Archive | March 2013

Absolutes

Right or Wrong. True or False.  Good or Evil.

Are there really absolutes or are these archaic concepts?  Do they apply to my life and yours, are they relevant to everyday living…or are my rights right regardless of the infringement upon your rights?  My truth the absolute truth, my good right and yours wrong?

In America, the founding fathers agreed to the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and signed it with determination.  They envisioned a land where “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  They believed that these truth were “self-evident”.

The position of being dominated by the king of England was repugnant to them, they believed they had the right to govern themselves. The founding fathers of America looked forward to an America where the principles that they held dear, ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, would be the standard by which the new nation would live.  They were independent, they fought for what they believed and won against all odds.  A new nation was born.

Yet, as often happens, the vision of the founder does not come to fruition when the visionary dies.  Those who take over after him cannot see what he saw and therefore, they decide they have a better way…their way.  “Out with the old, in with the new.”  “A new broom sweeps clean.”  Change.

America today has many problems.  What has been the norm for hundreds of years is now being interpreted, challenged and changed or ignored altogether.  There are “conspiracy theories” that some group has put into motion a plan to take away the rights of the American people, reversing what the founding fathers fought, bled and died for.  America is in trouble.

Have you heard this:  “If it feels good, do it!”  “If you don’t take care of number one, who will?” 

I suggest that in the world today, not just in America, what matters to most people is what they think and what they want.  People don’t want anyone telling them what they can and cannot do.  “I have the right to do what I want to do.”

Consider this word:  Relevant.  Not right or wrong.  Not good or evil,  Not even true or false, only what I think matters, what is important to me, what is relevant to my life.

We teach our children to be independent from a very young age; we train them to take care of themselves, we help them learn to walk, go “potty”, tie their shoes, dress themselves etc.; we see it as “growing up”.  It is a good thing.  A child is thought backward if they do not become independent.

The Declaration of Independence states the intent of the founding fathers, that America is an independent nation, no longer dependent upon Britain and her king, that we have the right to govern ourselves as we see fit through majority rule.  It was a good thing, a goal to strive for.

But today, many have declared themselves independent of constraint or restraint when they feel that their rights are not being honored.  They fight against the majority of Americans, not to just do what they want to do, but to force society to support them in what they want to do.

I don’t have to enumerate the “rights” that are fought over today, I have no doubt that they are clear to all of us.  But, I want to provoke you, dear reader, to consider how the “rights” of the minority have infringed upon the “rights” of the majority.

How can a small minority of people or even one person, cause a whole society to be changed.  Is it because they cry the loudest or is it because it is  “the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.”?  Or is there another reason, something that is far deeper, something hidden to the natural eye?

“In the beginning God”…  I believe it is because we have taken God out of the picture.  A friend of mine used to say,  “The world is going to Hell in a hand basket.” It appears to me that society is going forward into the hand basket of “relevance”, that the whole fabric of American society is being permeated by this insidious enemy.  An enemy that shoves everything out of the picture but human self-will.  A society that is moved by its senses….”If it feels good, do it.”

There is movement in the church that has pushed the one true God out for a version of their own making.  A God who loves people just where they are, and He does, who does not bring any conviction regarding sin or styles of living, which He does not do, rather He “disciplines those He loves”.   They rewrite the Bible in their minds, omitting those things they don’t agree with.  And once more the Christ, the Messiah, is the stumbling block.  Because He is Truth they must counterfeit Him for another Jesus.  This is what religion always does.

The “Emergent Church” is the buzz word for what is happening in the Christian religion, old is bad, new is good, so out with the old and in with the new.  Another new thing on the scene is “Chrislam” which combines Christianity and Islam.  They believe that Allah and God are one and the same.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  This did not happen, could not happen, until Jesus was removed from His rightful place as the Son of God, divinely born, crucified, dead, buried and resurrected.

My point…In 1963 we shoved God out of school.  Since then He has been pushed out of literally every area of our lives.  Several Christian denominations have put away foundational doctines of the faith because they are “no longer relevant” to today’s society.

Soon to arise on the scene will be a “religion” that is acceptable to all man-kind, acceptable to all religions.  It will be relevant.  It will be accepted, even hailed by the masses.  Humanity at last will have a god that all can worship, a perfect human.

The one true God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, is no longer honored and respected in the life of individuals, in the home and thus in the society.  We have arrived at the time when every man is doing what is right in his own eyes.  It is the evil day that is spoken of in Scripture.

There are absolutes.  There is that which is right and yet does not infringe upon the right of another, there is truth that never changes and there is good, found in the only One who is good.  And, there is unity in diversity that does not command conformity but allows freedom for the person to be all that the creator planned for him.

Unity is Freedom to be what God designed you to be.  Uniformity demands conformity.

United States of America…United, in Union, in Unity of agreement and purpose.  But not now……….  Splintered, shattered, wounded……..America is sick unto death.  How long before collapse… internally or from wounds inflicted from enemies?  Sorrow in the creator’s heart, grief.  His plan for her was good, but she chose her own way, like her sister before her.  What next? Only God knows……

If you believe, pray.

I am thoughtfully and prayerfully His,

Joy

Advertisements

Mandy’s Song

She looked as fragile as a butterfly, but she was tough, hardened by years of abuse from people in her world, people that she should have been able to trust.

Dripping wet she only weighed 100 pounds, she had hair as brown as corn silk and her eyes were as blue as the sky.  She always had a smile for everyone, it lit up the world around her.

You would not think of her as beautiful, perhaps not even pretty, but there was something about her, everyone said it, though no one could put their finger on just what it was.

Her name was Mandy.  She came from a long line of drug addicts, not the illegal kind, but the kind that the doctor prescribed.  Once every year she got so sick she had to be hospitalized because she just couldn’t handle life anymore.  In a way, it was a ploy to get the attention that she craved.

Mandy was no different from her mother before her, or her grand-mother, they were all addicted.  Oh, it wasn’t the kind that made you a walking zombie, it was just enough for you to be to be stable and able to sleep at night.  Legal, accepted by the world.  Naturally, she did not think of herself as an addict and, of course, no one but those closest to Mandy even knew that she was taking drugs every day.  But, she knew she needed the drugs to survive.

But there was more to Mandy than the abuse she suffered in her young life or the drugs she needed to live each day, Mandy had a different spirit in her.  She knew she was unusual, even children and animals were drawn to her like a magnet.  She would only look at them and they would run to her.  God had prepared her, He had set her up to become His child.

I met Mandy a few years ago and in a very short time she became like a daughter to me.  On a lovely spring day, a year after we met, I introduced her to the only one who could heal a sin sick soul, she met Him and His peace flooded her life.

I wished that I could have had a daughter, but I had been blessed with four boys.  Somehow, with Mandy in my life, that void was filled.  We were dear, dear friends.

Our relationship was so close that when the incident happened, I was shocked to my core.  I had never had to deal with the loss of one so dear, especially one in the prime of their life.  The day it happened, morning came like every other day.  That afternoon, I felt like, “How could this be?  How could life just go on as if nothing happened?”

By the way, I believe in God,  I believe that He is “our Father in Heaven”,  I believe that He is the ultimate good and that He has a Son and His human name was Yeshua, we call Him Jesus.  I also believe that Jesus is the only way to God and that He made the way through His death and resurrection.  I not only believe this mentally, but I believe it experiencially.  I have had the privilege of seeing Jesus twice.  As a result, the peace and love that I live in is tangible to me and to others.

Having said that, I want you to know, dear reader, that the shock of losing Mandy sent waves of hurt crashing against my soul that nearly took me under.

I was sitting in the sun porch of my home, the sunlight was streaming in from the west, I had my sweet cat, Katie, on my lap, a glass of sweet tea and the book, “Make Fear Bow”, by Gary Whetstone in my hand…life was good.

The phone rang.  When I picked it up I heard words I never thought I would hear.  “This is the sheriff’s department, Mandy Larson has just had an accident and your name was on a slip in her purse, are you a relative?”  I was taken aback, but quickly answered that I was not.  “What happened?”,  I asked.

“Miss Larson was crossing the bridge on Interstate 85 when the bridge collapsed.  Her car was among those in the center and it fell along with a piece of the bridge into the water.  Divers were deployed as soon as we could get there.  Miss Larson’s body was found in her car.  I am sorry ma’am.”

I hung up the phone, I was in free fall.  I felt numb.  What should I do?  I turned to my “Abba”, my Daddy, He  has always been there for me.  “My God, why?  How could this be, Lord help me.  This is just not possible.  Mandy, was so young, surely You were not finished with her yet? ”   I sobbed, my heart breaking for my loss.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually about 15 minutes, I began to feel God’s peace envelop me.  Presence of mind returned and I began to wonder what would happen next.

As you can imagine, the collapse of the I85 bridge over the Missehaga river made headline news all over the nation.  Many people lost their lives that day, many families lives were changed never to be normal again.  Husbands lost their wives, wives their husbands and children their parents, it was devastating!

The shock waves continued for days, and those who knew Mandy were stunned to think of the horror she must have experienced when this happened.  Imagination runs wild in tragedy.

I asked the Lord if He would let me know how Mandy felt and how she was now.  In His kindness and love for me and my loss He gave me a dream that I want to relay to you.

I found myself in a garden, the most beautiful garden I had ever seen.  Some of the colors were like we have on earth, but more brilliant, deep and rich than any I had seen, there were other colors that I had never seen on earth.  The smell was “Heavenly”  (smile) and there was the most beautiful music coming from everything.  It seemed like a park, in a way, and yet was a garden, it is hard to explain.

Anyway,  I was taking in the wonder of it all when I saw someone come walking toward me and I recognized that it was Mandy.  I ran to her and embraced her.  She looked beautiful, radiant.  We sat down on a lovely garden bench and began to talk.

Mandy told me that when she felt the car shake and began to fall, she was terrified and fear began to engulf her.  The car hit the water hard and the next thing she knew she was in Heaven.  Jesus told her that her neck broke at that point and he had angels right there to take her to Heaven, so she never experienced the horror of drowning.  Thank you Lord!

She encouraged me that she was wonderfully happy and free at last from the heaviness of things of earth and that I would be with her soon.  I woke up from this dream with God’s peace and the assurance that Mandy was fine.

God is so good!  I hope to spend the rest of my time on this planet thanking Him and telling of His love for people.

I hope you know Him, whom my soul loves.  He is a friend that is closer than a brother, as the scripture says.  He will be with you in all of the trials, tests, troubles and temptations of life, if you will ask Him to come in.

This story is a composite of many people and many experiences.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Lovingly,

Joy

Forgiveness

“Forgive as I have forgiven you.”  Luke 11:4

That is a command not a suggestion.

“For if you do not forgive your brother then neither can my Heavenly Father forgive you.”  Matthew 8:14-15

There are conditions.

Who ever said that being a Christian was a riparian delight or a walk in the park?  Depending on where you live, it can get you murdered.

But, let’s be honest, American Christianity has not been tested and I fear if it was, it would not pass muster, not at this point anyway.

There are standards, some would call them laws, and this issue of forgiveness is one of those.  It is serious!

We can gloss over it, as many do, with all kinds of reasons why it is impossible to keep this command, such as, “I can never forgive him, you don’t know what he did to me.”  No, well then, why should God forgive you for what you have done to Him?  Is not the greater sin your telling God you won’t do what He asks of you.  Disobedience, my friend, is outright rebellion, in case you didn’t know.

We can say that God does not really mean that He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive our brother, because He  loves us and He accepts us in Jesus just as we are.  That is a half-truth.  Half-truths are no different from lies.  A little bit of dog poop in a brownie still makes it inedible.

I can just hear someone say that I am being legalistic.  Really?  Have a glance at the Proverbs of Solomon and see how often he uses point and counter-point to show how God looks at things.  There is the Law and there is the Gospel.  There is the Old Testament and there is the New Testament.  These are Covenants, made by God.  He takes them pretty serious.  I think He means what He says.

Offense comes to every one.  There are no exceptions, we live in a fallen world.  Again, choices are made.  We either decide we will forgive or we decide we won’t.  No decision is a no decision, simple!  Is it easy to forgive?  Absolutely not!  It is probably one of the hardest things to do.  “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.”  Proverbs 18:19

So, my friends, the challenge today is this:  Have a look at your heart before the Lord.  Are you offended by someone, by something said or something someone has done?  You better deal with it, because the repercussions are great.

God is a righteous judge.  This is how fine it gets:  “But I say unto you, (Jesus speaking) that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Matthew 18: 23-35 Jesus tells the story of a steward who worked for a King.  He owed the King a huge sum and could not pay.  So the king commanded that he be sold, with all that he had, until he could pay off the debt.  He begged for his life and the king had compassion on him and forgave him.  However, the servant found a fellow-servant who owed him a small amount and told him to pay up or else.  The poor fellow begged for patience and he would pay, but he would not hear of it and had the fellow thrown into prison.  This really irritated the other servants and they complained to the King, who when he heard addressed this unjust steward with these words:  “You are a wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, could you not have compassion and pity upon your fellow-servant as I had upon you.”  And, then He handed him over to the tormentors, “till he should pay all that was due unto him.”

Here is the kicker:  Verse 35  “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

I guess that pretty much sums it up for me.  I have no choice.  Either I forgive the one who offends me or I won’t be forgiven.  And, if I won’t forgive the tormentors come, guess who they are…  I choose to forgive, for my own sake.  I like freedom and peace….don’t need tormentors, no thanks.  How about you?

Reflectively His,

Joy

Handicapped

Yesterday I went out of the house for the first time in several days.  It felt a bit odd.  I don’t know about you, but I like being active, doing things.  Don’t get me wrong, I need quiet time too, but I was not created for inactivity.  In fact, the Lord lets me know on occasion that I have become a human doing instead of a human being.  LOL!

As I was meandering about town working off my list, I thought of the word handicapped, not a word that you will hear much in today’s politically correct world.  But then, I don’t track a whole lot with that kind of thinking anyway.

I really like words, that is most of them, though there are some words that are ugly.  Anyway, as I was driving to my destinations I was thinking of the meaning of handicapped.  This is not a great word, as words go, but I think it can be a springboard for good and growth.

My Gram used to say, people that were handicapped in some way were “not quite right”.   She meant that they were physically handicapped or mentally retarded.  However, I believe that if you are impaired in some way or another, physical or mental, you are handicapped. I want to share with you a small part of my life with the handicap of being a tall girl in a world of average people.

My uncle, my Mother’s brother, was the father figure in my young life, being a perfectionist, his requirements were a tough standard for a young girl to follow.  As a result, I felt as though I could never quite measure up; I was never quite good enough at whatever I did.  Top that off me being a tall girl, when everyone around me was average in height, and you had the makings of a handicap.

I often heard the words.  “My but you”re (she’s) tall!”, as if it wasn’t obvious to me and everyone else.  Why is it that people call attention to the flaws, the handicaps, that are so clearly seen by all, and most of the time known by the person themselves?  Could one of the possibilities be to take the spotlight off their own insecurity and handicaps?

My point in all of this wandering is that every single person on the face of this God-created earth is, in fact, handicapped in one way or another.  During our teen years  some “flaw or fault” that we had was highlighted by someone, making us want to crawl in a hole and disappear rather than having to face that issue once again, and if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will…small comfort that, eh?

There has never been a perfect person.  Isaiah 53:2 says that even Jesus was not extraordinary in His physical appearance.  So, why do we place such great importance on the physical body?

I read an article about a contestant in a beauty pageant, who when questioned by a reporter about how she saw herself, was astounded to hear her talk about what she saw as a flaw in her appearance, when, in fact, she appeared to be perfect.  No one is immune to the voices that put you down and make you feel like “less than”.  No one!

Dear reader, we can relax the standard, the bar is too high, we can never measure up to what “they” say, whoever they are.  There is a standard that we can go by, a measure that will change everything for us, and it is a measure that will never change, will never be moved by whether we are good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or homely, it is the standard of God’s unconditional love for each one of us.

I love what Psalm 139 teaches about the creation of each one of us in our mother’s womb.  It tells us that God was totally involved in that process, watching over it.  He told Jeremiah that He knew him from His mother’s womb and John the Baptist was Spirit-filled from his mother’s womb.  They were just people like us.  We came from God and if we choose His way while we live here on earth, then we can go to be with Him when we leave this earth suit behind.

Handicaps?  My point is that we all are handicapped in one way or another, but it is not the fact of a handicap that needs to rule us, it is our attitude and what we do that will make the differance in our life.  Circumstances do not have to determine who or what we will be, we can become bitter or we can become better, it is our decision.  When you realize that God accepts you just as you are in Jesus, through Jesus, the next step is to accept yourself as you are and begin to grow up into a mature man or woman.

For many years I suffered from rejection and insecurity, and occasionally those old accusations do try to resurface, but I choose to use those times to grow.  I will always be tall, God gave me the DNA that I have, it is my task to use it for His glory.  I desire to be the best me that I can be and when being tall feels like a handicap, I remember that my Father in Heaven loves me, accepts me as I am and invites me to grow up to be like Jesus.  I choose to see what felt like a handicap as an advantage and behave accordingly.

Hope your day is going well friends, blessings to you from Heaven’s love.

Joyfully His,

Joy