Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PREJUDICE stilled

Prejudice then and now is a point of view, a perspective learned, not of God, but of this world. Harrison Ford portrayed Branch, a man that witnessed racial prejudice in his youth and did nothing about it. When he was in position to make a difference, he SHOOK UP the world by introducing the first black man in Brooklyn for the Dodgers. The number 42, the first and last number to be retired in baseball history - is because of one mans passion for the sport, and because of another man's tremendous GOD GIVEN courage to SUBMERGE his anger, and be changed from his inside out, by the spirit of God, for the greater good. Branch warns Jackie "PREPARE yourself to be wickedly trampled in public. You must face verbal abuse like Jesus did, with humility and silence. You must rise above all that is hurled at you. You must maintain WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST, for His namesake, for HIS greater glory ~ and win souls by your silent witness." Jackie was coached well and he learned to harness his thoughts,
his emotions, his old ways and submitted them unto the Lord, that as a nation we would embrace ALL men as equal, to the GLORY OF GOD. A great emotional performance in REAL LIFE, and in the movie 42! "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:5-11

Thursday, September 4, 2014

STOP WORRYING

SPEAK THE TRUTH in love.  This is a command, a word from God that gives us peace, only if we obey.  Withholding frustrations, not speaking the truth will fester and cause distance in our relationship to God, our mate, our kids, or with the person whose behavior is the cause of our inability to love, forgive or rest in peace. The dis-ease, the guilt, the shame, the anger, needs to be vocalized in a way that honors the feeling nature that God gave each of us. Taking responsibility for the way we choose to feel is to honor God.  Thanking God for the difficulty and rejoicing in the opportunity to connect more deeply with His purpose, ushers in the Holy Spirit Who is ever ready to help us, to commune in us, His wisdom, His understanding, His peace, and give us the words to speak.  Taking the time to be alone with God, to write a memo, to outline exactly what is robbing us of our joy, peace and ability to forgive, this exercise is how David worked through his various struggles which turned into Psalms, his praise to God for the grace, restoration and His mercy. Prayer is crying out to God, and God wants us to be honest. To speak the truth to Him, we first must be honest with ourself. The people He places in our lives is His will and way of propsering us. God grows us into the person He created us to be by removing all people or ways we rely upon besides Him.  His holy perfect purpose is that we become more like Jesus, and less like who we were before we met Jesus.

Do you quietly lie awake at night contemplating how you would feel; IF ONLY THEY would…..?  Do your thoughts include whispers from the Lord, or the enemy?  How can you tell what voice you are listening to?  IF the impulse is to give up, to walk out or to blame someone for how you feel…then that voice is not from God.  Being honest takes courage and in our weakness is when the Holy Spirit shows up strong!  Having second thoughts, is a gift from God.  It is His tug on our heart to face the truth of how we feel and consider God’s word, His ways, His will above our own.  God’s word encourages us to confess our sin of unbelief in His power to change us. Remaining in denial and to say "Everything is fine" when it is NOT, is a LIE. Our obedience to fess up to what is bothering us, brings us closer to God, and He heals us. Getting out of denial is the first step to recovery, and the return of God’s peace.  Group support is available in every church. Talking to others who have the same issue, or a similar situation gives us the opportunity to air out our frustrations, and thereby begin to understand that you are not alone, that your feelings are valued, validated and worthy of opening up to God and others for a healing, for a solution.

A new father was distraught with thoughts of abandoning his wife and 2-year-old with Down syndrome. But after voicing his truth with others who had kids with disabilities, he found the strength to go home and face another day. IF you truly want peace, then do something, take positive steps towards God, admit your struggle, be honest, pour out your heart and then LISTEN while you read the Psalms. Following Jesus, means doing what He did.  He removed Himself from the crowds, He got alone with His Father and poured out His heart, then He walked courageously, not blaming anyone for the rejection, ridicule and trials He faced. Gain as much knowledge as you can about the saints that have journeyed before you. Next, begin to speak honest words of thanksgiving for all the good in your life. Discipline your thoughts, and force yourself to make eye contact and interact with the person who does not behave in the manner in which you desire. People are desperate to be loved “as they are” not as we would like them to be.  Jesus loves all of us “as we are”. The greatest commandment, not suggestion from God, but holy instruction is that we LOVE ourselves as we are loved, unconditionally.  Then with His love overflowing in us, we can love and forgive others as we love and forgive ourselves. Accept others, appreciate their God given differences, disabilities, and difficulties. God is the One who changes people, He will take our hardened hearts and make them soft.  He will soften our hearts towards those who are not like us.  He will
increase our faith in Him to do all things through Christ Jesus, as we call on Him to change us by filling us with the desire to be more like Jesus. The only thing keeping us from loving others as we are loved is our ignorance or resistance to accept all the love God has for us. Once we overcome our own selfish expectations for others to behave in acceptable manners, only then will we see the beauty in them that Jesus sees. Talk to God just like He is sitting in a chair beside you. Be honest with God throughout the entire process of finding His peace in the midst of any chaos, frustration or undesired outcome. Healing is a process and a journey. Experience the life-changing transformation  that comes by speaking the truth in love. The truth is life is hard, but without Jesus, it is impossible to possess joy, even when times are tough.  He never changes, but we must in order to rest in peace.  Let us settle the fact that GOD IS GOOD and that
you trust Him with your life, your situation, your frustrations.
We all makes mistakes, we all fall short, and we all struggle to accept our own imperfections. All people grow and develop character by the trials that life brings so praise God for all your character building days!  God's amazing grace is a GIFT.  From God to you through Jesus.  Jesus marvels at two things.  Great faith and a lack of faith.  Even those who walked with Jesus daily had bad days, moments of doubt, and many frustrations.  Fishing all night and catching nothing, is to work all day and not get paid. On one famous journey out to sea, a wild storm arose and the followers of Jesus woke up a sleeping Jesus and asked Him "Don't You care?"  There is NO human being  in this world that cares more than Jesus.  The disciples had personally witnessed Jesus give a blind man sight because He cared deeply. Our self-relainace, or our ways of toiling on our own without Jesus is disobedience.  Jesus tells us "Do not worrry" In other words STOP worrying.  If we remain sleepless, toiling in worry, we are
sinning. James, the brother of Jesus, doubted Jesus and his letter to us all reminds us "Confess your sin (of disbelief, lack of trust) to one another and be healed." Admit the time you spent worrying did not add a single inch to your character,or stature. REPENT, turn around, face Jesus and ask Him to forgive your unbelief, your doubt, your pride, that you "got this".  Let us make our Father happy and trust Him with all our concerns, consternatins, frustrations.  Let us lean on Him and not our understanding.  Our Father cared enough to send His son, to deliver us from the fear of death, and the disappointments that challenge our human capacity to live life on our own.  The content of our mind and heart are known by He who stilled the storm. His grace is sufficient, His grace caught the fish, and His grace provides for all our spiritual, physical and financial needs.  Everyday take up the habit of praising God for all things, the good, the bad, the hard and the easy! Thank You Jesus for Your mercy, Your patience.  Your ways are perfect and I thank you for each trial, for every lesson, and for the change of heart You accomplished in me!