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Eternity in My Heart…

TreasureOne of the wisest men ever was King Solomon.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says that God has set eternity in our hearts!  That is a profound statement.  I cannot imagine what that invokes in you, but for me it exposes a lot of wasted time and energy that I have spent trying to ‘fit into’ the world around me.  I am learning that eternity does not describe most of my world thus far.  Too much concern for the peripherals of life.  Too much emphasis on the world’s definition of fulfillment, love, happiness, etc.  Let’s face it-too much ME!

God, Who is continuing to bring healing to my soul, is revealing a mound of insecurities that the enemy has used to keep me pressed down and ineffective.  However, I have found and can proclaim that ”Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world”…ah, ha!  For that I praise His name.  Now the key is to discern the difference.  Like so many, I have had a skewed perspective on life and what it is all about.

Line BreakThere is a hymn titled “This World is Not My Home”, written by Albert E. Brumley, that sure puts it straight, as the first couple lines of one stanza read:

This world is not my home I’m just passing through

my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue…

(and then it finishes with)

I can’t feel at home in this world any more.

So where are we laying up our treasures?  This is a question worthy of our personal reflection.  You may be familiar with this Scripture from Matthew 6:20,21:

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I have heard some well known Bible teachers mention “just look at your check book if you want to see where you are laying up your treasures.”  Solomon tells us the truth when he says that God has placed eternity in our hearts, but most of us are not… Click To Tweet Dare I say most of us are living as though this world is all there is.

Let me ask you (as I question myself), what treasures are you investing in?  Worldly or heavenly?  You see if I am going to be overly concerned with fitting into the worlds ways (which my insecurities tend to push me toward) then I am forsaking looking beyond today to gratify immediate worldly (or as the Word puts it ‘fleshly’ desires.)

Have you ever thought of the perspective between our life on this earth and eternity?  I think it is an amazing picture of contrast much like looking at a model of the solar system as we compare the size of the smaller planets to the sun.  Or our galaxy to the rest of space, a bit difficult to put in perspective.  But that being said, for myself, I need to keep tracking on purposeful living, with an eternal perspective!

Let me close with one very simple thought that God has used to spur me on to the right path, “Love God and love others.”  Not that it is an easy transition, but I can be intentional about simply loving God.  Daily spending some time with Him, enjoying His presence and then freely letting Him mess with my old patterns of living as He shows me my world through His lens.  The rest is up to me to willingly begin to lay up my treasures in heaven for His glory!

Go and Be Reconciled

“…Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

So my former co-worker and I discussed the portion of Scripture above. And having gone through some studies that deal with ‘offense’ this came to light again today. First of all how important it is that we have right relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ (not to mention all the other wonderful and not so wonderful people in our lives.)

Here is the Scripture in its context: 

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. 

“So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won’t be free agian until you have paid the last penny.”

I am now understanding that I just don’t have a ‘right’ to carry a grudge or to hold on to a misunderstanding with another person. But…why is it so hard to set these things right with a brother or sister I may have offended or royally ticked off? Well, what about that person who observes my actions and sees me as a ‘goody two shoes Christian’ yet can’t get along with my brothers and sisters? What am I showing them? Probably that I am no different from the rest of the world. But I know that I am supposed to be. I am sanctified and set apart. This means I should operate in and with love not being ‘holier than thou’ but holy unto God. I believe this means that I need to look different (responding with actions that reveal a heart of love) to those who observe how I behave, with compassion and being more like Christ!

Father, will you forgive me for my reactions to people, and help me to see we are on this journey of becoming more like You and that means that I need You to teach me how to forgive and ask to be forgiven. These aren’t easy lessons, Father, and my spirit is sometimes very wounded, but I want the transformation into Christlikness to grow and continue even if it hurts. Thank you for Your love and patience towards me, Your daughter who so often times blunders her way through life! I love You, Father and know you are working all things together (in my life) for good.  Amen

Maybe the issue of forgiveness and offense has come from extreme circumstances, please know that God can help you work through this situation by handing it over to Him!  He will make a way and bring healing and peace to your situation…

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Shackled by a Heavy Burden?

“Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘neath a load of guilt and shame…”
The the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.”

The Gaither Vocal Band wrote the lyrics to this gospel song, which after a walk in the woods one morning with the pup, kept coming to mind and I began to sing it.  I was admiring the beauty of the freshly fallen snow but as I glanced at the trees they were so heavy laden with that thick weighty load bearing upon the branches.  I am sure that some of them were close to breaking and I thought of how familiar that is to us when we are full of unconfessed sin.

Sin is a very heavy load to bear, after all, the Father didn’t design us to carry that kind of a weight around!  It is a weight that will eventually cause damage physically and spiritually. Physically we hide our sin and by hiding or stashing it we become unhealthy in our actions trying to cover up our mess.  And what about the guilt that we carry around because of our sin? It could be from something we’ve done or said or we might live in denial pretending that we have done nothing wrong yet wonder why our happiness and joy is stifled, only a facade.

Spiritually speaking, we might do likewise as we pretend that our walk is just fine and that all is well.  When in fact we for some reason have a difficult time with people, you know, those certain ones who remind of us of a place we would rather not visit.  Or those especially nice ones who make us uncomfortable because they seem so clean and right. Finally, there is a void when we don’t know Jesus and He doesn’t reside or dwell within, don’t you just want peace with yourself and with others!

“Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same…”

I have learned that sin is a weight that is not intended to be carried. My sin and guilt was so overwhelming that I wanted to die…my load of guilt was nearly unbearable! I am unable to soar bearing its load.  God created me and you to fly like an eagle and soar to great heights. But by carrying an unnecessary burden, I become handicapped so to speak, unable to attain those things that God has destined for me!  But there is a remedy…

Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart–these, O God, You will not despise.” (NKJ)

God delights when we turn from sin! There is no degree of one sin over another, it is all unacceptable to Him. And there is nothing sweeter than being released from that burden which stood in the way as a road block between me and God! No more guilt, no more shame and one thing is for sure, the world takes on a whole new look when it isn’t skewed with our sin and guilt!  You see, God provides enough grace and mercy daily for every wrong we confess.  After all, He delights in our fellowship and right standing with Him because of the sacrifice His Son Jesus made on the cross.  When Jesus rose from the grave on Resurrection morning, He made a way for us to have life and a relationship with Father God. It was extreme love, given for us!

John 15:13 says it clearly, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (NKJ)

And like the song continues…

“He touched me, oh He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know,

He touched me and made me whole.” 

So if it is unforgiveness, adultery, abuse, a besetting sin, the sin of unbelief, you just name it and give Him your burden, don’t delay, it belongs at the foot of the cross! Jesus blood covers it and God has already forgiven it!

Visit Grace and Truth for more encouragement.

Flat Lined Faith…

When tragedy strikes, many of us tend to feel hopeless!  If there is an accident or an unexpected report from the doctor, the discovery that one of your loved ones is living contrary to how you reared him or, maybe, just that the 650 foot broadcasting tower and antenna fell to the ground early one Sunday morning,  what would your response be?

hebrews-11-1I went to work (Psalm FM Radio Station in International Falls) one Sunday morning to record our weather for the day. Our main signal was off.  In a rural setting, this can happen more often than we would prefer for a variety of reasons.  However, we also broadcast from Hibbing, so I still had to finish the job.  My  boss had shown us how to manually turn on the transmitter remotely, but I could not get the job done.  Needless to say, I had to call him.  I try not to do this, especially early on a Sunday morning.   He said he would take care of it.  I finished my task and returned home to get ready for church.  The boss and I were both doing worship at church and I hoped, of course, that it would be an easy fix.  Sometimes a twenty minute drive to flip a breaker switch is all that is required.DSCF1883

As I was readying myself, the phone rang and it was the boss with an uneasy tone, saying the antenna was down.  Silly me, I said, “Oh no, you couldn’t get it up and running?”  His reply was, “No, the antenna is lying on the ground in a heap…I will not be at church.”

I cannot fully relay what happened next but I was on the floor weeping and wondering what happened and wondering why God would allow this to happen.   This is our main signal that goes south to west and then north, then east in a 100 mile sweep!  What in the world were we going to do with over half of our listening area unable to hear us and our annual fund raiser just three weeks away?  God, why?

Snowflake Divider

Many people have experienced this rather ‘hit you out of nowhere’ emotion and for a period of time your faith ‘flat-lines’ like on the monitor in a hospital ER room when the heartbeat quits.  You feel devastated, very hopeless!  It is as if there will be no tomorrow for that situation.

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I continued to finish up in the bathroom, since I was a mess after wailing and crying out to God, feeling extremely weak and uncertain about the future of our station.  God has sustained this ministry for just about 30 years.  He has allowed it to grow in strength and distance through the addition of another station and more translators.  Plans for signal improvements and upgrades were continuing, so why now, Lord?  Maybe the season was completed and God was going to allow something completely different to take place.  Oh, the uncertainty that ran through my mind that morning!

I memorize Scripture by writing it out on a card and putting it on my bathroom mirror.  I had two cards going and had the verses memorized for a time, but for whatever reason the cards had not yet been replaced.  They are tucked securely between the mirror and its frame so they do not ever fall out.  Well, that morning one literally jumped out at me and, as I picked it up, I once again read Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…”

For those of you who appreciate the Message paraphrase, it reads, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

I cannot  tell you how this once again got the heartbeat of my faith back on the lifeline!  I began to rethink this incident by putting into practice what I believe about my God!  He is sovereign and always aware of those things that happen in each of our lives.  Nothing passes by His loving hands; and my responsibility is to hold on and trust He will reveal Himself in our tragedy, but in His perfect time!

Snowflake Divider

If you are in that place where you cannot see God’s hand in your circumstances, I want you to know that as far as His part is concerned, nothing has changed! He is as He always is, present in your midst!  You can trust in His omnipresence to always be lovingly aware of your difficult place.  I am choosing to believe in God’s faithfulness in this situation.  I encourage you, as well, to stick to the truth of Who God is and trust that His desire is always for your best and His glory!

At Psalm FM, we are now looking with anticipation to what it is  that will improve our tower signal.  We can even now say, “Thank You, Father, for allowing those powerful storm cells to rip through Loman and bring down that tower.”  God even preserved our new building! We are thankful and trusting Him in all things! Will you?

Tower
Look close to see our brand new 600 ft tower in the distance!

 

When Revival Comes…

The church I attend had been planning to have ‘revival’ meetings with Ralph Sutera, who had been to our church years ago along with his twin brother, Lou.  When they came to Int’l Falls in the late 70’s (I wasn’t even a Christian), many hearts were stirred and moved and some are even still living the life of faith that was ignited back then.  I was impressed that these men don’t come to a church unless they hear from the Lord.  Indeed, they are about praying for the Lord’s perfect timing.

Within this past year, unbeknown to many of us, our church was going through some difficult internal things.  At the appropriate time, Ralph Sutera confirmed that he would indeed come in the fall and there would be a series of meetings for four days that would be open to the community.  These meetings ended up being four very interesting days for yours truly who had never attended “revival” meetings before.

Some background on the Suteras show that these men of God have been serving in this capacity for over 50 years! It was in the early 70’s that Ralph and Lou were use by the Lord in the sweeping Canadian Prairie revival that impacted many lives, including Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God) and Irwin Lutzer (senior pastor of Moody Memorial Church.)  Wow, these are names I know and respect.  You can find out information about the Suteras.

I have learned that there is a difference between Evangelistic and Revival meetings.  One focuses on bringing the pre-saved to Christ and the other deals with the heart condition of the saved.  The latter confirmed that as I have been called to step up to the plate (spiritually speaking), desiring to go ever deeper in my walk with Him, God has let me know that there is some business that He and I have to tend to.

The first meeting I attended was actually our Sunday morning service, and as I sat there listening, Ralph began his message.  The more he spoke, the more he began to point out the way that the church (corporately and individually) was out of order.  Every element that he mentioned I thought,  “Boy, I sure hope that so-and-so heard that and I sure hope our youth pastor heard that”…and on and on.  Finally, the Holy Spirit said to me,  “Kimberly, this is not about them; this is about you!”  I suddenly felt quite squashed, or maybe deflated is a better word!  That Sunday morning, after Ralph concluded his talk, he was led to call whoever felt prompted to come up front for a time of repentance and prayer.  It didn’t take long for me to know that I needed to be up there kneeling at the altar confessing my sins.  It was a time of speaking out our sins (not hiding it in silence so that no one would hear), as we were in this mode of repentance.  I am reminded that this confession is like our baptism, being administered in public  should serve to hold us accountable.

I Surrender All

The following nights were sure interesting and I each night I would think to myself, here is an older gentleman, small in stature with lots of white hair and a fiery twinkle in his eye (must be the Italian heritage), using his laptop and some of the original Power Point graphics (dare I say out-dated!)  and, let’s face it, one would think that they might have stepped back in time just a bit.  But, when the Holy Spirit begins to do His work in a heart, suddenly the seemingly outdated presentation no longer matters.  I believe that if Ralph had continued to hold these meetings for many more days (they have held meetings for two and three weeks long!), I would have become completely deflated.  Hey, maybe that is the idea!  After all, is that not what John 3:30 is all about?  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

My goal is not to squelch what the Lord has begun in this refining process!  Going ‘round and ‘round the mountain has grown so old.  Every glimpse of Christ-likeness reminds me that although difficult, the daily surrendering of Kimberly leads to more of Christ in me, and increases my effectiveness for the Lord, to Him be all the glory.

When the Bootstraps Break!

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Desperate for the Sonshine

Visiting over at Grace & Truth today just in case you need encouragement!

Most of us know the saying “pick yourself up by your bootstraps”–a saying that basically means “quit feeling sorry for yourself and get on with your life.”  From a worldly perspective, it sounds like the right thing to do; but it can sure put a guilt trip on those who–hard as they tug–are not strong enough to handle life and its stresses.  Let me just say that there are times when life is just challenging and stuff happens.  So where do we run when it does?

As a young girl I learned early on to fend for myself.  I developed the tendency to depend on no one but me.  I left home at the early age of 15, became a mother at 17 and thought I was getting along just fine.  However, God did not design us to live independently and apart from Him!  I continued to mooch off others and be involved in relationships that were rather one-sided because of my selfish, me first survival mentality.  I learned that if I were going to survive, I would have to keep picking myself up and moving along.

My world came crashing down around me as my first marriage crumbled into adultery and alcoholism in an effort to find true love.  I became overwhelmed by the fact that I was insufficient as a wife, mother and human being; I was miserable.  The only way I could see out of my hopelessness was to take my life.  After all, I had made a genuine mess of everything.  That became a turning point for me as, thankfully, God began stirring my heart and I finally began to think about somebody besides myself.  What would happen to my children?

For the next few years, I sought help by going to church.  I felt the arms of Jesus through the sweet women of the church who reached out to me and encouraged me along.  My wild, spirited youngest son would run up and down the isles of church and I would just cry because I could not make him behave.  A dear saint would gently stop him by scooping him up and holding him through the rest of the service while I sat there blubbering over my inability to control him.  Oh, how those women made me feel loved and ‘church’ became a comfortable place to be.

However, this warm and fuzzy place to be did not fill the longing in my heart.  I began to do a lot of thinking Nyborg  0022about church and what this all meant as far as the Bible and what role it would play in my life.  I could not really understand most of it and the more I questioned the more confused I seemed to get.

It was during that time that I began to periodically listen to Focus on the Family during the noon hour.  I would even tell my youngest son that he had to have quiet time for that half hour just so I could listen.  The help for hurting families began to pique my curiosity, so that I would look forward to fitting that half hour into my day as a stay-at-home mom.

Then I discovered Christian television and the 700 Club.  When I heard the stories of how Christ had  intervened in the lives of people just like me, I began to have hope.  I wanted to be helped just like they had been.  The turning point in my life came when I prayed with Pat Robertson, extending my hand toward the television and I received Christ as I prayed the sinner’s prayer.  This profound moment came at the age of 30.

The most notable difference to me was that the Bible, when I would read it, came alive for me.  I also learned through trial and error that I was better off to grab the extended hand of my God instead of the boot straps that kept breaking when I would pull, trying to pick myself up!

Jesus has rocked my world and the process of being turned right-side up from wrong-side down has been a wild journey thus far, not easy a lot of the time but so worth the journey.  God has filled me with peace and joy even when the road has been rough and rocky.

Friend, if you are tired of trying to make life work, will you grab the extended hand of the Father? He is waiting.  I am not saying it will be easy, but you will begin a journey that you will never regret as you begin a new life in Christ!

You Give and Take Away…

My heart is so heavy for several people once again!  Someone said to me, that you can’t take on everyone’s burdens but the more I think about it the more I believe that if it is God-given, then we can and that’s when we are supposed to pray like crazy!

A momma to be…well, only for nine months and then…a precious little life is taken away prematurely only to leave a gaping hole in the hearts of a young couple who waited and waited for joy to burst forth to welcome their little one and fulfill their dreams.  But it was denied and only God Himself knows why.

Lord, why do our babies have to go so suddenly?  Why are dreams left suspended only to  watch everyone else with their little ones and other pregnant mommies and happy, happy new parents thrilled to show their new precious bundles of joy…Yet, this momma has nothing but empty arms and tender breast that were supposed to nurse nourishment and a sweet little nursery that sits empty still waiting for its tiny occupant to come and reside and a closet of tiny pretties to dress her sweetness in and make her the prettiest ever seen.  This little one would be their pride and joy, a delight who would fill their home with laughter and tears of joy and sometimes sorrow to watch her grow and tumble and they would help her back up and brush off her skinned knees and soiled dress and help her get her feet once again on the ground.  Then teach her and encourage her with every new step she takes from crawling, sitting, walking, then riding her first bike, starting school and then…But not now, not this time.

I know You are God, I know You hung the stars in the sky, I know You created us and that You joined a sperm and an egg together perfectly and created the little one this couple had to say goodbye to and I want to know why?  Why, like a little child I ask and I know they too, over and over, why?

Then I remember the words of this prophet of old, Habakkuk who could see coming devastation and judgement from a Holy God…3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls–Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

How do we rejoice in sorrow and grief…especially when you have had to lay an actual part of your body down, buried, given back to the earth from whence we have come.  But because the prophet knew his Sovereign, he could make a choice to look to the Father, the Jehovah Shalom, and rejoice in him.  He will be their strength and they can take this still moment of sorrow and allow their God to heal their wounded, grieving hearts.  They will not forget His goodness to them and they will come to that place where one willingly admits that You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say, blessed be your name, Jesus.

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Are You At the Breaking Point…

Bearing the weight!
Feel like you are ready to snap?

Has the bottom fallen out of your world?  Life can be devastating with an unexpected change takes place in our lives!

If you are like me you like to think that you are sort of in control of your environment.  Ha, that’s really kind of a joke isn’t it!  I’m talking about how quickly things can change then our ‘plans’ have to also adapt.

I have figured out that when I get too comfortable and appear to have all my ducks in a row that I may as well gear up for the bottom to fall out of my well laid plans.  It only takes a phone call, a misinterpreted conversation, an unanticipated financial expense and wham, what now?

What is it that you are ‘planning’? A summer vacation? Visiting family or friends? Taking the kids on a surprise fun trip? It doesn’t always go this way but many times, the plans can get thwarted when the unexpected comes. Could be a sudden illness, financial mishap, death of a loved one, disaster…

Sorry friends but this is life! And it is full of surprises! The good and unfortunately the not so good!

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So here may be a good place to ask yourself some valid questions…

  • What is my goal here?
  • What is important, why am I planning this and for whose benefit?
  • What is the result I hope to see from the experience?
  • What is my plan “B”?

Some valid questions when stress reveals itself in your world!

The following verse hit me one time reminding me first and foremost of Who is in control and of placing my focus on the One who is in control when things begin to slip downward, from Isaiah 59:19b (NKJ)

Isaiah 59.19

The enemy of our souls really loves to make our lives confusing and frustrating because when we find ourselves in an uncertain mess we can tend to give up and forget our purpose.

However when I read that verse, there is hope,  and it is also imperative!  You must remember to act on what God has done when the enemy rears his ugly head.  And that involves looking at the truth and the verse in its context!  I have felt hopeless before and it isn’t fun and undoubtedly I will feel that way again.  Look at what is said in the verses before the one above beginning at :14

“14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. 15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor;”

Justice and righteousness are not to be found, truth and equity are forbidden.  Without truth, he who walks away from evil is prayed upon.  But…God saw this and He was moved to wonder where is the justice in this situation and where is the intercessor…God Himself would raise the standard by His own arm and righteousness as a breastplate and helmet.  God is not threatened by the enemy who has infiltrated the land.

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. 17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay.

The first part of verse 19 states:

“So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun;”

What is it that has you in a stronghold, what has stolen your peace and joy?  The truth of the matter is that God is for you and not against you.  And please catch this truth…God's intentions toward you are always only for your good, always! You are His and He is ever mindful of… Click To Tweet

You may have let your circumstance overwhelm you as the enemy flooded your surrounding with things that hurt and caused pain and doubt.  Or by bringing you in a situation that you simply could no longer control. Check out the rest of this portion of Isaiah 59:

“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

Will you take heart by reading this truth? Will you not see that you have an advocate who wants to fill you with hope and peace?

Today in your messy state, look at the truth and simply agree with what is spoken by the One who loves you and only wants His best for you!

Lord, today I choose to focus on truth, the truth that you love me with an everlasting love. I am covered by the blood of the Lamb of God because He paid my ransom being the spotless sacrifice You required.  And I know Your Spirit is within me and I am covered by the full armor of God.  Lead me forth from this darkness that I may walk in Your light, making a difference for those around me and who may also be in the midst of a darkened place. I refuse to give up hope in Jesus’ name, Amen!

You may also like to read Blocked Goals.

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When You Don’t “Feel” Worthy

Do you have days when you just don’t feel like you are loved?

There used to be days when it was hard to imagine that I was really loved. Because of the many messes in my early years and the fallout, I struggled to believe that I was worthy of being loved.

Have you ever questioned how you could be worthy of love?

I want you to know that God has a heart for you!  When you are in Christ you are the apple of His eye!

“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.  

Let Israel be glad in his Maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.  

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.  

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”

These are the first four verses of Psalm 149 (NASB) and I want you to especially pay attention to the fourth verse.  In Christ we can count on the fact that God takes pleasure in us!

2 Cor 5-21

Do you suffer with anything?  Could be illness, loneliness, abandonment, grief, depression, confusion?  Please, take heart. The above Word says that God will beautify you, with salvation.  Look what the Lord has done!  By keeping your eye on the prize, and your gaze on Christ, God is glorifying Himself in you!  You are precious in His sight! But, you must believe it.  Say this with me, “I am the righteousness of Christ.”  Then keep saying it again and again until you truly begin to ‘walk’ in that reality!

The ESV translates verse four like this:

“For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”

Maybe you are like me in thinking that God only wants perfect people. Oh friend that just ain’t so because there aren’t any perfect people, nope, we are all in process!

This process we are in could include our issues or afflictions that God uses to keep us humble and wholly dependent upon Him.  The hardest thing we can do is to embrace where God has us today! In so doing we will be ready for a promise to come, tomorrow.

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I want to give you some truth to counter the doubts you feel when you are in a low spot, when you are not feeling worthy…

Worthy of being loved…I have declared you forgiven of all your sins…Romans 5:1

…I see you as a holy one, a saint…Ephesians 1:1

…your life is complete in Christ…Colossians 2:10

I am significant…I empower you by My Spirit to be my witness…Acts 1:8

…You are a branch of the true vine, infused with life…John 15:1,5

…I designed and crafted you to do good works…Ephesians 2:10

I am totally secure…I have freed you forever from condemnation…Romans 8:1-2

…I have made you a citizen of heaven…Philippians 3:20

…I will complete to perfection the work I began in you…Philippians 1:6

Now what? Say to yourself, I believe! This is who I am, because God has said so for His Word has proved it. God will not renege on His Word. He can’t, it is who He is…”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Will you trust God to lead you into believing that His Word is truth?

In so doing, you can trust Him to fulfill His promises.

You can walk unencumbered by doubt that kept you from believing that you matter. You are filled with value and precious because you are loved by God!

What’s Your Prognosis?

One fall back in 1997, I got a cold that settled in my bronchial tubes. (That seems to be where I am most vulnerable in my body.)  I couldn’t seem to get over it, developing a horrible cough that just wouldn’t abate.  I am not a ‘run to the clinic’ kind of girl and try to use natural remedies that often do work. However, I would seem to get things settled down and then the cough would reappear. My husband kept threatening me with the “You better get to the clinic or I am going to take you myself!” threat. Poor guy, my coughing at night didn’t afford him a very restful night’s sleep!

Well, my teas, vitamin C’s, water, steam…you name it I tried it, could only bring it to rest for a short period of time and then it would return. I seemed to be losing some weight with this and I wasn’t feeling quite right so I finally responded to my guy’s final request to get to the doctor.

 

The trip to the clinic evolved into chest X-rays and blood work and as I was waiting for the doctor to come in after the testing was completed, something shifted in my spirit and I could tell that he was lingering outside the door (barely open) where I could hear soft discussion over my X-ray before he came into the room where I was seated. I knew something wasn’t quite right. And the doctor revealed to me that there were some suspicious spots in my right lung that would need further examination via a CAT scan. Oh boy, I have to admit that I was becoming concerned with what was in my lung. Well I was put on antibiotics, told I didn’t have pneumonia and sent home to wait for the test the following week and rest, rest, rest to get over whatever it was that I had.

The physicians decided that because of the precarious location of these spots that a biopsy couldn’t be done and the CAT machine that was local wasn’t conclusive enough so I was referred to Duluth to have another try and opinion to determine the next step in this journey.

James 5.15

Oh my, this time in my life God was beginning to teach me of Himself as Jehovah Rophe, our God who heals, Click To Tweet and let me tell you, I was learning a huge amount faith in this area as I began to call upon my Jehovah Rophe! I did the biblical account of James 5, going to my church for public prayer and it was right at Christmas time, yikes, I felt so awkward interrupting our lovely service for MY concern at this special time, but I wanted to be obedient to His Word! I was anointed and prayed for by the congregation, then off to Duluth the following week for my second CT scan.

My daughter lives in Duluth and I was able to stay with her. Of course she insisted on coming with me to the appointment and I agreed so we could have a second pair of ears upon consultation! Their remedy was that I would be cut open from front to back  under my rib cage to remove my two spots that were just too close to my heart to do a safe biopsy. I was to plan to be off work for two months! I haven’t had a surgery since having my youngest son and I wasn’t really welcoming this idea of someone placing their hands in my body! But the doctor knows best (doesn’t he?) and I would go home to prepare for this new adventure. I want you to know that I anticipated going to Duluth to have them find nothing after being prayed over, but God had some other lessons in mind for me.

 

Upon returning to work to let everyone know the plan, my coworker and friend said, “Aren’t you going to get a second opinion?” (Duh, well, ah, never thought of it!)  I am so new to this stuff that I didn’t even think of it, don’t you just trust your doctor? (I am learning!) I was on the phone to Mayo clinic the next day and within eleven days my husband took me on the seven hour journey to Rochester! I have to say that prior to that appointment, my precious prayer group did come to my home and we gathered down in our family room as they too anointed me with oil, laid hands on me and prayed for me. My husband who doesn’t usually partake in that kind of ‘thing’ totally blessed me by also following suit with the others and prayed for me (even audibly!) That was a huge blessing!

I had recently discovered a new kind of praise and worship music from “Down Under” at the Hillsong church. We used a lot of their music during our prayer and praise nights and I rather felt God gave me this song to hold on to and sing on my trip to Mayo:

Mayo Clinic is a very quiet and somber place to be but I had that song on my lips and in my heart  for most of my visit there. Whether walking to and from appointments, gently whistling or singing that song, I was claiming the truth in those lyrics for my situation and God used it to sustain me!

You know friends, I am fully aware that not everyone’s situation turns out the same.  I also know that God works individually in each of our lives and two people can be dealing with the same thing while God chooses to answer differently in each case. In my case, my third CAT scan appeared to reveal no cancer. I was praising Him all the way home and beyond! Someone else’s story is quite the opposite as they get ready to undergo the process of some sort of treatment to try to deter or get rid of the invasive disease. Would I be praising God all the way home if I had received the sad news that I did have cancer? Of course I want to say absolutely but honestly, probably not!

There is power in praise, and for one thing it raises our level of faith and helps us keep from being… Click To Tweet God is in control!  And for whatever reason and because He sees the big picture that I am unable to see, He lovingly allows things to go certain ways because the outcome will teach us to walk closer to Him and always bring Him glory! Provided we posture ourselves to a position of surrender.

1Thes5.16-18

Please friend, if you are in a place of uncertainty, fix your gaze on Your maker, He has you in the palm of His hand.  Look to Him and praise His name for you can trust your life and all you love to His care!

From Hebrews 11:1 the Message paraphrase:

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.

If you are in a tough situation right now, physically, emotionally or relationally,

I would love to pray with you and for you!  It’s what the faith-filled body of Christ does for each other!

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