and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Subconscious Issues

       Stressful dreams that is the way I’d been dreaming for about 12 years, and I could wake up every day recounting the dreams long enough to write them down if I wanted.  Funny thing is, I don’t really stress about things that happen (or exist) anymore- money, kids, hubby, health- I kind of believe God’s gonna work it all out, so why worry.  But my memory has been having problems for quite a while and the response of the doctor was, “It is stress induced memory loss.”  Hmmm.  “But I don’t really stress about anything” I say.  “It is subconscious stress,” he replies, and because of the dreams I know he’s right about my having subconscious stress.

       Anyone know what to do with subconscious stress?  Relaxing more won’t help when you never feel stress consciously.  So I figured if there is no way ‘man’ could help me with the problem, I know someone who can.  I very nicely asked the Lord to clean up my subconscious thoughts and then proceeded to give them to Him every time I went to sleep leaving my subconscious in His capable hands.  (I know sounds weird!) Lo and behold, I don’t have stressful dreams that I recall anymore and I sleep through the night now. 

Another hmmm.

       So, why didn’t I think of the Lord first?  I don’t know.  Sometimes we think in human, logical steps instead of God first.  I’m hoping one day it won’t be that way any longer, but until then, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  It feels great to sleep through the night, and I am so very thankful that, once again, my Lord has done a miracle in my life.  It hasn’t helped my memory at all, but I’m still praying about that one.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  Eph. 5:20
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1Th

       It is relatively easy to thank God for the good things that happen in our lives, but not so easy when our paths are littered with difficulties and grievous things.  He doesn’t really expect us to thank Him for those things, does He?  Always for all things.  In everything.  Thanks here is the word eucharisteo and means gratitude.  We can thank God in everything, for He is allowing it for a reason or purpose even if we don’t understand (Is. 55:8).  But the part we should be most grateful for is He will not leave us alone (Dt. 31:6) in the midst of any difficulty (Is. 43:2).  He is still on the throne (Ps. 45:6) and will not allow us to be overcome (1Cor. ). 

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various) temptations (experiences/ adversities); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  Jm. 1:2-4

       So, when we don’t feel like the Lord is present, or helping us, and the vice is pressing down on our lives, we can still thank Him for being who He is, for being with us, and for knowing what is needed in our lives for us to become the person we need to be.

Thank You Lord for Your patience with us.  Thank You for being with us through all the storms of life with love we barely comprehend.  Thank You for the good times, the healings, the blessings.  Thank You for the hard times, the ones we don’t want to face, but which we never face alone

           for you are with us.

Friday, June 08, 2012

God’s Calling

       This morning I was imaging what would have happened to me if I were born in a communist or Muslim country and had become a Christian.  Certainly, there is still persecution of Christians all over the world, in some places worse than others, and some of our brothers and sisters face death every day while we do not face those issues.  Paul wrote about magnifying Christ in life or in death.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Php. 1:20,21

preach-teach by whatever means available!!!
       ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’: of course dying is gain because we all want to be there face to face with the Lord especially in our new disease free, healthy bodies.  As I’ve said before, for me the challenge is living for Jesus.  It means every morning I have to wake up knowing I can’t be with Him the way I want, and that I’ve got to give great effort to crucify self, surrender my own will, and follow Him.  If I’m honest, some days I think dying for Him would be easier than living for Him.

       The Lord has called me to do certain things.  The first problem I face is me, my fears and concerns about failures, and my flesh wanting to ignore the call or find excuses not to do it.  Even if I manage to deal with those issues, then I face other people who don’t necessarily believe in God’s call for me.

       For instance; there are many people who believe women are not to teach/ preach the Word of God and I am a woman!  They base their belief on what they believe is correct interpretation of scripture so how can you fault them for trying to follow scripture.  But some of them consider a woman who teaches the Word to be a heretic, and so totally dismiss anything they say and-or speak/ write against them.

       Even bypassing the whole woman issue, then one must face the general offense of the public for anyone who dares to teach/ preach the Word of God.  So, one who preaches can expect disgusted looks, discouraging words or insults, ridicule, and experience avoidance.  Of course there are those who ‘know better’, ‘interpret more accurately’, ‘have more experience’, ‘are better at doing the job’, etc.  Why is it ‘man’ is so eager for or so easily falls into critiquing?

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2Tm. 1:6,7
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Mt. 10:28

       Then there is family and friends who know you and all your flaws and think those faults should prevent you from fulfilling your call, after all, if you still have failings and you teach the Word, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?  So, even though we live in a ‘free’ country, there are still hurdles to face in obeying God’s call in your life.  Whatever we face, we are told to teach/ preach the Word to the world.  How else will they hear the words of salvation from death?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  Rom. 1:16
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  2Tm. 4:2
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  Acts 1:8  (witnesses speak of what they know!)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  Mk. 16:15

Let’s all live for Jesus Christ today, boldly telling others the gospel unto salvation!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Peace That Passes Understanding

soft sunrise-
       Do people who don't believe in Christ Jesus have peace?  Yes, they can have peace in their lives, but I have to say it is usually based on no bad things happening at the time so it does not seem to survive through the trials, anxieties and sorrows of life.  In fact, some people never seem to have peace whether Christians or not- I know, because I used to be one of them.  The biggest problem for me in living a peaceful life was  ME!

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Pr. 3:5,6

       My problem really stemmed from two places- wanting to remain in control of my own life and not trusting the Lord.  Eventually I accepted that we are never in control no matter how hard we try to be.  Life throws its curveballs, nature has its own way, other people act in unexpected ways and there is nothing we can do about it except decide how we will respond.  I’d like to tell you this is completely resolved, but the truth is I still find remnants of control popping up now and again that have to be surrendered afresh.

       As for trusting the Lord, that part is still growing and I think that is the way it probably is meant to be (just as trust continues to grow for the people around us) so as I spend time with Him and we walk through each day, I learn I can count on Him more and more.  As I see His loving and merciful hand at work in my life, and see how He uses all for my good (Rom. ), my trust grows.  Day by day my Lord is using this life to help me become the person I need to be and I am confident He will continue His work in me (Php. 1:6).

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Php 4:4-7

       We see several commands here, the first being to rejoice in the Lord always.  If you can rejoice (be happy) in the Lord in the bad times, then you are likely trusting Him.  Moderate living speaks of not living in excesses of passions, dress, or pleasures.  To do this, one must surrender control of their lives to the Lord.  In order to not be anxious, we must trust that God will do all in His power to help us and complete the work in us.  Prayer and petition with gratitude also show surrender and trust.  Basically, if we surrender our lives completely and trust the Lord, we will have the peace that passes all understanding.

       Mankind may never understand or intellectually figure out how we can have peace (2nd phrase of v.7) when our world is falling down around us, but we know it is possible and can live it when we surrender and trust the Lord- daily, even hourly or moment by moment.  And the peace of the Lord will guard our hearts (thoughts, feelings) and minds (perception, intellect) through Jesus Christ who died to save and set us free.
(Is. 53:1-9; Is. 61:1-3)

Peace that passes all understanding is ours if we surrender and trust our Lord. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Long Walk

       Hubby and I went for a country long block walk last night and the weather was perfect for it- not too cold or too hot.  It is interesting the details you notice while walking that you miss when driving or even bicycle riding.  An older man is enjoying the evening on his porch while watching the neighbour kids play, garden work is being done by homeowners, ornate gates and windows, and lawns of all shapes and sizes.  Some grass was longer than others, some thinner blades; some was thick while others were less dense.

       One thing I’ve noticed over the years is the perseverance of grass as it keeps coming back ‘to life’ year after year.  In the midst of droughts it turns brown and looks like it’s dead.  Through the winter it lays dormant under blankets of snow.  It will punch through dirt laid on top of it.  Seems to me, it is made of sturdy stuff, after all, our Creator made it:  And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass…” (Gen 1:11)  Grass has endured over thousands of years because God made it to be resilient and endurable.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Gen. 1:27
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Gen. 1:31

       We are made by God too and He was very pleased with us as His creation.  The Lord also put in us a spirit (Gen. 2:7) that is resilient and endurable since we are able to overcome extreme hardship as has been proven over thousands of years.  Occasionally we think we are unable to endure, and yet time and again we survive all the trials and sorrows that afflict us on this earth.  This is evident in those who believe in the Lord and those who do not. 

       The one benefit believers have is that we are not alone in our struggles.  We have the Lord we can rely on to be with us (Mt. 28:20), for help (Ps. 46:1), support (Ps. 41:3*), efforts on our behalf (Ps. ), love, understanding, peace and joy, and because He has overcome (Jn. ), we too can overcome all the trials and sorrows of this life (1Jn. 5:4).  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.(Pr. 24:16)  We are more precious (Is. 43:4**) to Him than the grass beneath our feet, and we can take comfort in the fact He has made us to endure and will continue working in us until the end (Php. 1:6).

(from the Lord)
My child, take comfort in the love I have for you, that it is always good and will never fail.
                 Be assured I will never leave you or forsake you.
                                     You are mine forever,
                                             Love Jesus.

*Hebrew sawad- meaning support.  Translated: strengthen, comfort, refresh, uphold.
**Though this scripture is for Israel, believers are children of Abraham and heirs to his promises.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Render to God

the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him (Jesus) in his words. (asking)  Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. 
Mark 12:13-17

       We all know the scripture because we’ve heard it a million times (yes I’m exaggerating) but we usually hear it in context of money.  If we give the government their money, we should also give God (through the church) his money- tithes, offerings, etc.  But, I doubt if that is the real meaning.  After all, the context here indicates the money is Caesar’s because his image is on it.  Caesar had this money manufactured for him as the currency for his people and had his own face stamped on it as proof of his kingship. 

       God didn’t have any money manufactured for Himself.  We are all made/ formed by God (Gen. 2:7) for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11), as His people (Ps. 100:3), and we ‘are stamped’ in His image (likeness) (Gen. 1:26) perhaps also as proof of His kingship (Ps. 47:2).  So if we are His, then logically it is us we must render to God.  (Render means to return; pay back; surrender; yield; give up the command or possession of; to give for use or benefit.)  This means the item (us) was God’s to begin with and now we must pay us back or return us to Him.

       Not only are our bodies and spirits God’s, but our minds and hearts- after all, He did make those as well.  Mt. says, “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind.  We have His word written in our hearts (Rom. ; Heb. -16), All men bear God’s image and “superscription”/ inscription (something written to communicate knowledge; a title) and one day, as the priests of old (Ex. 28:36), believers will carry His name on us (Rev. 3:12; 22:4).  We are God’s and we are to render to God what is His.

As Asaph said,
          Vow, and pay (render) unto the LORD your God:
    let all that be round about him bring presents unto him
                        that ought to be feared. 
                                                  Ps. 76:11

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Balloon Escapades

       Such a busy weekend this is as our town has a four day festival and I am one of many volunteers to help out there.  It was after the parade, and we went back to the information booth to get ready for work, and it didn’t take long for the kids to start coming in for their complimentary helium filled balloon.  We were sent six student volunteers and I wondered if we would even need them, but we set them to balloon making.

       Two boys filled and tied, three of us tied strings and make slip knots, and two others went into the crowd to ask if parents wanted their kids to have them.  It was interesting to note that everyone ‘fell’ into the job they did best.  Of the two who filled, one could not do the strings at all, the other eventually learned but was very slow.  I could fill, but struggled too long in tying, the other two girls couldn’t do the filling and tying, and the two in the crowd couldn’t handle the inside jobs.  We all went into the jobs wherein our talents were to become an efficient assembly line.

       The crowds of kids came and I think we did over a thousand balloons (seemed like that many), the kids were happy and our fingers were tired.  The work flowed smoothly as long as we each kept working our own job.  Slow downs occurred only when we tried/ or were forced to do jobs not in our talents  One student was so excited to give the balloons out that he really helped to draw in the crowds.  It was great!

       Last night as I pondered the experience I wondered if things would go more smoothly in the kingdom of God if we all fulfilled God’s will for us, utilizing our God given talents instead of forcing our way into positions unsuited to our talents and/ or God’s will.  That is why there are so many passages in the Bible about being part of the body.  We all fit together working simultaneously for the kingdom of God.  Here are some:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.  1Cor. -14  (also :1-31)
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us  Rom. 12:6  (also :4-8)
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  Eph. TLB

       Jesus is the head of the one ‘church’ body- all true believers- (Eph. 1, 22,23) and we all ‘drink’ of the same Spirit.  We have different gifts given to us by God for His purpose and when we are in His will we fit together perfectly and help each other grow.  And so when we become one efficient body/ workforce we can more effectively do the Lord’s work until He returns.  We reached more children with balloons by working together well, and the body of Christ will reach more unsaved people when we work well together.

Lord God, help us to be one in You. (Eph. 4:4,5)