Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fruit of Destruction

I just watched an episode of the show 'Hoarders'.  It's the first time I'd seen this show.  I really almost never watch television at all.  However, someone linked the show, saying it was about a scrap-booker.  I thought it might be good to see so that I can be careful of where my thoughts could take me.

I was blown away.  Truly, I was dramatically affected by the pain displayed on this show.

As I reflected on what causes such additive and compulsive behavior, I came to the conclusion that it is often the result of hurt or disappointment.

Hurt is the sort of thing that Satan pounces on rather quickly.  Once a hurt has taken place, he piles on the fertilizer producing a large tree of pain whose fruit is destruction.  The end result is hopelessness.

Further, I began to consider that many people I know within the church are harvesting this very fruit daily.  The hopelessness that exists even within the church is astounding.  It's painful to consider.  And I wonder that most of us don't even see that it is there.  How then do we address it?  What do we do?

I pray, asking God for wisdom, for healing and for revelation from His Spirit.  I invite you to do the same. We certainly can do nothing while we just sit an wonder. But we can and must pray.  Will you join me?

Perhaps you are thinking that this is not true.  Perhaps you think that it's not that common in the church.  Why do you think that is the case?  Do an inventory or your church body?  What do you find?  Is it joy unspeakable that permeates the people?  If so, then praise God.  If not, praise God and then pray for His healing touch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What do you crave most?

"One of the reasons we want to overeat is because the human heart craves fullness and satisfaction." Mike Cleveland

This would be the third time I've read this statement and yet again, I am moved to think about why I eat.....or shop.....or talk when I need to just be quiet with the Lord.  

I'm not suggesting that we are called to continually sit with our hands folded in prayer and listen for what God might say.  That would be unreasonable as we all have responsibilities.  However, I am beginning to think that I react to life without a lot of thought quite often.

A reaction looks a whole lot like an addiction as far as I can tell.  It looks like doing something to cover up the uncomfortable feelings that I have inside.  The thing that makes it difficult to recognize is that I've been doing it my whole life.  Every. Single. Day.  For nearly 40 years.

Addiction is often fed by a heart darkened by sinfulness.  I want to continue in my sin.  I do continue in my sin.  I feel guilt/shame.  I indulge in my addiction to cover up that feeling.  Our addictions come in many more forms than the obvious ones.  Most of us fancy ourselves to not be addicted.  I submit that this is far from true.

We're addicted to control in some form or other and when we feel out of control, we indulge in more control.  Maybe we're addicted to scheduling, to cleaning, to exercise, to looking put together, to golf, to food, to shopping, to yelling, blah blah blah.  

It's Jesus I must turn to when I feel out of control.  I need to create that habit as my first defense.  I know that for me, life feels out of control every day.  Multiple times a day.  I must turn to Jesus over and over, leaving those things I can't control at His feet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Self Worship vs. Hardcore Christianity

I'm doing a study called the Lord's Table.  I've started it over for the third time because once you get  half-way through, if you don't see the fruit that you should see, they recommend starting over.

Each time I start, I learn more.

Today, what struck me is this statement by Mike Cleveland:

"Most dieters are motivated to lose weight by a desire for personal glory; they want to slim down in order to fit in that outfit, look good at their class reunion, hear others comment on how good they look… or maybe they just want to be healthy and feel better about themselves. As innocuous as these motives may seem, they all grow out of self-worship, which should have no place in the heart of the Christian who professes to worship God."

Self - worship. I wonder how often any of us can see that we are worshiping self.  Whether in the area of dieting or any other area.  

I can see that for me, this is certainly true.  I have tried to rid myself of this attitude but have failed every time.  I think the truth is that I really do love myself more than I love God.  More surgery needed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Heart of Stone or Heart of Flesh

Ezekiel 36:26 says "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

I encountered this verse in my bible study and I am shocked to realize that in the areas where I hold on to sin, I have a very hard heart of stone.

I desperately need God to graciously do heart surgery on me and replace that hardened heart with a soft and mold-able heart of flesh.  

I need to truly grieve over my own sin.  

I wonder how many of us as Christians actually grieve when we realize that we have been sinning against God in one area or another?  I fear that the number is woefully small.

I fear that our hearts are so hard that sin is a casual thing to us.  I fear that we do not realize how deep is the chasm between us and our God when we sin casually and 'just ask forgiveness at the end of the day'.  I fear we often trust in something called cheap grace.

Oh my God, please forgive me.  PLEASE grant me a heart of flesh that grieves my sin.

Teach me to be intentional. To think about about every action and put every thought before you.  At present, I don't hesitate before making excuses.  Please give me the grace and strength to hesitate often if means I am about to sin.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Am I a 'Victim'?

Victim mentality is something we talk about fairly often in our home.  Having taken in a number of children at older ages has 'brought the topic up' so to speak.

But God has been bringing the idea to my attention for myself over the last few years and recently, even to my husbands mind for himself.

Last Sunday, our Pastor preached on John 5:1-15.  You can check it out here if you like.  He made a statement that really resonated with me.  It was this: "If I always tell myself that I can go back to my old way of doing things then I will".  If that is how I think, then I am choosing to be victim.

Dr William Glasser says "Healthy people do not make excuses."  If I expect to fail, guess what, I am going to fail.  Almost every time that is what will happen.

This applies to sin.  If I have a sin that I struggle with and I keep saying that I just can't seem to overcome it and I make excuses for why it keeps happening then I won't overcome it.

I have to believe that there is a way out in order to find that way out.  I have to persevere and do the hard work in order to win the prize.

For me, I can see this issue most clearly in the area of weight loss.  I have very often had the idea that I may just stay the same and never get past this issue.  That is the sin of unbelief and it is a sin of not persevering.  I CAN lose weight but I have to change.

I don't want to be a victim anymore.  I want to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit.  I want to pick up my mat and walk.  I want what Jesus has for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God answers prayer

Just in case you didn't know.  He does.  It's just a simple statement of fact.

We are seeing healing taking place through the prayers of our church and it is truly a testimony of God's grace.

God desires that His people pray and He desires to answer their prayers.  But how can He answer if we do not ask?

How many times do we ask God to solve a given situation as the very last resort?  How many times do we never ask because we are certain that our ways will solve the situation?  How often do we seek God for direction on how to solve a problem first?

I know I need to work on this.  But what I have been discovering lately is that when I seek God in worship and prayer He is thrilled to respond.

The answers He's been giving are piling up.  What a tremendous blessing!

Recently a situation came up where my son clearly displayed signs of demonic influence.  It was not something new to us, but we hadn't seen it in him for a very long time.  Many times in the past when this has happened we have become angry and said stupid, unhelpful things.

This time, we prayed before addressing him.  Then, while my husband addressed him directly, I went into the other room and prayed and worshiped through song.  My hubby reported that while he really wanted to respond in anger and violence (no, he's not a violent man and never has been, but when someone spews venom and lies at you, believe me, you feel like being violent) instead he calmly talked to him.

For me, I avoided saying something in anger and being hurtful and just focused on God's love and mercy and greatness.

The end result, the spiritual oppression left, my son softened to the point of coming to me on his own and apologizing.  When I immediately accepted his apology and told him I loved him, he just about dove into my arms for a very long hug.  He actually sobbed in my arms and I felt like the peace and love of God came over him.  He let go, and then hugged me again.  All in all it was about 10 minutes worth of hugging and holding.

This is NOT normal.  It was God's power working because we sought Him first.  Will you praise God with me for His tender mercies?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Cost

I wonder if I will ever feel normal again.  Did I count the cost when I decided to follow Christ?  I'm thinking that I really didn't at the time.  I can tell you that now, I count that cost quite often.

When God whispers another direction in my ear, I listen and I wonder what it will cost me.  It's not that I resent the cost so much (that is at least true before I pay said cost).  It is that I know there will be a cost. Following Christ costs.  It just does.

And the Scripture makes no bones about it.  In Luke 14:28, Jesus asks a rather pointed question of his listeners, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?"  He is showing that if you don't count the cost you'll be sorry later.

The cost of following Christ comes in many unexpected ways.  For example, today, a fun chic on one of my favorite websites recommended a particular blog as a wonderful source of humor.  I trotted over to check it out and couldn't laugh.  I just couldn't.

All the other blog readers reported rapturous hilarity.  And I read a bit and then closed it and went away wondering.  

Why?  Because the language was foul and my Lord has removed my ability to even find that funny.  Sometimes, if I'm honest, I mourn that fact.  Ultimately, it is a good thing, but sometimes I wish I could enjoy the world around me without the truth filter.  

I don't really want that, but I am hoping you can relate to what I am saying. Because here is the thing, I'm not normal.  I don't laugh at the same jokes, I don't get my entertainment in the same way, I don't go to the same places or do the same things as most other people do.  And that is a cost.

It's not normal to live the way our family lives.  Believe me, everyone I meet feels quite free to say so in one way or another. 

And that costs.


I have Christ, Truth, Life, Eternity, Joy, Wisdom, Freedom from Sin, and Power.  All of these I have gained as a result of the payment of one perfect man on a tree and my willingness to accept it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Could I be the only one?

I have to admit that I am often frustrated with what I see in the Church.  It's not because I don't appreciate the people there or love them, or that I'm even referring only to my own particular church.   It's that I wonder how things can be as they are and the people still feel that it's all going along pretty well.

I am not suggesting that God is not at work among us.  I am just suggesting that we are not responding terribly well to His work.  I see compromise.  I see excuses.  I see calls for grace when things aren't as they should be(instead of calls to repentance).  I see people telling half truths because it will make people feel better.  I see that so many of us do and say what we do and say so that everyone will like us.  I see us operating out of fear.  I see fear of offending.  Fear of conviction.  Fear of fear.  Fear of spiritual warfare.  Fear, controlling God's Church.

We make claims about what Scripture says based on a single passage and then when someone else does the same but it differs from our point of view, we claim that they are taking things out of context.  Of course, we are never guilty of the same.

It seems as though many times we are told to ask questions, but when we do, there are no answers.  Or if we do, we are told that since we don't really know we'll just go with the majority opinion.  Most people are too afraid to even ask the hard questions out loud for fear of being labeled a heretic.  Or perhaps they are afraid because how they've always believed might not turn out to be right.

Why do most Christian's believe in 'once saved always saved' or 'pre-tribulation rapture'?  Could it be that those are the easiest and most convenient to our continuing on as we are, undisturbed?  What if you can lose your salvation and the scriptures that say so are the 'right ones'?  What if we do have to experience the tribulation and people will be tortured the world over for remaining faithful?  What if Christianity really is hard and God really does expect His people to obey and be perfect as He is perfect?

Most often, I end this diatribe in prayer.  I ask God to show me how to quietly trust Him when things seem so out of control even in His house.  I ask Him to show me what I am to do. (lately that is to pray, and pray, and pray some more.)  I ask Him to bring light and truth to the people. (but I know that when that happens it will be painful for all)  I ask Him to give me grace to not hold it against people, but I am weak and sometimes struggle with that.  I ask God to help me, just to help me.  Help me trust, help me see clearly, help me love, help me offer grace and truth at the same time like Jesus did.

I just wonder, am I the only one?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crucified Flesh?

There's nothing new under the sun, so let it be known that this is NOT my own original thought.  (Peter Furler maintains that he's not sure any of us ever had an original thought)

But here is what I gleaned from today's study time.  I need to crucify my flesh, with it's passions and desires. And this is the evidence that I belong to Christ.  It's from Galatians 5:15-26

So what does that mean?  It means that when I have passions that are of a sinful nature, I nail them to a cross so that they will die.  There is a list of the passions and desires of the flesh.  It's somewhat disconcerting the things that are on that list.  It goes like this:
  • sexual immorality
  • impurity 
  • debauchery
  • idolatry
  • witchcraft
  • hatred
  • discord
  • jealousy
  • fits of rage
  • selfish ambition
  • dissensions
  • factions
  • envy
  • drunkenness
  • orgies
Long list isn't it  And many of those things I can say with confidence I don't do.  But if I'm honest that only really applies to a few, like drunkenness and orgies and sexual immorality.  The rest I'm pretty sure are part of my repertoire more regularly than I'd care to think about.

I need the Spirit in my to crucify the flesh in me.  I need to willingly submit to that.  I need to be on my knees begging for God to create in me a clean heart.  I need crucified flesh.

      Friday, September 16, 2011


      I wanted to start this blog because I believe it's important to share our faith journey with one another.   It is important to work it through together with other believers.  I hope this will be a safe place to do that.  "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  That is Hebrews 11:1.  It's the beginning of the hall of faith.  

      The Hall of Faith is a list of people that qualify for the term faithful.  They were those who trusted God when all the evidence pointed in an entirely different direction.  They walked and lived and breathed on faith alone.   It was all they had.

      I am the first to admit that my faith wavers at times.  In all honesty, those times are quite frequent.  Not my faith in God Himself, but my faith that His plan is the right one.  I spend more time than is good for me trying to convince Him that I have a better plan.

      There I said it.  I was honest.  See through, if you will.  That's why I am here sharing.  I want to be see through.  I hope it will allow you to be see through also.  I hope that by being a bit more transparent we can help each other scratch the itch that we just can't reach.