Strength

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV

Have you ever been at the end of your rope? Barely hanging on and not able to go on? Trials and circumstances seem to be pounding into you like waves. God where are you? I need help I can’t do this. You are not alone. You are in good company. Last week fear was gripping me and saying all of God’s promises just didn’t help. I believe Gods words and I can quote many of them but that wouldn’t make it go away. I was trying to write in my book and ignore what was going on in my mind. I felt God said to write on strength. God is an ever present help in trouble. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So I wrote and God spoke. When I was almost done he told me something really important that would help. Praise! Whenever you need victory stop. It isn’t that God’s not there. It isn’t that you don’t deserve help. It isn’t that God doesn’t want to help you. Be still and know that I am God. The only way to do that is to be open up and be in his presence. Because in his presence is fullness of joy. Something I didn’t have right then. Where can you find his presence. Correct, he inhabits the praises of his people. So all week long I plugged in my ear buds and turned on praise music and sang along letting each word fill my head. He is good and he knows what he is doing even though I don’t. I don’t have to know the outcome because he is trustworthy. I look back over my life and can not think of once when he failed me. He is never late or unable to meet my needs. I could talk all day about his great and mighty wonders and barely scratch the surface. I think, “what is the worst that could happen?” Death, well if I’m dead, I’m with him, so not death. Job was probably one who holds the record for bad days. He lost everything his children, servants, possessions, his wealth, even the respect of his friends and his wife. They blamed him and told him it was his fault. While he sat in ashes wishing he was dead. His wife told him to just curse God and maybe he will strike you dead. But Job was a good man and could never do that. Even if God was to slay him he would always serve him. Worrying and being anxious doesn’t do anything. Can we change anything ourselves? No! Seek him and his presence and wait. This too shall pass. This week I am back to blessed and victorious. And I know a week of his presence helped.

Where does your strength come from?

Independence

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

At what time do we earn independence? I always thought that depending on how hard it was for our forefathers to get that we would always have it. But we now live in a time that you have to earn it yourself. Without age, education, money and success you may not have it. If you are alive in the womb you don’t matter but the one who carries you decides if you matter. In our Declaration of Independence, in the second paragraph it says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men(humans) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Life is no longer valued and you have to earn it. Are you of value at conception? We worry more about animals than humans that were made in the image of an all perfect creator. One that loves them and has great plans for them and a mission. He wants us to know the truth because then we can be really free. If our world was still perfect than no one would ever die. But our world is far from perfect. That child deserves to learn everything they can and to be the very best person they can be and then they can make a positive impact on their world. But they are told what they can learn and how. They are told just what they can and can’t learn unless they have money for private education. Just as every child has the right to not learn what they do not want to learn they should be allowed what they choose to learn. Families have the right to take there families to church but schools have the right to teach them other beliefs. We are only taught what our government wants. It doesn’t matter if it is correct. It was said once, “Our country is great because our people are good, but if are people aren’t good we will cease to be great.” Our great country is falling fast. This is so saddening. God’s son died so that each and every person conceived could be free and luckily before they are old enough to decide for themselves God decides for them a chooses them for himself.

Do you value human life?

Anger

“In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are angry, do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV

The Bible does not say don’t get angry. We all naturally feel angry when someone is cruel, thoughtless or selfish. This says when you are angry do not sin. So being angry is not the sin. But what we do with that anger can be. Holding on to anger is like tying an anchor around your neck. It will only get heavier, dragging you down as you refuse to let it go. It really seems stupid If you think about it. I watched another movie the other night. I’m sure you can see by now that I love watching good uplifting movies before I go to sleep at night. And I have had some really good nights of sleep lately. I have always had trouble sleeping soundly ever since my stroke. But not lately. The people in the movie had some bad things happen to them that really should have caused great bitterness, but instead they decided to find love and acceptance for the one who hurt them. Oh, it was not easy. One woman was shot by an attacker but he became a very close friend. Then when that friend was tragically killed in an accident his father had to learn to forgive the one who killed his son. But by doing that he gained a whole new life with this man and his daughter that was so fulfilling. Each person had to come to a place where they could see that anger was destroying them and giving the devil control. They had to make a decision to forgive. To forgive doesn’t mean you forget, but gives you the peace to move forward. To think of someone with anger is the same thing as murder to God and it harms everyone involved. Anger and hatred are wrong and damage many. The devil loves it when we are angry because it gives him control. Whatever you do as long as it depends on you live peaceably with all people. This is something Jesus said while he was alive and it’s very good advice. The world we live in has enough anger and hatred we don’t need to add to it. We need to make this ugly world better and love, love freely. The attitude you hold on to does make a difference in everyone’s happiness. Be a difference maker. Is there someone you need to forgive?

Gifts

“I long to see you that I may impart some spiritual gift to make you strong.” Romans 1:11

NIV

“Today is God’s gift to me. What I do with it is my gift to God.” I read this quote the other day and it really got me thinking. God loves us and wants us to live a full and abundant life. But what we make of each day is very important. Only a handful of others actually make an impact on the lives of others. Most people seem ok with living a mediocre life. Getting up, going to work, doing my thing, resting and going to bed just to do the same thing all over tomorrow. This seems to be enough for the majority. That’s how my life went along while my kids lived at home. Oh, I always strived to be a supermom. I wanted to make a difference in their lives because they meant so much to me. I made time for school parties and field trips. I was homeroom mom and tried to be involved. We were involved with church so I helped with youth activities and sent my kids to church camp. Now my daughters are grown and have kids of their own. They are the same way or maybe better than I was. All of my kids are still active in their churches. So this really was important. The point I’m making is that I did this because I loved them. Now that I am alone living in a nursing home and retired I have time for my new love. Since 2013 when I went after all I could get of him I have been falling more and more in love. Now I want to do all I can for Jesus. Even if you are not retired I believe you can make time for what you are passionate about. Some make music, some paint, some watch old movies or run/exercise. At this point in my life I guess I thought about finishing my race and finishing it well. We are told to run the race to win. That’s what I want. I’m now busier at times than I was back then. But I tell myself often that I am doing it all for the Lord. I write every afternoon and sometimes at night. The Lord has given me spiritual gifts to help me do what he has called me to do. He has called me to write. And thanks to him and his good gifts I am good at it. I read what I have written and know that it is him and not me because it’s inspiring. Each day I thank him for gifts of wisdom, knowledge, discernment and faith because they have helped me do all that I do even better. I teach a Bibletime where I live and help out as the resident council President because this is my new family and I love them too. So do all you can for those you love. And that should include everyone. Live a full life. Life is what you make of it.

How is your race going?

Training

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” Proverbs 23:13+14 NIV

Children need discipline to teach them respect and good character. The world has tried to tell parents that discipline is bad and can break the spirit of a child. But I see a world where chaos is the norm and respect and good values are gone. With everyone doing what they want and not caring about others. It really doesn’t matter how old you are. Everyone needs guidelines and it takes everyone to be willing to help others grow in their character. We learn best by example. It doesn’t matter how old you are. I know at 45 when I had my stroke I had a difficult time adjusting to my new way of living. It has taken me fourteen years so far and I am still trying to improve my character. I like the chapter of Psalms 23 about the shepherd leading his sheep in the way they should go. Anyone who cares about people can be a shepherd. We need each other to care enough about each other to lead and encourage each other in good character. No matter how old we get there is always growing we can go through because God is not through with us till we take our last breath. When people work together they make each other better if they truly care. Children need more work, it takes a community to raise a child. They have mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents . Aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Teachers, coaches, ministers, and Sunday school teachers. As kids their greatest need is to be loved and accepted for who they are. They are wanting to be someone important. I guess that’s what we all really want. Older people get to a point where they don’t really need that validation anymore. At some point they accept who they are and why they are how they are. It’s very important to get to a place where you can love who you are and who you have become. Not needing to feel the acceptance of others to know that your life matters. Being there for others helps you get there. If a child is trained up and disciplined well by all those influencing their lives they won’t stray from it when they are older. Hopefully their character will be strong and they will help instill good character into others also. That is how this world should work.

Can you help to be a character builder in others?

The Temple of God

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple; God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV

We are made in the image of God. Therefore we have everything available to us to be holy. This is not something we can do on our own though. It takes God’s help, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us guiding and leading us. When we let the world lead us that is where we go wrong. The world cares more about meeting and fulfilling our sinful nature rather than God’s desires. We need to remember that God is watching and knows our every thought. Do we want him with us in everything we do. If you are a born again Christian he is. He promises to never leave you or forsake you. Before my stroke I was living a worldly life. Doing whatever I wanted. I look back on my life then and wince. God was right there with me. I ate whatever I wanted. I drank and partied whenever I wanted. I hung out with whomever I wanted. I know my behavior hurt God and was not good for me. Living for the moments gratification is not good. People eat too much, drink too much, and don’t generally take very good care of themselves. Our physical bodies pay, but our spiritual bodies pay even more. I was far from God. I thought I was living. I now know that it was a shallow life. It would satisfy for a few minutes, or help me to forget my problems temporarily, but they weren’t gone just hidden. People who get involved with many addictions can tell you they help for a time. But your life is still there and the addictions can spiral. They get stronger and you get weaker. You have less and less control over your life. I also worked a lot. I would feel the need to work even on the weekends and would miss church. You think you are doing the right thing. It’s my job right? I have responsibilities and bills. I worked with my husband so I felt I needed to be there for him. These were all deceptions of the enemy. I believe my stroke was a wake up call. I almost died and I was not where I should have been. I didn’t die though because God knew just where I was headed and he knew the best was yet to come. And he knew all I would do for him. He didn’t give up on me and he won’t give up on you.

Are you living a life worthy of all you have been given?

God Is Good

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” Nahum 1;7-8 NIVp

God is good. He cares for his children and always hears when we cry out to him. He does not like to see his children hurting. Especially at the hand of wicked and evil people. That’s how he is , He always brings punishment on those who are evil, sinners. Eventually judgement will come. Nineveh was a very worldly and corrupt city. Their reputation preceded them. That is why God asked Jonah to prophesy the destruction he had for them. But Jonah said no way and ran the other way. God sent a big storm to follow him . God always knows what we are up to. You can not hide from God. When the people found out he was running away from God they had no choice but to get him out of their ship. They still cried out to God to forgive them for throwing him overboard. But the minute he was out of the ship the seas grew calm. God is powerful. They were stunned. Well we all know what happened next. After three days in the belly of a fish yelling at God he agreed to go to Nineveh . He had not wanted to go because he knew God to be very merciful and loving. He knew if he warned them then they would cry out to Him and he would stop from sending judgement . They were so wicked that he thought they should pay. Well the minute he agreed to go, poof, he was on dry land. He headed for Nineveh and poured his heart out to the people letting them know all God had told him. Well you know what happened? They cried out to God for forgiveness and turned from their evil. And he forgave them. Jonah knew it. He was so upset he went just outside the city and sat down to pout. “Just kill me, I knew you would do that. I would be better off dead.,” he said. Well God let him sit there and fume for a while, but God sent a plant to grow up over his head to shield him from the burning sun. The next day when he woke up a worm came munching on that plant and it died. Well now Jonah was real mad. But God asked him why he was so angry? You didn’t make that plant. It was just an old plant so why should you care. You see that city is full of thousands of people that I made. Some were good and some were bad but I loved them. That’s why I had to warn them. Even when we are evil sinners. God still cares about us. If you come to Him and ask him to forgive you for bad tings you have done, even if they are really bad. If you are sorry for those sins he will forgive you.

Don’t you want to be on God’s side?