Christian Life

Define Beauty

Can you?

Do you think it’s a smile, a certain compilation of facial features or a particular body type?

Women, do you feel that you can’t leave the house without your makeup or your hair styled just so?

Men, you may not use the word beautiful to describe yourself; so how do you define attractive or handsome?

Depending on our culture and our early imprints, we probably have different opinions about the externals that we would call attractive or beautiful.

The Word of God says that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he and that we need to constantly be renewing our minds. So if we entertain the world’s definitions and then meditate on them, that is what we will adopt and tout. It will inform how we see ourselves and those around us.

A couple of things I found beautiful today was a woman who does our janitorial service who came to work after losing her mother just a few short days ago and faithfully and humbly executed her duties and a security guard who takes everyone’s safety seriously and worked a 24-hour shift over the weekend.

I find crooked smiles with missing teeth and people shuffling along doing the best they can beautiful. The same is true of me for people who are struggling to overcome their obstacles and fighting literal and figurative demons, showing such strength that it is amazing to watch and in some cases have the privilege to take part in the journey even for a moment in time.

All glory to God, as He is the one Who enables me to see people this way. If you’ve always thought this way, I admire the Christ in you. For some of us it takes more bumps in our own road before we allow the Lord to give us His eyes.

If you are one of the dear ones battling something today, give yourself a break. The Lord sees Who You Are even if it’s not manifest yet in this realm. So rest in Him; and put your trust in him today. For you are indeed a true beauty!

Blessings, My Friends.

Christian Life

Have You Ever Been Stung?

Until today, I could honestly say that I had never been stung by a bee, wasp or hornet.

As a human being, we are all tempted to be reactive out of fear. Today, while breaking up some compacted wood chips to spread in my yard, I unwittingly disturbed a wasps’ nest. All of a sudden, there was quite a swarm. While I stood still and declared that in the name of Jesus they would not sting me, three of them in fact did impact me in that manner.

In seeking the Lord about the experience and what is to be learned from it, he has shown me a few parallels in the spiritual realm. While I meant no harm to the wasps, their instinct was to respond out of fear as they thought they were going to be destroyed. So too, we as humans can be moved by the spirit of fear if we are not fully controlled by Love. Only true and perfect love can cast out fear according to the Word of God, the Holy Bible. So many of us have hurt others and been hurt. It all goes back to fear.

Sometimes that fear has anger, hatred or bitterness layered upon it, worn like a mask And that’s one lesson from the wasps today.

Another lesson, is how subtle the satanic realm is. As we are blithely going along trying to live our lives, even do good, we can be surprised by the unseen. All of a sudden, evil will spring forth in attack.

Sometimes we have allowed cracks in our Spiritual armor that gives opportunity. But sometimes, as I was reminded earlier while reading a book called Emerald Eyes by Lois Vogel-Sharp, we live in a world that has evil alive and working because it was given permission by man to dwell in this realm and influence our behaviors and our emotions.

The Word tells us that we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices.

We must stay alert by leaning into God. We do this by embracing Him in worship that comes directly from the depths of our spiritual being and by continuing to read and meditate upon the Word of God, the Bible.

Worship is a deep topic in and of itself. I would encourage you to be aware of how you can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth daily. That’s where the rubber meets the road for me and for you. It’s not about an experience on Sunday mornings. When we have an experience in church, I hope that that is merely an extension of what is going on for us on a regular basis outside of that setting. And I hope that we don’t confuse praise, volume and emotion with true worship.

God bless you this evening, morning or afternoon as you read this passage and beyond.

Christian Life

Do Your Memories Eclipse Your Dreams?

Good morning, Dear Friends! What a beautiful morning it is. In Psalm 56 I was encouraged that God is for us and we should not fear man because man cannot do anything to us that will separate us from God’s love. Even when the enemy is breathing down our necks, we can call out to Abba “Daddy” God and He hears and answers. David wrote this Psalm when he was seized by the Philistines in Gath, not from the rooftop of the King’s Palace.

I also read a blog by Hazel Staub that quoted a portion of Psalm 118 which again affirms that God is in control and we need not fear man. (If you don’t follow Hazel’s blog, Pure Glory, please check it out. It is tremendously encouraging!)

Then I went to my journal to see what reflections were there and I saw an entry from March 30th of this year wherein I paraphrased some words from Dr. Jesse Duplantis. He reminds us that if our memories are bigger than our dreams, we are in a danger zone and that the only one who can destroy us, is us.

If David had only focused on his current problems or the times he was besieged in the past, he would have lost all direction, purpose and hope. But by reminding not only himself but also declaring out loud (I believe) and in writing to God Almighty that he can, should and will trust in Him, Psalm 54 is actually a very hopeful and forward thinking passage to me. He cries to the God who is his Help and declares that he (David) is connected to Him through vows and because God has already redeemed his from death.

I challenge myself and you today to set our minds on things above, as the Word tells us to do. Don’t look in the rearview mirror or you will, in fact, crash into the brick wall in front of you. Yes, praise Him for His mighty miracles of deliverance in the past, but don’t forget where God is taking you!

What does He plan for your future? Check out Jeremiah 29:11….Oh, but don’t stop there. Read on to verse 14. Seek Him for direction, then point your nose and go until He changes your course.

God bless you!

Christian Life

Boundaries Are Loving

When I think about boundaries, I think about love. Just like fences, walls and gates can make for healthy, neighborly relationships, and trimming potentially deadly ivy from strangling a tree, setting up relational limits and expectations, can really demonstrate love for self and others.

Remember, before, I’ve discussed love as a verb, an action word that does not have to be in any way connected to one’s emotions. Recently, I’ve chosen to set boundaries to protect the sanctity of my family, home and well-being. It can be difficult to do; yet sometimes, it is the only wise option.

I think family, rather by blood in the natural or via Christ’s blood, are often the most challenging to show boundary love toward. Any one of us may at any time choose to pull back from intentional living. It is at those times that we can open the door to the enemy. While a Christian cannot be possessed by demonic forces, they can choose to cooperate intentionally or be oppressed while living in a state of unintentionality. This is part of what creates confusion in how to proceed in relation to our Christian family members.

To stay in the effective flow of the Holy Spirit and claim what God promised us in 2 Timothy 1:7, sometimes we have to continue to bless those that curse us and pray for those that intentionally misuse us as the Word commands and at the same time not compromise the emotional, physical or financial wholeness of those God has appointed to be in our care.

So be encouraged today, to seek the Lord and ask Him, if you are in a difficult situation, how you can show true love and courage in the face of adversity.

Special thanks to my daughter who wanted to type this blog for you.

Christian Life

Your Healing Isn’t Just for You

As we approach Independence Day here in the United States, I am inspired by the Lord this evening as I read Luke chapter 8 verses 26 through 39.

For those of you familiar with the passage, you will remember Jesus and his disciples going across the lake from Galilee and a demon-possessed man meeting them there. Some things that really stood out to me through the Holy Spirit this time but I really hadn’t processed before, I’m going to share with you, here.

In II Timothy 1:7, God tells us that he does not give us, “a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.” The man they encountered was not of sound mind. He was absolutely tormented by the multitude of demons that had taken up residence within his soul. Satan only comes to steal, kill and destroy according to John 10:10. But the Lord gives us life, an abundant life. Yes, with Him we have a robust, full, ample life filled with His joy.

Notice too how the man was found naked and homeless. Working in the behavioral health field, many of the clients that we see are found naked, not in their right mind and are homeless. Very striking.

We also see that he was living among the tombs. How many of us are really merely existing on death’s front porch? This man was animate in the midst of the inanimate. Yet, he was not truly living.

It says, in verse 29, that, “he had been driven by the demon into solitary places.” Isn’t that just like the enemy? He tries to rob you of your peace and your mental health and get you alone where he can rain down his fear upon you. For some of us this has come in the form of psychological, physical and/or sexual violence. For many, it may come through addictions, generational curses or behavior patterns or other means.

And I find it so fascinating that the townspeople asked Jesus, The Liberator of The Afflicted Man to leave because they were afraid of Him and what He had done. I don’t mean that I judge these people, for I, as many of you, have run from the very Giver of Life. Somehow, sometimes we seem to prefer the base and treacherous known, versus allowing ourselves to experience and become familiar with that which can save us from ourselves, from the enemy…

Notice all that Jesus restored to this man. Not only did He give him a sound mind but He dressed him or had his disciples do so. The passage doesn’t clearly state that point. What does the dressing represent? I believe it has many dimensions. In the literal, it gave him dignity to have his body covered and allowed him some privacy. It also is reminiscent of the prodigal son having a robe put on him by his adoring father that wants to care for him. Further, it reminds us of the robes the martyrs will one day get recieve (Revelation 6:11). It also represents the complete opposite of what the enemy offered. Instead of lack, the need was met by Love Himself. Nakedness also represent a vulnerability and an exposure that can leave someone in a very fear-riddled state. But God said, “perfect Love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).

After he was changed and healed, he became Christ’s witness to those around him. So please remember, your healing isn’t just about or for you. What tombs or dead areas have you walked out of in order to have the opportunity to proclaim His goodness today?