Tag Archives: Jesus

For I am free…

Satan is a liar.  He  is the king of lies.  He twists words and ideas into something that I can easily believe that traps me and holds me captive.  Captive.  Like a person chained to a wall.  Lies like “Nobody’s listening, so why bother telling your story.”  Why bother telling  my story?  Lots of people know my story, so why keep hashing up the past?  That’s a good question.  A really good question.  Maybe I am just talking to myself to keep myself going and to keep pushing higher up the mountain.  Maybe it’s because I hope that someone, somewhere will hear my story, and that person will feel hope and will keep moving up higher themselves.

Funny thing about believing in Satan’s lies, they are an illusion, an illusion that keeps me trapped as long as I believe in them.  As we all know, an illusion is something that is not really there, our eyes (or hearts, or minds) are playing tricks on us because we buy into the illusion.  Oh yes, he can hold a mirror up to us and show us the ugliness that exists in our hearts and  minds.  He can push us into believing half-truths because he is a master of illusion.  We can believe that there is no way out of this darkness we have gotten ourselves into.

The truth be told, I hold the key to breaking the chains of the illusions.  That’s right, I have the key.  The key is Jesus.  He is the light that shines in dark places when we think we see something that isn’t there.  Satan would hold us mesmerized in the darkness that is full of illusions that cause fear in our hearts and in our  minds.  He would have us chained to the wall of half-truths.  He would have us be captives for the remainder of our days.  But Jesus, he ripped the veil that kept humanity separated from God when he died on that cross.  He broke through the barrier and defeated death.  He defeated Satan.  That’s right, Satan, the master of illusion and lies, is defeated.

When we grab hold of the light and undo the chains with our wonderful Jesus, we are free.  We are free to go around and share the light with others.  We are free to ignite the flames of passion for the true living God in our own hearts.  We are free to help Jesus beat back the darkness that surrounds people’s hearts.  We are free to become whom we were born to be.

I was born to tell my story so that other’s may see the glory of God in my life.  For I am free.

Monday Morning Meditations

I am trying something new here.  I am giving myself a one-word prompt and will just write until I am done writing.  Sort of like the Gypsy Mama’s 5 minute friday, except I will place no time limit on myself.  But, I will not try to think to hard about what to say and will just write.

Honey

Sweet.

Good for me.

At least, not as bad as sugar.

God thinks it’s great enough to say “A land flowing with milk AND honey.”

Honey is part of the promised land.

Sweet. Good for me.  Fulfilling a promise given a long time ago.

Golden.

Pure.

Sweet.

Like God.

Only God is better.

Honey.

Pure love given to me as a promise of plenty and peace.

Sweet.

Honey.

Golden and pure like the sunrise in the East.  Bringing promises of peace and plenty.

Sweet.

Jesus’ love for me that lead to a final sacrifice.

Undeserved by me.

Sweet.

Being with the Father IS the promised land.

Honey.

Pure and sweet.  Golden like the streets of Heaven (so I hear).

A promise to be with the father forever.

Honey from the promised land of peace and plenty.

May I rest in your Glory today Father.

May I feast on your honey.  Sweet. Pure. Golden. Delicious.

Sweet.

Honey.

Milk

I had no ideas about what to write so I asked the Lord for something to write about.  Four words came to mind: milk, honey, plenty, and promise.  These words obviously go together (Promised Land anyone?), but I believe I am supposed to write from heart about them individually.

The word milk automatically makes me think of the Promised Land.  Moses was sent to bring his people to the land “flowing with milk and honey”.  Evidently God sees this as a good thing.  The one thing that speaks to me about the Promised Land was that everything that the Israelites was available to them in this land, if they just did what God told them to do.  The Israelites had a hard time doing this because it took them 40 years to get there.  But they did get there.

I often see myself as one of the wandering Israelites waiting to get to what God has promised me.  In my mind I can just see over the cliff, just enough to know that the promise is there.  I wonder when I will ever get there.  I ask God, “Haven’t I done enough now?”.  I am so ready for the promises.  I am so ready to be there in the Promised Land.  When can I go Lord?

It occurs to me that perhaps I am already there.  I am like a blind beggar sitting in the lush landscape begging for a scrap.  Satan has feed me enough lies that I believe in my blindness as my reality.  I can just smell the flowing milk and honey, but I have yet to taste it.  Perhaps if I stopped believing I was blind and poor, I might be able to partake in the feast before me.

When I accepted Jesus into my heart, I had access to the abundance of God.  Yet, my heart believed that I was not good enough, or clean enough, or whatever enough to take what is rightfully mine.  I could not tap into the infinite and good resources available to me because I believed the darkness more than I believed the light.

Today, I ask you Lord to take the scales from my eyes so that I can see and partake in all that you have given to me.  Amen.

Jesus-colored glasses

Well Just Write! is over.  But, I had the urge to sit down and write something.  So like Mary Kathryn says looks like our experiment worked for me!”  Hear, hear!

In life, so much of how we behave is based on perception.  In psychology (of which I am an undergrad student), learning and behavior typically go hand-in-hand.  Psychologists have been trying to figure just how learning works.  It is basically understood that our brain is a plastic mechanism that takes in information, processes it according our experiences and our genetic make-up and spits back out a reaction, or behavior.  When we are conceived, God chooses our eye color, hair color, personality traits and characteristics, and etc.  We are born with a basic construct.  For those of us who believe that we inherit spiritual factors at conception, we are born with both the good and the bad from our family lines.

As soon as we are born, we start learning.  We learn the smell of our parents, which voice belongs to which face, how to get what we need (i.e. crying for just about everything), and etc.  From birth on, our basic personality structure and learning experiences color how we react to our environment.  For example, my own basic personality has stubbornness/persistence woven into it’s structure because I inherited the physical genes that make me this way from my mother and my father.  I used to be just plain stubborn, now I am persistent.  I used to be stiff-necked and unyielding, now I (mostly) use this trait to help me keep pushing forward into a better place in life.

How I perceive this trait in myself depends on my perception of myself.  How other’s view this trait depends on how other’s perceive me based on their own experiences.  We sometimes call this a filter.  We receive information about our environment, our brain filters the information according to our understanding of things and says “Okay, this input is like this experience, and this is what you usually do”.  We are more likely to react a certain way in any given situation because of our experiences.  Sometimes we are aware of this, and sometimes we are not aware of this.  If I perceive myself as stubborn, I will more than likely behave in a stubborn fashion.  If perceive myself as persistent, I will more than likely behave in a persistent fashion.

How we react all depends on how we see the situation.  This is where Jesus comes in to the picture.  As a Christian, I have a choice; I can either choose to see life and myself wrongly, or I can choose to see life and myself through rightly or according to the truth.  As a Christian I understand that Satan wishes to convince me to chain myself to lies so that I am useless to God and behave wrongly.  Satan wants me to see life through Satan-colored glasses.  Satan will strive to convince us that we need to keep believing his perception.  Believing in lies never gets us very far with God.  Instead, I need to learn the truth because Jesus wants me to view life from his perception (i.e. THE TRUTH), or through Jesus-colored glasses.  It’s our choice everyday in every moment whether we believe the lies or we believe the truth.

If we take off the lies from our eyes and look at things from God’s perspective we understand what is happening from a different point of view (i.e. THE TRUTH).  Life, ourselves, and others begin to look different to us.  We begin to see that person that used to irritate us the way Jesus sees that person.  We begin to understand that persons difficulties.  With God’s help we begin to feel compassion for that person and react to them with grace.  If we allow the truth to permeate our being, we react differently to our circumstances.  We start to behave in way that brings life and light to our life and other’s life.  God’s truth starts to shine through for others to see.  When we allow ourselves to life from a God perspective the kingdom of darkness loses another soul and THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT WINS.  Satan no longer has control.

Isn’t that worth putting on Jesus-colored glasses?

5mf- In Real Life

Five minute Friday’s are a stream- of- consciousness exercise hosted by The Gypsy Mama every Friday.  In an effort to get myself writing more frequently, I am going to participate as frequently as I can.  I am also participating in a weekly bible study at Beauty for Ashes onWednesdays, and in “Just Write!” campaign also hosted by Beauty for Ashes.  The 5mf exercise is simple, The Gypsy Mama gives us a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes.  There is no editing and no backtracking.  Just write whatever comes into your mind.  So here goes this week’s edition of 5mf:

In Real Life

In real life, nothing is at it seems.  People smile at you but they are really hiding.  I might smile you at you and be hiding too.  Real life is scary.  If you knew what I was hiding from you, you might not like it, or me, anymore.  Which is why I hide.  God knows my real life.  He knows my sins, my struggles, my wishes and dreams.  I think that we would exhaust one another if everyone knew as much as God knows.  It is just too  much to handle, even with the best of us.  And, we  might easily judge one another and write each other off if we knew what God knows about our real life.  I like to think that I am out living on the edge and being real with others, but am I really?  No.  Maybe more like 60% real, and 40% secretly.  I am thankful  that God knows my real life like the back of his hand and that I don’t have to hide or pretend with Him.  He can handle my bad stuff all by himself.  And, even though he judges my sin as sin, he doesn’t condemn me to eternal torment.  Thank YOU Jesus!  It is your work on the cross that makes this “Real life” possible .

Self-Control (Day 2 of the Just Write! campaign)

Welcome to day 2 of the Just Write! campaign here at Beauty in it’s time.  Mary Kathryn Tyson is hosting this campaign in an effort to get her creative juices flowing, and other people’s as well.  I have chosen to participate because I need a kick in the rear to get myself writing more frequently.  So,everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “JustWrite!” for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Self-Control

Go!

Self-control is the most difficult aspect of Christianity to master.  Self-control is a gift of the spirit, but it’s up to us to control ourselves.  Our hearts are full of evil desires that we must fight constantly to hold back.  This can tire one out.  Fortunately for us, God gives us the tools we need to fight back.  The trick is remembering the sword we have in our possession.  All we have to do is pick it up and wield it in Jesus’ name.  He gives the power needed to defeat the enemy, we just have to be willing to pick up that sword.  We have to say “yes” to fighting back.  We have to say “You will go no further” to the enemy.  One of Satan’s great tricks is to help us to forget that God can help us control ourselves.  Practiced self-control gives the power to keep walking the walk and running the race.  Otherwise, we get caught in the sticker bushes that crowd our path.  We become stuck like a rabbit that was running from the hungry wolf and was not watching where it was going.  Lord I pray that you help me to stay on the path.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Who would attend my funeral? Some thoughts on friendship.

Don’t worry, I am not planning my death or anything crazy like that.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, we spend the first two acts getting to know George Bailey.  He grows up in a small town of no real consequence.  He has loving parents, and a brother, he is friendly, loyal, honorable, part of a local community, and is bent on seeing the world.  But, life takes some twists and turns he did not expect.  Instead of traveling the world, he marries, takes over a business he does not want (his father’s Savings and Loan), has a few kids, builds homes for others, and does his darndest to keep the local baddie at bay.  He has some friends and life is okay.  Until something terrible happens, and he effectively wishes he were dead, or had never been born.  The third act of the movies shows us what life would be like in his small town had he never been born.  Life is ugly without him in Bedford Falls.  A measuring stick was held up to his life when the townsfolk started to show up to help him out of his crisis.  George needed that angel to show him that alternate reality to help George to understand what his life has meant to others.  George definitely made a difference and it showed.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder if I died, who would show up at my funeral?  How would I be eulogized? What would people say to those closest to me in an attempt to comfort them?  I used to have a morbid fascination with this idea because for a time I felt that no one would show up.   I felt lonely and afraid that I would die alone and unnoticed.  I struggled with invisibility (and often still do) and felt disconnected.  I really wanted connections in my life so people would show up at my funeral.  Initially, my motives were selfish.  I wanted people to care about me enough to care about  my death.

God does not like selfishness.  He likes selflessness.

Forging lifelong friendships is a long and difficult process fraught with danger and pain.  There were some relationships that were toxic, some that just ended, and some that kept going.  The friendships that kept going were eventually based on a mutual exchange of time, trust, and energy.  At some point, this process became less about what I could get from others, and became more about what I could give.  A bowl of soup here, a friendly and kind word there, a much needed moment of free childcare, some empathetic tears, a hug, a kiss, a little cash, trusted advice, helped others to know their worth to me.  And I receive these things in return and can feel my worth to those people.  The Holy Spirit gives us energy to maintain relationships with others because He desires an exchange of love between Him, us, and others, above all things.  Relationships matter.  Jesus said that the world would know us by our “love for one another” and that “no love greater is this; that he would lay his life down for his friends”.   Having friends is not really about what you can get from others, it’s about what you can give to others.  It’s about offering yourself, your gifts, your wisdom, your time, and your energy to other’s benefit.  The more you pour out, the more is poured into you.

I have many people that I love dearly outside of my little family.  Let’s cross that out; these people are my family.  I rejoice that these people are my brothers and my sisters.  They really care about me, and I really care about them.

To quote Clarence the angel, “…no man is a failure who has friends.”

Would love to hear your thoughts here….

Hold on, just a little longer.

Thief

by Third Day

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

I was listening to this song the other day while I was driving…somewhere (can’t remember).  I have listened to this song a thousand times and sung along with tears in my eyes all choked up (which makes me singing this song not pretty to listen to).  And usually, I reside in the place of the thief when I dwell in this song for the few minutes that it plays.  From the perspective of the this thief, I feel the weight of my sin and understand the price that I must pay.  And at the end of the song, I feel hope in the redemptive power of Jesus’ death there next to him (me) on the cross.

This is all good.

But that other day (the one where I can’t remember where I was going in my car), when the last verse was being sung I had a waking dream.  A brilliant flash of understanding that I had never experienced before.  It was blinding.

And, I felt like I had been delivered a roundhouse kick to the chest.  I couldn’t breathe because of the depth of what I saw and understood in that brief moment.

Jesus/God was gracious enough to hang on that cross long enough for this one last person to be saved while He was still here on earth.

WOW.  And I cried, hard.

He could have chosen to give in to death a bit sooner and end his suffering.  Who would have blamed him?  From what I  have heard, death on a cross is an agonizingly slow death of suffocation.  If it had been me up there I would have prayed for a swift death.  But Jesus/God chose to go just a little bit farther for that one last person He could touch while he still breathed.

His example has taught me a crucial lesson: When others look at me they are supposed to see Christ in me.  When I am open and there Christ can flow through me.  Being human, I am required again and again to die to myself because I am not God and therefore not perfect, but the thief in the song saw a beacon of hope in Jesus as He hung there dying and I need to be a beacon of hope in my relationships so that others may see Him.  I need to hold on just a little longer.

What are the ways that you and I can hold on just a little longer?