Hannah’s Angst

In the bible, God leaves on record the story of a woman named Hannah. She was the mother of the great prophet Samuel. On its surface, it’s the story of how Samuel was dedicated to the Lord from birth, but that is beside the point. The real lesson in Hannah’s story is her worry about a situation that needed healing.

images-30In the bible, God leaves on record the story of a woman named Hannah.  She was the mother of the great prophet Samuel.  On its surface, it’s the story of how Samuel was dedicated to the Lord from birth, but that is beside the point. The real lesson in Hannah’s story is her worry about a situation that needed healing.  She could not have children, and it was a constant source of worry, hurt, and concern. Continue reading “Hannah’s Angst”

Joy in Jail

Do you ever feel trapped in your life? Sometimes life is moving forward, and then other times, it seems we are stuck in the same circumstances day after day with no end in sight. At the risk of being Captain Obvious, let’s say that life is not easy. This is especially true in the Christian walk, which the Apostle Paul advertised as being a prisoner.

downloadDo you ever feel trapped in your life? Sometimes life is moving forward, and then other times, it seems we are stuck in the same circumstances day after day with no end in sight. At the risk of being Captain Obvious, let’s say that life is not easy. This is especially true in the Christian walk, which the Apostle Paul advertised as being a prisoner.   Continue reading “Joy in Jail”

The Fruit of the “Apology”

In relationships, when you are trying to recover and heal, the pain is real. Opening yourself up to pain can have good and lasting effects. My husband always said, “Look at the fruit”.

pain makes you strongerIn relationships, when you are trying to recover and heal, the pain is real.  Opening yourself up to pain can have good and lasting effects.  My husband always said, “Look at the fruit”.   I ‘m glad to say that the fruit of my apology to my daughter has been awesome.  Even though she and I suffered a deep hurt, we are bouncing back with a vengeance.

My daughter and I talked again last week.  She was on her way to school.  I told her about the article, and she brightened up and said “Oh yeah? Look at you!”, in the way she often does like she’s the parent teaching the child.  She seemed as happy for me getting that off my chest as I was, about her forgiving me.

I noticed something, and it was a big something.  The tension between us was gone.  That unsaid weight that can hang over a relationship.  She accepted me and I accepted her.  She understood me, and I understood her.  Between us had stood an invisible wall that we laughed around, had dinner around, shopped around, and played around, but it stood there, unmoving, solid and stoic.  I had tried to tear it down many years ago, but so many bricks had been laid, some of which I had no idea how they got there.   While I was laboring for God, it was like someone came in the middle of the night and had created a whole house around us and rooms in between.   I had to go and find out what room my daughter was in.  Not an easy task.

It hurt me that I had let that happen.  I am not a person that often cares what people think of me, if I believe in what I am doing or hey, just don’t want to do it.  But in this circle, in this realm of religion, it seemed I was weak.  When I was not a Christian, I could be in a room full of people smoking weed and if I didn’t want to do any, I could stand my ground.  Back then, it wasn’t really on any moral ground. I just wasn’t interested.   Now why, when it came to religion did I crumble to other peoples’ opinion of my child?  Why couldn’t I just stay focused on what God was telling me as an individual?

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I beat myself up about that but only for a “minute” though, because I know that it doesn’t do any good.

I know that when a woman wants to shed the past and make changes, so many times, we go for our hair.  My daughter had been talking about cutting her hair for a while, not just for style, but mostly because she wanted to re-grow her hair and start over.  She’s in beauty school, so her teacher fixed her up and she has suuuper-short hair now.  Her teacher said, “Girl, you’ve got to have confidence to wear your hair like that!”   Now, some people may not look well on that, but I see past the outward of what she did.

 She has confidence.

When she first came by the house, she’d did a self-cut.

I said, “oh wow, I wasn’t expecting that but you should get your teacher to line it up right and smooth out the look”.

I told her how pretty she was.  She’s grown, she can do what she wants.

She has a beautiful face, so there’s nothing she could do that would detract from that.  I wasn’t going to say anything negative after our bond had been restored, nor did I feel compelled to.

The first place you learn how valuable or special you are is at home, from your parents.  If that not given, it’s hard to have good self-esteem.

I have seen her confidence in herself blossom, and that’s what’s important.

When an apology from the heart is given, healing on both sides can come quickly.

 

me and sydney

 

 

 

Let’s See How Well You Can Float

Have you ever heard the term “between the devil and the deep blue sea”? Back when shipbuilders made ships out of wood, the lowermost seam in the hull of the ship was called “the devil.” It was the toughest spot to reach and awkward to repair. Since this seam was the only thing separating the ship from the deep sea, there was literally “nothing between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Obviously, if this couldn’t be repaired, there was a strong possibility the ship would sink.

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I’ve often mentioned in my teaching that a spiritual trial is not the same as a test.  A test is when a temptation may suddenly come, and we make a decision good or bad.  A trial, especially a Christian trial is unique. In my book,  How to Walk on Water, I go through various definitions of the word “trial”. One definition is something designed to test our quality, value, or usefulness.  You know, like when a pharmaceutical company sends it’s drugs through clinical trials, like that.

Have you ever heard the term “between the devil and the deep blue sea”? Back when shipbuilders made ships out of wood, the lowermost seam in the hull of the ship was called “the devil.” It was the toughest spot to reach and awkward to repair. Since this seam was the only thing separating the ship from the  deep sea, there was literally “nothing between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Obviously, if this couldn’t be repaired, there was a strong possibility the ship would sink. The phrase later symbolized being caught between two equally dangerous problems. For Christians, the grave dangers are Self and the World. Of the two, Self is probably the most dangerous and hardest to recognize. Christina G. Rossetti’s poem, “Who Shall Deliver Me?” from Poems, 1876, called Self “my hollowest friend, my deadliest foe, my clog whatever road I go.” It’s essential to crucify Self to stay afloat in our walk with the Lord.

Overcoming the dangers of Self to be good ambassadors for Christ means staying afloat. Romans 6:1-2 and 8:36 teach us that we are always dying to Self and will be until we die physically. If we build, correctly, realize that Christ is the foundation of the Christian’s experience. Self-denial is the mortar holding everything together. If a Christians stops denying Self, the growth will stop also. Self-Denial bases itself more on arresting and crucifying the lusts and desires of the old man (see Romans 6:6, John 17:15-16, Colossians 3:9, and Ephesians 4:22) than on cloistering ourselves away to avoid temptations. Killing the old man takes full surrender.

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (KJV) Ephesians 4:22

Unfortunately, too many of us take lightly complete submission to God and then wonder why we begin to sink during long stretches of troubled times. Walking with the Lord means obeying His voice. Before the Lord filled me with the Holy Spirit, He knocked on every door in my spiritual house and touched every area of my life to ask, “Do you love me more than these?” He put His finger on my attitudes and other things that didn’t match up with the teachings of Christ, including my personal philosophies, old boyfriends, clothing choices, music, places I went, and circle of friends. Even my language became a point of conversation between the Lord and me.

Once I opened my heart to the Lord, He wanted it all. It scared me to a point, and I struggled with some things more than others, but as I obeyed God, He brought such peace to my heart that I just wanted more of Him. I looked behind me and around me, and as I continued to walk in the light of His word, I found that all I wanted and needed was God. The putting off of the old man was a good thing and the things I thought I had lost were not important anymore. I was gaining a better life. Then one day when I didn’t expect it, God sent the fire of the Holy Spirit in my heart which was the beginning of a deeper religious experience.

If there is no surrender, there will be no power. Countless people have started the Christian race and stopped running because they wouldn’t completely surrender their hearts to the will of God. Complete submission to his Word is necessary for grace to rise above our circumstances. It’s a package deal. We have a covenant with God to obey His Word, and in turn, He promises to help us endure our temptations.

Our prayer should be “Lord, give me the grace to endure,” not “Lord, please take this away.”

Are You Seaworthy?

Rough seas are not always bad things. The best floatation devices we can have are prayer and obedience when we find ourselves adrift in the sea of a long-lasting trial. While the churning waves seem to be the most frightening, experienced sailors know that calm waters are more dangerous because there is no wind or movement to carry them to their destination.

The real test of a ship’s seaworthiness is the pressure it can handle in the high waves.

The pressure of the storm brings any weaknesses or flaws to the surface.

It’s under pressure that God shows us the holes that need patching, the planks that need stabilizing, and the compass that needs fixing. If we can see the holes and patch them, we can sail on, but we must work on ourselves to keep sailing.

Our usefulness to the Kingdom of God increases when we conquer ourselves. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” should be our cry. How many of God’s people have captured the world’s attention for Christ, only to destroy their testimony with un-Christ-like behavior, causing the Gospel to be “evil spoken of”? (see 2 Peter 2:2) We have a great responsibility to let the light of Christ shine through our lives, so our goal should be to keep moving forward without dowsing that light. Even as we hurt, grieve and pray about issues, let your love for Christ shine through.

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