5 things for a great relationship

1.     Shared reliability/commitment – to have a close relationship, I must be able to depend upon my friend to be there for me when I need her or him.
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2.     Shared trust and respect – within any relationship we use trust tests which allow us to know whether the other person is trustworthy or not. This requires sharing private information but with a sliding scale beginning with not so private (preferred not to be shared, but not critically private) to intensely private (secret). Once those privacy boundaries are established I know whether I can proceed deeper into the relationship or hold steady.
3.     Commonalities and laughter – relationships require some interests in common, and they need to have depth. If all you have to share is Saturday afternoon soccer practice, you can’t have much depth to the relationship. I must be able to laugh inside a relationship or I wither.
4.     Shared Christianity – I have found I can’t have a really close relationship with someone who is not Christian. I'm talking about sharing secrets and sharing trust.
5.     Shared Spiritual maturity – to be intimate with someone, the other person must have the same maturity spiritually or greater. I can be close with a baby Christian, but when the maturity level is much higher on one side or the other, then it becomes a mentor or teacher/student relationship rather than close friendship. In a romantic dyad, if the woman is more mature, then she becomes the spiritual leader and that is just too hard.
 What are your 5 things for a great relationship?

Let's Dance

I do not remember when I wrote this, but I needed to read it to myself today... Life is getting very heavy for me. I thought perhaps one or two of you might need to hear it, too.

Do you believe God is bigger than any problem?
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I know beyond any doubt that God can be trusted. He has been true and faithful my whole life even when I decided to turn my back on Him. What God says He will do, He will do. Fully on quarter of the Bible is prophecy and every one of the prophecies have come true so far even to the exact timing. I am quite sure the rest of them will come true in God's good timing.
Paul explains to us that those that wandered in the desert for 40 years all ate of the Spiritual food (manna) and all drank of the Spiritual drink (sweet water from bitter). 1 Corinthians 10. But these people kept on complaining, kept on trying Him, kept on murmuring, they fornicated and the crown of their sins was they disbelieved God. Yet... God was with them through it all. He could have so easily breathed Holy fire on them and burned them up as he did Aaron’s sons for offering unholy fire. But, He didn't.
Nothing is greater or bigger than God. All things fall in line with Scripture and God most certainly is Who He says He is and will do exactly what He says He will do. When He says He will never leave or forsake us, He means it. I am living proof.
Our God is an awesome God.
The key to realize is our battles begin and end in the Mind. Our thinking is a powerful tool that can be used by Satan, if we allow him to take control of our thoughts. To thwart that, we must ask God to take complete authority over our hearts, our minds, and our tongues just as David did. We must redecorate our minds with Jesus and that will take the shackles of bondage off of us so, as that song goes, we can dance!
God is the only safe, consuming passion we have. Our Enemy is seizing technology and is trying to make evil from what God intended for good. The only way to be released from evil is to take down that tacky decor in our mind and replace it with Jesus. The drugs of constant TV and games and internet junk must be replaced with things that are holy and things that are pure and things that are godly. Meditate on these things and watch how the addictions of the world have no more power. It is astounding!
Yes, evil and horror get up in our face everyday. We know that darkness prevails in this world because Satan is the prince of this world. However, we do not have to live in the darkness since we are the Light on the Hill so to speak. We are to embrace Truth, and sometimes truth is horrible and ugly. That means there are times when we must deal with the evil of this world. Thank goodness we don’t have to live there. Jesus has spread His wings so we can always find our safe haven under them. He has provided us with the perfect defense tools.
So put on that Helmet of Salvation and remove Satan's influence by trusting God...Believe God. Wear the Sword of the Spirit so that the evil thoughts won't find a foot hold. Wear the shoes of the Gospel of Peace and dance with Him. And the Belt of Truth will keep us from tripping over our skirts when we dance. He wants to dance with us. Can you see His hand outstretched? Can you hear His sweet voice asking you to dance? We'll never be wallflowers, because our Beloved always has His protective arm around us. Turn up the music and let's dance!

Political correctness -- an illustration

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Dr. Benjamin Carson spoke at a prayer breakfast Feb. 7, 2013 and gave this illustration on political correctness:

There was a man who just loved giving his mother unique and exotic gifts for Mother's Day presents. One year he ran out of ideas, and cast about for anything unique or outrageous. He found some exotic birds that could sing, dance, and talk. Fabulous birds that cost $5,000. He was so excited he bought two of them and sent them to his mom in time for Mother's Day.

He was so excited about that present, he could hardly wait to call her that morning to find out how she liked her present. Finally, the day arrived and he called, "Momma! Momma! How did you like those birds?"

"They was good!"

"No, no, Momma. Tell me you didn't eat those birds! They could sing and dance and talk! They cost $5,000 each!"

"Well... they should have said something."

That is where the political correctness police have landed us. We need to speak up before we land in the roasting pan!

Forgive yourself...can you? Really?

Forgive yourself…

Probably one of the hardest things to do is to forgive yourself. Someone once pointed out to me that it was not a Biblical principle. I hunted and searched for hours trying to find something in the Bible about forgiving oneself. The closest I came was David’s psalm 51 when he asked God to create in him a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within him. When you compare his psalm 32 in verse 3 When I kept silence, then my bones became old, through my howling all day. We see the consequences of unconfessed sin. But that is different from forgiving one’s self for past transgressions which we have confessed and repented. Why do we groan in shame for them long after the deed?

Satan constantly bombards us with taunts of past wrongs hoping that our guilty feelings will draw us away from God, out from under His protective wings. That is something that Satan knows we as Christians are prone to do. We think our sin is too huge to be forgiven because we think from our own level of forgiveness. How could we forgive someone doing that to us? If we can’t forgive, then how can God forgive? That is another of Satan’s lies that we buy into.

That still didn’t quite fit the requirement for a Biblical basis of forgiving yourself. So I kept looking and found Isaiah 54:4  Do not fear, for you shall not be shamed, nor shall you be abashed, for you shall not be wounded, for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.

Very interesting word, widowhood. The Hebrew word is the feminine form of H488 which is אלמן
Prolonged from H481 in the sense of bereavement; discarded (as a divorced person): - forsaken.

Isaiah is prophesying a time when Israel will be gathered to the LORD’s breast as a much beloved wife. In verses four through five, he is talking about the shame and guilt we feel when we are confronted with our sin and are convicted of it within our heart. Here are most beautiful words to any Christian who has had those moments of knee-bending, face-in-the-carpet shame: You will no longer remember your disgrace.

Why did God say that? Because we have a conscience and we are prone to dwell on the negative. That saying one bad apple spoils the whole barrel is true. Negativism breeds and multiplies faster and further than anything imaginable. Just look at the murmuring and rumbling of the Israelites in the wilderness. When you get that old Dragon, the Accuser firing guilt tipped darts at the chinks in our armor, you have a problem of unforgiveness of the self kind. 

To forgive our self, we must reverse that process and remember that God is greater than our sin. Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all… that means every possible, conceivable sin was accounted for and covered by Jesus’ blood. That, my beloved siblings, is the greatest story of grace man ever attempted to understand.

Since our Kinsman Redeemer has already bought the sin, why do we insist on hanging on to it?


It isn’t hard to do, either. Even Moses, who was the conveyor of such miracles of God as the parting of the Red Sea, the providing of water for more than two million thirsty people, plus all the livestock (which is an astronomical amount of water every day), and forty year old shoes and garments never wearing out plus many other things, had a moment of unbelief which cost him the promised land. Numbers 20:10-12. He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it. God said it was his unbelief that caused it.

We Christians do not believe that God can, in fact already has forgiven that horrendous sin that we keep hidden in our hearts. Holding on to the sin is tantamount to making Jesus go to the cross all over again. That is what unbelief does. Since we know He only went once, and that was enough, then we should know that those guilty feelings which Satan aims at us as fiery darts, are literally harmless breaths of hot wind. They have no teeth so to speak, it is merely baying at the moon.

What happens to our past moral and spiritual failures when we repent of our sins and claim God’s forgiveness? Have you ever had an itch right in the middle of your back? Ever try to scratch it with your hand? That is where God casts our sins when we confess and repent, never to be reached, touched or thought of again. Glory!

The LORD forgives the past. His great compassion is far beyond understanding. If we were to be asked to give our first and only beloved son to pay for the lives of the most wicked of people who had nothing worthy to give back, our hearts would be granite and our faces be flint. Yet, God has mercy for us because while we were yet sinners, Christ willingly died for us. Here’s the Biblical proof of it:

Heb 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."
Heb 10:17  also He adds, "their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."
Jer 31:34  And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
Isa 38:17  Behold, for peace was bitter to me, most bitter; but You loved my soul from the pit of destruction; You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills tremble; My loving kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall the covenant of My peace be shaken, says Jehovah who loves you. Isaiah 54:10

Is change completely necessary?

Do you know how many stressed--out mothers it takes to change a light bulb?

One. ONE!!   And do you know WHY it only takes ONE? Because no one else in this house knows how to change a light bulb. They don't even know the bulb is burned out. They would sit in this house in the dark for three days before they figured it out. And once they figured it out they wouldn't be able to find the light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the same cabinet for the past 17 years. But if they did, by some miracle, find the light bulbs, two days later, the chair that they dragged from two rooms over to stand on to change the stupid light bulb would still be in the same spot! AND underneath it would be the crumpled light bulb package. WHY???   Because no one in this house carries out the garbage. It's a wonder we haven't all suffocated from the piles of garbage 12 feet deep in this house... this house! It would take an army to clean this house...

How often do we recognize what others need to change in their lives before we recognize what changes we need to make? So many of us make New Year’s resolutions that seem to vanish after the first month, or sometimes we keep those resolutions alive for several months before they bite the dust: Lose weight, quit smoking, less temper and more patience, better with money management, start saving for retirement. Most of our resolutions can be reduced down to having more self-control, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23  meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law.

Wait… what was that last part again? Against such things there is not a law. Being led by the Spirit we are not under Law, Paul says it in verse 18. It isn’t too much of a leap to conclude that we cannot exhibit these things such as love, joy peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, long-suffering, by our selves. Only through the strength of the Holy Spirit and by His gift of the Fruit can we exhibit these things which are a testimony to God’s work of changing our hearts and minds: in short sanctification.

Change is a scary thing.

We resist change almost to death because we love the familiar and hold that close. We go to the same Bible verses because we know them, we study the same passages because we love them. Yet, there is so much more to behold in God’s love letter.

My church has started a Read The Bible in a Year, this year... again. We're starting in Genesis and  some verses were given to go along with Genesis 3&4. James 4:7 was one of them. I almost did not look them up because I didn't want to take the time, then I decided right then that God was more important than time and He would bless me. I would receive, if nothing else, He would at least give me peace for checking the verses. Then I decided that one verse wasn't enough, but I should read the background chapter as well as the verse. For quite a long time now, God has been working on me about reading bits and pieces and filling in with my own understanding rather than studying the whole using His guidance and understanding.

Even though I have studied my Bible deeply for more than -- cough -- for a long time, He has reminded me that I lose so much because of familiarity. I think I know, so I skip it and move on hunting a "new truth" or "new insight". I'm ashamed to say, I've missed so much in the past few years because of familiarity.

Thank you, my Father, for reminding me to keep on trying, which led to the desire to get outside the box of familiarity and to ask You for familiar truths with new light to share. I think that my resolution this year is to lean more upon You and less upon me. My expectations this year will be to read the Bible through using Your understanding which is a free gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for helping me realize there is no place like peace.