Back in the garden ..

I often joke about what happened in the garden of Eden .. you know the part where they blamed someone else?  However, truth be told, what happened was pretty serious.  Now I know that Eve is the one who took the first bite, but for the purpose of this blog, my focus is on how they .. specifically Adam, reacted.  He lost his proper perspective and blamed God.

God calmly handled the situation.  There were some things that needed to change.  There was a very serious lesson that needed to be learned and God was going to have to administer some tough love to do it.  Up until this time, God had provided everything.  All man had to do was enjoy.  He didn’t have to work for any of the things God provided.

While God loved Adam and Eve, I’m guessing that He understood from the beginning, the relationship He desired with man would never work if man blamed God for choices man himself had made.

So after handing out the sentence, God covered them, and gently ushered them out of the garden.  They had to learn personal responsibility.  Blaming God for problems that exist will always create a gap in the relationship.

Adam and Eve would have to learn that power lies in taking responsibility.  Power lies in accepting responsibility that it was our own choice that led us to do what we do .. regardless of circumstance, regardless of our past, regardless of how we arrived to do what we did .. we made a conscious choice.

It’s then that God can offer reasoning and understanding and use the situations to teach us why He told us not to take those actions in the first place.  It’s then that the relationship can be restored to what it was designed to be.  It’s then that God can use those things and work them for the good .. to those that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.

Sometimes tough love doesn’t feel good, but God uses our mistakes to teach us why it really is best if we just let Him BE God.  When we blame Him, somehow, we put ourselves at His level.  We are not gods.  Nor are we His equal.  We call Him our friend and His grace allows us to feel His nearness, but really, it’s important to keep a proper perspective of who He is.

When we take personal responsibility, we really do get a chance to see how God can turn ugly things into blessings.  Taking personal responsibility allows us to see from God’s perspective, which is always positive .. always good .. always on the ways of love.  Even if that means tough love.

God is good.  ALL the time.

.. sometimes I, personally, need to be reminded ..

I may not understand.  But the moment I blame Him for my choices, I’m making myself His equal.

gulp  ..  

Yeh .. not such a funny thing when you look at it like that.

Like I said, God is good.  ALL the time.

A Remodel Job

Jesus was a carpenter.  I’m fairly certain that the job He’s doing on me and my family, is a remodel job.  If I had to guess, I would be one of those old homes that from the outside might look a little unsteady, but has some solid beams inside.  My guess is that the comment could be made, ‘Well .. it needs a lot of work, but BOY does it have character!’

Now perhaps, as you read this, you might be thinking, ‘That’s much like myself.  Isn’t everyone a remodel job?’  After seeing families like the Duggers of 19 and Counting, I’m not so sure.  It seems that they were built of new construction.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just stating the facts.  It seems that a remodel job takes a bit more effort than starting from scratch.  The Dugger family is certainly blessed and anointed!  I think this is a beautiful thing.

I, however, wasn’t brought up in the church.  Neither were my children.  Christ uncovered my spiritual life finding a single, divorced mom who had very little knowledge in the ways of God.  A clean slate spiritually, but with a worldly foundation.  He has had His work cut out for Him!  He’s had to tare down some structures, seal off some doors, and open up new hallways to prepare for the new addition .. my husband and his children.

Of course, I can look at my family and see why God chose our house as a remodel job.  I can see through the chaotic drama or the frustrating commotion to what He saw .. the potential of the character inside.  Of course, it doesn’t always look pretty and sometimes, it’s dangerous to go inside certain areas, especially when He’s working, but never-the-less, it’s really starting to come together.

I used to think that you had to grow up in the church to get that anointing and blessing, but I’m seeing more and more that I was incorrect.  The blessing and anointing comes from following God .. period.  The more that I learn His ways, the more I learn that it doesn’t matter what my life looked like before I knew Christ.  So maybe it’ll take me a little longer to experience the blessing, but lo and behold, it’s still there!

The way I choose to look at it is that I’ve decided to pick up a tool or two and help Jesus with the job.  Truthfully, I really do admire families like the Duggers.  They truly show a life separate unto God and the blessings that follow.  However, I’m thankful that I’m a remodel job.  It seems that our world consists or more remodel jobs than new construction.  There’s a lot of families who, like me, didn’t start out in the church.  There’s a lot of people who need to know that even though they didn’t start out in this, the same non-financial blessings that the Duggers experience can still apply to them.

They need to know that Jesus is a carpenter.  He’s got the talent to construct from scratch or remodel something that’s already been structured.  His jobs always produce blessing and anointing.  He’s that good!  Maybe our attempts to help might muck it up from time to time, but lucky for us, He’s gracious enough to smile and nod at our feeble attempts to throw the hammer.  Personally, I really believe that Jesus wants a relationship with me and that means, I have to be involved and engaged.

What fun is a remodel job if you have to do all the work yourself?

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

In God’s Economy

I’ve heard it said that God’s economy is like socialism.  Now personally, I still don’t have a complete understanding of exactly what socialism is, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.  I’m not even sure that we humans have a term to accurately describe what happens in God’s economy, so I’m going to do my best to give an explanation.

See, last night, I had a dream that I had some girls, who I somehow knew were angels, working on my house.  When you know God, there’s this thing that happens to you, I think it’s called ‘love’ .. but honestly it’s something that I still haven’t wrapped my mind around fully.  This thing that happens gives you this desire to want to do things for God.  There’s no worry about getting paid or reimbursed or fitting it in .. it just happens EVERYWHERE you go.  Whether that be talking about how great He is and the awesome things He’s done, or helping someone you know He has put in your path.

Giving to His kingdom isn’t a chore, nor is it a duty, and it isn’t something you  feel forced to do.  It’s something that you look forward to doing and it energizes you as you do it!  Until you get to that point, it really is hard to understand because in our human world, we are used to giving and receiving.  The old tit for tat method.  What’s cool though, is even if you are more of a ‘slave’ for Christ, He shows you how He doesn’t even treat you like a slave.  He treats you with honor and respect and gives you the benefit of being His child, even if you don’t fully grasp that yet.  He continues to treat you that way until you ‘get it.’  That’s His economy.

In God’s economy, money has no meaning.  The value is fully placed on human lives .. living souls.  No one knows better how to invest in them, than almighty God!

I’m so thankful this morning!  I am personally beginning to see the profitable gains in the lives that He has been investing in those that I love.  I can’t help but be overwhelmed by this!  I really am seeing the blessings of following after Him, even when it was tough .. even when I didn’t understand what He was doing .. even when I had moments of doubt.

It’s like taking the word love, putting it in the center of the room, hanging in mid-air, then watching it disappear and grow while at the same time, feeling it fill not just your entire being, but feeling it fill every crack and crevice that surrounds you so that you are walking in this invisible sea of His very being!  That’s how I feel this morning.  God is so good!

Not sure if I did a good job of conveying meaning here, but sometimes, the words just don’t accurately explain what knowing Him is really about.

So thankful!

Thank you Jesus.  🙂

‘ .. In honor, preferring one another.’

Have you heard about the conjoined twins, Abby and Brittany?  They just started a show on TLC about their ‘normal conjoined life’.  My daughter told me about this, so we’ve been watching the show.  It’s pretty good.  Yet another marvelous story of God’s glory!  These girls, despite their physical obstacles, have overcome some incredible barriers and have an amazing attitude towards life.  But what strikes me most, is their ability to compromise and work together.

They haven’t done much preaching on the show, but it is very obvious that they are Christians.  They have attended Christian schools all the way through college.  On the show, there was a scripture they had painted on their wall .. I believe it was on their college wall.  It was the scripture in Romans that spoke of preferring one another.  What’s really neat is watching these two girls truly live according to this scripture.

You would think that because they are conjoined they don’t have much choice, but we always have a choice.  One of these girls could very easily assert her way over what she wants to wear or what she wants to do, but time, good parenting, and strong Christian character has produced this miraculous wonder.  I am so impressed watching them.  It’s easy to see that all those that come in contact with them are just as impressed.  This amazes me!

Oddly, I watch them and I think .. ‘Wow!  Now there’s an example of how I’m supposed to be with my husband.’  They are gentle, encouraging, upbeat, loving, and compromising to each other.  Honestly, I miss the mark .. I know I do.  However, I can’t help but feel inspired that it really is possible to live that scripture out.  Of course, these girls have had the benefit of living this way their whole life, but still, this is awe-some!  This is such the hand of God!

It’s not just in what they choose to wear or what to do for the day though.  They talk about their dreams and goals and one will share something that maybe the other would be afraid to do.  Rather than reply with passive aggression or stubborn behavior towards the other, the other twin will calmly let the other know she’s willing to do for her sister.  Now I’m sure  there are moments where the girls might have bad days, but the gentle demeanor they display has left an impression on me that these two girls are for-real.

I love it when you can see the fruit of God’s labor!  What a beautiful thing!  I’m thankful that these girls were willing to share their lives so that those of us who haven’t had all our lives to learn to be one with another human, can glean from their experience.  Wow!

Thank you Jesus.  What a great artist You are!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Have you ever watched someone sitting between a rock a hard place?  They don’t know Christ, and they aren’t even ready to hear about Him yet.  However, they are in deep trouble, but the devil has done such a fine job of pushing them down every time they try to get back up that they sit there .. defeated.  All the while, the bills continue to pile up, the problems come on stronger, and the depression comes over even stronger.

God has given me a heart for these people.  I can see their circumstances and see that yes, many of their problems were caused by poor decision.  However, I can also see how the lack of mercy from others in their lives has driven them deeper into the hole bearing a burden much greater than what their mistake really deserved.

The hard part for me is looking, knowing Jesus put them in my path, and wondering, ‘Okay, now what?’  I don’t believe in hand outs, I believe in hand ups.  I believe in encouraging and helping people to walk on their own.  However, I can’t help but wonder, are they going to make it?  What’s it going to take to get them to realize that they really do have what it takes to get out of the mess they’re in?

I hope this all turns out for this most recent case God put in my path.  I really do.  I see so much hope .. so much potential.  I just know in my heart of hearts that God wants to do a work here.  I just hope that she’s ready to start taking His hand.

I suppose God has given His grace to sustain these individuals until that time.  I just pray that He gives me the wisdom to help where I can, be encouraging, but keep moving forward myself.  This ministry thing isn’t always a piece of cake.

Man .. we really need Jesus.  BAD!

 

 

False balance or just weight?

The scripture in Proverbs 11:1 caught my attention this morning.  It says, ‘A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.’  It made me think of how we often try to achieve balance in our lives.  I know there have certainly been times in my life when I was trying to create what I thought was balance, but instead, it was really a false balance.  You know the times, when you put on a smile or a good show for the neighbors when inside, you really are feeling horrible.  Somehow though, the show helps to make you ‘feel’ better, but truly, there’s something still rotting inside.

Or in others, we recognize that they ‘appear’ to have everything in order, but there’s this mischievous look in their eye or an arrogance in their speech that tells you, they don’t have it together as much as things appear.  There is a particular political figure that reminds me of this, and no, it’s not either one of the presidential candidates.

When it’s myself, God usually gets my attention pretty good to make me realize that I’m out of whack.  I’m thankful that when I have moments of too much pride, God send in His angels to knock me to my knees and remind me that pride was the very thing that cost Lucifer his prestigious position.  However, what of those who obviously don’t know God?  I’m thinking specifically of this particular political person.

It’s easy for me to have mercy on men and woman who have never had a fair shot at life and have followed the path that comes with being at the bottom of the barrel.  It’s easy to look with understanding and see how circumstance and training led them to the place where they made horrible decisions.  However, what of those who had that silver spoon in their mouth?  What of those who were bred and born into pride and human riches?  Can I find mercy for these people?

I suppose I’m going to have to do a gut check and realize that yes, Christ died for even those folks.  Perhaps these are like the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Those who had it all, yet never understood the full meaning of what the law was intended to do, which is cleanse the heart.  I suppose that means that instead of putting a wall up and ignoring those individuals, I should work harder to pray for them.

Otherwise, I risk being just like them.  Gulp.  Hmm … just weight doesn’t always balance out.  But I suppose when you use Christ as your measuring stick, He takes care of getting things to equal out.

I think that now more than ever, our political leaders need our prayers.  Not just the ones we like or plan to vote for.  Deception is running rampant in the political arena.  They need our prayers just as much as the next guy.

Spiritual workover

As a massage therapist, I have a very unique perspective of the human body.  I treat pain management .. both acute and chronic pain.  My specialty is deep tissue.  I cringe when I hear it, but some of my best customers will promote me by saying things like, ‘She’ll get you alright!  You’ll hurt for days when she’s done with you!’

Of course, these well-meaning clients have an understanding that sometimes, in order to get better, there is pain to break up old patterns in the body.  While it may sometimes feel like I’m simply digging my bony elbow in their flesh, there is much analysis going on at my end.  I’m feeling for inflammation, scar tissue, muscular tension, range of motion or the lack there of, and not to mention, paying attention to their response to my work.

I was reminded yesterday of what it felt like to be on the end of my client.  Truthfully, I’m always doing a lot of self-adjusting and stretching to counter act what I do, however I’m always reminded when I get on the table that sometimes, it really does take someone else poking and prodding to break through some of the patterns my body is creating.  Ouch!

Spiritually, I find that to be the case as well.  After all, Christ does describe His church as a ‘body.’  Even when we are doing all we are supposed to be doing .. witnessing, praying, fasting, stretching ourselves, outreach, reading, studying, teaching .. God will remind us that He wants to get us on the table and give us a good work over.  He wants to keep us healthy and active, not restricted and in constant pain.  Let me explain how He works as our personal massage therapist.

Even though we didn’t realize that we were sore in a particular area, He was able to recognize how our walk was becoming a bit skewed by our compensation.  Maybe that little trip up on the curb left a trigger point in our gluts and we started becoming a bit short to those around us.  Perhaps battling several days on that irritating problem created such a ball of tension that your smile became locked upside down.  Perhaps dragging that cross around put a kink in your neck and resentment was attempting to create a permanent barrier between you and your head, i.e. Christ.

Needless to say, I was cringing a lot on the table yesterday.  The good news is that massage stimulates the body’s natural healing process and in effect, forces the body to re-balance itself.  So it goes with our spiritual bodies.  When we allow God to give us a work over, He knows exactly how to find those sore spots, release tension, stimulate our lymphatic system, and reduce the inflammation process.  While it may take a couple of days for the re-balancing process, a spiritual massage will do wonders to help achieve a more active, pain-free spiritual life!

I’m still recovering from my spiritual massage, but I know in a couple of days .. I’ll be feeling great.  If you need a good therapist, I can get you His number.  He’s good.  Really good.

Did I mention that I love what I do?  Oiy …