Centered

The rest of the lyrics may be off, but this line….
This is how I feel about You…

If I try and find another center, I lose You. I’m no longer in Your orbit and I’m lost. I don’t want to veer, but I’ve done it. It never works out. Away from You, I’m no longer oriented and I try to find another way to get stability but it’s impossible since there is no other. If I could undo the moments that pulled me away,  I would.  Yet, those times never affected how You feel about me.  You made every effort to have me gravitate back towards You. I think my wide arc couldn’t sever the pull,  though,  because, Your Love is so great. This is why,  I love You. You never stop drawing and pulling and attracting us to You. You’ve done all kinds of things to accomplish this and I’m so blessed that You have. Otherwise, I’d be adrift without Love and without hope. I’d disentergrate and I would not be capable of recovering. You are the very Center, help me to revolve around You, because, I know, You hold us, You keep us together, You wait for me when I break off in my distraction, You keep me from falling apart. All the beauty and the joy of life is only held and found in You…

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

 

“Your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:10

 

Love Always???

Love Is An Act of Faith

Faith. It’s that initial component of love. You wish you could predict the outcome, but there’s no way to hedge your bets. This is how it is in every instance, even in responding to God. Faith is required to believe that He truly loves us in an unprecedented way & that the Cross is the ultimate demonstration of that Love, though, we never witnessed it.Yet you’ll never know unless you take a chance. But if you do…


One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him. He went to the Pharisee’s house & reclined at table a woman, who was a sinner, learned that he was in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of perfume & standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears,wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed his feet & anointed them with the perfume.When the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who & what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He answered, “Say it, Teacher.”“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:36-47

I know this quote is not exactly the right fit, at least not at first glance, but love is an act of faith & size is not relevant except that you need enough to put action to it. God’s Love took a chance and made the first move. Let your Love act on it.

❤HAPPY VALENTINE’S❤

(If you only knew the trees I killed doing this…)

Listening Lessens Assumptions

“and this I pray that the love of you yet more and more shall abound in knowledge and all discernment for to approve you the things being excellent that you might be pure and blameless unto a [the] day of Christ being filled with the fruit of righteousness that [is] through Jesus Christ to [the] glory and praise of God.”
 Philippians 1:9-11  Greek Linear Translation.
ἐπιγνώσει – knowledge
ascertainment, of a particular point (directed towards a particular object) 
αισθήσει – discernment
perception, not only by the senses but by the intellect, cognition, discernment, moral discernment in a ethical matter

Love is the primary driver for knowledge and discernment and Love is:

“… is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proudit does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1Cor13:4-8
 
Love and Knowledge and Discernment seem to work in unison. Yet love is greater than knowledge. Meaning, man derived knowledge.  Because of the faulty nature of human knowledge, it stands to reason that love would have to drive understanding and depth of insight, otherwise, we as individuals would be swayed by our limited capability and at times make assumptions. This is the premise of this post. The dangers of assumptions. 
I doubt anyone wants to be the victim of speculation. But this is especially true when you share your life and your struggles with a trusted friend.  You hope that they hear your story and that they strive to understand before surmising any thoughts regarding the situation. The ability to love in discernment and knowledge is very critical in a spiritual relationship if you seek to help and give advice. This is something I think about often especially because I am in a virtual ministry much of the time and I have to be exceptionally careful to not assume anything.  I can’t claim that I am perfect nor can I dispense perfect spiritual advice or help.  So, my goal is to pray and to attempt to convey what is the most beneficial and biblical help I can give. Sometimes, it is just to pray.  I can’t know the depth or the intensity of each situation that every individual shares with me even if they give me great detail.  I am required to listen intently but I will never know because I am not inhabiting their life. So, I need compassion and humility.  In addition, Love always trusts and always hopes, so it assumes the best.  Meanwhile, I, myself, am a sinful person. I struggle with many different temptations and I cannot say that I am above any of the things other people are dealing with.  But I know that I would never want to be the victim of assumption. This is why Love rejoices with the truth. In helping people, you have to listen for what’s true and this means hearing all of what they’ve said.  Otherwise, you’ll only parcel out parts and the person is heard in fractions. It’s important that:
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak,” James 1:19 
If love doesn’t step in to attempt to understand, it will be difficult for the hearer to be spiritually discerning or knowledgeable. I’ve been there. Both as the sharer and the hearer. I have kind of jumped the gun, at times and not fully heard what the person’s voice/heart was saying and I’ve also had people do that to me. I notice, even recently, I’ll get a message from someone and I’ll skip over some important words which changes the message.  Then I go back and re-read and I’m struck by how badly I mis-heard. I know I don’t want to do that to anyone because I’ve been on the receiving end of that before when I have shared with someone my struggles and I thought that I expressed myself fully and that they heard all of what I said, but then afterwards realized they didn’t. So, their advice was partially beneficial and yet not completely geared for my situation because of some assumptions. I listened to the advice and put the part that applied into practice. Still, I wish I had been fully heard.
All of this to say, assumptions can create misunderstandings and it’s hard to definitely know how to help spiritually, if love doesn’t listen in order to bring knowledge and discernment. I don’t want to be this way to anyone. And when I think of God and how He listens,  I know He actually hears it all.
“But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer” Psalm 66:19
“And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” 1John 5:15

Though,  I don’t think it’s just requests that He hears. I really believe He’s attentive even if we can’t express ourselves so He intervenes.
 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26
 
This encourages me to be more like Him and even if there are gaps in my understanding of someone’s situation,  I can pray and believe the best and let the rest be sorted out with time and His Spirit. 
 
? Always

Solid As A Rock

That’s what life is; a contradiction. When you’re a child and you confront that truth for the first time, it throws you for a loop. You become more advanced in responding to it as you get older, but you’ll never be 100% prepared. You utilize different measures to cope and depending on the source, you’ll have a degree of success. But, there are no foolproof ways to guard our lives and hearts from the hardship of inconsistencies, the ones that come to you through people, or circumstances. You know what I mean.

So, I advocate for faith in God because I know it is the only way to obtain stability. The crazy thing is, that it requires doing something that is seemingly unstable. Without traditional proof, the person who decides to rely on God, makes a questionable decision. They decide take to heart the words that He preserved in the Scriptures and actually trust that everything in there is true. To believe that the Cross is the culmination of His Plan to love us past this life, and into the best life, which is eternal. It is a very risky thing to do. Initially, you’ll wonder if He really will bring the consistency that you need.  But, you have to know that in order to achieve that, our minds and our hearts have to be elevated spiritually and they have to remain that way because the contradictions are present here.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2.

You have to be capable of looking past the situation in order to understand that God’s got this and your coping mechanisms can’t cut it. They never could. So then, do you park your mind at the door of Christianity? No. Intelligence and knowledge can co-exist. Some believers may not agree, but I think faith can still exist even as we take scientific facts into consideration. You can’t disregard science, but you cannot allow the world to kill your faith either.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8.

Kind of sounds like a contradiction, right?  Not from an elevated mind stance that believes the One who made the world can bypass the world. And even if things remain inconsistent here, His Spirit/Love is constant.

“For I the Lord do not change; Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

His Love is consistent, Always?

The Resistance

If I write about demons, I will be introducing the possibility of debate. That is not my objective in this post. I cannot definitively establish comprehensive Christian protocol when it comes to demons. I’m not going to address rebuking demons or teach about the power Christians have over demons.  I’m not qualified to instruct anyone regarding this subject.  The only indisputable truths that I’ve studied are these:

1.        They exist and work in conjunction with Satan because they are under his rule and according to traditional interpretation, Satan is a fallen angel who was cast out of heaven and took subordinate angels with him.

” And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9

2.      I have something in common with them.  We both believe in God.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19

3.    Jesus gave the 12 disciples the capability to overpower them.

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”  Matthew 10:1

4.     It is possible to fellowship with them.

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” 1Cor 10:20

5.       They are teachers.

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1Tim 4:1

6.       We’re in a war with them.

“…This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” Eph 6:12 TM

7.        Exorcism isn’t necessarily our job.

“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” Acts 19:13-17

I’ve never initiated a study of demons or Satan. It’s never occurred or appealed to me. This biblical research of demons was prompted by a dream that I hope I never have again.  I can’t remember the start of the dream, just the spiritual nature of it. I was toggling between a dream state and reality and the presence and the evil of that demon was dominant.  It didn’t speak or act in any way. It was a female demon and she conveyed to me her power and intention in a unspoken way,  but it was so clear and so alarming that all I did was say the name Jesus. I only did it as a shield and a defensive measure.  Then I was fully awake and I felt her presence still.  So, I was thinking, “Jesus, Jesus” I really didn’t know what else to do.  It seemed like that was the only thing  I could do. This dream occurred just last night but I’ve had a others in the past.  I could say,  it was just a nightmare, but I don’t believe it was. I don’t think any of my nightmares register as high on the terror scale.
It made me wonder why she showed up.  My feeling is that it’s due to the decision to repent of certain sins in my life. They’re things that I felt like I couldn’t get a handle on. Since I felt this way,  I decided to do it incrementally and watch God assist me as I aimed for one marker at a time, otherwise I’d have a defeatist attitude looking at the overwhelming change required.  Maybe she was sent to push me off the path.  I can’t spend time attempting to figure it out.  I don’t even think it’s that complicated.  If  I give myself over to God, that’s enough.

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I don’t need anything other than Jesus. He is the stronger one. He explained it to the Pharisees who accused him of being a demon.

Mark 3:27 “Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.”

And- if I come up against an especially tough one, prayer will get it out.

Mark 9:18  “Some only come out through prayer.”

I’m not equipped or required to fight demons or Satan. I only need to resist,. I hand myself over to God and pray if I need to..This resistance is not out of the realm of my capability. 1 John 4:4. God is fully engaged with me in this. He has to be, I’m invaluable. Jesus death established me.  So, God’s not going let me fall under a defeated enemy.  That would be senseless.  For this reason,  resistance is not futile.

Resist Always?