But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish…but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea… The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,on them has light shone.
Laurey lost her mom over Thanksgiving. Anytime is not a good time to lose your mom, but it was unexpected and on holiday break. If you would like to help, they have funeral costs. You can give here. Ellen Johnson Please do not feel obligated. I’m sharing to try and help.
9 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,
So our love may abound.
That’s not a selfish love for ourselves. That is love for our neighbor. Fellow man, global partner, friend, boss, co-worker, passerby, merchant, customer, homeless man on the street.
Do u think if you knew why a person was a jerk that you could love them more? If you knew why a man was homeless could you hold his hand? Offer him food? Wash his feet? If you heard his story, could you see his heart?
Our depth of insight is shallow. We don’t care why someone takes advantage of us, we just know that we have to fight for our rights! That is the American way. We were founded on this principle.
The knowledge Christ gives us of human relationship is deep and unending. And Christ asks us to overlook our rights to reach the heart of man. He forfeited his rights on the cross to reach us. Right?
I saw a man on the street holding a sign this week as I made my way to the hospital to drop off my collected labs.
AMERICA NEEDS JESUS CHRIST
We surely do. We need Christ. Christ=Love. Love=Unconditional care. Amen, Brother.
I would not describe my father as a dishonest man. Brutal and demanding, but not a liar. Sick, twisted and eternally paranoid. Sneaky, weird and selfish. But not a liar. He truly believed his delusions.
But he did have a bad habit of stealing Bibles. From hotels. Hospitals. Anywhere.
I’m sure, God,
Our desperate prayers
Don’t always sound
As they should.
For our cries
To be understood.
Romans 8:26-27 NIV
26 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 through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
I prayed an angry, ugly prayer the other day, but thankfully, what God heard and what I said were two different things. The day started off bad, but quickly turned around after my desperate prayer.
I forget that He is working for me, unseen. Always. He’s got it figured out before I even utter “Help!” I just need to come to him.
I do pray. Daily. But I have to admit–sometimes? It’s not as heartfelt as it could be. Or as clear as it should be. Or eloquent. Or un-profane. Or correct in any fashion.
I learned the lesson of God working unseen when I was young. From the story of Job. Job is a mess of a story, but if you can get through it, so very valuable.
I think many people think of Job as patient. The patience of Job. And he was. But he was never just totally okay with everything that was happening. He complained. A lot!
He was miserable. He sobbed. And cut himself with a broken clay pot. Dragged it over his sores. Sat in ashes. Lost his family, his house, every-thing! His wife told him to curse God and die. (Thanks, Wife!) Job cried out to God, “Why?? Why me??” (Why did you give me this wife?? lol) Complained to his friends. Rejected their flawed reasoning and comfort. But Job never cursed God. Or turned his back. And there’s the difference.
Job’s body was probably pocked with scars. From head to toe. And emotional scars as well. Job had every reason to curse God and die. Job had wealth beyond compare, a happy family life and then fell a long way down. When he thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. And he got frustrated. Desperate. Wrong-headed. Subjected to and influenced by bad reasoning.
I think we can get frustrated. Desperate. But the key is to always turn to God. To His power. Submit to His control. Never turn your back and say, “God doesn’t exist.” or “God has no power.” If you say that, then that will be true. God has no power where you will not allow it.
Submitting to the process is hard. Crazy. Ugly. Seemingly not worth it. But. In the end, all you can ever do.
Trust. It’s never over until it is. And it’s always darkest before the dawn. Trusting is hardest when you don’t understand how it can get better. But it always does. Eventually.
Job 42 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters…15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. –Winston Churchill
This morning I was really struggling with paralyzing doubt. But I blogged it off. 🙂 I wrote a poem. The emotional equivalent, for me, of pulling one’s self up by the proverbial boot straps.
Dealing with doubt. Doubt that I can be on top of my potential. Doubt that I will get a job in the profession that I chose 12 years ago. The profession that I entered at 32, went back to school for at 36, and at 44, the profession in which I’ve never had much success.
Doubt that I will ever be known. Doubt that I will ever be the person God wants me to be. Doubt that I can write with any caliber. Doubt that I have any value whatsoever.
Doubt that I can offer the world anything at all. Or worse yet, doubt that the world, when met with my offerings, will ever accept or understand me.
Fear, doubt, self-hatred. Shame, guilt, remorse. It’s been coming to a slow boil for days. Plus, I have a horrible headache from bumping my head yesterday. Very painful, sore arms and just a lethargy that I cannot shake. Whenever I feel physical pain in the company of depression or anxiety, I become very vulnerable and weak.
Physical pain aside (because what can you do except take a Tylenol and ice it down?), the author of the negativity is not God. The authorship deserves co-credit. Me. The world. Satan.
You can’t believe lies if you write them down. The power of the past disintegrates as pen touches paper. Or fingers touch keys. Lies evaporate when met with the truth of God’s words.
Don’t doubt. God, self or what’s been promised.
Jer 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Don’t listen to lies. Wasted energy that could be used for pursuing your dreams. Or healing your bumps. 🙂
I have better things to do. And writing turned my whole day around. Super productive and feeling cheerful now. Still sore, but happy. Who woulda thunk?
Matthew 7 (The Voice)
13 There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. 14 Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.
Sounds like a challenge! 🙂 I never wanted to be part of the crowd. Never. I always wanted to make my own path.
I don’t think this verse is a punishment, it is a discipline. You can’t make your life any easier, you can only make it worthwhile. IMO, any path you choose will be difficult, why not set a course for heaven?
The wide path is easy only because it is familiar. It seems normal because the world is doing it. Do you feel shame because you can’t pay your debt if everyone can’t pay their debt? Do you feel shame because you divorce your spouse because half the world is divorced? We justify our sin because everyone has sin. Because humans can’t stand to feel bad, but we spend our whole adult lives feeling bad anyway.
The only true, long-lasting joy I’ve experienced as an adult is running after God. Arms wide, nothing separating me from his holiness. Not things, not fears, not hate, not people’s idea of what I should be. Listening to His call and running after that sound. It’s hard to hear His call in a world full of noise.
This chosen path is not a highway! Highways are broad and easy. Right? There are many stop signs on the straight and narrow. This difficult path is a lonely, one-lane country road. It’s scary. You’re going into unmapped territory. Not even the Google car has driven here for a street view.
But this path is negotiable with God. You can’t do it without God. You can’t white-knuckle this, though you may try. The narrow road seems hard because you are on it by yourself. Only you’re not. God is your GPS, roadside assistance and driving companion. Relax. Don’t worry. You’re covered.
You may run out of gas, but just call! He can fill you up no matter where you’ve broken down and get you going again!
No. Not bear (growling animal) fruit. That would look like this.
No. As fun as that is, today, I get to bear fruit.
I am a budding tree and this is the spring of my seasons. The time for flowers and growth and fruit.
There are several fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, loyalty, gentleness and self-control. Galations 5:22 These fruits are from Jesus’ spirit that he left on Earth to help us. As a kid, I never understood that the Spirit was Jesus’ spirit. I didn’t make the connection. Now I get it. I mean, I understood the trinity, but I just thought that God and Jesus were related and then they have a good friend, Holy Spirit. I mean, I knew that they were all one, but…yeah. Now, I got it.
So, after Jesus ascended, when He went to heaven for the final time (I know it sounds weird, Non-christians!), after a few days, He sent the Spirit. To help us. He promised His followers that He would send the Spirit because Jesus knew we would need help. ‘Cause we are so screwed up. He paid the price for our sins and now lives at the right hand of God. That’s His reward. We are separate now, as He has fulfilled His purpose. When we fulfill our purpose, we can be together. Yes?
I have this strange imagination and when I think of Jesus at the right hand of God, I picture God turning to Jesus and talking about me. They probably do this telepathically. Just FYI. I mean, it’s 2/3 of the trinity. Well. They probably conference-in the Holy Spirit, or something.
“So, tell me more about Martha.”
And what Jesus says is so sweet and kind and generous. Undeserved grace. He tells God,
“Well, Dad, she’s really smart, loving, loyal and caring. But. She’s been hurt. Like, you know, everyone on the planet. She gets angry, impatient, rude, ungrateful and downright hateful.”
God, “Yeah. Got it.”
“But! She really wants to be different. When she prays, she usually means it. And she does love Us.”
So, the point of that is, I get that Jesus died for me. He would have died for me even if I was the only person on the planet. That’s pretty specific. I don’t deserve it, I don’t have to earn it, I just inherit the kingdom of God. Boom. Done. Crown. Thanks. Forever.
And I bring this up because the rest of the verse concerning the fruits of the Spirit is this:
Galations 5 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.“
The last line gets me.
No. 1–I belong to Jesus. (D’aw!!)
No. 2–I have crucified my flesh by belonging to Jesus!
I have hung my sin and flesh on the cross and it has died! I have nailed my desire and passion to the blood-soaked wood and it has passed. Through Jesus, through His spirit.
I get that when God looks at me, because Jesus died in my place, that all God sees is Perfect Martha. Martha scattered/smothered/covered in Jesus. He sees a perfect child. The best Martha I can be. That makes me happy. And much more able to be patient. I mean, Jesus died so that I could be impatient about how long the stoplight takes? No.
Anyway, how long did Christ wait on me? Still waits on me?
I’ve been waiting today. Waiting on everything. Waiting on my husband for 2 hours while he’s getting an eye exam. Waiting on sales clerks, recycling attendants, stoplights, scanners, waitresses, phone chargers, emails, post office employees (grr! <<–there’s that bear fruit again) and endless lists of things and people.
I tried to be patient. But I usually failed.
I mean, I didn’t go crazy on anyone. And I didn’t rag on my husband all day. And I didn’t complain to a manager, call an 800 number or even give someone an obscene look, word or gesture. I certainly didn’t ram my car into the plate-glass window of Discover Vision Center.
I just had impatience circling above my head. Dark and brooding. Hovering and swooping. Preying on my thoughts. Scavenging my kindness. Vulturous and hungry. Sitting on my heart like a black crow. Waiting for me to drop my joy. Picking at my left-over love. Choking down my generosity, leaving bitter bones of resentment. Impatience stole my fruit.
I should be grateful for people, phones and cars. I should be thankful for husband, money and luxury. I should chug down a large glass of gratitude and get on with my day.
I’m trying to remember that I’m not patient. The Holy Spirit is patient. And if I ever successfully exercise the ability to be patient, it is not through my own power.
2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
It is because I allow the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. For Christ to live inside of me. That’s how Christ lives. Through us.
I know some Non-christians don’t understand the living Christ. (I get it, this is another weird one.) But He lives in us. His Spirit continues through us. When we love each other and help each other and do unto each other, we make Jesus live again. That’s the living Christ.
But how many Xians do you know that channel Jesus?
Although. His spirit has lingered for over 2,000 years. Swell and ebb, live and die. The church (# of true Christ followers) and the Spirit, in this world, are like the tides in the sea. High and low, at any given moment. But the ocean remains. His teachings and mark and LOVE remain.
Paul said: Galatians 5:14 NIV
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus said: John 13:35 NIV By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I don’t see much love every day, neighbor to neighbor. Can I just say that I love seeing my nasty neighbor picking up her dog’s crap when I arrive home? See. That’s not nice.
I do see love at home though. I see it online. I see it in some of our leaders. I see it around the world. I find it in unexpected places. Sometimes, I don’t find it where I think I should or will. I see people trying though.
Love is still there. The ocean remains.
I will be patient.
No. The Spirit will be patient. I will submit to the Spirit. And I will bear fruit.