"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Friday, October 26, 2012

In Spite of . . . .

All the tantrums, rants and trying any sort of emotional manipulation I hope will affect a change . . . . God does not move. He is not swayed to change course mid-plan. 

However, He will patiently and lovingly wait for the tantrum to cease then quietly ask, "Are you ready to move on now?" No condemnation, no harsh replies, just understanding, compassion and love. (It's hard to fight against someone who will not fight back!!)

It is not easy to have heard God say something, figure you know exactly what He said, but have it take a turn you never expected and have a hard time swallowing. Such is the life I live *sigh*

I am not considered a stupid woman by anyone who knows me, but the fact that I consistently think I have God's plan for me figured out each time something new comes along, well . . . . I think that refutes the opinions of others!

When will I ever, as in EVER, learn I cannot figure God out??

When will I ever, as in DOUBLE EVER, learn He's got a plan for my life and no matter how much I rage against it when it doesn't make any sense to me, or doesn't go the way I hope it will, He will consistently be faithful to that plan, which is to be faithful to me?

When will I ever learn His faithfulness is based on His love?

When will I ever learn I cannot comprehend that kind of love?

And, when will I ever learn to just accept and rest/trust in His love and let that be my anchor in this twisting turning life I really can no longer pretend I understand?

I don't have an answer to the above questions, not even one of them. I'm guessing this is how trust is built.

But this is my problem with trust . . . . it cannot be built through events happening or not happening based upon my own understanding or perception of how it 'should' happen. Trust can only be built when you look not at the circumstances, but at the character of the one who is asking you to trust them.

So, I believe, it is with God. In spite of deep disappointment and frustration with certain circumstances, if we choose to look at His character and not on the circumstance, that makes trusting Him a little more palatable.

I know 2011 was all about finding out I don't, or didn't love others as God would have me love (still learning as I go), but 2012 is ALL about trusting God.

I can say for certain, it's been the rockiest road I've ever traveled and sorry to say, I've not handled it well, which is why it's not over yet. I must confess I'm not sure I want to see what He's going to do in 2013, but that's a future thought so I'm just going to leave it there!

Here is a quote that is a huge challenge for me, but nails the situ perfectly.

"Let me say I believe God will supply all my need and then let me run dry with no outlook and see whether I will go through the trial of faith . . . . or sink back to something lower" Oswald Chambers

Blessings to you as you journey into a deeper faith, trust in God,

Girl on a Journey of deep Trust  :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Good Soil or ????

I was reading the book of Luke this morning and in chapter 8 it talks about the different soils the seed can fall onto.

I always thought I was the 'good' soil because I heard the word and responded with acceptance, then followed on to what I believed was good fruit, but today I'm thinking that may not be the cut-and-dried case as I once thought it was.

Let me explain, but first here is the parable:

Luke 8:12 "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 

NOPE that wasn't me *whew* and serves as the basis for the above belief.

However . . . .

Luke 8:13 "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy and these have no firm root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.

 Luke 8:14 "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to maturity.

Luke 8:15 "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance" What stuck me this morning were the results of the different soils and I realized I have 'fruit' or the lack thereof from the rocky soil, the thorny soil and some from the good soil.

The tell-tale factors are thus ~ I have had times of temptation over the years when I've fallen away. 

I have had times when I've been choked by worries which only served to bring doubt and unbelief into my life and ill health has at times been the result. It has also resulted in conflict with family and friends and just plainly not done me any good at all. 

Although I cannot say I've had to worry about 'riches' and the stumbling that can cause our faith, I can see where the lack of riches has had a deleterious affect. 

And, let's not forget the pleasures this world can offer. Not saying pleasurable things are wrong, but when they are our primary priority, to have or find pleasure above all else, when it's not wise or has the potential of taking us down a road which leads to outright sin, well that robs us of the growth and fruit that seed could have produced if we had kept on without being sidetracked.

Click to show "Pomegranate" result 18Last but not least, there are some areas of my life where the seed has produced good fruit, so I'm grateful for that. I can see areas where I have patiently persevered and see the good fruit from that. No, not as much as I'd like, but it's still there.

I want to encourage us all to set God's plan for our lives as our top priority, rather than temptations which not only give a moment of fleeting pleasure, but often result in a longer term sorrow. 

I want to encourage us all to  hold fast the seed which was planted and with patient perseverance find our reward in seeing good fruit for our efforts and patience.

Blessings to you on your own journey with God. May the seed that's been planted in your life be planted in the good soil of patient perseverance.

Girl on her own Journey of sewing seed and reaping fruit!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weights and Burdens

We are told not to add to, or take away from the Scriptures, and that is a good and wise thing to remember as we talk to others about God’s truth. It serves also as an allegory to the lives we live. Let me try to explain my thoughts.

We, as people, were created whole, with everything we require to fulfill God’s purpose for us. All that is needed is time to grow and mature in the gifts and talents we were born with. 
However, as life went on, circumstances and people added to and took away from us, and it is God’s heart desire to restore things stolen, and remove things added.

I think the sins of others against us, and our own sins, are the vehicles the enemy used to put those burdens, those false and limiting beliefs on us. Things like distrust, feeling the need to control our lives, manipulation and such, have weighed us down and distorted our lives until we no longer resemble the person God intended us to be. 

But, not only did those sins add to our lives, they also robbed us of peace, security, and trust in God and others. 

Those name only a few of the things that belong to us as children of God.

Even though the weights that were added to our lives mostly represent bad and hurtful burdens, they have been our companions for many years, some from our childhood. 

Thus, it is very difficult to think of parting with them because they have become such an accepted part of our lives and we find a certain comfort in them and fear letting them go. 

We fear the void it will leave in our lives and worry what will replace it, but it’s only in letting them go, in giving them to God, that we see how hurtful they were for us, how crippled we had become because of them and how limited we now are living life.

There is good news though. When we allow God to take away those hurtful things, we find He will restore and give back all that was stolen away. 

It is then we realize we are free, He has saved us once again, and has filled the void with His perfect love. 

It is then we see Him more clearly and are more in love with Him than ever.

We take risks all the time hoping to make life work, and work better. But if ever we are going to take a risk in hope of gaining something good and worthwhile, this would be the risk to take because it is no risk at all! 

God is a sure thing, His word is true and He does what He says He will do. It might not be in the way we think it should be, but it is always better for us!

So jump, or crawl, over that big boulder in front of you, walk over that rushing river, pull your feet out of the miry clay that seeks to hold you back. Try living life God's way and you will find that peace that passes all understanding!

Blessings on your Journey into an everlasting, ever faithful God.

Girl on a Journey of peace . . . . blessings

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ahhh, the Peace of Living in The Other . . . .

Here we grow again!! When I first started blogging and chose the name Journey Girl Talking, I do not think I fully realized how much of a 'journey' I would be on! 

As far as the 'talking' part, well you know . . . .

Growing in my relationship with God has highlighted one very important realization, various scriptures have come to mean exactly what I read. {if they have not, it's because I've not read them yet, or have not fully explored their proper meaning!}

When it says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" Heb. 13:5; I've found that to be true. No matter what I've gone through or am going through, He is right here. Jesus is referred to as "a Friend who sticks closer than a brother" Prov. 18:24; true, same as above.

However, I've also discovered the truth in the ones that are not so encouraging. Let me share some of my thoughts.

Matthew 20:16: "So the last shall be first, the first last"  
Matthew 16:25: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it".

Well, who wants to be last? And, who wants to lose their life? Are we not all struggling to 'find ourselves', to grab hold of things 'we' want and to h**l with the rest? (even if we don't actually say this, it's what we tend to do - live for ourselves)

Is this not what 'keeping up with the Jones' is about? Our whole lives seem to revolve around, 'what I want', 'what I think', 'what is important to ME' and 'how do I get ahead' and rarely do we think of others unless it will somehow benefit us. So those verses can easily be shunted aside because after all 'if I don't take care of me, who will?'

We hear about 'instant gratification' and if you are baby boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) we were born thinking we gotta have it and we gotta have it now. This has been the quest of most of us. The house, the cars, the latest and greatest of this and that and 'the one with the most toys wins'!!. We gotta be happy so whoever makes us happy is 'in' those who do not . . . . 'out'.
Our lives have become a selfish looking out for #1 and that concept is anathema to God, therefore it needs to be routed out of our lives. Our very  obsession with gratifying our every thought or want needs to become anathema to us also. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11 he has learned to be content in whatever situation he is in. How many of us can say that, truthfully?

If you have been following my blogs you know of course, this has to do with loving others, this has been the theme of God's choice for my life since January 2011 and He's not going to change themes till I have a full understanding and it is the life I live. OK.

When we love others God's way, we are last. Our thoughts are of the other, "what do they need from us to get through 'this'?" How do they need to be loved, as in which 'love' do they need right now? Regardless of our feelings or thoughts of what they've said or done, what do they need? 
Reading 1 Cor 13 there are many ways in which we are to love others, thus we seek the wisdom of God to know how best to love them in every situation or circumstance. 

To follow then, 'we' are last. It's not about us, it's always about others, what they need, where they're at in their relationship with God and with us. 

When God came to earth, it was not about God, it was about us and we are to follow His example. I know, it was all about the amazing love of God for us, about His character, mercy & compassion. In that sense it was all about Him, but He came for US! We need and He provides the answers. When someone is in need, sometimes God provides for them through us, therefore it's not about us! When we live in community, true God community, we are just the 'via' God uses to meet the need of the other.

Life is so much more peaceful when we love His way, when it's not about us. 
We won't find ourselves getting all 'het' up emotionally when stuff happens because guess what??? It's usually . . . NOT ABOUT US :)

Ok, now for Matthew 16:25. This says ". . . whoever loses their life for My sake will find it". I never really understood this before, but I've found out how awesome it is to lose one's life for another, to be other-focused. 
I've found my life is so much more peaceful because I'm not always focused on me, what I want, what I need. I discovered a greater joy in putting others needs first and  when I put others first, God meets my need, my emotional life is more healthy, my spirit is more alive and did I tell you I live in a greater degree of peace?? As in so much more peace?

To take God at His word when He says in Matthew 6:27 "And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life", just adds to that peace. I stop worrying! Ok, every now and again worry creeps back in, but as soon as I realize I've taken up that burden that is His to care for, I'm done!!

So wherever you are in your life right now, no matter what the circumstances are or perhaps in spite of the present circumstances, how can you find your life by losing it? How can you be last to find out you are first?

Truly, in seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness, ALL these things (reading Matthew 6:33) will be added unto you and you will find your life.

Blessings to you all as you walk your present path, hand in hand with God 'cuz He never will ever leave you!

Girl on her own amazing Journey

Monday, July 2, 2012

Live by the Spirit or Wallow in the Flesh

Another Choice. Life is all about choices and some of them are darn hard to make, especially when the flesh is screaming out for relief. 

How do you spell relief?
  • R - running, as fast as you can into denial
  • E - escape from the present pain
  • L - living a lie that keeps us wallowing
  • I - interpreting life according to our circumstances
  • E - embellishing, whatever works to keep us wallowing
  • F - fantasizing, the rescue of a knight in shining armour perhaps?

Yikers, that is so not a pretty picture. And here's the thing, when we're living in our flesh, that is not living the abundant life Jesus suffered to give us. In fact, it's not living at all, I'm coming to believe it's a form of death and certainly, it's bondage and who wants that?

For Christians, there is no excuse for living in the flesh when God has so abundantly given us all we need to live by His Spirit, to live out of our spirit.

Romans 8:5: Those who live according to the sinful nature (our flesh) have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

I've just regrettably spend the past 5 days wallowing. I know, you're totally shocked right? NOT!! 

My flesh has been screaming for relief from a particular situation and the deadline is coming close with no resolution that I can see. So, this is when I have to make a choice, to live in the Spirit and believe, trust that God's got my back, trust that His plan is to prosper me, not harm me, plans that give me a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) 

My choice is to continue listening to the flesh which is thinking negative thoughts, a quick spiral downward, or taking every thought captive, as in . . . . "That's it!!! You're outta here!!" (2 Cor. 10:5)

Wallowing and being negative is a hateful part of my life that I cannot even pretend isn't there. I'm one of those people who shut down and my face reflects what's going on inside. I check out of engaging with other people, I hibernate in my little home, I don't answer the phone nor am I present for others. The only thing I truly enjoy is task-oriented things which I can do by myself so I can still feel like I'm of value in some small way. Totally it is truly one of the most selfish parts of my life. 

Here's the thing, my life as a Christ follower is meant to bring Glory to God and to reveal Him to others by the way I live. When I'm wallowing I am a reproach to His name and no one, as in NO ONE is impressed. After all He has done for me, how sad for me to respond to His glorious goodness in such a way. Words defy description of how I'm feeling about that right now, but there is hope for change because God is oh so faithful.

Things to ask when wallowing: 
  • Father, show me what I need to know
  • What thoughts need to be taken captive?
  • How can I bring glory to God in this?
  • Teach me your way through this
  • Help me be faithful to you
  • Father, HELP ME!

I will acknowledge this is not easy. It's dying to self (a.k.a. not having my own way) which is what we are called to as Christ followers. Take up our cross and follow Jesus. He never said it would be easy, but He, in His great love, compassion and kindness has PROVIDED absolutely every thing we need to do it. That's the thing I forget at times . . . . He does not ever ask me to do something, He never invites me into a process He already hasn't provided what I need to get through it, hasn't already prepared for every contingency possible.

Why oh why do I resist Him? Foolish person that I am!

A wise friend once told me he has a plan for when life has him in a place where he just wants to pull the covers over his head and check out. If I remember rightly, it's a three step plan which works well simply because he is disciplined enough to recognize the oncoming funk and follow the plan. Perhaps I also need to ask Abba for a plan that He knows will work for me. The issue then becomes . . . will I discipline myself enough to follow through . . . . *sigh*

How do you spell relief God's way?
  • R - rely on Him, for every little thing, as in EVERYthing
  • E - escape into Him, He is my Strong Tower in times of trouble (Prov. 18:10)
  • L - live in His presence, His Spirit, His provision, His promises
  • I - invite Him into the process, into the struggle with me, He is always available
  • E - endure by the promise I will get through this and be stronger for it
  • F - fully live loved by Father, knowing He's for me and not against me

God bless you as you walk through the valley of struggle and lived loved by Father.
Psalm 23: 1-6
The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength, He guides me along right paths, bring honour to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings (see Ps. 68:19 'who daily loads us with blessings)
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Amen

Girl on a Journey

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Choose this day Whom you Will Serve"

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
We often see this on signs hung in homes. It's meant to declare, 'this is a Christian home and we will not tolerate otherwise'. But I think we need to really think about the ways in which we DO NOT serve the Lord in our homes. And we have to look critically and deeply at not only what we don't allow in our home, but the small, subtle things of the world that have crept in and caused us to conform to the world rather than be set apart for God as the verse indicates.

Romans 12:2 says, "and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect".

Well, there it is. Pretty clear huh? So why do we, people who call ourselves Christians, think it's ok to do the things we do?

1 John 2:15 says, "do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him". Hokey, that's pretty clear too. I want the love of the Father to be in me, so guess this means I need to make some changes in my life.

Galatians 5:17, "for the flesh sets it's desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please".

Ok, that's enough but I assure you there are way more verses in the Bible that speak to the same issue.

Here's the thing, I'm beginning to really see that if it's normal for the 'world' to do, those not in the Body of Christ, then I need to seriously take a good hard look at it to see if its fitting for me to do. I almost am persuaded that if the 'world' thinks it's ok, then it's likely NOT ok for me. Draw the hard line, make the hard choice.

So I have been looking at the things I do, stacking them up against Scripture.

Let's take watching TV: well I don't have satellite or cable so I'm safe there right? But here's the kicker, I have internet and watch my two fave shows on it each week. Stack those two shows against Scripture and they lose, therefore, much as it pains me, those two shows are gone! OUCH!! I'm not against TV, but there are so few shows that renew my mind and prove what the will of God is, too few shows that are good and acceptable and 'perfect'. Double ouch!! 

Is spending time watching TV loving the things of the world? That's for each of us to ask God about for our own selves. I must judge that for myself. Does watching TV cause us to think as the 'world' thinks? Is watching TV a thing of the flesh that is set against the Spirit? Are we dulling down our spirits to the things of God? What about Reality TV, seriously is it really reality??? Who's reality is it?

The worlds or Gods?

The reality is this, the enemy is seducing us, lulling us to sleep against what the Spirit would do in our lives if we spent as much time with God as we do in front of the TV or on the computer. Hours mindlessly spent playing games, reading 'about' God is not spending time WITH God in relationship. I have found lately that I am as guilty as others, but that stops now. 

Books, those who know me know I am a voracious reader. It's nothing for me to read a whole book in a couple of days. So, what am I reading? Do the books I read conform to what the world reads? Do they renew my mind? Do they show me what is good and acceptable and perfect and the will of God? If not, then out they go! 

Let's look at our attitudes toward one another. In what ways are we not loving others as God loves us? In what ways do we love as the world loves? How about tolerating, bearing anothers' burden, covering the sins of others, gossip. Do we lose our tempers and yell at our loves ones? How do we please ourselves rather than living a self-sacrificing life for our families? 

In any of our relationships inside and outside of our homes, how is it we have conformed to the world? Do our attitudes and thoughts about sports, divorce, books we read, people we hang out with, do any of them look like how the world thinks and behaves? Then we have been conformed to the world.

Sadly as I look around me I see many who have been lulled to sleep by their not making the choice to serve God and are living lives of mediocrity. Certainly we have become a people who have no power to affect the lives of the lost and hurting in our neighborhood. We are too lost ourselves.

One last Scripture, Galatians 6:7 & 8, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man (woman) sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh (does what is pleasing to him/herself) will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit receive eternal life".

We have to make a choice, before we stand before a Holy God, let us choose today whom we will serve, for we cannot serve two masters.


THIS DAY and each morning we wake up, we have to choose whom we will serve that day and there are only two choices, God or satan.

God speaks clearly and plainly in His Word to warn us, teach us, encourage us to choose what is right. The enemy is subtle, saying to us as he said to Eve, 'really, wouldn't you rather . . . . ' and we slide right down. 

We need to take a stand, stop wasting our time and choose today whom we will serve.I've been asking Abba to show me the many ways I've allowed myself to be lulled into complacency, how it is I've ended up living a life of mediocrity. This is not the Christian life, of this I am convinced and I'm choosing God. I'm choosing today to live God's ways, not man's ways, not the world's ways, but God's way.  I just have to figure out what that looks like because there are not a lot of stellar examples of this kind of living today, but I'm going to ask, knock and seek till I'm living in a way that is pleasing to the Spirit and in such a way I live a life set apart to God and His ways.

I know this won't be a popular read and I really hope I've not offended anyone, but this really is just me saying, "Come on, follow me as I follow Christ". 

This is a Journey of a lifetime and it's good & right & true. 

Blessings to each of you as you choose this day whom you will serve.

Journey Girl

Friday, May 11, 2012

Who I Am

I woke this morning to the soft pink glow that heralds the sun's rise on a cloudless day. I began thinking of a sunrise and how it differs from a sunset. It's the same sun coming up each morning that goes down at dusk, however, a sunrise comes up in gentleness, casting quiet hues of pink that contrast the blue of a morning sky.

Sunsets though, end the day in fiery displays of reds, purples and oranges. They leave no gentle streaks of colour, but slash through the sky causing people everywhere to take note and acknowledge this day has ended with brilliance and fire!

Every one of us begins life as a sunrise, born in the gentler shades. Our personalities show great promise and potential, but time alone will tell how we end our days. 

Will we fail to show our true colours, obscured by the clouds of life, or leave earth having burst through life's clouds in brilliance and full technicolour, so all who've known us can say, "They left a mark on all they touched."

For me, the worse scenario would be to die, having lived a life of gray ambiguity, hidden by the things that clouded my life. And, each of us must determine what the clouds in our lives are that threaten to hide the brilliance that lies within.

It's my prayer that each one who reads this finds the courage to blow each cloud away and shine as we were created to shine.  

Blessings to each of you on your Journey of brilliance.
Journey Girl

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Love, it's all about LOVE

Do you ever think about love, the love Jesus meant when he said, "greater love has no one than to lay down his life for another".  Have you ever seen that kind of love?

I now can say I have.

For the past few months I've been privileged to watch this kind of love in action and this is my tribute to that kind of love and to these two people

I work as a PSW (personal support worker) and one of my clients recently died. Yes, I was sad, but the legacy of love which this client's P'sOA (powers of attorney) lived for us to witness is a powerful and humbling experience I will never forget.

In today's world, most people acquaint love with doing something kind for those we love and for those who do kind things for us, warm fuzzy feelings toward another and such like. Many times our love comes with thoughts of expecting something in return and when we don't get something back we often quit 'loving'. We forget that we are to give love unselfishly expecting nothing, giving love in the way the other needs to be loved, not in the way we think we should love. 
It's not about us at all, it's always about the other.

God says in His word that if we lose our lives we will find our lives. This is no truer than in the case of loving others with no thought for ourselves. In giving love this way, we find something special happens within, which we would not otherwise find.

What I witnessed in that home, is a love that had no thought for self, love that would get up at any hour of the night and come at a moment's call, would stop in after a long days work to visit. This was a love that agonized at what more they could do to make things easier for their beloved friend and what more they could do to support us. We were there for them and found they were there for us.

This love made our job as PSW's much easier as their whole mind-set was that to unselfishly support us was to support their beloved one. 
When it became unbearably hot in the summer, they provided cases of water for us. If some of us had to work overtime and didn't bring enough for another meal, we found frozen dinners in the freezer. We found candy hearts at Valentine's, we had little treats of Cheezies and cookies always around. They bought us magazines, newspapers and brought in novels and their whole thought was to make sure we were well provided for and comfortable and relaxed while doing our job. 
We thought we were supporting them, but found they were supporting us. We supported each other and it was awesome.

Surely I can say I have never been treated by a 'boss' in so thoughtful and kind a manner.

Their love for their friend was such as I have never witnessed before and will never forget. 

Oh, did you notice I said 'friend'? This was not love for a blood family member, but family of their hearts.

I consider these two in the same self-giving way as Mother Teresa who said, "It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving". These people did much and gave much in their loving.

I am so proud, yet humbled that I was given the privilege of being part of this care team.

Girl on a Journey of loving better, loving more like Christ.
Blessings, Journey Girl

Why oh Why

Can webpage owners not leave things alone?

Do they even ask us before they make changes to their sites and how things are done?

How do you say the FRUSTRATION???? It's these constant changes!!Most of the time they are just stupid changes. Oh they say it's to make things more streamlined and more user-friendly, says who???

Certainly not those of us who use them.

Oh, I get it now . . . . someone or a bunch of someone's are trying to keep their jobs.

Well, this user does not find the new format friendly, but is this bit of a rant going to change anything? Not likely.


Journey Girl on a journey not of her choosing!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Hard Thing To Admit and Say . . . .

Since December when I heard God say ‘reset’, there have been many changes in my inner being. Some of it has flowed outward, such as in being back in church after a 15 year absence, but mostly it has affected how I think.

It’s a strange and sometimes freaky but awesome thing to open my mouth and have words come out which I did not pre-think and are not things I would have said a few short months ago. I said to a friend, it’s like being born again ~ again. A brand new person, new thoughts, new words, a whole new way of thinking even.

But as awesome as it has been, there has also come an awareness of just how short we have fallen as Christians, myself included. This awareness has brought about a profound sorrow. Yes, some impatience and anger has come with it, but having repented of that and asking God to ‘show me what I need to know’, mostly there is sorrow for the reproach we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, have brought against His name. With that sorrow has come an awareness of the deep need within the church to know that Truth that will set us free of living lives as the same old; same old.

I think of how we have coddled our wounds using them to reason ourselves out of selfish behaviour when what is needed is deep sorrowful repentance and forgiveness and a reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit to heal those wounds and give us the strength, the grace to change our behaviour till we are holy as He is holy. (please know this is not a criticism for those seeking counsel to sort out life traumas and such, the Bible is clear there is need for that). But mostly it's because we are not encouraging, exhorting, praying for, supporting/bearing each other's burdens. We isolate ourselves and do not love/care for each other as we ought. We are such selfish beings.

Do we trust God to show us how, what, where and to provide for us, or figure things out for ourselves, reasoning with our small, futile minds, minds that are created rather than trusting the God who created us?? Trust me, that's how I lived for so many years, the way of the world, but not God's way. I am heartily ashamed to call myself Christian when I see how poorly I really was at following Christ.

I’m sure most of you know the divorce rate among Christians is almost as high as divorce in the world. Wonder why? It’s my opinion there is hardness of heart in one or the other, or both, and a lack of submission to loving the other as we are directed in the Bible. We are not relying on Holy Spirit to heal the wounds that come in such intimate relationships.

In fact, this is all just my opinion, I think we are very poor at loving even though we have Christ as our example and much teaching on loving others in the Bible. Read Larry Crabb's book 66 Love Letters if you want to know more on God's way of love.

When there is conflict, do we prefer the other more than ourselves or are we seeking our own way?

Are we forgiving over and over and refusing to NOT be offended, to live without offense? Or do we place blame and excuse ourselves because 'they' hurt us? When we are legitimately hurt by another, how do we respond? What did Christ say about that? Are we living His way or the world’s way of response?

Are we bearing one another’s burdens or saying it’s not my fault, not my business, I don’t want to interfere or . . . . I can't be bothered, it's not convenient? Are we covering each other’s sins or whispering it’s ‘their’ fault our relationship has broken down.

Women, are we respecting our men? Men, are you loving your wives as Christ loved the church? It is a life of sacrifice on both parts and we are called to that. (I realize some of you are thinking, 'that's rich, she's not even married. You would be right, but it does not mean I have not learned why my own marriage died).

Are we living lives of humility? Are we encouraging one another to do good deeds? Are we such an example of living as Christ lived & taught and loving each other so well the world wants what we have?

There is very little evidence this is who the church is today. We have brought such a reproach against the name of Christ it’s no wonder so many have left the church, are seeking other religions or just are not coming into the body of Christ as they did in earlier times. We, the body of Christ have lost our witness, we've lost our testimony of the goodness of the Lord, of how He is our Healer, our Provider, our Friend and Guide, our Saviour and LORD of our lives. When we take a good hard look at how we are living, who really is lord of our lives??

Repentance and forgiveness, preferring others above ourselves, giving, loving, treating with gentleness and kindness, not judging, accepting, and being devoted to one another, more than our devotion to our own selves; those are the marks of humility, those are the attributes of God we are to live by and exemplify to those around us.

I am not standing on the outside looking in and judging, I am one who struggles with the same things, every day, having to choose whom I will serve, myself or my God. But simply put, it is my conviction which I am sharing with you much as I share the other things in my life.

If you are a Christ follower, ask yourself if you are choosing to live life on your own terms, doing it as it seems right to yourself, or if you are living the self-sacrificing life of Christ, more concerned about His good name rather than living life your way.

Your way or God’s way, we cannot have it both ways. If we are God’s children we need to live as our Father and His Son Jesus Christ live. We no longer have the right to live as we please and each day it’s a constant choice to live His way and sometimes it requires dying to our own selves and making the hard decision.

If you don’t know what God’s way is, or think you do know, read the Bible and stack up your understanding with what is written there. As I said above, I stand convicted. What I read in my Bible is not how I’ve lived my life in the past, but if I want the kind of relationship with God that I do want, then there are some things I will need to choose to give up, some behaviours, some thought patterns, books I read, movies I watch, things I choose to think upon and people I choose to spend time with. It’s not my way anymore. If I claim to be a Christ follower, then I need to follow Christ.

I told a friend lately, I am heartily sick of living the life of 'Brenda'. It has been a dismal failure and I want the overcoming life Christ offers, I want the abundant life He came to give me, but this means I much choose it.

Blessings to you on your own journey . . . .

Girl on a Journey