Each second in time, God has provided for all eventualities. He knows who will refuse to obey Him and He provides for His will for us regardless of obedience or disobedience of others .
Just because I didn't get married doesn't mean that my engagement was not God's perfect will for that time. I believe beyond any doubt that it was His will. In fact, I believe that God provided the perfect plan for our marriage. Everything fell into place for a great future for us. My intended didn't see it. He "looked down the road" and just didn't see himself "happy." But, God had provided a wonderful future. That does not mean that God cannot provide a better future for me down this path where He is leading. (For those of you who do not know, I'm moving to Picayune, MS. I'm taking my Mom and I'm going to be the Lifestyles Editor for the Picayune Item. I'm so excited I can hardly wait!)
Back to the point. I trusted God to protect my heart. It was broken, but not shattered, and I felt pressed, but I was not crushed. He did protect my heart, but He allowed hurt. Some Christians think that belonging to God means no hurt and everything rosy. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an extremely costly (worldly costs) way to live and pain is a major part of it.
I had the gumption in the middle of the breakup to ask God for His best for me. If that meant suffering through more of the same so that His best would shine in the end--I was ready to walk through the valley of the shadow of death for that best.
God's best for us does not depend upon fickle man.
Since God knows what will happen, how it will happen and who will do what, He plans accordingly. All I must do is be ready, willing and able to bend my will to God's. That means I must want the best He offers no matter the cost.
No matter the cost. That is a huge and scary thing. Do you cringe at the pin pricks? Do you run from the sword stabs? No matter how tormenting a situation may seem... it is always for our best interest. Whether God allows us to endure consequences of our bad choices, or whether God pours out blessings on our choices based on His guidance... the outcome is the same. It is for our best.
I want God's best... no matter the cost.
We can't see the future. Our feelings are fickle. We can't control other people's decisions. So how do we walk down that specific path God has lighted for us?
We live in a very imperfect world and since we don't control other people, we can't be responsible for their choices. The only alternative we have, then, is to walk the closest we can to the Lord God Almighty and expect Him to turn us from the wrong direction.
We have His guidebook, His Word. We have the Holy Spirit. Combine this with our love for our Daddy and a deep desire to do His will and it is a fairly reliable recipe for following His will.
It is only when we let our own desires get in the way that we veer off the path and stretch our leading strings. I fully believe that God allows us an exploratory romp or two down side paths because this is how we learn God's guiding hand on our reins. We learn the feel of His gentle pressure leading us the way we should go. If we don't acknowledge the gentle tug to the left or right or the signal to stop, then God will get more urgent and sometimes the bit will dig in and hurt. It isn't God that is causing the hurt, it is the stubborn ignoring of His guiding signals.
We can't walk in His ways unless we know Him. We can't know Him unless we study His Word. We can't study His word unless we take the time. We can't take the time unless we make it a priority. Therefore, priorities are crucial to knowing God's will.
I heard someone say that the difference between the ethical man and the moral man is simple. The ethical man will pause to consider the consequences of commiting adultery. The moral man would never consider adultery at all. That is another key to following God's will. Never allow consideration of doing something that is contradictory to His commands. That part is simple enough.
Psalm 37:4 says that when we delight in the Lord, He will grant us the desires of our hearts.
How precious that God gives us our desires when we delight in Him. That means those desires are not harmful. They are good for us and others. That means that our hearts are pure. What a joy to have a pure heart. That also means that our prayers are righteous and the prayers of the righteous avails much. We have a responsibility to dive into the middle of God's will and to delight in Him.
How precious it is to sit on His feet.
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
What a wonderful read. I read it in one setting. This is a very poignant story about the different kinds of love. Sparks explores parent/child love and sibling love and love for the those who cannot love back and attraction and passion and long distance love and he packs it all into this book. It is astounding.
Dear John is very well done. It flashes back, yes, but the beginning is short so you don't mind flashing back. The beginning paragraph sets you up for the flashback so it doesn't matter. Then, I must confess, after the first few pages, I just had to turn to the back and read the last few pages because I was so sure that it was going to end badly. If that was the case, then I'd have to read it in a different frame of mind.
I won't tell you what I found out. However, I will tell you that this story is so incredibly touching. It is good reading... not too fluffy, but not too cerebral either. Worth the money. You can read more about it and purchase the book at the link above. Happy reading!
It wasn't so complicated when my girls were little and still living under the same roof as me. It wasn't so complicated when I was little... well, at least I didn't notice any complications. Except the day that I bawled and squalled because it snowed and we couldn't go to my grandmother's house in Oklahoma. All the roads were covered in ice and snow. My dad put his foot down. He simply was not going to buy snow tires just so we could dash up to Oklahoma (it took 12 hours of driving straight through with two hurry-up restroom stops/gas tank fill-ups and one leg stretching to check weather in Paris, TX but was actually so we could eat bar-b-que at this hole in the wall that looked like it would keel over at the first breath of wind).
Generally, we'd have Thanksgiving just us and then gather with all the brothers and sisters at my other grandmother's house in Arkansas. That was how you spent the day after Thanksgiving. Then they moved it to the day after Christmas. It was okay by me. I got to see all my cousins and aunts and uncles and new babies, you know, great family fun. It truly was fun. None of the kind of so-called "funny" stuff where families bicker and fight and call each other names... the kind you see on TV shows. Just really good fun, jokes, catching up and lots and lots of great stuff to eat.
It was sitting on the porch and listening to the brothers talk about the funny things they did when they were kids. It was sitting on the floor behind the rocking chair and listening to the women talk about all sorts of interesting topics which I cannot talk about here. It was racing through the woods and falling in the pond and picking persimmons and swinging on the oak tree swing. Oh, and lest I forget, it was using the stacked bales of hay as forts and falling on my back getting the breath knocked out. It was screaming Olly Olly Oxen Free. It was building a dam on the stream and getting yelled at for moving the stepping stones. It was sleeping on the floor under ten homemade quilts because it was 20 degrees outside. It was using the outhouse. It was pumping water. It was wearing shorts because it was 80 degrees in the afternoon. Sigh...
Today... children are grown and my girls are off in two different cities, my sister is in another, her older son is in another. Our schedules don't seem to match and this doesn't even include all my cousins and aunts and uncles.
We are in such a whirlwind rat race that no one has time to breathe much less sit on the porch and watch the people go by. This year after moving mountains (we were supposed to have Thanksgiving here at our house) we will now travel to southeast Louisiana, spend the night and return home the next day so that I can go to work on Friday. I'm not complaining! Really! I'm am just so delighted to get a paycheck every two weeks I can hardly complain.
What I hate is the tug-o-war that seems to take place in my body while all the plans are being made. It looks like we'll have to have Christmas at my sister's as well since that will be easier and closer for everyone else. But... it is much better than the alternative which is not seeing anyone at all. That is certainly miserable. I remember one Thanksgiving just after I split from my husband. My daughter begged to bring her father so he wouldn't have to be by himself. I graciously agreed. I cooked for 4 hours, we ate in about 30 minutes, they cleaned up and then everyone left by 3pm. I had the house all to myself. To most that would seem like a really terrible Thanksgiving. For me, after I got over the fact that everyone left me alone, the peace and quiet was rather nice.
Sometimes God gives gifts that last forever and sometimes He gives gifts that make you realize that holidays are just days like any other day--it is the people, your family and your friends that make the day special. Families do last forever. I eagerly await the day the Father will say, "Son, go get your bride!" Then we'll be living in true holidays.
It must be the fog that makes things so unclear, right? Why else couldn't we look out into the future and know what God has in store? Why God allows all these trials and things to beset us?
No. It isn't the fog. God tells us plainly why these tribulations befall us... thorough James. How many times have I read this passage? Why did it hit home today and finally make sense? I don't know. I prayed yesterday morning for God to give me a delight to take a picture of for the front page of our paper. Something that would be picture postcard gift to our subscribers as a Thanksgiving gift.
I never go across the lake in the morning on my way to work. This morning I had to go pick up a story from a proud grandmother. It was about her grandson's marriage to a very lovely young lady. The fog was horrible. As I was coming back across the lake, I was stunned at the beauty of the sun trying to shine throug the fog. Gorgeous. So I stopped in the middle of the road (folks around here are used to that sort of thing), and took this picture.
Then, you won't believe this, I proceded to drive around another lake searching for some Thanksgiving display. Then I went across the levee to see if I could take a picture of fog on the Mississippi River. All to no avail. But, when I got to the office and downloaded the pics I had on my camera... I was stunned again at the beauty of this picture.
We keep looking beyond, trying to see through the fog, trying to figure out God's purpose because we think knowing God's purpose will make sense and will make us well... heal us from the troubles or what ever is ailing us.
God smacked it home to me that sometimes, it is the fog that is the important thing. God's fog obscures those things that are unimportant to pursue and causes a great beauty right in front of our eyes. Sometimes the fog is a protection for we may not have the tools or the strength to handle whatever is behind the fog. Thank you, Lord, for the fog. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this delight to share with all those precious children of Yours.
So... back to James...
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, sends words of love to the twelve tribes of the Jews living in all parts of the earth. 2 Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort; 3 Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope; 4 But let this power have its full effect, so that you may be made complete, needing nothing.
Rejoice in the tests of every sort.
The tests gives the power of hope.
The power makes us complete so that we need nothing.
That is a universe-size lesson in this pea-size brain of mine. I am awed; I am humbled; I am undone. God is so good.
Here's Rene Gutteridge... she's a successful author. She's interesting. She wrote an interesting book called Scoop. I liked it... except we have this thing that is fast becoming worse than a pet peeve for me. But put that aside for right now. You can find out all about her on her web page here.
There are some great Q&As there, too, like this one...
Q: Do novelists write out of their own experience?
A: Sometimes, but not always. Many readers assume that a writer is writing about a topic that they've lived through. I think most of the time, novelists write about things that interest them. They develop characters they can both relate to and can't relate at all to. Our ideas and inspirations come from many, many different sources. Sometimes we do extensive research. Other times it's a small, insignificant detail that can spur an entire book.
Back to that thing I hate. Call it an ague... feverish symptoms like malaria... my stomach tightens up and my brain whorls and I get a headache that pounds my head. It's that thing that editors and publishers and authors do that drives me insane. Why oh why can't a person just tell a story from point A to point B to C skip D if you have to for space and to delete yawns and then end with Z?
Evidently most people are not like me... they don't mind jumping from one place to another. They evidently like to find out all about each character before they meet each other. I like stories and characters to unfold together or wrap around each other. Those are the kinds of stories I grew up with. Today's author is not at all like that. I just hate that when it happens.
If that sort of thing doesn't bother, I know you'll like Scoop. Scoop it up today.
I work and work at trying to be what God wants me to be and I always fail.
Help me, Lord.
Carry me over the fjord.
The chasm is deep and
Dry my tears.
Release me from my fears.
Carry the truth to those ears
that refuse to hear
Put back that hair that I have pulled out.
Rub the steel bands that are supposed to be my shoulders
for I am done with things as they are, no longer look back and pout.
Whisper my name, cause me to be still.
Tomorrow I shall go forward,
leaving behind the crumbs and the rust
of broken things.
Tonight I shall snuggle under Your wings
for it is only You that I trust.
Jeremiah 12 is where that verse is found and it is such a terrible verse. Can you imagine what it would be like to have God far from your reins? We don't have to look very far to see examples of what happens when authority and restraint are far from our reins. If you are old enough to remember the movie Animal House... good example. Weird Science is another example.
A more explicit example is found in Romans 1:18-32. I shudder at those verses. What would it be like for God to just let go and let you have your own way? Just like children need and want boundaries, so do we Christians. It is how we stay sane, how we stay close to God, how we stay clean.
The wicked may prosper but nothing is done in the dark that will not be found out. God has blessed me by letting me see the wicked be found out. Oh, not all of them, just a few, but enough for me to know that they do not prosper forever.
So what if the wicked prosper until they die? They will not prosper after death. Some of us will just have to wait until the Day of Judgement to see some of the wicked receive their dessert. The problem will be so horrendous at that time, though, it will mean that they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. I don't care what anyone has done to me... fired me... manufactured evidence against me... betrayed me with other women... thrown me out of house and home... rejected me... spit upon me... called me all manner of things and even prayed to God for evil to befall me... None of that is worth eternal torment. I would not wish that on any person.
Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy on me and on those who revile me and reject me. Draw them close Father and pour Your Spirit over them, Father for they know not what they do. Open their eyes, Father to what they do. Make them see. Give them compassion, for they shall surely die without You.
Take a moment and pray for my daughter, please. She is at this moment having to commit her dad so he can get help from his alcoholism. Frankly, I've lost all hope that he'll get better, but she hasn't. And if you would, please pray the Lord God Almighty will provide her with a job so she can stand on her own. Sigh...
An interesting parable is found in Matthew.
Matthew 25:1 Then the kingdom of Heaven shall be compared to ten virgins who taking their lamps, went out to a meeting of the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five foolish.
3 Those being foolish, taking their lamps, did not take oil with them.
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But the bridegroom delaying, all nodded and slept.
6 And at midnight, a cry occurred: Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins were aroused and prepared their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, No, lest there not be enough for us and you. But rather, go to those who sell and buy for yourselves.
10 But they going away to buy, the bridegroom came. And those ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.
11 And afterwards, the rest of the virgins also came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But answering, he said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you.
13 Therefore, watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man comes.
Jesus is describing what it will be like when He suddenly comes to take His bride! He says, watch and be ready!
In Jewish weddings of that day, it was customary for the wedding party to be made up of girls to make the Bride more comfortable. These girls were waiting for the Groom to bring His Bride to his home. It was also necessary for the Groom to provide these "ladies in waiting" for the Bride if she had no friends to go with her or if she lived too far away. These girls were specifically there to light the way for the Groom and His Bride...therefore the lamps.
Lamps provide light for the feet and light the path--the Way to go. Jesus' emphasis was not on who these girls were. It was on the 5 girls that were ready to light the way. The lamps that were used for this purpose could only hold enough oil for about 15 minutes. Since the girls had no idea when the Bridegroom would arrive, the whole point here was on being ready with the light which meant extra oil would be needed if the groom didn't come within 15 minutes.
The oil could be the Holy Spirit; I have heard it preached that being ready with the oil meant those girls had the Holy Spirit and only those in possession of the Holy Spirit can go into the wedding feast. I'm not sure about that interpretation frankly. I need to pray about it some more. The parable is not about who the 10 girls are, but that the 5 who were ready and the other 5 were not ready, therefore since they were not ready the groom said "I do not know you!"
The unpardonable sin is not accepting Jesus as Savior. It is the only unforgivable sin. The 5 that were not prepared did not have Jesus as their Savior...they did not have the Oil and they did not have the Light.
We are able to do this by putting on the full armor of God.
God gives us the formula... or the guidelines.
We must pray always... do not worry about anything but bring everything to God in prayer -- And the peace of God which is beyond our utmost understanding will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-72. Does this mean that every word out of our mouth or thoughts must be a prayer? No... I don't think so, for how could we ask for a Coke and a burger at the drive-thru? How could we carry on our day to day conversations with our neighbors and our brothers? No, I believe this means just what Paul states... carry all things to God in prayer and never worry for that is a sin. Make it a conscious, deliberate process.
Confess our sins: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Confess your trespasses [5:16 NU-Text reads [Therefore confess your sins.] ] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:163.
Repent. Acts 3:19 "Therefore [Acts 2:38; 26:20] repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that [2 Thess 1:7; Heb 4:1ff] times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
So what does that mean exactly?? If we confess our sin... If we turn from that sin... If we do not practice habitual sin... If we come to that emphatic decision that we will not do that sin again then bring it all to the Lord expecting Him to take care of it and provide that escape hatch when we are faced with that temptation again... Then and only then are we refreshed with the Lord's presence.
Does this mean that we'll eventually be perfect and free from sin? I doubt it. Because of our flesh nature, we'll always be faced with temptation of one form or another. Because we live in a world of sin that is in the process of passing away, it will be impossible for us to be completely sinless until we are transformed into our glorified bodies.
The true point is the heart intent with God because He always searches our hearts. 1 Chron 28:9; Rom 8:27; Rev 2:23.4.
What is the purpose of it? Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. [He is] always striving for you earnestly in his prayers, [pleading] that you may [as persons of ripe character and clear conviction] stand firm and mature [in spiritual growth], convinced and fully assured in everything willed by God.
And how do we "stand firm and mature in spiritual growth fully assured in everything willed by God? Start with Pray without ceasing bringing everything to the Lord in prayer Phil 4:6-7 and finish with prayer every day. This is how we continuously pray in the Spirit: Continual Spiritual growth and being "prayed up, confessed up and making that firm, conscious decision to bring it all to God. It is not rocket science and it basically depends upon our heart attitude. It also means that we should all recognize sin as sin. (This includes those "acceptable sins" like worry.)
Ecstatic language has it's place in worship and praise...but it is not the sole avenue for praying in the Spirit.
ChristiansChristian LivingChristianityBlog MinistryPraying
First verse is when Jesus is in the Garden and He says: Matt 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Jesus is teaching here...not only about the current situation but also about the purpose of prayer...pray lest we enter into temptation. Notice He did not say "lest you yield to temptation." He is telling us to pray about those thoughts that enter our head and bring them to God so that we can dismiss the thoughts and yield to God's will, not our fleshly desires.
Note: "The spirit (lower case meaning human spirit) is willing but the flesh is weak." Jesus lays it out for God -- I don't want to go through with this, Father... is there any other way? Then He says, "not My will, but Thine." We should do this, too. When temptation comes our way... immediately bring it to God the very instant that we recognize it as fleshly desire or temptations from Satan. Confess it for what it is and God will give strength to overcome those thoughts... but --and this is crucial-- we must be willing to turn from them.
Next verse is Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. When they prayed they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Does this mean that the Holy Spirit leaves us and only comes to abide in us when we pray? No. Romans 8:26 states that the Holy Spirit prays for us. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is always within us and Paul testifies to this in Romans 8:14-16 For all who are moved by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry "Abba! Father!" In that cry the Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God's children; and if children, then heirs. We are God's heirs and Christ's fellow-heirs..."
Since we are joint heirs with Christ, we possess the firstfruits of that relationship which is the Holy Spirit.
We have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prays for us, interpreting our prayers and amplifying our prayers. Glory! Then Jesus is sitting right beside the Father and He intercedes for us. How great is that?
The next verses are 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
Notice that the word "spirit" here is not capatalized. Paul is talking about his own spirit, not the Holy Spirit...for we do not control the Holy Spirit for He is God. We are guided, led and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If we pray in tongues in our own spirit...it doesn't profit or edify us anything unless it is interpreted. Plus our own spirit prays, but it is not the Holy Spirit's prayer if our spirit is praying. As in Romans 8:26 ff
"...We do not even know how we ought to pray, but through our inarticulate groans the Spirit Himself is pleading for us, and God Who searches, our inmost being knows what the Spirit means, because He pleads for God's people in God's own way; and in everything, as we know, He co-operates for good with those who love God and are called according to His purpose." New English Bible
Is this because we merit it? ... or because we are God's property? I don't think so. I believe it is because the Holy Spirit has His fingerprints all over us and God recognizes His new creation in whom the Holy Spirit lives. (But that is a different discussion.) The Holy Spirit prays in God-language and in God's will. So, how do we know what God's will is so we can pray along with the Holy Spirit? And to pray always...without ceasing?
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
We do this how?
to be continued...
Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked
the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.
The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and
would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.
But critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous.
Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris - a member of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee - said: "If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a 'yuck' factor."
Can you imagine it? I'm outraged. Stem cell research is great science and I'm all for it IF the scientists would stick with the program and go after FRESH stem cells from adult bone marrow, umbilical cords and placentas. There is so much of that around that scientist would have to literally dig out from under it if they'd just apply for it. I don't know a woman/mother or family that would begrudge giving up an umbilical cord or a placenta to help someone get well. Why do scientists think in the bizzare rather than the logical???
Have we gone so far past the ziggarot that God will do worse than what He did at the Tower of Babel? Me thinks so.
So now that he's confessed, we are supposed to shun him... point fingers at him... set him up as an example. Right? No.
David was an extremely effective leader of Israel. He followed God. He did things the right way all the time. Right? No.
David committed sexual immorality. He was guilty and it took David a YEAR to confess only after Nathan came to him and confronted him with a story about a rich man with lots of sheep and a poor man with only one little ewe.
I wonder what little blue-haired ladies would say if they'd been living back in David's day. What would you say... think?
Now... look at your neighbor. Look at your brother. Have you been judging because of an offense against you? Excuse me a moment... I have a friend I must call. I have some crow I must eat.
You can read my post about this on BNN.
But... I'm going out on a limb here, I do not think it is possible for a human being to be able to unconditionally love another person.
Parents have great love for their children... but, that love is birthed at birth, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. That is a condition.
Husbands and wives love each other through various and wonderful interactions. The love continues through a commitment to each other and through the grace of God -- especially when tempers flare. But, it is a condition.
Brothers and sisters love each other through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, but they, again are flesh of each other and bone of each other. Families love each other inspite of the cantankerous differences. That is a condition.
Friends love each other because of commonalities. We are drawn to certain people because their lifestyle or their beliefs or their likes and dislikes match pretty closely with our own so we become friends... sometimes life long friends. That is conditional because we can grow apart.
Try loving someone completely unconditionally. It is wonderful and not so hard when they love you back. When they care about your feelings... when they put you first before thinking about themselves. But... what about when they do not like you anymore. What about when they kick you... betray you... spit on you... do things to harm you...
What about when they turn from God? Can you love them still?
We are not talking about some person who is half a world away, living in squalor because they can't help it. Nor are we talking about a person whom you do not know but is lost and God has told you to pray and love the lost. Those are faceless people.
Would you take a bullet for someone you didn't know? Would you take a bullet for someone you did know but could not abide? Loving those people is not easy... not even when God loves them through you.
Is there a point you reach when you have to say, "Loving you hurts too much for me to continue to love you unconditionally."
The pivotal point here is that God does not expect us to be God. He expects us to act like Him to the best of our abilities, and for us to measure ourselves using Jesus as our plumbline, but there comes a point when it hurts too much to continue down a certain path. We must break away in order to maintain sanity.
In case you think, "She hasn't a clue what she's talking about." Let me tell you that I was given a job by God. He told me I must love someone unconditionally, no matter what he did or said. For months I followed God's lead. For months I prayed and loved unconditionally... through the rejection, through the callous treatment, through the friendship, through it all. Rejoicing through the good things and weeping with him through the bad things. It was all about him. I set my needs, my wants, my desires all to the side and poured enough energy into him to light up New York City.
And I found out my limit. And I found out a most enlightening Truth about God.
He has limits, too.
We are very needy in Christ. God knows that and plans for that. He nurtures us and pours out blessings over us and through us as we grow in Him we become so close to Him we begin to look like Him. But... when we take and take and never give, God quits pouring out. He has expectations and He has conditions. Selfishness has no place in God's plan for our lives. He won't tolerate a selfish attitude.
He loves unconditionally, but His blessings have conditions. He loves eternally, but eternity in heaven may begin much sooner than expected when a Christian does not do the work of God according to His purposes. There are many Scriptures for this truth and if you require them, I'll look them up and send them to you.
Jesus loved us unconditionally. He loved so much that He gave His life willingly so that we might live eternally with Him. He knew the future. He knew that not all would accept the gift. He gave it anyway. He gave it for all but only a few accept. Salvation is conditional. We must first believe that God exists. We must then believe what God said; believe in Jesus and believe that He died for us and rose from the dead. If you don't believe that, then you don't get to go to heaven. That is conditional.
God loved Adam and Eve, but they chose to disobey and God had to cast them out of the Garden. That was conditional.
The father watched continuously for his prodigal son and ran to meet him when he finally saw him coming up the road. That was conditional upon the son returning.
The father never quit loving his prodigal son. The blessings were conditional, not the father's love. The son would never have received those blessings of a coat, a ring and a feast if he had not returned to the father.
I have been praying for several weeks now that God would release me from this. It really hurts too much. I have also been following that prayer with, 'Not my will but Yours Father. Put Your desires in my heart and Your prayer on my lips.' Yesterday God released me. I feel like a two ton tilly has been lifted off my back. I also feel incredibly sad.
And here's another question. When the soul hurts, what causes it to hurt?
And here's another question. What does God do when His children refuse His gifts?
Me thinks it is a very good thing that God is God.
We tend to look at our religious leaders like they are on a pedestle. Why do we do that? Humans fail. It is precisely why Jesus came to take our place. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
However, that still does not make what Haggard did okay. Far from it. But... I say let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
I just blogged on BNN about this very thing and what do I find in my inbox when I get home from church tonight? It made me belly laugh.
Praise God for our guys who willingly lay down their lives for us and can still laugh about our idiot politicians.
Below I've copied my post from BNN...
Military bashing and other Democratic blunders
by Gina Burgess
John Kerry, back in the news, cracked a joke that went awry. He told students in a college crowd in California on Tuesday, “You can study hard and do well, or if you don’t you could get stuck in Iraq.” In his apology he states, “it was a botched joke… of course, I’m sorry about a botched joke.”
This is just another picture of how Democrats view the military. Rep. Charles Rangel D-NY recently said that our armed forces come from the “lowest economic echelon we have.”
I have some very good friends who were in the military during President Clinton’s reign when he slashed defense and military spending to toothpicks and matchsticks. Their housing was falling down around their ears and cracks between the walls let in all sorts of animals of the eight-legged variety.
Now, I know quite a few who are in the military to specifically and purposefully put themselves smack in the middle of harm’s way to protect America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. These men and women are from my home town and from all over the U.S. According to a recent Heritage Foundation study, “Over the past three years, the quality of recruits to the U.S. military has improved, a finding contrary to the conventional wisdom that troop quality has declined...wartime U.S. enlistees are better educated, wealthier and more rural on average than their civilian peers.”
J. Dennis Hastert wrote in a Border Security Bulletin (www.GOP.com) that the Democrats don’t believe in a “Global War on Terror. I don't mean that they don't support it, though they don't. What I mean is Democrats don't believe the war actually exists. While Republicans believe the biggest threat to American freedom and security is the evil ideology that planned and executed the murder of 3,000 of our countrymen five years ago, and continues planning today, Democrats think the biggest threat to America is... Republicans.”
What makes me so angry is that Kerry and his ilk crack jokes about our armed forces while enjoying peaceful sleep on silken pillows. He’s sorry about botching a joke when our military heroes, (every single one of those men and women in uniform are heroes to me) counted the cost and decided it was worth it to stand in the way of the terrorists. They decided it was worth it to fight for someone else’s freedom while protecting our freedom.
That may be Kerry’s and the other Democrats’ idea of dumb, but it isn’t mine.
© 2006 all rights reserved
Gina Burgess is the editor of The Tensas Gazette and a redactor for internet marketing company. She is a columnist for Live As If.org and a site admin for Studylight.org. Visit her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
We had the best blast at church last night. Instead of a Halloween thing, or a Fall Festival we decided to have a Trunk 'o Treat thing. Everyone opened their trunks and put lots of treats in it and decorated it with something... Why am I talking when you can see for yourself!
|From FBC Trunk o T...|
|From FBC Trunk o T...|
There's lots more pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/GLburgess/FBCTrunkOTreat
That's my great friend, Brenda and the clown next to her is Melonie. (She will kill me when she reads that HA!) We have about 80 to 85 that come to Sunday School on a regular basis, but last night we had at least 250 people come have some good, clean fun. It was absolutely the best community outreach that we have ever done and that includes Vacation Bible School. The children were absolutely precious. The adults had glorious fun and the candy was especially good when I could find the chocolate.