By Grace

As some of you know, This spring God gave me a “reset”.  God had been telling me that I have been doing things wrong for sometime.  But I didn’t take the time to figure out what exactly he meant.  I kept seeing all this stuff about self-care.  I thought that it meant doing stuff for myself.  The truth never dawned on me.  I need to learn to slow down, relax.  I had this faulty thought process. I thought I needed to be doing something every waking hour.  I was always tired. I always felt behind. No matter how hard I worked; it was never enough things were not how I wanted them to be. If that sounds familiar, maybe God is speaking to you as well.

It has been a long summer as I learn the hard way how to slow down.  How to take time to read his word, pray, and be quiet listening for His instructions.

I have been changing habits and have come to realize that self-care has nothing to do with going to the spa and being pampered. It has nothing to do with making sure my outfit is just right, putting on make up, and fixing my hair.  Those things are what we do so the world accepts us. Sure looking nice can make us feel good. It gives us positive attention.  However, if you are reading this with baby and/or dog slobber all over you; just remember you are still the same person who was all dressed up looking sharp.

YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL

Caring for yourself means developing your relationship with God, and the people he has put in your life. It means exercising and eating healthy.  It means telling yourself that it is okay the dishes are not done, I need to rest, read my Bible, or just be still.

It means on the day that you only get half of what you set out to do; that it is okay, you are not a failure. FORGIVE YOURSELF.

FORGIVING YOURSELF IS A HUGE PART OF SELF-CARE.

Accepting that you only have so many hours in a day and what gets done gets done and rest is important.  I know your in-laws are on their way, the house looks as if two little hurricanes hit it, there are dishes in the sink and you look as if you haven’t taken a shower in days. Oh and did I mention the meal is only partially started, you have to run to the store for a crucial ingredient like the meat.

Self-Care says oh well if my in-laws don’t like it then it is their problem. They need to accept the fact that you are not perfect. Only Jesus is perfect.

We get through each day by Grace.  God gives us the strength to do everything that is necessary. Everything else, well it will just have to wait until there is time.

One last thought we still need to organize and plan; but we must also pray about our plans.  God will say yea or nay.

Accept that there may be days when other things are just more important.

#FRESHSTART #SECONDCHANCE

There is something that I have been meaning to talk about for years.

It has to do with how we treat people.  If someone loses a child to war, we are there for them.  Which we should be they sacrificed all for us.

If a child is lost due to sickness, we are there for them.  And we should be. The child lost their life due to no fault of anybody.

But what about the mother that loses a child to gang violence, Is their pain any less than the one that lost to war or sickness?

What about a mother that loses their child to suicide? Is their grief any different?

The last two mothers we look down on them as if they pulled the trigger. They failed to move their child away from the gangs, or failed to see that their child had suicidal thoughts. We judge them incorrectly.  Jesus calls us to have mercy on these people. They are as weak as the parents that lose their child to “legitimate causes”. (Romans 15:1)

It is the holidays and there are many reasons why people may be without loved ones over the holidays. They are in the service, they live far away, they have passed on (whatever the reason), they are drug or alcohol addicts and are missing, they have been kidnapped, they ran away from home, they are mentally ill and no one knows where they are, or they are in jail.  We are not sympathetic with many of these reasons.

It is not Biblical to be unsympathetic with these parents, yet sometimes we act as if these parents deserve to be sad.  It is their fault these things have happened.  This is faulty thinking.  Sure I realize that if the parent has problems, their children are likely to have problems. But instead of blaming them, we should help them. Not hurt them. I find it hard to believe that drug addicts and alcoholics want to be that way.  They want to be clean.

The drug addict or alcoholic: the parent did not raise them right.

I have seen these signs that say raise your children right of the guards in jail will have to teach them.  This is very insulting Do you really think that these parents didn’t do the best they could?  Do you really think they tried to guide their children.  Most families with children in jail are not crime syndicate families.  It is not like it is on TV.  Most families are law-abiding citizens and except for a mistake; their children are as well. More often than not their child was in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t do anything to be in jail except didn’t have enough money to afford an attorney.  The Public defender is over worked and under paid and find in their best interest to plea bargain most cases. (not the interest of their client)

Families with children who commit suicide are often as shocked as the world was when Robin Williams committed suicide. There weren’t any “signs”.  There are some that say well we knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know how to help.

There are those that suffer from PTSD. We just assume that these people are crazy.  It is called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because they were exposed to the worst most depraved evils of the world. Most suffer in silence because they feel as if they talk about it, then people might think they are crazy, or worse people might not believe them. Although the largest population of people with PTSD are soldiers; other people suffer from PTSD as well.

Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that everyone has these assumptions. I don’t believe that all  people judge others.  I believe that there are people that try very hard to be sympathetic to others. I believe there are people that mean well.  I just think that there are more people that do judge, are unsympathetic, and think that many parents without loved ones especially without children, don’t deserve our consideration or sympathy.

There is one population of people that are sad over the holidays that deserve every help we can give them.  They are children with parents in jail.  Try going to school and say my daddy is in jail.  These children need our help how else can we end the cycle of poverty? (no not every child with a parent in jail is poor) but so many are poor.

 

Actions Not Just Words

1 John 3:16:18:  16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.kind

We frequently hear this scripture: Love your neighbor as yourself Leviticus 9:18.

But how does that look?  If your neighbor’s yard is on fire and they are standing in their yard waiting for the fire department to come. Stand with them. Bring them a glass of water, a chair to sit on, or maybe just be there.

Is your neighbor’s house being robbed?  If  they are unarmed don’t just call the police; tell the robbers to stop. (if they are armed -call the police but don’t interfere.)

What if your neighbor’s yard need mowed, looking like a jungle mowed; check on your neighbor or mow their lawn.  Want to take the extra mile? Ask what else you can do to help.  I get it some neighbors are just lazy.  But if they normally mow and then all of the sudden it isn’t perhaps something is wrong. overgrown yard

We tend to have the “It’s not me” attitude. But it could be you.  Wouldn’t you like someone to help you?

 

Accepting Help – it is as hard as asking

Recently I talked about how hard it is to ask for help. What can be harder is accepting help. You’ve been there. Someone offers to help or asks if you need anything and you turn it down.  Claiming that everything is okay, when in truth; you are falling apart.

help

We don’t want to put anyone out. You are afraid they don’t mean it.  You are afraid that your friends won’t want to talk to you any more because you might ask for a favor. Sometimes it is true, when you ask for help sometimes it seems as if people are avoiding you.  Accepting help means dropping your pride.

It means accepting that you NEED HELP.

The next question is how do offer help? You know someone in need, you feel the Spirit prompting you to go help, but there is a fear that you will insult them. They will reject your claiming they don’t need it. Maybe it is not your mission to help this person. offering help

Have you prayed about it?  Is the Spirit prompting you to help this person?  It is not your job to help every need.  God shows us who we should help.  Say for example you see a person with a sign requesting help.  You wonder if you should, are they faking it, should you give money, food, clothing, or just pray with them?  Trust God to tell you.  God not only tells you who you should help, but how. If you do not feel the Spirit prompting you to help, don’t feel guilty.  There is a drive at church, I want to be a good Christian, but I am not feeling any pull to give this charity.  They came to our church; and I want to look good.  If that is your motivation, then don’t help.  Your motivation to help someone should not be about you. It should be about sharing God’s love with someone.  If you are hesitant about accepting help allow the help. You have asked God, Right? Then trust he is giving you the help that you have requested. Even if the person offering the hand of help is someone that you don’t like.

lift each other up

James 1: 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. As I was reading this it dawned on me why we do works.  We don’t do works to earn our salvation, but to show our faith.

woman wearing grey crew neck sweater
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The Bible encourages us to take care of each other.  To lift each other up.  When we accept Jesus as our savior, the desire to become more like him.  This is why we do good works.

But how do I lift someone else up?  How do I have the strength?  Trust God. When you hear of someone in need, do what you can to help.

 

Multiplication

Mark 4: 13-20:  Who can understand a parable?  I imagine that if you told the parable of the Sower,  to one who lives in a city and has never seen a farm; they might be OK, whatever.  However, if we told it in terms they can understand then perhaps they will mature in Christ.  Wait a second, you aren’t supposed to change the word of God.

That is how you do it.  First you read the scripture and then you explain it in the language of the listener.  When we do this, we are increasing our audience, our sphere of influence for Christ.

Say my audience was a group of inter-city youths.  I would have to find out what is important to them.  And it would depend on a few things such as:

  • Are they targets for gangs or gang recruitment?
  • Are they interested in education?
  • Are they interested in the military?
  • Do they expected to be trapped in the intercity?
  • Are they part of the culture that believes going to jail is a right of passage?

I am sure there are many more comparisons and we have to understand that some may fall into more than one category. Giving us more ways to reach them. We figure out how to explain the message in their language.  This is not changing God’s word.  Think of it this way, do you feel that the NIV has changed the Word?  If we could all understand the Old KJV, then other translations wouldn’t be necessarry. Since we all come from different backgrounds different examples of parables are required.

My favorite is most likely to be shared with women who like to bake.

To make bread, you need flour, yeast, milk or water, and salt.

If you don’t mix in the yeast well enough then your bread rises unevenly, it may still be eaten but no one is going to like the heavy part.

If you don’t put in enough yeast, then your dough doesn’t rise it is useless.

If you put in too much yeast, then it becomes too airy and the outside bakes before the inside.

If you put in the right amount of your ingredients, and knead the yeast into the dough without over kneading then you get wonderful bread and everyone wants it.

Explanation: Every wants bread sometimes the baker doesn’t make good bread- the seed that  is sowed in shallow or thorny soil and they lose interest in the baker.

Some times the baker forgets the yeast and it is flat and tough (and your audience is not predominately Jewish) this is the seed that lands in the hard ground.

But the baker that mixes everything just right, ingredients, kneading; this is the seed is in the fertile soil.  Everyone wants it. (it being the message of God) See when we bake our bread just right, everyone wants it, our profits multiple.  The word about us is spread.  Translation to Christianity, the Good news that Jesus is our savior is spread.  The good baker (person that spreads the Good news about Jesus) knows how to knead enough yeast just right.  The person that fruitfully spreads the Word of God; listens to the Holy Spirit, so they are more effective.

When we tell the word of God to fit the audience, then our efforts are multiplied.  More people hear and understand; more people are duplicating the efforts and sharing the word of God.   Multiplication

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word.15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

life changes learning how to slow the pace

Hello,

I am just writing a few words about #LifeWithJeus.

There are days when at the end of the day, I feel like I am losing while other days, I think I am winning.  There are days when I go to bed so exhausted that I have trouble going to sleep.  My vitals are monitored daily.  I hate to do it because if the numbers aren’t low enough, then I am stressed which doesn’t help anything.  But through all this Jesus has been there.  He is teaching me that what the doctors and I think are most important are not always important.  Sitting for half an hour to get the stress free BP can be annoying. But It is necessary.  So I pray and ask God to help me be patient.

Through this, I have realized that I have lost focus on the big picture.  Jesus.

The picture is clear, I see it in my mind’s eye.  Today I heard a clear message, stop worrying about my health and return to living.  Sure I need to pay attention to following my doctor’s advice; I just can’t make it my main focus. (Please don’t tell my husband)

He is still in the “I almost lost you stage”.  I have been so focused on staying calm, that it is all I do.  What I should be focusing on is Jesus.  He is telling me to focus on not rushing.  See my health went south because I rushed and rushed but I never got ahead. There was always something that if this were… I was trying to make everything perfect.  Because everyone would be happy if everything were perfect.  The truth is I was making everyone miserable trying to make everything perfect.  I was not happy.  I knew my vitals were bad but I didn’t take them enough to convince anyone that things were horrible wrong.  I heard people say take care of yourself.  Sure I do.  No I didn’t.  I thought I did.  I would get my hair done regularly, I worried that my outfit matched, shaved my legs, checked myself for cuts or bruises that weren’t healing.

That is not taking care of yourself.  That is making yourself presentable to the world.  What the world doesn’t realize is that I don’t care if things are out-of-place or mismatched. it is a huge stressful chore worrying about all that stuff.

Taking care of yourself means eating well, getting sleep, spending time with Jesus. Finding time to relax.  Each person relaxes in a different way.  Some people find playing Candy Crush relaxing Okay great for you.

I find baking relaxing.  I need to find people to eat the back goods.  I an accomplished baker. If it goes in the oven I got it.  If it is on top of the stove, well it is good but not great. I bake casseroles, cakes, cookies, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, brownies, pies, (okay I am weak on pies), chicken – I do bake a pot pie that is out of this world good.  I am not such a hot pizza pie baker.  I am also not the best bread baker.  I either forget the bread and am baking at midnight or I don’t start it soon enough and hasn’t had enough time to raise.

Baking makes me think about how Jesus is with us.  We want to take short cuts, but in baking short cuts ruin everything. Jesus wants us to go through all the paces.

Trying to jump through the steps is like baking bread without any salt.

God my BFF and being Holy

1 Peter 1:13-15:

 

What exactly does it mean to be holy?  I mean, on my own, I am not holy. I mess up every day. Today, I lost my temper.  I felt justified, but I really wasn’t.  Let’s face it; it is hard to be good all the time. We sin all the time. We don’t mean to sin; it just happens.  We think an impure thought, have a twinge of jealousy or fear, maybe it is gluttony, or self-pity.  We are after all, human, full of faults.  The great thing is there is forgiveness.  Jesus died for our sins giving us forgiveness.   Forgiveness does not give us a license to sin; no, it gives us the responsibility to strive towards perfection.  Even though we will not achieve it, we are called to be holy.  To live a life as honorably as we possibly can.

The catch, we have to remember that accepting Jesus as our savior, we are made holy.  Being holy does not mean being perfect. It means that we follow, that we try, and we do our best to be a light for the world. We share the LOVE of Jesus with everyone that crosses our path.  Losing our temper is bad because we lose an opportunity to share God’s love. Being holy means that we strive to use every opportunity.

Being Holy means that we accept that Christ is the Messiah, the savior, the Lord of all.

Moreover, it means that we accept Christ as our BFF.  Because that is the relationship, God wants with us.  He wants to be our BFF to talk to him the same way we would our BFF. To honor him as we would a BFF. We also need to acknowledge that God is more; we are supposed to follow him. Following and obeying God makes us holy.

 

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

I can

As I sit here watching my little dog sit in the sunbeam on the carpet in the living room, I am reminded of the warm feeling I get from just sitting in God’s warm embrace.

The one you get after studying the word, after praying while you are just sitting there quietly  just waiting. The moment right before you get your marching orders.
Just like my dog, I don’t want to leave that spot where it is warm and comforting.

While care of ones self is vital; not just your physical or mental self, but your spiritual self as well. There reaches a point where we have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.  Maybe you help others without getting your hands dirty, most of us do hard work.  Even if it is not physically demanding.

I realize that although I am still in recovery, there are little things I can do to turn my eyes to others instead of just inward.  I can pray for people, I can write encouragement to people, and I can research things for people.

I can sit and make phone calls.  I can find work answering phones, editing, or writing.  I can type letters or other correspondence. Yes, for sometime I can’t do physical work; but that doesn’t mean I can’t live.  I can be productive.  It will just take some creativity to find a way to use my God-given talents.

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