t Salvation protect your heart? Well it does protect your heart but in this matter, the heart and the mind go together. You have to know something in your mind before you feel it in your heart. Also, Salvation is something that you have to practice daily. It is forever, John 10:28-30.  Once you belong to Jesus, no one can snatch you from his hands. There is of course the unforgivable sin.  That is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is completely and utterly turning your back on God.  I mean doing as Satan did which is believing that you are better than God is, that you don’t need God. So you can turn away from the ways of God and still be saved.  What I mean is you can go back to your sinful ways, but there is still Salvation. You can take that walk back to God. It is a door that is always open for you. To put on the Helmet of Salvation is a daily process because we can be easily tempted. In other words, you have to remember every day that you are a child of God, that you belong to HIM. We protect out mind by focusing on the fact that we are Children of the One true King. The Roman helmet was sort of Storm Trooper helmet without the technology and since they did not have bullets, it may or may not have protected against one. Since Satan’s attacks can be vicious, we need something tough to protect our mind. That is why we have the word of God. As we learn the word, it is more difficult for Satan to try to pull you away.

Isaiah:  He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

 

Ephesians: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

1 Thessalonians : But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith, and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

 

When you need a bigger reminder

Luke 23: 39-43: When I looked out my window this morning towards the east, I saw three telephone poles with the sunrise in the background.  It reminded me of Calvary.  At first, I did not realize that they were telephone poles; it just looked like three crosses silhouetted by the sunrise.  You know a vision of cavalry on Easter morning. I could not help but to think how majestic. Then I moved into a closer look and realized oh, these are just telephone poles.  What I saw as the sun was rising, was a gift from God reminding me that he is there. Sometimes I need a bigger reminder. I started thinking about the two men that were hung with Jesus.  How one received forgiveness in the last minutes of his life.  He realized that he was a sinner and that he needed forgiveness. It is sad that it was the last hour of his life that he realized this. But then on the other hand, without this man requesting forgiveness on the cross; we would not be able to understand how much God loves us. This man had committed crimes so bad that his punishment was crucifixion.  Yet Jesus tells him today you will be with me in paradise. The cross is our hope, our promise of salvation. With Salvation comes the Holy Spirit and the promise of strength for the day’s work and a promise of peace. It is not so much that we won’t have trouble, but when we do have trouble, God always shows us that he is there no matter how bad the circumstances look.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

Giving up for the Lord’s Fight

There is so much to absorb in the Bible. We have to immerse ourselves into the Bible in order to understand it.  Recently someone asked me how do you keep peace in these times.  Good question! How do you keep peace when everything seems to be falling apart? Believe you me, it is not easy and I fail.  If you have ever been behind me at the grocery store, you know that I fail. The peace just whooshes – and goes away. I am rather picky about how my groceries are packed.  Fruits and vegetables do not go with meat.  They just don’t and God forbid the cashier decides to put detergent in with anything.  I have started to rebag my items and leave it at that.  It is much easier and quieter.  Recently however, a cashier became upset about me rearranging my items. She started to hide the bag on me and put what she wanted to in the bag.  She by the way was starting to put the dish washing liquid in with my bacon.  Just as I noticed the dish washing liquid had a leak.  Yeah everything in that bag had to go back.  Instead of stopping to hear what I was saying she shoved the leaky bottle into the bag.  You should have heard her when I said, that she will now have to return everything in that bag.  I did pretty well until she refused.  My next comment brought the attention of the supervisor which had been standing a few feet away from us. I said fine return the whole order, I am leaving. Then I proceeded to leave.  The manager did the only sensible thing.  She put the cashier on break.  The cashier did not have peace and I did not do much to help her in the “peace” department. It was a new situation; cashiers do not generally care if you re-bag your items. Most of them just let it go.  So now, that I thought I was doing well at the grocery store; I have a new thing to consider. How important is the placement of those items? Especially if I am stealing someone else’s peace- because then I am not being a good example and I am losing an opportunity to share Jesus with someone. I guess as long as they don’t smooch the bread, put the tomatoes on the bottom, or put detergent in with something. I guess I am going to have to learn to let it go.  Please don’t put the dairy in with the meat.  Meat juices will get all over my yogurt!

What is “ACTIVE FAITH” ?

1 Peter 4:9-11:  I have been hearing the term ACTIVE faith a lot in the past few weeks.  What is active faith?  I know that Jesus said faith the size of a mustard seed,  Luke 17:6: He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Let me tell you a mulberry tree uprooting itself would be a big thing. Can you imagine having that much faith and telling a mulberry tree to be planted in the sea; watching the mulberry tree uproot itself and fly off into the sea?  All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed.  I don’t think the scripture is always literal. I think the mulberry tree is symbolic for the things that are causing us difficulties. But here in first Peter, we receive a glimpse of Active faith. It says we are to serve one another. We should use our talents to help other people.  It actually means that we should do it without the expectation of compensation.  It says serve others faithful stewards of God’s grace.  Now unfortunately we cannot always work for free. The world is set up in a manner that we must earn a living. This is Biblical. Proverbs mentions working frequently. Salomon says the person that does not work is foolish.  It is Biblical to work for a living.  But this is off topic.  We are still pursuing active faith and serving others as our sign of active faith.  In my past I have a good example.  My husband dislocated his shoulder at work.  The employer was grumbling about paying for the surgery as was disability. It was dislocated and the only way to get it back in to stay was surgery.  The surgeon did the surgery for free. If he ever received compensation it did not come from us. Good thing because back then it was an expensive surgery.  It might be cheaper today, ACL repairs are commonplace. My husband had started to fall off a ladder while trying to dislodge a stuck box.  He caught himself at the expense of his shoulder. But since it was a 30 foot drop onto a cement floor, I say this was divine intervention and the stupid employer should have been glad he saved them millions in a wrongful death suit. The employer is guilty of living with a greedy heart. The Surgeon on the other hand was displaying active faith. He knew that if he did this surgery for free, it would come back to him. God would bless him. He knew we were unable to pay the fee for the surgery. It was in the ball park of 10-20 thousand dollars. Of course this is not just the doctor’s fee.  There were a few sacrifices; He did it on his own time, a weekend.  The nurses that assisted were either paid for out of his pocket, or did it for free as well. There were about 10 people involved which either did the work for free or the doctor paid them from his own pocket. We had to sacrifice and drive 60 miles on a Saturday for the surgery and recovery was done at home. At the time, if someone had this surgery they spent about three days at the hospital. This took a lot of active faith on the doctor’s part. It took some active faith on our part. The surgery was needed, no one was going to pay for it, at least not that we knew yet. (Maybe the doctor collected from someone eventually) We had to trust that we could pay for it. See the doctor did not tell us that he would do it for free. We had denial letters –the insurance, disability, the union, and the company. We assumed that we would be paying for this surgery for a very long time. But the trust that it would be okay, it would work out some how; was our part of active faith. How were we to know the surgeon would fix it so that the surgery was free for us?

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

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