Archive | August 2015

Perspective

We are all a work in progress.  We will not be finished here until our life on earth ends.  We come to earth through a woman.  After our birth, we grow in every way, physically, mentally, emotionally etc.  This process is without effort on our part.  We walk through life as if we were on a moving walkway.  Some people seem to run and some people decide to sit life out; others rebel against the process and still others go with the flow, but no one can stop the process.

I have been thinking this morning about my sons and how they perceive who I am.  If I wrote a letter to them, I would tell them that how they see me is not who I really am.   I am the sum total of all of my experiences to date.  Everything that has happened to me has made me who I am today.  I am not the Mom that raised them.  That person was left behind long ago.  I am more fully Joy today than I have ever been.

I was a legalistic parent.  It was my way or else.  I raised them by what I perceived were Biblical standards.  I did not know that God is not legalistic, He has laws and obeying them brings blessing.  Disobeying them bring a curse.  We can choose to obey and be blessed and we can choose to disobey and reap the consequences.  God is not angry with us, He loves us intensely, passionately.  Everything He does is for our good.  He is a good Father.

I reached a point where I cared about my parents, and though both of them lived with me, I wished I had sat down with them and asked more questions about their lives so I would know who they really were.  But by the time I cared, they were gone and it was too late.  I have read stories of people in trouble crying out for their Mom, needing her comfort.  I don’t believe it ever leaves your soul.

A friend of mine, in her 80’s, shared a memory of being in the kitchen with her mother as a little girl. She remembered how bright the kitchen was and the smell of bread baking.  She was happy; she had no fear or anxiety.   Yesterday she told me that her doctor says she should not drive on the freeway and her kids are talking about moving her to assisted living.  Another friend is having major health issues and has given power of attorney to a family member.  Each of these women is struggling to maintain their independence while realizing that eventually they will have to have help.

You have to be very brave to go through old age, because you eventually lose the right to be you anymore as volition is transferred to your children or a caregiver.

Americans have an independent mentality.  It is the foundation of our country, one of the major documents of America being The Declaration of Independence.

Parents look forward to their children being “independent”, moving out and beginning life on their own.  As we walk through life, we gather people and things along the way.  We get a job, marry and have children, buy a house, a car etc.  When the kids move out and we are left with the house and the things we adjust to the new reality. Old age comes and a spouse dies and another adjustment is made.  Life is a series of adjustments and adaptations.

There was an elderly gentleman who was hospitalized, he never said very much to the staff.  When he died and they were gathering his things to give to the family they found a poem that he had written in which he spoke about how they cared for him day after day, but they never really saw him.

This brought to mind what I came to know as reality, the spirit of a person does not grow old, only the body ages and dies.  The body goes into the grave and returns to dust.  The spirit, which is eternal, goes to Heaven or Hell; depending on who or what you served during your sojourn on the Earth.

We look at the body of a person and think that is who they are.  Not true!  The spirit within is young.  Some have said perhaps around 30 years of age.

How others see you is only one perspective.  There is another perspective and that is how you see yourself.  If we look at ourselves based upon what someone thinks of us, we will always be striving to please them.  It is a bottomless pit that leads to misery.  “You can please some of the people some of the time but, you cannot please all of the people all of the time.”  People who strive to please others are miserable and they are miserable to be around.

Of course, if you see yourself as superior to others you will be a controlling, miserable wretch to be around and sooner or later, you will be abandoned.  “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Lastly, there is the real perspective and that is how God sees you, which is the only one that carries weight for all eternity.  This is the only true view.  After all, the Word of God says that He looks at the heart while men look at the outward things.  It is written:  “Out of the heart are the issues of life.”  It is God that we are to please, living by His standards brings many blessings.

I pray that you will be blessed today.  God’s Word says that we are “accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesian 1:6  Let us press our flesh to agree with the Word, not what we think or feel and not what another person thinks of us, good or bad.  To be able to walk in that is freedom indeed.

Joy

Almost, But Not Quite.

Today a guest writer will bring a message that has been “burning” in her heart.  She is a dear friend of mine for over thirty years; she is passionate about God and I asked if she would share this message with you.  DeAnne, you have the floor, or page.  LOL!

My husband and I like to walk around a lake near us, especially on a beautiful summer morning.  As we walk we enjoy the beauty of nature, greet the people we meet along the way and in general enjoy God’s handiwork.

Recently, as we were on our way to the lake, while driving there, I happened to notice some drivers who sort of “fudged” a bit on the traffic rules.  It set me to thinking and I want to share those thoughts with you in hopes that it will challenge you.

When we first learn to drive we are very careful and very diligent to obey all of the rules, but familiarity brings with it laxity.  We exceed the speed limit by just five miles because we know we won’t be stopped, we sort of roll through the stop sign instead of coming to a full stop, we may not use a turn signal because no one is around, and how many of us approach an intersection, the light is yellow and you know it will be red before you clear it, but you go through it anyway.  Some people have even taken to going through a light when it turns red.  What we are really saying is, “The rules don’t apply to me.”  Really?

How about spiritually?  We meet Jesus, we are born-again, we are hungry, hungry, hungry.  We can’t get enough Word, enough Bible Study, enough talk about Jesus and God’s Kingdom.  We go to church. We go to meetings. We attend Bible Studies.  We so much want to learn about this amazing God who died for us, who gave His life that we might really live.  We can’t wait to share what we are learning with others.

But in time something happens.  We miss a service here and there.  We start finding fault with the people in our Bible Study, and church does not seem to draw us like it once did.  We don’t take time to read the Bible, listen to teachings or have “God” conversations.  Our hearts start growing cold.

There are many ways that we justify ourselves.  We may think: “God loves me, I know that, but He knows I can’t spend all of my time in church.  I have other commitments too.”  “I have grown a lot over the years, I am actually doing pretty good.  How much more do I have to grow?”  “I am not so bad, I go to church most Sundays.  I am not the pastor or Bible teacher, I am just a homemaker, a mother and now I am a grandma.  I need a break.”

“The other day I was walking through the family room and I heard a TV preacher say, “God misses His time with you.”,  “I thought, come on, I am no one special.  But that thought nagged me, He misses me?  Could it be….maybe it is true.  Could that be why my children aren’t living so great.  Could I be backslidden?  Does God really miss me when I don’t spend time with Him?”

“I am somewhat of a church goer.  I give some in the offering baskets.  I am not a freeloader with God, am I?  Well, our finances aren’t as good as they used to be, things are getting a little tight.  I haven’t talked to my godly friends in a long time.  Hmmm, maybe God is trying to tell me something.”

“A few months ago my believing friend said something that offended me, maybe I needed to hear that rebuke. Lord, are you trying to help me to listen?  Maybe I need to have a talk with Jesus; my knees probably could stand to get a few callouses.”

“I wonder where I put my Bible.  Oh my, when was the last time I read it?  God, forgive me it’s been a long time, maybe that is why my life is in such a mess, it is a “BIG” mess.  Jesus, I need you, bring me back to the center and be my main focus again.  Today I say, “Yes”, to you.  I will search for You with my whole heart, like I used to.  Thank you God for never giving up on me.  Oh Lord, don’t ever let me go backwards again.  You are so good, so kind, so merciful and precious.  Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me.  I love you Lord.”

The person in this scenario realized before it was too late that she had let her relationship with the Lord slip away.  You cannot be almost saved, but not quite, you are either saved or you are not.  You can’t have a relationship with someone without communication.  Let us remember we are Children of the Most High God and members of the Royal household, our Brother is the King.  Let’s visit with our family on earth, our Father in Heaven, our Brother, Jesus, and let’s welcome the Spirit of the Lord into every part of our lives.

Deuteronomy 8: 2-3; 11-16 NKJV

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

Beware that you do not forget the Lord you God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statues which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;’ who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end.”

God loves you!  It has been a privilege to share with you.  DeAnne