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The Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart lately as I watch, heartbroken, the atrocities being inflicted upon God’s people overseas..

While many Christians in America live lives filled with excess and immorality, (shrugging off compromise in their faith like it means nothing)

thousands of Believers, a world away, stand before the gun and sword,

refusing to compromise, even unto death.

A line is being drawn in the sand my friends.

God is calling His people up and out from among this nation, out from this culture,  to be MORE..

To be who they are in Christ.

No more compromise..

There will no longer be time for this; no more time for “playing at being a Christ follower”

No more time for backsliding, easy living, vain ambitions..

For Decades we have spent our spiritual lives looking for earthly blessings, claiming prosperity,

while, in other nations, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and God’s own people, are being put to the sword..raped, murdered..slaughtered, in the name of another god..

Do these pray for prideful want and earthly riches?

Do they claim Christ and then live secretly for the enemy?

No.

Most are standing up and DYING for what they believe.

There is no longer any room, no longer any time, for compromise..for “easy Christian living”

Stop sitting on the proverbial fence.

Our brothers and sisters across the ocean only pray to survive..

They pray to be FIRM in their faith ..til the very end.

It is important that we know who we are and live NOW for Jesus– with all that we are –

because, soon, there will be no more time..

And when the evil comes to the shores of even our nation, we will need to be STRONG in our faith..STRONG in our love for HIM.

No compromise..

Rise up brothers and sisters in Christ.

BE WHO YOU WERE CALLED TO BE..

No turning back..

Put those things you KNOW are not of God behind you.

Put down your greed, your lust, your pride and vain ambitions,

and then, STAND FAST..

EPH. 6:13
“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND.”

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If you are looking for a “feel good” entry to brighten your day, I advise you stop reading..right now……
That said, allow me to begin by saying,
I’m a horrible person- sometimes.
Deep down, where it really counts, I am selfish, mean, angry, bitter and belligerent.
And sometimes, All this ugliness, it just comes out- all over the place..in my home,in public, on social media
Its never pretty and Its horribly messy.
So, if you think I’m “fake” guess what?
You can pat yourself on the back because, sometimes,
YOU ARE RIGHT!
For example, You know that thing about “loving your enemies?” How we are supposed to do good to those that we don’t like (or who don’t like us)
Well, I DON’T……(love them or even want to wish good on them..)
not yet at least. Sometimes I don’t even try. Its easier to hate them, after all.
Yes, I know its wrong..
Welcome to the dark side of me..
I have another confession to make (if you don’t already know)
I have not been exactly “on board” with the whole Ice Bucket Fad..
I do not think its “wrong”. (I have a heart, believe it or not, and feel for the people with this horrible disease!)
I don’t even oppose it because some ALS foundations use fetal stem cells in their research (which, btw, I don’t believe in)
But, This is what really really gets me about the ice bucket challenge;
It’s the simple stupidity of it’s “viral-ness.”
It disturbs me to see so many people following the herd (good cause or not) soo easily and blithely.
It bothers me that it seems to have become more about “self” than “service”;
more about “show” than helping…
I should not have to list more reasons.
Those should be enough.
But, I admit, it really truly got my panties in a tight little bunch..
So much so my husband and I have had full blown arguments about it.
(and I have to wonder if we are alone..?)
Its been horrible.
This day has been horrible.
I want to run screaming down the street and set the guys house on fire who “challenged” us..(ok, not really..lol)
But, honestly, I’ve been falling to pieces trying so hard to figure out why something so DUMB has pushed my negative button so hard..
I’ve been struggling with the thought that , once again, I’m actually just really evil…trying to be good..and failing..again and again and again..
Mind you, I NEVER do anything truly bad (yes,I’m going to build myself up here all “pious” like

I do not LIE to anyone. I do not cheat. I don’t do things I’m not supposed to do as a Christian..

But, inside, where it counts..I have this dark corner..and sometimes it grows really BIG and really DARK and I wallow in it..
I think and say things I don’t mean..
This corner has very little love.
Don’t come near me while I’m in it.

I will scratch your soul out and then curse it for good measure..

Its horrible..Its like that “Christian” song the teens loved for so long says;

“The secret side of me
I never let you see
I keep it caged
But I can’t control it
So stay away from me
The beast is ugly
I feel the rage
And I just can’t hold it
I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster!”
-Skillet

Yes, I know exactly how that feels.
(thank you song writers for just blurting out what all of us Wish we could just say and making it cool in the process..and yes, I’m jealous..)
Welcome to the Dark Side Of Me.
So, on a blog that is supposed to be all about my life AFTER redemption..all about GRACE and FORGIVENESS and LOVE..I’m going to take this one entry to be REAL and admit,
I’M NOT THERE YET
Honestly, I was a better liar than a “lover”
a better Pagan than a Christian…
As an Honest Christian (who I am now)
I feel… WEAK…
But, I Don’t regret being a Christian..
I DON’T REGRET what I have with my husband!!!
I just wish I could do it better..
and not say horrible things
and agree with him on everything
and want to please God (and not myself)
I WANT TO BE BETTER..
I hope wanting is enough..
because its all I have right now..

welcome to the dark side of me……

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I absolutely love roller coasters; especially the brand new, shiny, really high, and really fast kind, that give you a smooth ride guaranteed to make you scream, steal your breath or, if you have issues, pee your pants..

You can keep the rickety, old, wooden coasters and the barely-steel relics from the early 1980’s though. I’ve seriously lost my desire to be pummeled , tooth rattled and whip-lashed into the mother of all migraines- in the name of “fun”..:S

BUT, there is just something about the new, pneumatic/magnet driven, coasters that thrill me to death (not literally)

I will scream like a wild woman and throw my hands in the air going over the highest hill and into the biggest loop!

BUT, there are “moments”.. sometimes..just sometimes.. Moments of , shall we call it, sanity?..

Right at the very tip top of some of those massive hills ( think Millennium Force at Cedar Point) when time literally slows and compresses and, as I stare up into a blue blazing sky, I have a micro conversation with God.

“Hey, God, I’m going to go over this huge hill now and my earthly body will be hurled into speeds and g-forces you may have never intended..so, please be with me.?.” ….

I know, You might think this is a “small” kind of prayer and God does not have time but, I swear to you, each and every time I pray a similar prayer at the top of any coaster,

God LAUGHS!

Not a mean,

“Ha ha, sucker. Whatever! If you die its your own stupid fault!”

or even a sarcastic;

“I’m GOD, DUH, of course I will be with you!” laugh..

Its gentle, soothing, laughter, Like music..and His Spirit says ;

“of course,Melinda, I am ALWAYS with you..” (insert smiley emoticon for God) 🙂

Call me sappy BUT, I love those moments!!

Not only does it free me to NOT be afraid (even if, for some reason, I go hurtling off the track..Always with us..means ALWAYS with us..) But, I have so much more fun!

How I wish I could learn to apply this concept/ truth to my everyday life…

You see, I have a feeling I am not alone when I say that when it comes to the “BIG STUFF” in life, I can often “handle it” (with God’s help, of course) Loss of a job, Death..It all Sucks and it’s Horrible but, when I am in those deep “valley moments” I CLING to God.. I TRUST Him.. I look for Him..

So, when do I fall apart? When does my faith get shaken? …

In the small stuff!

I stub my toe, spill my coffee, get a flat tire, fall down the stairs (I did that one just last week :S

and SUDDENLY its like my world explodes!

I am filled with gloom and doom and “what did I do to deserve this!?”

I start looking for “reasons”..Is it a “curse”? Did I not pray hard enough? Truthfully enough?

Is it my attitude? Did I speak these things into being? Am I on a downhill spiral? Will it continue????..ahhhhhh!!!

**************************************************************************

(Yeah, I kinda do that thing called “freaking out” really well..:S

I guess I could compare the “small stuff” to the old wooden or ancient 80’s coasters..

You think the ride is going to be “tame” (after all it’s OLD and OLD is BORING..right?..) But as soon as you go over that first hill you know its going to be ROUGH.. all the way through..

At Kings Island there is a coaster called the Iron Dragon. Its an old “drop you down a mild hill into a loop and a few corkscrews, 80’s beast”. Maybe in it’s heyday it was smooth and actually fun but now- it’s actually very painful!

The track and cars rattle around so much your head slams repeatedly into the harness restraints (which, as an added touch, smells like moldy, bad breathe) At first you think

“I will just hold my head in place. It has to get better”

But as the ride progresses each bump and jolt feels worse and worse til it finally comes to a screeching, migraine inducing, halt..

Is it one single jolt or twist that makes you limp away looking for the nearest pack of Advil? (at any cost) Nope.

It’s the compilation of many small bumps and jolts that eventually produces a very large pain in the head..and neck..

Life is like that I think..

We often come to God during the biggest obstacles of our life (on our “Millennium Forces”) knowing He is with us and asking for His help..

But, as we approach the small troubles, we tend to ignore Him, muddling our way through what we think is “no big deal” until those little things suddenly compile and become “Big things”. (and then we fall apart)

I never pray on “small” rides.

Truth.

Seriously, it seems rather pointless.

But maybe I should..

Every so often you hear about people croaking or getting horribly hurt at amusement parks..

And you want to know something?

Its actually often on the small rides..

A child falls out. A chain snaps on a swing, someone has a heart attack on a drop tower..

Don’t get me wrong. This is not to make you afraid of rides!

My point here is that God wants our attention in our daily life..

When the washer breaks, when the car wont start…ALL THE TIME.

Because He wants us to know..HE IS WITH US..all the time..even in the little things (that just might add up to be big things)

The point is God is always God..WITH US; LOVING US..

and Not just when we are about to go hurtling down a mountain..

or a roller coaster hill…

🙂

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Kintsugi is a Japanese word meaning “Golden Joinery “. (or “golden repair”)

 As an ancient art form, Kintsugi is the practice of repairing broken pottery with a gold lacquer.

The highlighted gold draws attention to the imperfections and repairs instead of trying to hide them.

At it’s heart, Kintsugi is the art of seeing what is broken, what is scarred, as something beautiful.. instead of undesirable. .

I bought this hand thrown pottery mug the other day at a local artist co-op.

While it held no sentimental value to me, I did enjoy its beauty and usefulness (not to mention I paid money for it)

Sadly, yesterday, it slipped out of my hand and shattered on our tile floor.

But, instead of throwing it away, I decided to keep it and try to put it back together.

It will never be the same.

It will never hold liquid again.

It will always be extremely fragile..

But, now, displayed as art..as Kinsugi.( symbolic ..not real gold)

it will serve as a reminder that even brokenness, even scars,

can be attractive, comely, even beautiful..

Lately I have been imagining the person of Jesus quite a bit..as he was when he walked this earth.

Now, one of the things I have been blessed with in life is an extremely active imagination.

I can really “see” what I imagine..if I try.

It takes me places I have never actually been. It shows me faces I have never really seen.

But, whenever I imagine Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, I am in utter Awe..

I see him as he was..

Healing the sick

Preaching words of truth

Eating with sinners..

I see him

laughing

LOVING.

And, if I imagine him with my whole heart

He looks into my eyes

and it’s so deep

I just fall in love..

No doubt, I would have been in awe of Him, even then..That “human” Jesus..

like Mary Magdalene

like the women at the well

like the women who just touched his robe and was healed

like the Adulterous women thrown at His feet…

I would have embraced those dusty, common, holy, precious feet..

It is not lost on me..

JESUS LOVED THE BROKEN

He saw them, not just as they were

but who they could be

as WHO THEY REALLY WERE..

When I look at my broken pottery cup , with my human eyes, I see..brokenness..

but also- I see beauty..

I see…GOLD..

Jesus saw the scars in people

and He Highlighted it..with the beauty

of His LOVE..

And then He did the most amazing thing

He ALLOWED himself to be broken too..

for the broken..

And resurrected

to New Life..

Scars? Yes..

But those scars still shine

almost 2,000 years later..

Brighter than ever..

There are so many broken people in this world-

I once was broken too.

But His love remains

as the GOLD

covering/highlighting the scars..

Because of Jesus- because of His love

There can truly be beauty

in our brokenness ..

 

“Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand-”   – GOD   (Jeremiah 18:6)

 

 

Walls

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
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We -build these walls –

then gaze outside –

For freedom ache-

but still, we hide.

Busy- much too busy –

Our spirits-wane and ghost-

Content but not content –

to twitter -pin- and post-

Those who truly LIVE –

Now so rare and few.

Souls lulled to sleep- inside.

Placated- with a view.

-m.clark

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The problem with blogging (for me) is staying true to myself, especially when that “self” is often in flux.

I am such a philosopher/ thinker / emoter, that my opinions,  feelings, beliefs, actually do change from time to time. This leaves me with the conundrum of re-evaluating each and every former post for ” truth”.

(Which, in turn, makes me wonder how in the world people like me ever publish books without freaking out 10 years later that they no longer agree with themselves! ..ah the bliss of a complex brain..) 
Anyway,  I digress ( as usual) 
For a while now I have allowed the last entry ( about death. prayer,and not understanding God) to sit and simmer while I have gone on with life and continued wondering.

The other day though I had a tiny revelation. It shook me up a bit ( and made me squirm in discomfort ) 

Revelation?

There is POWER in SURRENDER! …

Now, that statement is pretty much a huge oxymoron.

Power equals strength and fortitude. Surrender is giving up..

How those two coexist is, in my thought, pure Duality..usually. 

But, the other day I had a “moment “( I am beginning to think life is just made up entirely of these)

I was in a place I am all too familiar with;a place of insecurity, even fear.

I am not speaking of physical fear either. ( Ask me to go skydiving with you. I will totally take you up on it!) 
This fear is much worse than the fear of death or heights or spiders ( or any other such fear)

Its the fear of being hurt emotionally by others, of things I cannot predict..or, dare I say it, control..(the whole “control freak” thing i will save for another entry..)

As I struggled inside that distraught moment I went all “warrior” and pulled out my usual ” arsenal ” of weapons.

I prayed in tongues, ( out loud, with force) I spoke against the fear ( loud, authoritative) I even “visualized ” things the way I wanted them..

But, it all fell flat.

Once again, I was banging on the doors of heaven with a rock..with no response. 

So, in that moment I suddenly just- dissolved. Tears. 

And only one prayer issued out of my mouth in that second ;

” Jesus, help me.”

I realized somehow ( not for the last time) that the problem lay not in the circumstances but in ME. In My mind.In My heart. And I knew with blazing clarity, that nothing, absolutely nothing, I could do would change that..

except for HIM..

SURRENDER.

 I instantly felt better..truly. I am not just saying that.

It was like a river of cool peace just flowed over my overheated, over-controlling soul. And I LET IT GO. ( not a movie reference! )

You want to know the most amazing part? Those negative circumstances CHANGED that very day!

And not by anything I did/ prayed/ or did penance for! Circumstances literally changed.

People came to me..Doors of opportunity just Opened..It amazed me. It still does.

Is it possible that our Jesus,that the Holy Spirit within us, just wants us to cry out to Him sometimes? 

And not because He is on a power trip and likes to see us cower!

But because when we are at our weakest HE is Strongest..

Our surrender makes HIS Power Evident, Able, Amazing!  

Don’t get me wrong. This is still an oxymoron to me.

My human brain and stubborn human will really wants to protest the philosophy of power in surrender.

But that’s just the thing. Philosophy, no matter how logical,  cannot stand against EVIDENCE.

I believe there is still power in tongue speaking ( no doubt) and spiritual warfare but, I also believe there comes a time when we must just surrender ( to HIM alone) and allow His power ( not ours) to work in our lives.

(and maybe this is a truth Ben Sauer’s mom already knew..)


I still have so much to learn. For while the caterpillar is no more, this butterfly must still learn- how to use it’s wings…

“I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard.”- Maya Angelou (R.I.P. to a truly Great lady)..

Aside  —  Posted: May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I know I should write beautiful words today.

I know I should be saying how good God is, how merciful, how loving (because He is)

but, I’m not going to do what I “should” do.

I am not going to write flowery prose with an uplifting message.

I am going to be, instead, BRUTALLY HONEST.

Because I am angry. I am annoyed. I am confused.

Five year old Ben Sauer died on Tuesday night.

In spite of all the prayers. In spite of all the “positive” words, thoughts, prophecies..

In spite of thousands upon thousands of people pulling, rooting, encouraging him, his family..

All for Naught.

At least in the physical.

He is gone. HOME. In heaven (no doubt)

I’m sure my sister welcomed him.

She will love that sweet little boy. (Exactly the kind of child she doted so much on in her short life on earth.)

For that I am glad..But otherwise,

I don’t get it.

I was going to come here with a different sort of bent in what I was writing..Kind of hateful actually.

I was going to say ;

Why allow a sweet, 5 year old boy, to die of cancer while a man, over 50, who has lived a full life (in and out of the spotlight) who is also fighting cancer, is allowed to continue on?………..

Why let cancer take the CHILD while a full grown MAN continues to win his battle against it?..

Then I read a blog post by the wife of that man.

And she is questioning God too..

Not as to why her husband lives and Ben does not..(of course not!)

but why God did not say yes to all those prayers..why He allowed an innocent child to die when we begged, petitioned, prayed so so hard…

Those hard questions..I totally get it.

It made me remember when our son, Nathan, was in the PICU as a baby.

We were told he would never come home. But he did. After two months of pain and miracles- He Came Home.

And he still lives here..happy, healthy, whole..

But, as for the rest of the children in the PICU at the time?..

They DIED.

Almost every- single- one.

And I remember them.

I remember Jase.

He was his mother’s “miracle baby”. The child they prayed for so long who finally came..

but, was born with half his internal organs OUTSIDE his body..Horrible.

They tried to “fix” him..Prayed for him. Kept vigil..But, in the end, he passed anyway.

I remember Sarah.

The baby girl of a young teen couple. Born with heart defects.

They were able to wait til she was almost a year old to give her surgery; to allow her body to strengthen.

But after surgery she caught an infection. It shut her system down. She died days before Nathan was released from the PICU.

I remember the little girl in the bed next to Nathans.

She was about 12. Just keeled over one day. Diabetic.

She died while I sat beside Nathans bed in the PICU. Behind the drawn curtain I heard her parents wail..smelled death..

Not something I will ever forget.

There were more.

In the 2 months time Nathan was in Children’s they came and went (by way of the morgue) over and over.

Even on the “recovery” floor when our son was transferred upstairs..

A 19 year old women with a new heart valve..crashed from a blood clot the day before they were going to send her home. Gone.

A little boy with what his grandma called a “prune belly” who shared Nathan’s room.

No working kidneys. Intestines all in knots and disjointed. Smiley kid who liked to watch Disney channel in-between his dialysis treatments.

His grandma knitted Nathan a pair of booties one day while we sat there and chatted.

I still have them.

I found her grandsons name on the “angel wall” on the Children’s Hospital website a month later..Gone.

And still, that is not all.

Princess Diana died two days before Nathan was sent home with us. Car crash, Gone.

And then the day of our departure, Mother Theresa..Gone.

It felt like the whole world was in mourning.

Death surrounded my child in those dark days.

Death ran rampant in the hospital rooms and in the streets of every city it seemed.

But it could not take my son. (Praise God!)

But, you cannot walk through that “valley of the shadow”,( no matter how you come out), without asking … “WHY?”

Why all those innocent lives snuffed out while evil men still live for another day?

Why all those children and not my son?

Why? Why? Why?!

I’m asking Why today as well. Ever mindful of my blessings, OUR blessings..

But not understanding the ways of my God..

All powerful. All knowing. Not weak. Able to do anything.

And yet, He chooses to not intervene in what seems to be the most opportune of moments.

Yes, Mindy Sauer’s Blog inspired and will continue to inspire many.

Yes, Ben’s brief life will, no doubt, be encouraging for years to come..

But he is still..GONE.

On to another world, another life, while those who loved him are left behind..to wait, to grieve, to wonder..

I believe my God is still good.

I believe in His Love..

But, I still don’t understand His “ways”

and I don’t think I ever will..

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

 

PERCEPTIONSthroughaglassdarkly

So here I am in the same old place- looking for truth and clinging to grace.

Eyes on the prize but my spirit is weak. God give me the courage for the answers I seek.

I know that your word says this life is a test but, I’m so tired of fighting and just long for your rest.

Wisdom and faith seem so close in the light-but when shadows encompass- my heart is the night.

God give me discernment and give me your eyes -so that I might perceive- the truth from the lies.

Cause nothing seems certain in life’s masquerade. So many are hurting but deny their afraid.

So many are living for themselves and not you. So many are hiding from honor and truth.

Integrity dies at the door of our pride, when we shut up our hearts and don’t let you inside.

Spirit of God, you call us your own. You love us, protect us,- make us your home.

So create us anew in this world filled with lust. Overcome us with love-

and teach us to trust..-

-Melinda Clark (Spoken Word)

 

“Man often become what he believes himself to be.” -Gandhi

But from which side of the mirror do we see?…

 

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Sexuality is not an easy topic to talk about in Christian circles.

There seems to be the unspoken thought that chatting openly about said subject implies you are “promiscuous” or “bad” or even “perverted”.

I wish this were not so.

In the right context, human sexuality is something we all, as believers, need to understand and, within the covenant of marriage, greatly enjoy!

But, lately, our culture seems to be fast forwarding into a type of sexual frenzy..in all the “wrong” ways..

You cannot watch tv, surf the internet, shop the stores, even drive your car, without being reminded of the flesh.

Half naked bodies,  suggestive ads, lewd situations in sitcoms, dramas, movies..LUST!

Lust NOT LOVE..It bombards us every single day.

Our culture says we are missing out if we don’t join them..Explore! Experiment! Learn!..

But to what end?

Just recently I was surfing Facebook.

I happened to notice that a “friend” had posted a picture of a rather innocent looking book cover.

Being a former avid reader, it caught my eye, until I saw the title..”Submissive

The pretty,choker style necklace, displayed on the book’s cover, took on a “whole new meaning”..

I guess I should not be surprised anymore by the things I sometimes see in my Facebook “news-feed”.

But, this particular instance really bothered me..and not for the first time.

Truthfully, It is not the first time I have seen Christian women promote these types of books..

In the past couple of years The book “50 Shades of Grey” (and it’s sequels) has been hugely popular with female readers.

So popular,I probably don’t even need to explain that it’s a novel for women about Bondage, Domination, Submission, etc. (BDSM)

Premise? Women meets handsome, intriguing, man . Women and  fantasy man have very very detailed sex (so detailed that many women use these books as a manual to “try new things”)

Basically, it’s Porn for women with an intriguing story-line thrown in.

What pornography does for a man, these type of books do for a women..(I’m not going into more detail than that..)

Before you wonder

“Is she against having sex? Enjoying sex?” “Is she a “prude?”

Allow me to ease your mind,

Nooooo waaaay!!.(once again, no more detail than that..)

BUT (and this is a huge, non negotiable, BUT..)

Only within the covenant of marriage! 

This is what irks me most about Christian women reading these types of books;

There is not a single book in these series that is about a committed, Married, relationship!

The characters are not only having a sexual relationship/fantasy (that even begs us question if any love at all is involved anyway) ; they are also having that sex OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE.

I’m sorry (not really) BUT, How in the world do we  justify reading this garbage!?

Unless we really don’t believe what the Bible says about sexuality?

Or maybe we are not even familiar with what God thinks?..

(It’s called a BIBLE. You know, that book you hold in your hands every Sunday in church..You might want to try reading it..)

Trust me, I have heard the justifications.

“It helps my husband and I in the bedroom. It makes me a better lover.”

Really?

So, let me get this straight; Reading about other people sinning is going to help you in the bedroom (or wherever..see, not a prude) in your married, God ordained, committed, relationship?.

A book about a single women having a hot, sexual fling ,with a younger man who likes to use her for his own pleasure is going to help your marriage relationship?..

That relationship which is meant to be Pure, Holy, Non-selfish…?

huh.

Perhaps I’m missing something..

I know how I sound. Judgmental.

I do not apologize.

If the world can talk about these things,

if they can make sex into a shallow, flimsy, non fulfilling , act for selfish pleasure,

then why cant we, AS CHILDREN OF GOD, talk about what it is really meant to be?!

But, perhaps you are saying,

” I am not DOING the things in the book! I’m just reading about it!”

What begins in the head and thoughts will eventually manifest in the outward actions, my friend.

Many a man who has struggled with an addiction to pornography will tell you that, eventually, he physically “acted out” on the fantasies in his mind..

I’m sure the courts are full of divorce cases that began in such a manner..

Do not fool yourselves, ladies,

Women are NOT immune to this.

I ,myself, am not innocent when it comes to this topic.

(I will be honest.  If you have not read my testimony then you should know I understand what I am speaking of when it comes to “sexual immorality”..Where did it lead?

I eventually wore the proverbial “Scarlet Letter” ..

I do not walk that road anymore. But, having been there, I can tell you in all truth..

You Do NOT want to walk that road. It is misery.

Not only did I nearly lose everything I love in this world,but I also live with consequences from my actions..

Forgiven? yes.

But scars remain..

I am not sure what else to say here. I have said my peace.

I deeply CARE about my Christain sisters (and brothers) in the Lord. I hate to see us fall to the lies of the enemy.

You are so much more..We are so much more than physical, sexual, beings.

Sex within marriage is wonderful. (my God is not a prude..Just read Song of Solomon..)

But, the counterfeit the enemy offers is a cheap, flimsy knock-off.

It will never, ever, satisfy…

“Allowing your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.

But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace”. (Romans 8:6)

Life and Peace to you, my friends…

 

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Eph. 5:3

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” I Corinthians 6:18

 

 

I am an emotional person.

I feel the world around me. I feel through situations. I feel out my own reactions to others. I feel. I feel.I feel.

It is what makes me an artist, a creative person, an intuitive writer..

But, I also know that my life cannot be run on just emotion.

Actually I’m starting to think it cannot be run on emotion at all..

Society says ” follow your heart.” I think they are actually just saying ” If it feels good, do it.”

Obviously the Bible teaches otherwise.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9

If I were to run my life on my emotions I would be back to where I was nearly 5 years ago. ( and that nearly destroyed me and everything I love! )

I am humbled this morning after reading the Ben Sauer blog.( http://bensauer.blogspot.com/2014/04/jesus-loves-me-this-i-know.html )

I marvel at this mother who, daily, watches her four year old fade away into the cruelness of cancer; A mother whom doctor’s have told ” There is no hope for your child.”

But, in spite of it all, she Reasons..she Thinks..she proclaims Truth..She even Rejoices sometimes in what she does have..in small miracles..in small scraps of hope..

This morning her blog was titled ” Jesus loves me, this I know.”..(this i know..not, this i feel!)

She wrote beautifully and heart-wrenchingly about how her little boy can no longer walk, or dress himself;

how he needed morphine this morning just to be ” comfortable.”-

But then she proclaimed how she knows none of this is from God.( Sickness is from the enemy!) How she knows her God is loving and compassionate and then, she closed the entry by proclaiming how Good God has been to them!..

Simply incredible faith..Faith not based on emotion or feelings..

I, on the other hand, have stormed the gates of heaven on her behalf in this past week; crying out to God,

” You can heal that child.Why don’t you do it?!””..

I FEEL like God owes her that. (After all, she has this awesome faith I cannot even fathom and that little boy has, literally, thousands praying for him.)

Shouldn’t that count for something! !? Wouldn’t many come to know our God if he would just breathe healthy life back into that pain racked little boy?!!

I FEEL angry at God. I FEEL frustrated at his lack of action. I FEEL like my own faith is slipping ..

But, this morning, as my husband and I shared a devotion on “having the right attitude” ( which really made me uncomfortable ) and I dissolved into tears that I’m such a failure in that department ( woe is me)

I was reminded..We are not to base our lives on EMOTION and feelings!..

We are to live our lives based on TRUTH;

The Truth of God’s Word. The Truth of God’s promises!

You see, for emotional people like me, 1+2 often equals 4 ( in an emotional moment)

In other words, I cannot see logic or truth when I am overcome by fear or anger or worry.

Only when emotion subsides can I see the mathematical error in my thinking .( 1+2 still equals 3 after all! whew!)

What we see and feel is literally not always TRUTH ( still confused by the logic of that..lol)

I do realize my last entry was about not applying logic to the supernatural.

I do not recant that position but, I should clarify that I do believe we need to back up the supernatural with known truth;

(Truth that tells us about the character of God, Truth of the prophecies already written in His Word..etc.)

And, we should never base our “beliefs” or faith on emotion. (Example:” this religion just “feels” right” or “wrong”)

I admit, It’s easy for me to write these things but much more difficult to place them into practice.

I go around ” sensing” the world about me ( seen and unseen) but, sometimes, in the most obvious of situations,(and with the people I’m closest to), I am WRONG in what I conclude..

I’ve always wondered why, Until now.

I’m beginning to realize that I base my closest sensing’s ( such as with my husband) on How I FEEL.

Subsequently Emotions tangle the truth and I end up making the wrong conclusions.

( This is why it is much easier for me to correctly sense a situation / person I do not know (stranger) because I’m not emotionally invested in them!)

Back when I was involved in the wrong side of the supernatural I learned a bit about astral projection (also known as “remote viewing”)

One of the main rules for a successful projection was emptying oneself of all emotion!

You had to just ” see”, not feel.

Feelings made the experience dissolve and grow hazy ( or even produce false images)

Even though I no longer participate in the occult I’m wondering if there was not some wisdom in this teaching.

( Remember, everything in the enemy’s realm is a counterfeit or copy of the power and truth God holds)

While Satan’s aim in astral projection is to get the participant in an open place of vulnerability so they are weak (and can be manipulated) God’s aim in telling His people not to allow emotion to rule them is to place them in a place of strength so His truth ( not their emotions!) can reign in their lives!..

(It never ceases to amaze me how God uses my past, even the negative parts, to reveal his Truth in my life.)

I pray that today ( and in each day ahead) I can “see” clearly, not just with my emotions and sensing’s, but with God’s TRUTH and promises instead.

I may always be an “emotional person” but, this I Know;

My marriage is strong, My feet are on the right path, and I still believe in the infinite goodness of my God..

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Lately there seems to be a strong sense of disbelief in America in the supernatural and unexplained.

More and more people, teachers and scholars alike, want a logical explanation for every mystery, and every ” myth”..

Those individuals who do not fall in line with logic(or science) are ridiculed as crazy or foolish (or both).

Sadly, I see and hear this even in Christian circles..

 I do not understand.

We claim a supernatural God who’s Son walked on water and rose from the dead but,

we cannot stretch our minds enough to even consider that unexplained miracles and mystery still happen today?!..

Why do we seem to need “scientific explanations” for EVERYTHING now? (even Creation)

(or, do we not realize that with the logical knowledge of “all things” also comes the demise of wonder and awe?)

I think upon the coming days/ years ahead.

Signs and wonders will be seen in heavens and on the earth, my friends;

Things that will destroy any sense of “logic” or “scientific fact”.

What will those who have lost their “sense of wonder” do then?.

“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth, dismay among nations,

in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,

men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world;

for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”(Luke 21:26)

The Scriptures say that in the last days” men’s hearts will faint from fear”

I’m sorry but, I do not plan on being one of them.

Why?

Because I believe anything/ absolutely anything, is possible!

There are, and will always be, things that cannot be logically or scientifically explained to my human brain (in this earthly lifetime)

I fear for those who cannot believe in amazing, supernatural, unexplained, mysteries, even now .

(especially “Christians” -Matthew 24:24)

I fear they will be the first to lose their faith and fall for a lie;

simply because they have insisted on placing God, his creation and his abilities, into a small box of “logic”..

My God cannot be explained by “human reasoning”!

(and this includes some of what He has created)

I believe the years ahead will not be easy But,

I also trust that God loves His children.

What He has placed in His word will be a guide (and comfort) for His people in the days/years to come..

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, my friends, but-

Do not lean on your own understanding.. (Prov. 3:5)

 

Vanity Vanity

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I have a bone to pick with whoever coined the phrase ” Age is just a number” .

Ever since I turned a “certain age”..(don’t make me say it!..ok.Fine! .40.( ugh) my body just seems to Know it has entered a new decade.

Maybe its all in my head.

Maybe its all my fault for pondering my numerical  “age”.

Maybe its actually a real phenomena no one has ” scientifically” documented quite yet.

( “attention people ; we have now discovered the “40 gene”! Only 10 million dollars and you can have it removed!”)

Either way, Age is happening to my body and, I HATE IT.

I know,  realistically, I’m probably just noticing more ( scrutinizing every new wrinkle, every dimple ( and not the cute kind normally located on the face..:s )

Sometimes I wish I was more distracted in life with deeper things.

Maybe then I wouldn’t notice..or even care?

( then again, I might accidentally turn into the proverbial “hairy lunch lady” )

I know this is a “vain” blog entry so far..:D

So, let’s cut to the chase ..

I hate getting old!! ( old-er that is – Let’s not rush things anymore than we have to 🙂

BUT, I know ( in my heart ) outward beauty is NOT what truly matters! ( or even what God looks at)

There a few verses in the Bible on this . My personal favorite is this one:

Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!” Proverbs 31:30

I relate to this verse because, I will admit it – I’m vain.

It’s a flaw I’m trying to work on.

But, I can see that who I was as a young women is fading into a  more , shall we say, “mature”  women.

Its not all bad..I guess..

But, I love that this Scripture gives hope to every single, aging, women out there (and we are ALL aging, ladies..)

If we fear the Lord, (I love that the Amplified Bible says “worshipfully” fear the Lord )  We will be praised !

So, no matter how wrinkly, saggy, or baggy we become, true beauty will still shine out- from the inside..

(unless of course , inside, you’re a prune..Then, I wouldn’t count on it.)

I’ve met old ladies that personify this.

The “God fearing, life loving” ones; they literally Glow ..(I want to be like that someday..all “glowy” 🙂

But then there are the “not so God fearing”, “I have a piranha down my shorts”, types..

Yeah, you know the kind. (Look like they ate a lemon and are about to spit the seeds on you..)

Not a pretty picture!

(even the” physically attractive” ones..Nothing ruins outward beauty faster than a pruny face..Hmm, perhaps I need  to smile more!!..:) 🙂

There is also a scripture I tend not to enjoy as much on the subject of outward appearance. ( yes, I just said I don’t like a verse in the Bible. what?..Its not a sin..)

“People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

Why does this message bother me?

Not because I disagree with it (don’t worry, I accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God..All of it.)

But, it tells me that humans ( men in particular ) look and see mostly with their eyes. They see the “outward appearance” and overlook the inner beauty (or ugliness) ..

Look at any tv show, internet web search, fashion mag..It’s all about physical beauty.

Lately I’m actually shocked by the number of older celebrities getting face lifts and such.

So many surprised, feline looking faces, with stretched lips, slanted eyes and smooth skin ( although they often skip the neck/ hands ..why?)

and playing parts cast for half their age ..(Who are they fooling? Not me certainly!)

But, I also admit, if I had the money, I might do the same..gasp..( at least a partial face lift/ chin tuck)

Honestly, this admission bothers me..

I know aging is inevitable but, I still want to fight it..(I can’t seem to decide if that’s “wrong” either..)

Some men seem to rile against women with plastic surgery

But then they look  admiringly at younger women or even comment how some older women ( who have had “work done” ) look good for their age!..(double standard?  hmmm.)

But, I digress. The second half of this verse also makes me squirm a bit.

God looks at the heart! 

My heart! Your heart! He sees every single flaw and vanity and selfish desire!

But, the awesome part?

He also Loves me (and you) !

So, He sees us through “eyes of Love” ..(even our “vain hearts”)

So, I admit, I’m still not sure how to “gracefully” handle the aging process..

I’m a work in progress.

But, as I age, I also don’t want to be a vain, self centered,” grouchy because I’m wrinkly”, old women!

Life is far too short, too precious, and too beautiful for that!

Oh God, teach me how to be beautiful;

from the inside out..

There is no such thing as a simple,sudden, “fall from grace”.

It is, instead, a climb..Down.

Every step of the way is – a choice.

But, If you know the Lord, He will always give you a way out- (and up)

“- And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13

God will speak, or shout, or whisper, or use other people, to deter you from what he knows will hurt you (and others)

The problem is; we don’t always listen or, even recognize his voice.

Many years ago I stood in a place I should never have been.

I was meeting (without my husband’s knowledge) a man I had formed a relationship with on the internet.

It seemed like an “innocent meeting” at the time.

It was at his place of work. He was working and he was married (and he had assured me he loved his wife)

What could go wrong?..

Honestly, I knew the answer to that question.

I knew I was walking into waters way too deep (with a current way too strong)

But, being about “halfway down” the rungs of my own “fall from grace”, I was not using wisdom (or even reason) .

As I stood there and had a casual conversation with this man, an elderly gentleman/customer approached. He placed his order with my “friend” and then proceeded to carry on a seemingly innocent conversation as he waited.

He spoke about the weather.

He spoke about his daughter.

 He spoke about an email or letter (I was not fully listening)

and then he spoke about adultery..(I recall thinking “well, that’s rather awkward..”)

He quoted a Bible verse against adultery then he smiled, said something about God being good, took his order and left.

There was nothing more.

“That was the mayor” my companion told me.

“Hmm, Nice guy.” I replied “But that part about adultery was a bit weird..?”

Silence…

As I drove home an hour later I had a “moment “.

I pulled my car over and prayed ;

“Oh God, please don’t let me fall too far!”…

I’m sure God was listening. I’m sure He answered.

BUT..

I’m sure He also said,

“I just sent you a messenger!. I just gave you a way out!”

But, I did not hear Him.

I chose Not to hear Him.

I’m sorry to say, I never spoke to God again after that day;

not until I had fully “fallen from grace”..

and was- shattered- and restored – and lifted back up..

I am so blessed..

My marriage is so blessed.

But, never doubt, there are CONSEQUENCES..

I still wish I had listened to “The Messenger”.

God will Always provide a way out, my friend..

But, Your choice, is to listen –

or not.

 

#chooselife

 

” I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deut. 30:19

A Glimpse of Jesus

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Today I met the sweetest old man.

I could tell in a heartbeat he was what the world might call “simple” or “senile”..

but, in that same moment, I also “knew” he was so, so special.

His countenance just – glowed.

Small of stature, full white beard, and piercing blue eyes;

He reminded me of someone who might play Santa Claus-

As I put up a poster at a local establishment (for an upcoming concert at my church) he called out excitedly from behind me;

” Young lady, is that Christian music?”

( he gets points for calling me a Young lady too..:)

When I answered him,

” Why yes, it is.”

He exclaimed happily,( and loudly)

” Oh Good! I know Jesus! ”

No fear of who heard. No pious declarations.

This was pure devotion – straight from the heart..

Charmed by his honest outburst I turned and told him

” That is so awesome! So do I!”

As I walked out the door my eyes just happened to lock on the gaze of another older gentlemen, sitting in a dining chair nearby.

His eyes were full of intelligence, amusement, and.. gratefulness..

(I wonder now if he knew the other man..I wonder now who he was…)

Needless to say, I left with a huge smile plastered on my face.

But, as I drove to my next destination, I found myself pulling the car over – overcome by tears!

Oh God, if I only had just a little sliver of that man’s simple, childlike, faith!

If only we all did!

I was suddenly truly humbled – and in Awe.

What had just happened?

You see, I’ve been praying for Jesus to reveal himself to me; to show me more of who He really is..

This morning was difficult, (spiritually) and, to be honest, I was ready to come to this blog with an entirely different entry..

( all about Fighting the enemy and standing our ground)

I will probably still write that other entry; It’s important.

But, not today.

Today is about HIM.

Because, no matter who thinks this is crazy,

I’m pretty sure that today, in the form of a sweet, simple, old man,,

I caught a true glimpse

of my Jesus ..

I’m overwhelmed..”wrecked” ,as they say..(now I understand the term)

and completely humbled…

“I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Jesus (Matthew 18:2-4)
#angelsunaware

Flat Tires and Divine Favor

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

So, it’s been a not-so-great week;

Nothing hugely earth shattering like a death or loss of a job

but, seriously, it is usually the non-earth shattering things that really wear us down, isn’t it?

A couple days ago I stubbed my toe. (stupid wall just jumped out of nowhere..)

No big deal right?

Well, it shouldn’t be except that my foot decided to turn all purple on top and it REALLY hurts when I walk..

So, maybe I broke the toe?

I have no idea but, since I’m not the “run to the doctor” type, (unless I’m dying)

I guess I will leave it up to God and my body to do the healing..

Yesterday I also had a tire blowout. Two actually. Both had to be replaced, Completely.

You see, we have these wonderfully huge, swimming pool sized, potholes, in town this year.

They are great for swallowing a small car whole

or breaking a tie rod

or bending a rim

or exploding a tire..

or two..

(City Department, fix them please ! my poor little, bashed up ,Prizm, cant take much more..*sniffle)

Actually Im praying for a new (aka: slightly used) car soon..Just don’t tell my Prizm..

So, as I went through this day, (foot aching and cold, since I cant wear anything but a flip flop right now) I have been gravitating back and forth between gratefulness and annoyance.

But, I AM GRATEFUL.

Why?

Well, first of all I’m still walking (albiet like a drunken sailor)

And Im pretty darn sure no cast or surgery will be needed.

AND that tire blowout? Well, lets just say it was providential when it happened.

I was pulling up to a light/intersection so I was slowing down

(not going over 20 mph..really! (that’s to anyone who thinks I am a leadfoot..)

When I hit the pothole (aka: underground cave) and the tire blew I was able to limp through the intersection and pull right into the local Chipotle parking lot across the street.

I called my husband on my cell and he was able to leave work early to come and help me.

As God would have it, the Chipotle parking lot just happens to share a lot with the local Firestone car garage..

But, that is not all..

My tires, the ones my car needed, They just happened to be on sale!

My car was in and out in less than an hour (and I should probably mention it was the Last Hour before they closed..)

I’m not going to call any of that – “Luck”.

No way.

It was nothing short of Divine Favor, Providence, Grace!

This was my Father and God taking care of His kid (me 🙂

It reminded me of all the other times Ive almost, but not quite, had BAD experiences.

Like the time I stopped at a red light in town ..

When it turned green something just told me “STAY!”

My foot stayed on the brake.

Half a second later later a huge truck came barreling through the intersection

Right through his red light.

He slammed on his brakes right in the middle of the intersection.

I would have died in the side impact to my driver’s side.

No doubt.

But, I did not.

I was under – DIVINE PROTECTION.

So, I’m going to try to remember these things when small problems loom in front of me..

My God is still with me!

Protecting. Guiding. Loving -Always.

Thank you, Jesus.

Help me to trust you more..

What Really Matters

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

The last entry was not easy to write.

I was even going to take it down for fear I might offend.

But, after a couple people commented that they enjoyed my openness, I have decided to let it remain.

I make no apologies for sharing the truth but, I do hope I have not caused discord.

Today I am reminded of what really matters in life anyway.

Our emotions, feelings, thoughts, are important (and don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. God GAVE you emotions..)

But ,what really, truly, matters are things like this :

http://bensauer.blogspot.com/

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I encourage you, Go to this blog. Read this story.

This blog is about a little, 5 year old, twin boy

His family has been told he wont live more than a few more weeks.

He has a brain tumor.

His mother is holding on to  hope, and faith..

INCREDIBLE FAITH.

So many are standing with her in prayer.

Her courage inspires me. I pray for this child today,and  his family.

Be Blessed and HEALED Ben Sauer!

With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE..

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I am beginning to think there is a misnomer proliferating churches now a days about how church “family members” should treat or act toward one another..

I have to wonder, where did the idea come from that just because Jesus said to “love our fellow man” we often take that to mean we have to “like” them too?!..

It seems to be the consensus in most churches that you are expected  to “really like”, be “friends”, or “interact on a regular basis” ,with the people you go to church with.

We seem to like to force the idea of ,”We are all family therefore we must all get along and look like a  happy family”..(more potlucks! more worship team outings!!…uh huh..)

But, lets think on the very term “family” for a moment..

Let’s focus on brothers and sisters in particular.. (because that is often how we refer to one another,right?..)

Now, do family members always get along?

Let’s be real here; Do they always even “like” each other?!

In most families there is a deep bond of love that permeates even when family members don’t get along.

( for instance, you would defend them, maybe even die for them, but, be stuck in a small space for an hour with them with no way to escape? um, nooooo…)

Siblings especially can have issues with one another since they are often opposite personalities (or very very much alike)

In most cases, any extreme “sameness” or “difference” can cause deep feelings of dislike (and,if not handled carefully, even bitterness and hate)

I believe the church “family” is like that too.

We are called to love one another, help one another, pray for one another..but, seriously, do we HAVE TO hang out with one another?

Or, even work with one another?(if we don’t get along or are uncomfortable with each other)

Since when did the church adapt the “sappy happy philosophy” that “We can all get along because we are all “One” (*cue aria music of angelic choirs)

I know I am stepping on toes.

(Suck it up and go get yourself a band-aide. )

This is not the “pretty, scrubbed clean, picture” of an uber happy church family all singing Kum ba yah  around the campfire.

This is about real people with real personalities that DON’T get along..or DON’T like one another ..(News flash..It’s happening in your church peoples, like it or not!)

and, Disliking someone is not a sin!

Let me use a simple example of real, biological, family dynamics.

Say you have two siblings that constantly squabble over one another’s toys  and even resort to blows if left alone too long..

What do you do with those two children (if you want to stay a sane mommy)

You SEPARATE  them!

(unless you are one of those tree hugger, hippy types, and then you probably have a conversation with them about how they “need to love and use their words”  and then lock them in a room together to “work it out” ..) Hmm. more power to ya in that case..

Now Im not saying we should not work on our “issues” we may have with others in our church (by all means TRY to be Nice!) but, I do believe there is a point where one has to say ” This person and I just don’t jell. Maybe we can just agree to disagree.” (it happens)

In that case the church leaders should probably just let things be and not “push” for greater bonding between those individuals, or couples, or groups..(this can actually make matters much, much worse and signal a misuse in power , leading to manipulation..Trust me, don’t even go there..)

If you are reading this and wondering if this applies to you (or me and you) sorry, I’m not divulging that information just yet. Just allow me to summarize with this;

I don’t believe God has commanded us to “like everyone”. There are too many differing personalities in this world that clash for that . What Jesus did say was “LOVE”..

Love for my fellow sister or brother in Christ  does NOT mean I have to Like you, or hang with you.

It means I wish you well. I wish you blessings.

But, maybe, just not too close to me..or my family.

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 “Throwback Thursday” (TBT) has become a common buzzword among the social media crowd and, though I rarely participate in the sharing of past photos and memories, I have found the opportunity for such reflection to be helpful (and even healing) when I do share. Today , being Thursday, has made me ponder on a quite a few things (good and bad) And while my mind and heart is filled with many various thoughts, I feel the Holy Spirit has centered me on this one topic today; Praise and Worship.

I grew up in a very “Baptist type” church, with a hymnal in my hands. I sang words I rarely ever thought about (and, to be honest, felt boring and antiquated at the time.)

As a teenager, I discovered the Pentacostal denomination and eagerly embraced the more modern “praise and worship” chorus’s and songs. (although it would still take me years to understand and embrace the theology)

Of course, my then boyfriend ( now husband) was the very cute drummer on the church worship team  (and he still is!..cute..and a drummer..:) So, perhaps that played a part..

But, I also loved to have my hands free from the hymnal to raise in worship!

For a long time I left the old hymns and hymnals behind me- until our son was born.

(Nathan’s story has a blog of it’s own and if you are so inclined I encourage you to read it because it is an amazing story of miraculous healing.)  http://whyibelieveinmiracles.blogspot.com/

Those long months while our baby son was confined to hospital bed in the PICU I had much time to just sit by his side.

What did I do in those long hours while the machines buzzed and beeped and hummed?

I often softly sang all the old hymns I had learned in childhood!

Some of the nurses encouraged it. Others told me to stop because Nathans blood pressure would go up when he would hear my voice and they did not want him “agitated”.

(I know he just wanted held, poor thing. because, when he was  newborn, and before we knew of his condition, the only way he would sleep was if I sat in a rocking chair all night, and rocked and sang to him..) #zombiesingingmommy

But, what I learned in those moments of my some of my deepest darkness was that those hymns had somehow stuck in my head, even the lyrics. I took comfort in words like;

” What a friend we have in Jesus.

All our sins and griefs he bears.

What a privilege to carry,

everything to God in prayer!”.

or

” Rock of ages, cleft for me.

Let me hide myself in thee..”

OR

“When peace like a river

attendeth my way

when troubles like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot

thou hast taught me to say

It is well!

It is well!

with my soul.”

I dont think I would have been able to bear much of that time in those sterile, clinical, and sad hospital rooms without those words and music in my head and heart.

When I was a little girl my father use to take a record from our record cabinet (yes, Im old enough to remember those)

place it on the turntable and then turn to me and smile in a goofy way..

Soon enough the lyrics to “O How I Love Jesus” would come wafting into the room.

After the chorus where it says ” Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus” there was a non lyric bridge and here my father would interject in a singsong voice

“Oh. Melinda do you love Jesus?”

and I would respond as he had taught me by singing back

“yes, I love Jesus.”

To which he would sing back “Oh why do you love Jesus?”

and I would answer

“Here’s why I love Jesus. Because He first loved me!” ..

(Im singing as I type this and smiling..:)

It’s amazing when I ponder how much a parent can instill into a child without even trying and how those simple moments can be pivotal someday to that child’s growth and beliefs..I will never forget happy memories like that one!

Today I do love modern praise and worship.

Im a huge fan of Jesus Culture and Hillsong United (we have even driven out of the state to attend worship concerts hosted by these groups) But, I will never ever put down the good old hymns and chorus’ of my childhood.

The sound of the older hymns may be old fashioned and repetitious

(many were modeled after player piano bar song melodies after all!  Interesting fact many do not know 🙂

But the messages of love and hope still ring faithful and true.

Whether we are singing a song made famous by John Mark McMillan like ” How He loves” or an old song like “O How He loves You and Me” (written in the early 1970’s), the heart and message of the song is still there,

if the singer or the listener is open to hear it.

“O how He loves you and me, O how He loves you and me, 

He gave His life, what more could He give?
O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
O how He loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for mankind to show;
What He did there brought hope from despair:
O how He loves you,

O how He loves me,
O how He loves you and me.”

-Kurt Kaiser

aplaceofpeace

Last night I had a dream.

In the dream there was a forest of trees .

Beneath and among  the trees people were standing and sitting.

They all looked sad and dejected.

There was no sound.

There was a bright, harsh, light coming from behind them in the trees.

(the kind of thing you see in the movies when there is a facility with floodlights nearby -or a helicopter- or aliens.)

Because of the light I could not see the features of the people. They were mostly in silhouette.

I Could see they were tall, short, thin and fat. All sizes.

This is all I saw. The trees. The people. The light.

After I woke (and all day actually) I have been seeing this “dream” over and over in my mind.

I wonder who the people are. I wonder why they are just standing and sitting and look so- dejected.

Why don’t they go toward that light behind them?

I often have dreams like this one.

Sometimes they mean something.

Sometimes they don’t.

( or, if they have meaning, it is lost to my human brain)

My dreams can be wonderful or they can be horrible and frightening.

( I usually chalk those kind up to the enemy playing ping pong in my head or, maybe, – to eating that handful of candy laced trail mix waaay too late at night.:S

But, sometimes, my dreams are  what I call”glimpses”.

(A very sharp, visual image, that burns itself into my brain and is pretty much remembered forever.)

Sometimes I am awake when they happen as well (I believe these are often referred to as “Visions”)

I have experienced these “glimpses” (and Visions) just before major devastation in the world including tornadoes and tsunamis.

The strongest one I ever had (and the one that shook me the most ) was of a young girl who was kidnapped in our town and her entire family murdered

(horrible horrible thing to happen in your own town..:(

I will never forget walking into a prayer session at my church where the youth were gathered to pray for the girl and her missing family. (they had not found the bodies yet..)

Suddenly, in my mind, I saw a young, blonde girl huddled in a dark place. She was cold and scared.

The words “I will Save Sarah” went through my head..

(to this day, I believe it was the voice of the Holy Spirit.)

I remember the gooseflesh on my arms raised as I uttered a prayer for her. (and, up to then, I had not known the girls name)

Later Sarah Maynard was found alive in the basement of a house near my own; (only blocks away in fact)

She had been held captive by a very sick man who had kidnapped, sexually assaulted  her, and murdered her brother, mother, dog and friend.

I still wish I could have seen more in that “vision” so I could have helped authorities..

But who would have believed me at the time if I told them Sarah was safe and in some “dark, cold place”..?

(worse yet, I could have been implicated as a suspect for knowing such things..)

Today, as I watch the news, and we go forward into another day that flight #370 (carrying 239 souls) remains missing, I cannot help but wonder if my dream is somehow related to them..

I know it is possible but- improbable.

I do pray for all those souls though, wherever they may be..

I also think about the meaning in the dream, on a deeper level.

The people in the glimpse are standing around in shadows; sad, angry, giving up- when, just behind them, there is a LIGHT…

Light floods their world and yet they cannot see it; or, if they do, they cannot reach it.

Maybe they are blind?

Perhaps this is an allegory for the spiritual.

Are we living in the shadows of spiritual darkness when the “Light” is so so close?

I pray I never choose to live in the shadows again.

I pray I never go blind to the beauty of this God-created world/universe (in spite of the darkness in it)

Jesus is light.

His LIGHT is our hope..My hope.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5

 

Yesterday, all around the world, people from all walks of life, wore a red X on their hand to raise awareness of the very real, very current horror, of modern day slavery ( http://enditmovement.com/ )
My heart, like many others, was moved to participate in this event. (photo)
But, as I drew the X on my hand and took the time to pray, God began to move in my thoughts..
When we view videos and images of the modern day slave trade, (the sex trade and human trafficking in particular) we see pictures of children, young women, and even men, physically and psychologically forced into exploiting their bodies for the selfish, debased, pleasure of others.
It makes me sick.
It makes me angry.
It makes me want to do something to help..
But, as I thought of these victims and lifted them in prayer, the Holy Spirit began to bring other individuals to my mind..
I suddenly saw the prostitutes and “courtesans” of the world.
I saw women at a strip club turning “tricks” after their shift “to make ends meet” for a baby at home..
I even saw young women in their teens and twenties, affluent and poor alike, flaunting and using their sexuality for money and power and love..
These are the individuals who say they “choose” what they do for a living, (on the side or in secret.).
Many are the women (and men) of what we call  The Oldest “Profession” in the world..
A burning question seared through me as I saw them in my minds eye..
“Are these any less “slaves” than those who are forced into their servitude?..
I realize this is a hard question. But, I also realize there are really two basic kinds of slavery;
Spiritual and Physical. (and, sadly, they often follow one another)
Slaves forced by the whip, the fist, or the gun, into servitude, are victims of the physical. But, what of those in the same type of “servitude” convinced that what they are doing is “their own choice”?..
Most in the sexual “profession” would argue that their lifestyle is “Their decision” and that, as such, they can also choose to walk away any time they want.
But is it really that easy?
The Scriptures say that whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter)

I realize some may object to this topic and perhaps think it’s not right to even ponder such things. For a moment, I would like you to remember that what I am speaking of now is Spiritual slavery.

Honestly, can any of us say we have never been in bondage?

I know I can’t…

Whether the “addiction”, “weakness”, or “guilty pleasure”, was drink, or gossip, or anger, or pride, or drugs, or even sex..not one of us has Not been a SLAVE spiritually or physically( to sin), at one time or another.

But, herein is the hope.

As children of the King, redeemed from darkness, freedom is the reality we hold in the present living of our daily lives as God desires

(No turning back, No giving in, No longer a slave!)

On a day like yesterday I was blessed not only to raise awareness for Physical, Human Bondage but for Spiritual Bondage as well!

By grace and love alone I stand today,FREE. No longer in bondage to sin and shame..

I pray this truth brings hope to those still in bondage.

I pray it brings hope to those who believe they are where they are in life- by choice

( You Are So Much MORE, sister or brother.You Don’t have to walk a broken road).

My simple words in these posts never seem to express the depths of my heart on these matters. But, I pray what does come across is this:

“I once was lost but now I’m found. Once was blind but now I see!..” ” No longer a slave, but God’s child.”(Gal 4:7)

Prayers for each and every slave in this world tortured and beat and tormented by the evil hearts and hands of wicked men..

God sees your tears, your pain.

He loves you. Unconditionally..

#breakeverychain