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?

 

Passing Through the Storm

If you’re in one, I hope you see Him trying to ride it out with you because you will not arrive on the other side the same. You cannot. Survivors never do. If they’re inevitable, I don’t want to go through one alone. I have before. It’s not the same without Him. The changes that storms cause, are irreversible, but when He’s there, they are beautifully meaningful and so it’s good that they are permanent. If you can remember this when the weather changes and you begin to realize one is coming, you will know to make Him your Shelter and your Strength. It all sounds so pat and religiously easy. It’s not. Seriously,  if there’s any way I can go around them, that’s what I’m going to attempt. But  forewarning is not a guaranteed characteristic of every storm, so you may not even notice until it’s full on. That’s happened to me and in my human mode, I’m trying to power up internally.  It’s not always enough and you get exhausted. If you have people in your corner,  they’ll come through, but I’m telling you, it is still not sufficient without God because what He does is so off the chart in those times that you can believe and have peace in the very eye of the storm. Phil 4:5-7  This faith is not based on the hope that He will subdue it, though, that can happen. No, it’s a trust that makes zero sense from a logical standpoint, but it’s rooted in the Love He has for me. I’m convinced regardless of how bad it looks because I know that the storm cannot destroy me if He is there. I’m going to pass through and who I am when I get to the end, will be a better version of me, because He loves me.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-8. TM

Isaiah 25:4-5 “For You have been a strong-place for those who could not help themselves and for those in need because of much trouble. You have been a safe place from the storm”

“You are strong, Lord, and always faithful. You rule the stormy sea. You can calm its angry waves.” Psalm 89:9

Love Always

 

Mistakes 101

That quote is mistaken.  The Creator of All is the Greatest Teacher. But that doesn’t mean that mistakes are not a part of the curriculum.  I know because it feels like I have a degree in it.  I’ve learned and I’ve changed because of all the wrong turns I’ve made.  But recently, I thought and thought about some of the more recent mistakes  or perceived mistakes that I’ve made.  I think I wanted to understand if they really were mistakes.  If they were, what did I learn?  If they weren’t, then what were they?  I can’t even answer my own questions.  I do think that there was a lesson in all of it.  I am certain God takes advantage of each teaching moment.  I believe this because none of the Gospels declare Jesus as a preacher. He is constantly teaching.

“He was teaching daily in the temple” Luke 19:27
“during the day He was teaching in the temple.” Luke 21:37
“Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.” John 7:14
“He sat down and began to teach them” John 8:2
“Every day I was with you in the temple teaching,” Mark 14:49
“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues ” Matthew 9:35

On and on…

He’s been an instructor but He is also a very attentive tutor.  Sometimes, I even feel like He intercepts in order to help me not fail. He has provided all the information I need in His written Word.  I can’t say that I don’t have access to it.  When the Word talks about itself, it reaffirms it’s divine capability. Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16.  I’ve relied on it to assist me in so many areas of my life.  But- but there are moments I’ve wanted what I desired more and so disregarded the knowledge he’s given me. Then, I’ve had to rely on the follow-up lesson of Grace.

-“the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” 1 Titus 2: 11-12

To be candid, I currently have areas in my character that even Grace hasn’t affected change because I am not learning the lesson. But I believe, if I stay faithful, I can change. His Love/Grace ignites repentance and He will not let me fail.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 27:23-26

I am meant to retain what I’ve been taught, but continue to progress in learning as I move forward.

“… I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind (mistakes) and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3:13

When I look at what I’ve just written, I still do not know if some of the decisions I made from the last year were complete mistakes.  Maybe I’m just trying to redeem some value from what occurred.  I feel this way because I engaged my heart full on and looking back, I don’t want to believe it was in vain. There’s a unexplainable freedom in giving your heart to someone or to an ideal even as you’re standing on the edge thinking there’s no way out.  I want to believe that those risks were worth it.  I wish I could see and understand if it had any goodness in it.  That would make me feel better about having taken the chance despite the possibility of making a mistake.  The chances are, I’m probably never going to know completely. The only thing I know with certainty is that I’m not getting out of Mistakes 101.  I’m just going to keep learning and hopefully get an education.

Love Always ???

Make Love Affordable

This statement is somewhat controversial. Here’s why: currently our social atmosphere is pushing for self love, in every form. From Body positivity to appreciation of our unique individuality. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:39 So, you need to love yourself in order to love your neighbor. BUT- this is where it gets prickly: loving people costs and no one wants to devalue themselves for the sake of another. That’s kind of what happens when you love others. Well, maybe not reducing your worth, but giving of yourself in a way that takes from you. It isn’t cheap. Even so,  I believe T.D. Jakes is saying don’t make it so that the intended recipient of your love can’t afford it because you’re unwilling to absorb any cost. I know this is why my natural inclination is to hesitate out of self protection. I want to hedge my bets. I don’t want to lose any of my value and I also don’t want  to risk another break in my heart.  YET- that kind of risky, potentially harming to the heart, selfless love is exactly the kind He gave me. He did not gamble on a person with high odds of return. Now He commands me to do the same. A Christian cannot parcel out their love according to their expectation of reciprocal payment. It’s supposed to be liberally distributed. I’ve said before, not stupidly. You don’t necessarily facilitate being mistreated. I’m not pushing for letting people treat you like s$%#.  Yet, there’s “turn the other cheek” and then this:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34  How did He love us?  He straight up, just handed it all over. His Life for us. So, this means prayer, advice, humility in order to love like Him, wisely. But also a willingness to be a sacrifice in His Name. Don’t ask me how you do this perfectly.  I seriously don’t know. But, I’m thinking, it’d be better to overlove than the alternative. That’s pretty much what He did. So, how do YOU deal with this dilemma?  (I really would like to know how you deal with this. To be truthful, I’m not necessarily a fan of “pop” Christianity,  but this quote showed up in a friend’s feed and I left my take on it as a comment. She and I don’t 100% agree, but it’s worth the dialogue)

 

Love Always

 

Love With Us

Driving home from church on Sunday, I was by myself and I fell into one of those moods that hits me, where I really need God to make himself present or maybe give me more of a sense of His Presence, physically.  I understand that He is very visible in the created things and that He manifests Himself supernaturally in many ways.  But, I just needed something more relatable as a human, if you know what I mean. I wanted Him to be less invisible.  So, as I was feeling this, a song came on and it voiced my emotions. I was feeling kind of lonely so I conjured up Jesus. Not in a weird ghost way. It was more that my spirit implored His presence to be with me in the car. That He would sit shotgun so I could hold His Hand. I don’t expect this to resonate with you necessarily. You may have a very solid connection with Him and feel Him at a deep level that doesn’t require any human type relationship components. Or maybe this whole concept is foreign and you don’t have any connection with Him. All I know, is that I need to experience Him in prayer, Bible study, fellowship, miracles, Holy Spirit and then, every once in a while, something akin to His “physical” presence. Maybe my way to feel Him close is unorthodox, but I think all believers want to know He’s near. I am certain  He absolutely understands that need and so He designated that Jesus would be known as Emmanuel.  I found this on jellytelly.com:

•The word “Emmanuel” comes from the Greek rendering of two Hebrew words, `immanu, “with us,” and ‘el, “God”… The word is found three times in the Bible:  Isaiah 7:14 , 8:8 , and Matthew 1:23 )- Matthew 1:23 is citing Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (1:22-23). Thus, Matthew tells his readers that Jesus’ birth fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah.•

Here’s the cool thing about that. God’s love is greater than the scope of human imagination.  It cannot be measured since he is Love. (1John 4:8) and so, regardless of how I perceive Him, or how I feel, He is always Present.  This is why  Ephesians 3:18 is so important: “may you have the power to understand… how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is, to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

 Basically, Love with us.

Love Always ???

 

 

 

The Delusion of Competition

This is what it feels like EVERY SINGLE TIME, even after years of running. It’s a mind trick because outside running doesn’t feel nearly as hopeless. At least the landscape changes. I blame my best friend for putting me in this inescapable trap. She got me to agree to run a half marathon 5 years ago and now I can’t give up running. It took too much work to get here. She’s also to blame for my competitiveness. ? Yesterday after 84 years on the machine, a guy starts running on the one next to me. I can’t secretly race him because, he’s in pretty good shape and I can see he’s faster. I’ve already put in some time, but I decide, even if he’s faster, I will outlast him. This is where I can see if I can bring some satisfaction to my life even if so many other things aren’t complying. ? He was all perfect in his stride and no signs of fatigue, but I was all in. I literally will die on this machine before I give up. I almost did, but then after another 84 years, he slowed to a walk and quickly got off. Totally oblivious to all the “Chariots Of Fire” drama going on in my head. So, I think a fair amount of our dissatisfaction, especially with ourselves is firmly tied to competitiveness. You could say it’s comparison, but, seriously, we look at someone else, in any area, career, relationship, looks, finances, success, and we see if they’re competition. If they’re”better” we get all bummed. If you do that a lot, you just become super hard on yourself and eventually discount yourself in every way. That’s how I can be. It’s all rooted in pride. There’s only one race we’re equipped to run. God has given us the capability and the victory. “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews  12:1 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

 

Love Always????

Heart Locket or Lock it

I wrote this back on Aug 11 and posted to Facebook. I still feel it’s true and I still don’t know what I’m doing,  LOL:

I can’t construct a fail safe system to protect my heart. I can try. I can make every effort to shield it and be the most vigilant gatekeeper ever, but it’s impossible to keep it untouched. Sometimes, it just loves even when I tell it not to. It goes all in. Sometimes it loves people when I know the love may not be justified. For me it’s hardcore love when I do, because I don’t easily give my heart.  I’ve loved like this and suffered and I don’t forget that kind of pain.  So, then, I attempt secondary methods to mimimize the risk of hurt. I try to be preemptive in my words and actions. It’s my way of having some control over the situation. But hearts are not predictable. I might have some influence over mine, and I can try to sway someone else’s in order to save mine, but I can’t ever be assured it will work. I don’t believe this is what God meant in this verse:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23.
That whole chapter is about wisdom and pursuing it, versus the alternative. It isn’t direction about not taking love chances, it’s about loving unwisely. Being careful not to run after what will distance you from Him. But, to love like Him is always wise and His own Heart is exposed all day. How can I have a balance in loving wisely, but being vulnerable too? I seriously have no idea. Right now, I just look at Him, and think, He is going to have to transcend me to get this done. He has the capability. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– but God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” 1Cor 2:9-10 His Spirit of Love knows my best and He can oversee my heart’s journeys. Even if my heart does go through pain while loving, it will be under His Hand and He understands. But more so, He is my only hope for healing.
“He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Love Always❤???????

I will say though, in the cases where the love was unjustified, God freed me. Trust me, I needed freedom from the regret of giving my trust and heart to ones that weren’t meant to have it.

?I’m wide awake
And now it’s clear to me
That everything you see
Ain’t always what it seems
I’m wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn’t dive in
Wouldn’t bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete

Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high…
I’m wide awake
Not losing any sleep
Picked up every piece
And landed on my feet
I’m wide awake
Need nothing to complete myself, no

I’m wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Out of the lion’s den
I don’t have to pretend…?

Wide Awake by Katy Perry

 

 

Let Them Go

If you’re here long enough, you’ll get handed all kinds of things. Some of those things were alive, valid, and relevant when you received them, but now they’re dead. Whatever they were, they no longer are. Therefore, holding onto them past their expiration date is a waste of life. Maybe your open hand held something  like a perfect flower or maybe, instead it was something difficult to handle like a cactus. Either way, once it died, you would know to drop it. But, what if you carried it around, every day? At first, it would be wilted, but then, it would deteriorate to an extent that would make it unrecognizable. But, you keep looking at it, watering it, thinking about it, being nostalgic/sad/longing over something beautiful or perhaps angry/bitter/hurt over something ugly and painful. You can do whatever you want, but it won’t change the fact that it’s dead. I know, I’ve held a lot of dead things. Some of those things,  I didn’t even want, but life gave them to me and I had to learn to live with them while they were alive.  You’d think, I’d be eager to release those once they died, but sadly, there were periods of time I’ve held onto some nasty, rotting things far too long. Yet, there were other things I was given that I loved and, to me, they were so incredibly beautiful. My desire would have been to keep them alive but that was not to be. Now, none of these things possess life. I cannot continue to carry them around any longer because it requires time/energy that will never reverse their death. It also makes it difficult to live when your hands are occupied with dead stuff. It even makes it hard to hold something new. So, let the dead things go.

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” Isaiah 43:18-19 TM

“I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing indeed: Forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things ahead,” Phil 3:13

Love Always ❤

 

My Hallelujah Remains

 

He stays with me and He refuses to leave. I can’t think of any other who would remain and be present without a gap or space. I mean, He is completely immersed in me. No one else can do that because when I am not kind, thoughtful, selfless, sacrificial, patient, gracious, loving and the other beautiful things He is, people can’t hang with that for long. They need to move away, step back or have some respite from it because they are human too. But God, He just sticks with me right in the middle of it. I’m finding that this is the profoundness of the Love He has for me. This may be TMI, but I have hit a place in my life where depression is real. I have never been a person who struggled with that. But, I’m there now. It doesn’t conform to logic which is frustrating because I would love to fix it with praise and gratefulness, Scripture, and prayer. It doesn’t really work like that. I do believe it can be bettered and that God can intervene. I’m just not sure how it will happen and so I am praying, praising, being grateful and seeking His Word and I’m getting help too. That’s part of the reason I put those memes, my artwork and even pictures of the beautiful place I live, on social media. I want to acknowledge His Goodness. The weird thing is, I’m a type “A” personality, so I am not the kind of person who can stop doing and checkout even though I’m going through this. I’m too responsible, reliable, dependable. I’m especially this way with my children and my friends and the ministry He gave me. So, maybe, that’s a good thing. I feel compelled to stay concerned and care. The only reason I’m putting this post up, is to say, the circumstances of this life, whether mental, emotional, circumstantial, relational, do not inhibit God’s closeness. He is not reluctant or afraid to be with you . He won’t hesitate in order to consider how to minimize His hurt. He just stays.

“I am with you always until the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” PSALM 16:8

Love Always.?