I forget stuff! I can blame it on my age but that does not change it. My mind gets easily scattered all over the place. My senses take in sounds, smells and things I see while I write and off my mind goes. I look down at the paper before me and forget what I was writing. I may be in the middle of a very important project and my phone rings, I take the call and off I go to another project; completely forgetting the original task I was working on. I simply just do not remember. I have made calls on my phone and forgot where my phone was as it was attached to my ear (my daughter just shared this same experience with me); I will be in conversation with someone and forget in the middle what we were speaking about. AND names! I will be introduced to someone and seconds later, poof! That name leaves my mind to the land of non-remembered names. I forget stuff!
Forgetting these everyday jobs or concerns is a bit frustrating, however, what is more bothersome to me is how fast I forget my LORD. My day starts, duties swirl around me a mile a minute – problems arise, excitement abounds and I admit I forget who really is in control. I forget to thank the one who makes all things possible. I forget to pray when situations become fearful.
By the grace of the LORD, and because of my heart’s devotion to HIM, miraculously in my mind I refer to as the land of the forgotten, the remembrance of the LORD always trickles back. This is not of me I have to say, it is all GOD! Why? Because I forget stuff!
HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD! No matter what is happening, worry, busyness, trauma, delight, excitement – lest we forget, the LORD sure helps us remember. Amazingly, we are also forgiven for our lapse in memory. I know how I feel when I think I am looked over, taken advantage of or forgotten. It feels awful. Yet, I do this to the LORD and HE forgives me and still takes me into HIS arms like the prodigal son returning home from straying away.
Even though my memory is small and my tendency to forget is large, I always come back to the LORD. I eventually remember WHO IS IN CONTROL, WHO IS IN LOVE WITH ME and WHO SAVED ME!
Dear FATHER: Forgive me for not remembering to thank you for the food I eat, for the roof over my head, the love of family that surrounds me, the comradery of a church I love and the many, many blessings YOU provide each day, each moment. Thank YOU LORD for all the blessings I take for granted. I pray that today I remember to give YOU the honor that YOU deserve at the least. I pray that today I summon up the worship of YOU that is rightly YOURS. I thank YOU for leading my heart, my soul and my spirit in YOU each and every moment of every single day. Surround all those who may be struggling with their faith, with their health, with money problems, jobs and torn relationships LORD and let them know that YOU are the only solution. I pray for all of this in the name of JESUS CHRIST who went to the cross generously, in love for me so that I could live free from sin and death and be with my LORD in eternity. AMEN
Are You Ready?
Who is your Goliath? We all have a Goliath at one time or another. It could be a lack of funds, poor health, a challenging relationship, addiction, depression or perhaps you are your own Goliath?
We, like those in David's time could be looking at our Goliath and just feel defeated. How will I pay rent? Can I put down that drink or better yet not pick it up? Will my Diabetes ever get in control? Will my marriage last? What can I do about this unending feeling of doom? Will my business survive? These are only some examples of what may seem as insurmountable monsters in our lives.
1 Samuel 17:46 begins: David speaks to Goliath and tells him boldly that this is the day the LORD will deliver you into my hands. David was a small kid and Saul was leading the Israel army against the Philistines who bring this mighty giant to fight. This monster was the "sure thing"; their ace in the hole and those Philistines just knew they would not be defeated. They thought because of the size and the might of their weapon, called Goliath; they had nothing to worry about!
So tell me. Are you sitting there right now at your kitchen table with a cup of coffee in your hand thinking about your life and how awful it is or how bad the cards that you have been dealt is? Do you often throw up your hands in exasperation and utter the words "Life sucks"?
When David faces this monster he boldly tells him: Dude, this is the end of the road for you as he looks high up to this larger than life giant. And knowing fully by faith that GOD will deliver, David beats Goliath and wins. Not by his own might, strength or size but with a sling and a stone and GOD!
Whatever you are facing right now, tell that issue: I WILL deliver you to my LORD! So.... If you worry about the future; exclaim, "future, I shall deliver you to my GOD and therefore I win and you lose! If you are battling the bottle of JD sitting before you- place it down and scream- I will deliver you to the LORD today and I will win!
Are you ready? Are you ready to stop fighting with your strength? Are you ready to speak to your problem and yell, I shall deliver you to my LORD!
HE NEVER LET ME GO
I have had many tough times in my life. There have been times of financial drought. Some of the worst of times were those when I was raising my daughters by myself. Rent remained unpaid, we had no oil for heat and it was right around the holidays. I remember those days like they were yesterday. It is like a recorded tape in each cell in my body. Those memories glued a feeling in me that I was not going back there. Interestingly enough one of my kids several years ago actually told me that they were fun times. TO them, yes, it was. When there was no electric, we made a game out of it. I never let them see me sweat. Inside I was a scared little girl, determined to figure it all out but those around me never knew.
Hungry times lead to desperate measures. I did things back then that I am not proud of. Every one of those things I did and told myself I was doing them to protect my family all came back to eventually haunt me. One leading to a visit from a Constable regarding a bad check I wrote. Ironically, I have never admitted that to anyone. SO you may be wondering, why on earth am I letting that cat out of the bag now? Let me explain.
I was or so thought I was a self-reliant person, who was strong and could over-come anything. I lived my life fighting my way through. I had help from my parents here and there but for the most part, I was stubborn and rarely asked for help. I had accepted JESUS in my life many, many years before. Yet, I still was extremely determined to show myself and the world that I could do it all on my own. In the back of my mind, I would chant: I don’t need no man, I don’t need anyone – I got this!
I did not get this. I made mistake after mistake. I dug myself deeper and deeper; all the while smiling and scheming my way through each situation. I actually lived in such a state of anxiety that hyper became my normal. I tried still to be sure that my kids knew nothing of this struggle. They still had gifts on Christmas (thank GOD for a helpful Church), food in their bellies and a roof over their heads.
My oldest daughter was going to school in the same pair of sneakers. It was winter and I could not afford snow boots. Her teacher graciously bought her boots. On the outside I pretended graciousness but inside I was screaming: “who does she think she is? Does she think she is better than me?” I felt that I was looked at as a bad mom.
I always struggled with that feeling deep inside that I was not a good enough mom, good enough daughter, good enough friend, etc…. Pretty soon I decided that I would be perfect, or at least appear to be perfect, when truly inside I was scared and angry. To be perfect I was at the world’s mercy.
Yet, as prideful and angry as I was, JESUS held onto me. HE always came through. I just did not realize it at the time. I accepted JESUS as a young teenager, lost and living on my own. Then I went out in the world and lived. I did not begin a relationship with JESUS until much later.
To shorten a long story… I started to relate to JESUS when things got bad. I rested in GOD and prayed that HE would get me through. There were some rough waters. I would take my eyes off of JESUS and then my world would come undone, and then I screamed out for HIS help.
Skip forward, present time. I now can say I have a close relationship with GOD. As a matter of fact, HE is a constant presence in my life. I do understand however, that it was those angry and stubborn times that brought me here. Does life still present me challenges? Without a doubt!!!
Psalm 36:5-6 (Msg) God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.
Well GOD never let me go. No matter what I was going through, when I was pushing him away, making bad decisions – running from HIS grace – “HIS largeness never let me get lost”.
Whatever you may be going through. It is never too late to ask HIM in and start relating to JESUS. HE loves you and cries when we cry, suffers when we suffer and rejoices when we rejoice. You may feel at the end; you may feel empty – you may hurt or be angry. You may feel that there is no one else who cares or understands… you are wrong!
A glimpse into the evil heart is not pretty. From it comes hurtful actions, gossip, laughing at another’s misgivings, caving into ungodly desires, immorality, deviate behavior, stealing, deception, lies, and the list goes on. I will admit something here that may be shocking. That is me. Frankly, that is all of us. We are all capable of an evil heart. Sin produces the evil.
I love JESUS and my life is HIS. I consider myself pretty devoted to GOD. I pray, worship and relate to HIM throughout each day some days more than others. I learn and read as much as I can. Nevertheless, a sinner I am still. That will not change. The only change is that I am a forgiven sinner and this by grace.
Today I exhibited behavior that I am not proud of. The conviction of my heart in this was strong and I had to repent. Seeing this behavior was difficult. At first, I wanted to deny it. After, I gave justification a whirl. Finally, I had to see the truth and repentance was the final answer. Someone I used to know and who hurt me was caught in a compromising position. I laughed and poked fun and even felt a sense of satisfaction at this person’s self-destructive behavior. Then I noticed something happen. I started to feel bad. It was not so humorous anymore. I began to realize that because this individual is lost, he is drowning in secrets, lies and horrid behavior. Me laughing at that horrid behavior is no better than the depraved conduct of this person.
I will not assume that everyone is like this but I will express that many of us are. We all sin on some level. When I think back to before CHRIST, I think it to be amazing that to rid oneself of wrong-doing included really difficult rituals. The law was almost impossible to adhere to then. WE needed CHRIST and GOD knew this.
We wage a battle inside of good and evil. Thank GOD that through CHRIST I am saved. I have GOD’s forgiveness even when I slip into a foul and malicious mindset. The urge for evil is real. And to lessen its effect, we must plunge ourselves into GOD’s grace and glory. I know this is just an example of where I fall. There are times when I am not even aware of it. If I weren’t a child of CHRIST and saved by the cross, I do not know where I would be. I shudder to even think of it.
It is astounding to realize that in the eyes of the LORD, I am wiped clean and my sins blotted out. All because my FATHER loved me. Not because I did anything! Simply because HE loved me first!
A HOUSE IS JUST A HOUSE or IS IT?
It seems like when I go through something, I do sometimes see it only from my perspective. That makes sense. This is not saying I am not empathetic because I am. As a matter of fact, I think I can be over-empathetic and then I become a rescuer. This has gotten neither me or those I love anywhere but here, stuck. I understand that the only change will come when a desire or a need occurs.
I am in need to downsize my home. I am used to living in a big home for about 20 years now with a lot of occupants and much hustle and bustle. Actually, to be honest I kind of like it that way. However, now I realize the older I get, the need for a more settled and simple life is becoming necessary; not to mention financial issues that contributes to this need for change. I am afraid. And, everyone who is living here that has to make this change, is fearful as well. It is very over-whelming. Sometimes, I just want to crawl in a little ball and just make it go away.
Not only do I feel like an ogre forcing everyone out into the world but I am also uncomfortable with the idea of quietness. I imagine that is part of why there is a huge facet of procrastination. I have made some huge decisions lately based on my reliance on CHRIST and here is another and there will be many, many more, I am sure. I have no idea what or where my LORD wants me to live. I imagine it will be perfect as everything is when it is through prayer and leaning on GOD. As soon as a dribble of unsureness seeps in my being, and I feel myself drifting heavily into the whirlwind of worry; I need to call on the name of CHRIST as my anchor.
I do realize that everyone in this house (and there is a lot of us) needs prayer. Each one is going through their own version of fear and resistance to change. That is the human way. Houses are not just buildings, they are homes and havens for us, a place where we are secure. No matter how bad the roof is, the plumbing, the mess and such – it is the warm and comfy place we become accustomed to.
I need to realize that just as the church building is not where CHRIST exclusively resides, that my house is just a building. It is the love that makes it a cozy place.
Change is not a bad thing, just a scary thing. I thank GOD that I can handle all things through HIM. I am not alone, none of us are alone in this big old house. We all are being guided by a much higher force than what building we are living in.
SO as we forge ahead, GOD has got great plans for each one of us individually and collectively. As my mom would say to us in the middle of many storms when growing up. “Deni, look at it as an adventure”.
So, here I go, hand-in-hand with JESUS to this new adventure!
Is it pride? or confidence?
At times, I confuse the difference with confidence and pride. I realize that the feeling is the same but the way it comes about are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
PRIDE: When I do not have confidence in something I do or am, I tend to need approval. This may come in the way of compliments or some other type of tangible. This is usually more pride-oriented.
CONFIDENCE: Confidence is an assuredness that you are doing good. It comes from a clean and pure heart. One that can look back and say, hmmmmmm, yes, that is good.
Pride is hungry and tends to be never ending. It needs a constant filling. Whether it is fed by money, accolades, likes, tweets, pokes and the like; nothing ever is quite enough. Whereas confidence is gentle and does not require constant feedback. It is a general feeling of good. It ends there.
Whether we grew up in homes where our self-esteem suffered or were bullied in school, these cause a rip in self-esteem and doubt and self-loathing replace confidence. When we are babies, we know nothing of this. We see the smile of our mother in approval when we smile and right then we think we are the cat’s meow. (yep I used that phrase). Go forward a few years later, whether a subtle remark is made about the way we look, or a negative comment about our intelligence, that is where confidence starts slipping away.
Then, one can quickly start doing things to gain ego, simply because a healthy one was stunted long ago. Unbeknownst to ourselves, pride is born. It may come in the guise of over-spending on a fancy car or home so that others will be envious. Do not get me wrong, having nice things is not always about pride. Generally, a desire to boast about something is the divider.
I never felt pretty. From a young age I was what one today would describe as a thick build, but to me it was fat. I did not measure up to the typical at least what was archetypal in my youth; the very thin, perfect complexion and so forth and so on. I also never felt smart. Now that I look back, it probably was not that I was not intelligent, it was a misdirected focus. I learned differently. As a result of this feeling of mine, I dropped out of school. I now had a new identity, the high school drop-out. I did eventually get a GED. It never felt the same to me.
I worked my way through the ranks by much self- teaching, and making many mistakes. Due to my lack of self-confidence, my pride was overflowing. My pride was fed by being the “go-to” for everyone around me. I needed that pat on the back and those ultimate words “What would I do without you”? My chest would puff out and my pride was high. Until…… that same person would get angry about a mistake I made or something I did not do quite exactly the way they wanted. I would then deflate, and back came the negative self-talk. I am so stupid! That is what I would tell myself often, still do, at times.
GOD makes it pretty clear in HIS word that he is not a real fan of pride. Pride takes away from who we are in CHRIST and puts more of an emphasis on who we are in the world. Romans 12:3 , “Paul writes to the Romans that he is speaking out of deep gratitude for all that GOD has given me” - This is it, “for all that GOD has given me”. All of our abilities, the way we look and our gifts, all come from the LORD. Paul goes on to say that we should live in pure grace and do not misinterpret ourselves as people who are bringing goodness to GOD, it is GOD who brings all to you. Then the big finish: we are to understand ourselves by what GOD does for us not by what we are and what we do for the LORD.
Our self-esteem comes from GOD. We are beautiful individuals to our LORD. In order to remove or begin to rid ourselves of pride, we must first accept who we are in CHRIST. Simply and perhaps a bit complicated, we meant so much to CHRIST that HE willingly is nailed to a cross shaped hunk of wood, suffering so that we can be free from all sin and death. HIS love is not based on what you have, what you look like, or what you can do? HIS love is not based on how smart you are; how mechanical you may be or how good at math you are! IT is simply because HE loved you first! Grace is your self-esteem!! All else is pride!
LORD, I am truly sorry if pride has gotten in between me and YOU. Fill me with the self-esteem that can only come from YOU, LORD. Forgive me for puffing me chest out when I think I did a good job instead of remembering YOUR grace and just where all comes from. I would like to ask that YOU LORD replace my pride with GODfidance, which only comes from YOU. Thank YOU JESUS!
I could've had a.......
Happy Sunday! Earlier yesterday, I noticed evidence of leaking on the ceiling in two rooms of my house. Initially, inside, I felt like a hot tempered two-year-old wanting to just scream, why???? Then, something interesting happened. I heard in my head (don’t worry I am not hallucinating) “Deni, you have a roof over your head! Yet you are this upset over a few leaks”.
As I am sitting here, I am not feeling well. This is not uncommon and thank GOD I can usually push through it. In my mind goes the ever popular thought “Not now, I have so much to do”, whining much like, (yes, once again) a two-year-old who is not getting their way.
As I write this, I am reminded of those commercials where one is reminded they could have had a V-8. You are familiar? If not, there is a slap on the top of the head along with a statement uttered: I could’ve had a V-8. As you are probably sitting there baffled as to where I am going with this, I will tie it in.
We all travel through our days, hours, moments and life happens. The good moments are sailed through smoothly and then something happens that throw us off such as car trouble, sickness, or a leak in the ceiling. Initially, at least for me, my reaction is Why?? or Not now! as if these words actually have any impact on the situation. Then after I am worked up, frustrated or sad, (smack to the top of my head) I could have prayed! I could take a deep breath in and just give it to the LORD. I could have had a V-8 for my soul!
Psalm 73:26 is perfect for these situations. “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but GOD remains the strength of my heart; HE is mine forever. Then I am also reminded of Proverbs 19:22, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand”
Bottom line here is that GOD is in control. HE is the first, the last and the in-between! And GOD has purpose for all things. When we lose sight of this, it is time for that smack on the head, I could have had a V-8 moment. I say this all too often to others but I must tell myself this more as well. GOD’s got this! I need to buy the T-shirt! When things look like they may be spinning out of control; think nothing more than GOD’s got this!
That is where you will experience joy and peace in all circumstances! This leads me to James 1:2 (I actually had a hard time with this one) Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of many kinds”. Ultimately, GOD teaches us that patience and perseverance are where it is at. Sometimes I let it be more like emotions and giving up. There is not so much wrong with giving up if you are truly giving it up to the LORD. The more we learn not to let life’s circumstances push us around like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves, the stronger in the LORD we become and the more joy and peace we experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am so far from “counting it all joy” but I am a saint in the making. GOD is still working on me. HE does not give up like we do, thankfully so. GOD loves us in spite!
HOPE = FAITH
Happy Wednesday! Can you imagine even being one of the followers of CHRIST watching him being tortured, nailed and hung on the cross; dying (at least that was the way it looked to them at the time). Even though he foretold this to many, I would imagine that if I were standing there watching this I would have trouble understanding it. I would imagine doubt would creep in. If I were to be brutally honest, I may even be angry at the fact that my Savior is not saving himself. The implications surrounding that would be baffling to my small human mind. First, I would be heart-broken as I know I would be missing HIM. Secondly, I would start to think that perhaps this all was not real? Last, fear would set in; what is going to happen to me. There were pretty irate people who wanted nothing more than to put an end to the “Christ followers”!
Alas! three days later, HE is missing from the tomb. Scientifically and theoretically many logical answers can be found to explain that. However, JESUS is resurrected and then ascends and there are many accountings in the WORD of his time with HIS disciples and followers. Each perception very close in translation and accounted for. That in itself is a miracle. Why, even our superficial gossiping loses much of translation as it goes from one to another like a bad “whisper down the lane game”. Yet each account of JESUS’ is very similar.
Faith is not “when I see it I will believe it”. That would be proof. And there is a pretty good amount of proof of whom JESUS is/was; yet there are hugely supernatural occurrences as well. When I used to think of the word: supernatural, I would think of voodoo, magic and witchery. But it is defined as manifestations and events that occur beyond understanding. GOD’s power is amazing and way beyond anything we can fathom.
When we are ill, we see our illness from the perspective of perhaps the doctors. When we do not know where the money will come for the next mortgage payment, we see this from the balance in our checking account. When we want someone we love very much to accept the LORD, our hope lies in what we think is capable based on that person. How quickly we forget how BIG our LORD is! How fast we lose the impact of what JESUS did for us!
I have seen GOD’s supernatural power very often. I have seen and felt it in my heart. When I feel like throwing up my hands and throwing in the towel, GOD is there telling me to stop throwing and start holding onto HIM. When I am so tired of battling and feel that life keeps knocking me down, I was able to get back up. Not anything I am doing, it was all JESUS.
GOD took a high-school drop-out, divorced single mom of four young girls and made a life for us. Even when I strayed, HE stayed! I did not believe in myself but GOD believed in me. Opportunities kept presenting themselves and by grace we did not just survive, we thrived. GOD’s supernatural power combined with my hope and faith were bigger than any mistake I made or battle I faced, time and time again.
By GOD’s grace, I did not watch my JESUS die on that cross on the day HE saved me. I did not have to sit for several days agonizing about the “what ifs”. At 17, GOD presented HIMSELF to me; a young and insecure girl who grew up in a Jewish home. When I say Jewish, it was more than a faith; it was a way of life, heavy in tradition and identity. However that certainly did not stop the LORD! JESUS gently opened HIS arms and I accepted HIS love. Even though I rebelled, and went my own way for a good while, HE never left me.
What is ailing you right now? What keeps you stuck? If you have the tiniest bit of faith and hope in JESUS, build on it. When those voices of negativity and defeat are screaming in your ears, take a deep breath and pray. Look, JESUS is right there in front of you; waiting……. crying with you, hoping…. that you will finally accept HIM in so that you no longer are chained. Thank YOU JESUS!