Archive | August 2014

Secure in My Insecurity

Dear Friend,

Of late I have been pondering this matter of insecurity. It seems to me that women are particularly troubled with this problem, and I have seen it as a problem.

For a lot of years I have read and studied the Word of God and one thing I am certain of is scripture makes it plain that there is nothing that can occur in our lives that is beyond God’s love and ability to handle.

The Problem is not on His end, it is on ours. I have read many articles, listened to many tapes and heard many CD’s that should have settled the issue that all believers can rest secure in God’s love, pardon, care and keeping.

How many of us, myself included, have quoted this scripture: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”, and this one: “If God be for me who can be against me?” Still, we feel insecure when the things of life assail us. What is going on here?

Many of my friends are in the Caleb generation along with me. You recall that Caleb came to Joshua when he was in his 80’s and said, “While we were on our way to the Promised Land, there was that issue of whether or not we were able to go in because there were giants in the land, I, along with you, gave Moses the good report that we were well able to do it because the Lord was with us. Well, you know how that turned out, but I am here today, 40 years later, and I am just as strong as I was then; I want the inheritance that I was promised. Moses said that I could have this mountain, give me what is mine.”

Caleb’s faith is like Abraham’s faith. They believed, they trusted in God, they leaned on Him and they relied upon Him and not themselves.

Recently this phrase has been coming to my mind: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Are we doing that? Or, are we being religious, are we like the lukewarm people that John spoke of in the book of Revelation; salt without saltiness only worth being thrown into the street?

For years many of us have been in the so-called “Faith Movement”, we are faith people. But are we? When “stuff” happens what do we do, what do we say?

Are we wearing our full armor? Those of us who call ourselves Christian wear the helmet of salvation, many of us have determined that is enough. Probably most of us have on the belt of truth. Some of us have on the shoes of the gospel of peace, but how many of us have on the breastplate of righteousness and know how to use the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit?

I once heard Myles Munroe teach on righteousness. He called righteousness “God’s way of doing and being right.” With that definition, it is my opinion, many of us are not living the life, but only giving lip service to it. Could this be the reason that when we are afflicted in some way we revert to living off our feelings, our emotions instead of living by faith?

We whine and cry, moan and groan about how unfair life is, as if in this fallen world we should escape the curse and live as if Heaven is on Earth. Jesus Himself said we would have trouble in this world and Paul added suffering to that. Are we prepared for this? Many believe it is coming soon.

Another aspect of this security/insecurity issue is gender. In the Bible I see that most of the focus is upon men, not women. Jesus 12 disciples were men, those closest to Him. I also see men in positions of authority in the Old Testament.

I am not saying that women have no place, nor that women cannot be gifted by God and used by God, but there is an order that if observed brings blessing. My own pastors are a wonderful example of the principle of God’s order. Pastor Sharon is called to lead the church, but her husband preaches and helps in the ministry all the while maintaining a business. There is a marvelous balance and order in the church because each of them knows their place.

Oh yes, I have heard the sermons and read the articles about women staying in their place as Paul taught in the Word, but contextually and culturally that argument doesn’t hold water.

I believe that God holds husbands responsible for everything pertaining to life and godliness in the family. The husband is to be the head of the house. That means the the one who has the final word. The wife is his helpmate, she is not a doormat, nor is she to “wear the pants” in the family.

In everything in life there are ditches on each side of the truth and it is easy to get off course. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who will bring us course correction, if we will listen.

We have only to look at the newspaper or listen to the news and we can see the breakdown in society because God’s order is not being observed.

In our society, with women’s rights, the lines are blurred. These days a female can do about anything a man can do and they do. It has not always been so and in most of the cultures in our world it is not so today.

During my time on planet earth I have seen women’s rights, equal rights, and every other kind of right pushed upon society. It seems to me that the issue of rights has pushed God out and invited in a “mess of trouble”. It looks to me like the world is headed for a confrontation with Almighty God and we know who will win that battle.

So, dear female friend, where do you find yourself in the big picture? Are you overcome by the circumstances? Are you just barely holding on to your sanity? Do you wonder where God is in this picture? Somebody moved, was it Him?

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” You go to church, you read the Bible, you ask Him for help and help does not seem to come, so what is wrong? You just don’t feel close to Him, you feel alone at times. What is the answer?

Could the answer be that we never had the fire of God from the start, we have been “religious”, we know how to do but we do not know how to be? Or could it be that we have grown lukewarm over the years and God is not “real” anymore. We have moved away or moved on and God does not follow the backslider, though He loves them.

Has God disappointed you? Would you admit that you have felt that way? What about the prayers, the request you made for help and you wonder if He heard you? Can we be honest and admit that life has not always been what we thought it should be. What is going on?

We may feel insecure because God does not fit the picture that we have painted of Him in our mind. We have tried to make the creator of the Universe fit into our brain, our thinking, our understanding. Could it be that our God is too small?

“Draw near to God.” Did you notice this is a command? “You” is understood as in, “You draw near to God.” What does that mean, how do you draw near to someone you cannot see, hear or feel? There is the crux of the matter. Seeing is not faith. You cannot draw near to God in Heaven in your human body, no man (human) can see God and live according to the scripture.

As a carnal man, a man who does not know God or His ways, I must come to God in Faith. Faith in God is receiving Him even though I cannot see Him. Even though I do not know Him, I must believe and receive Him by faith. I must choose to lean my entire being on someone I cannot see, hear or feel with my natural eyes, ears, mind or emotions. For some this is untenable.

You cannot come to the place of faith without conviction that you are a sinner and you need a Savior. No one comes to God who is secure in himself. No one is good enough, nor can anyone ever do enough to be able to stand before God and declare himself right with God. Only one man has ever done that, the man Jesus the Messiah of Israel.

Have you come to the cross where Jesus died for you? Do you realize that you must die to yourself in order to live for Him. Flesh is strong, self will take us down the wrong path, it is a path away from God. Choose God’s way of doing and being right that you may live now and in eternity in the Kingdom of God.

For several months last year I kept hearing the word focus. As I listened and studied that word, I realized that our focus determines our destination. If you don’t know where you are going you won’t get there. Focus is like putting an address into your GPS so you can get directions to where you are going.

When the trials, trouble, tests and tribulations of life assail us, we will miss hitting the mark unless our focus, our faith, is set upon the only one who can guide us through the storms of life, Jesus Christ the righteous. Let us turn from our beggarly self to Him; make Jesus your focus and He will guide you through whatever comes.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Though my feelings may shout loudly, “You are insecure.” The Word of God tells me when I am weak He is strong. I choose to focus upon Him; He is my God in whom I trust. I am secure in Him. it is enough. I trust you are the same.

Love in Him,
Joy

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Worthiness and Rejection

Many a person never fulfills there calling in life because they feel unworthy. This feeling begins with rejection, and usually it is very early in life.

I recall a story that Dr. James Dobson told when he worked at a hospital as the resident psychologist. I will tell it as I remember it, if you know it give me grace if I get some of the details wrong.

One morning the head personnel director, a woman, called a meeting of the staff. Everyone showed up and began to take their seats. Dr. Dobson was seated in the front row on the far right.

In the back of the room was a table on which there were doughnuts, rolls and coffee, however, no one went to the table, enticing as it was.

The director walked up to the podium and greeted the group, by the way, Dr. Dobson related that he was the only male in the group, she directed that the meeting would begin after they had partaken of the coffee etc. She asked who would like to go first…no one moved.

Dr. Dobson related that he knew no one would be the first to move because every person has suffered some rejection at sometime in their life, so he boldly rose from his seat and said, “I will.” and according to him, all the women immediately rose and followed.

Rejection can be debilitating, Rejection can come upon a child in the womb, and inexplicably to him or her, that child deals with feelings of rejection his or her whole life unless the cause is found and dealt with.

Many times a baby is an inconvenience to a couple, I have counseled women whose mothers did not want them, who did everything they could to get rid of them short of abortion. They suffered with feelings of rejection no matter how assured they were that they were loved.

School brings peer pressure and if a child is somehow different than the other children they are picked on and/or ridiculed. This is the entry point for rejection with its feelings of not measuring up and feelings of unworthiness. Many a child has taken their own life or the lives of others for this very reason.

Within the last few days the well-known comedian Robin Williams took his own life. There are many articles, many stories surrounding the man and the incident. I doubt that anyone, short of the man himself, would be able to say what happened to him as a vulnerable child. Perhaps he was unusual, not the norm. I am no psychologist but I have read that many comedians use humor to gain the approval they could not get any other way. According to one article I read Williams mother gave him the approval he needed to go the direction he went. His life apart from the spotlight was not a happy one according to what I have read. He seemed to be seeking something but never found it.

May I suggest that the something seekers are looking for is not a thing but a person? His name in Hebrew was Jeshua, He was born to a Jewish girl named Miriam, His Father was God, Yahweh or Yehovah, this is what the Holy Bible teaches.

If you have been infected with rejection, it is nearly impossible to escape from it apart from the work of God’s Spirit. God’s love and acceptance are the key to freedom.

Some of us had parents or guardians that did not bring us up in the way that was best for us or in the manner that was needful for us to develop into whole, happy people. But, Thank God there is no scenario in which we may find ourselves that God cannot change. It is written in His Word: “Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh: Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

How many people have siblings that seem to “outshine” them in so many, if not all areas? Brothers in the same family as different as night and day, all of them pursuing excellence, but in totally different ways and styles. One brother is educated with several degrees and has a high paying job, while another has only a high school degree and works in retail, another is a truck driver who cared less about education but loves being a truck driver. They don’t talk, they have nothing in common. How sad! Diversity is good, but not without unity.

Another situation may be one in which there are several sisters, to one sister it seems that she is the only one who does not have the gifts and talents that all the others do. She has struggled her whole adult life with this seeming lack on her part, trying to make sense of these feelings. She does not feel like she fits and on the one hand pushes against having to conform to their standard while on the other hand desiring their acceptance.

We all deal with rejection according to Dr. Dobson. You cannot live in this world and not experience it at some point. What is the answer?

Feelings of rejection can come because we are different than someone and that is pointed out to us, usually repeatedly, though not necessarily. In point of fact, each of us was created by God according to Psalm 139:13 “For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Each person is unique and special.

God’s feelings for us are spelled out in Zephaniah 3:17: “He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

Isaiah 49:16 tells us that He loves us so much that, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” This passage also says that a nursing mother may forget her baby, but He says He will never forget us. Jesus expressed it this way in Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world.” Ephesians 1:6 tells us that we are accepted in the Beloved.” In Habakkuk 13:5 we are assured by God, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

There are conditions however, in James 4:8 we read: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Deliverance from rejection is available when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior; having repented of the sin of rebellion against God, we have taken a step that brought us out of the Kingdom of Darkness and into the Kingdom of Light, God’s Kingdom according to Colossians 1:13-14.

We have become a child of God by new birth, as John 3:3 tells us, it is at this point that we qualify for all that Jesus died for us to have, which includes deliverance from the affects that have come upon us from the adversary (the devil), the world and our own flesh. This is accomplished as we yield, surrender and submit our whole self: body, soul and spirit to God and allow Holy Spirit to work in us, bringing us to wholeness through what Jesus did at Calvary.

No amount of striving on our part can make us whole, make us well. Jesus did it all. We receive what Jesus did and rest in that finished work. It is Holy Spirit’s job to help us, Helper is one of His functions. He is also our teacher, our counselor, our comforter. We need Him in every one of those ways.

God’s written Word is His love letter to us to help us through the process. Relationship with Him through prayer, which is the conversation of the believing heart with God, is that “Drawing near” that James spoke of in his letter and out of the combination of The Holy Spirit, the written Word and Prayer we will grow up, come to maturity.

Our body is simply a container, an earth suit to live in while we are on this planet. The body is born to wear out and die, which is part of the curse that came upon man and earth when Adam transgressed God’s command not to eat of the Tree in the midst of the garden.

Our spirit and soul are another matter. God created mankind for fellowship with Himself. We make contact with Him through our Spirit and when we believe on and receive Jesus and are born-again, we begin the process of the conversion of our soul.

The soul is the seat of our mind, our will, our emotions, our feelings. We, our soul, may be a “mess” when we come into the Kingdom, we may have a lot to overcome, but the good news is that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and His Spirit, so we don’t have to go it alone. Praise God!

We become part of the Family of God when we are born of the Spirit of God. We can begin to have fellowship and walk in “The Way” with those we will be with for all eternity.

And now: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord shine His face upon you and give you His peace”, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Amen!

Blessings,
Joy

Zandra’s Song

I met her in Georgia. She was a small woman, probably five foot four or five inches tall. Physically, she was attractive, but that was not what you noticed when she spoke, rather it was the quiet force you felt, a gentle but firm tone in her voice, which let you know she was someone to be reckoned with.

Zandra was born in 1957 to a West Texas rancher and his Louisiana Cajun wife. She grew up on the ranch working alongside her father, doing pretty much what he did. She met and married Nolan and they had four children. Life was not always easy for them, but their love for each other and their God sustained them.

I was in Georgia a number of years ago visiting a friend, and since she was involved with the local Women’s Aglow, we attended the meeting. Zandra was the president. I heard how God had led them to Georgia to start a church and an Aglow chapter and now they were selling their home to move back to Texas. God had told Zandra, “You are going home and you will live in your parents home.” She struggled with that for some time, but eventually she came into agreement with the Lord.

The house sold and Nolan, Zandra and the children moved back to Texas and into the original home on the ranch. Zandra’s parents had built a beautiful home a number of years before and the old house had stood empty for some time. It was small and in need of repair, but they moved in and it worked.

By this time Nolan had his pilots license and had begun flying. I was on a nine month prayer mission across the U.S. and I needed a place to stay as my partner had to fly home, Zandra invited me to stay with them. I was given daughter Noel’s room. I enjoyed my stay with them very much and also getting to know Zandra better.

God said they would be moving into the big house and Zandra wanted me to see it. She got permission from her mother and gave me a tour, it was lovely. We prayed in the house and I could picture them there. In time they moved in. Many times she invited me to come to Texas, but I never had the finances, time or liberty to do so. We corresponded a little on the internet, but she really did not really care for e-mail. A few phone calls here or there and one visit to the city where I live is all I was privileged to have with her on earth, but the impact was lasting.

One thing high-lighted Zandra’s life – soul winning and prayer. Her early training in prayer was at the feet of a woman she called “Nonie”. Nonie was the mother of a world famous minister who literally wore out her body in intercession. She advised Zandra not to do what she had done, however, Zandra did not heed those words of advice and would spend many hours in intercession for her family and those that God had brought into her life. I was privileged to be among those she brought to the throne of grace. Thank you Lord.

I recall when I was with her once she told me that she made a point of speaking to people in elevators, or any where she was for that matter. She wanted people to know the man who changed her life, Jesus the Messiah of Israel. She was compelled by love for Him to tell others what He had done for her.

The last time I saw her I observed that the M.S. she had battled in the past had recurred, however, she did not let that stop her. Nolan would be at the controls of an aircraft, she a passenger, going with him to spend the time of his layover together. She did this frequently. She told me that it was her job to keep Nolan happy. She took that job very seriously.

As I left her the last night I would see her on earth, she charged me to follow the Lord fully, with everything in me. I did not know that would be the last time I would see her here, but I took that charge seriously and have endeavored to do just that.

There have been many people who have influenced my life. Zandra was one of those whose life made a permanent impact on mine. I learned how to treat my husband by her example. I learned that people matter, that they mattered to God and so they they must matter to us. Zandra loved, not in a gushy emotional way, but everything she did was because of the Love of God within her. She was Kingdom of God minded.

Today I learned that Zandra’s “Dancing Day” came last Friday; she entered into the Kingdom of Heaven to be forever with the one she loved. Jesus came for her and she gladly left her mortal body behind and went home with him.

Blessed be her memory to her family, to her friends and to her spiritual daughters. I honor Zandra, one of my spiritual mothers in the faith, I will miss her, and I look forward to seeing her soon.

Joy