every day since the heart attack has been filled with a plethora of emotions.
There are days I feel awesome! And I appreciate those days because they’ve been
less than more. I ask not for pity. It’s just the process of aging and the
result of having poured more junk into the vessel the Lord gave me rather than
healthy fuels. The truth hurts… sometimes literally. The same is true spiritually.
spent a lot of time in the book of Psalms lately. It’s my go to place when I’m
in need of encouragement. Most likely because I can relate to many of them which
were penned by David, who certainly experienced more than one lifetime of
emotions through tribulations and celebrations. Take Psalm 103… Just in the first 5 verses it
describes my day to day:
That is my prayer this
morning as I approach the Easter weekend and attempt to dry nigh to the Lord
Jesus. It’s difficult when you’re in the flesh and throwing a pity party for
your aching arthritic bones. I find myself saying “Oh my stars!” more than “Oh
is exactly why I needed to fuel my body with His words instead of mine!
The Benefit Package
1Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within
me, bless his holy name.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his
While insurance companies are paying less and
less on the average health care bill, the benefits of serving the Lord have
been multiplied. A fact I need to remember. As a matter of fact it’s a
prescription dose we all need this week.
Because of the cross our benefit package is out
of this world. There is nothing that our God cannot do so long as it’s His
will. And His will is for certain that His children walk in truth and joy.
The Prescription Plan
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
who healeth all thy diseases;
In 2017 I took no medication. At the beginning
of 2018 I took 2, by mid 2018 to now I’ve been on 9-13 daily meds to make this
body of mine function. How ridiculous is that!
Well, I may not like it, but it’s what keeps me
going. Missing anyone of those pills can make life difficult. The same holds
true with my spirituality. Failure to take the prescribed daily dosage of God’s
word and time in His presence takes its toll on me. I feel terrible. And not
only that, I miss the blessing of
feeling clean and whole through His forgiveness. And for certain I lose sight
of the fact that He has the power to heal this body and strengthen me for His
The Forgiveness Clause
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with
lovingkindness and tender mercies;
This was an
“oh my stars!” moment for me today. Only God has the power to take back the
damage that I have inflicted to this soul and body. He created me, through sin
and poor decisions I destroyed me, through doctors and medicine He restored me,
but He can just as well heal me. He has that ability and His mercy may go there…
or it may not. But either way He has given me so many opportunities I did not
deserve. Yes Glory to God it is an Oh My Stars! Kind of day.
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good
things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Unlike the insurance world enrollment isn’t
limited to a certain time. It’s any time. God’s ready and willing for us to use
our benefits and renew our relationship with Him. This is a good week to think
On a recent cold winter evening my husband David was delivered a wounded screech owl from our area of West Virginia. It had been hit by a car, and a 6.5 oz. owl verses a 4000 pound car survival story certainly speaks of the tenacity of this little creature. But when David brought it to the house I really thought he brought it home to bury. It was not in a good way. The first day it sat lifeless with an occasional opening of one eye. I guess to see if the humans taking care of it were still there. The second day he was more alert and obviously in pain, but by the third day it was apparent it was going to survive! But the quality of survival was still iffy. Probably the only one more shocked than we were about the survival was the owl. I named it Ollie, it just seemed like a good fit. We attempted a release but Ollie could only glide to the ground and then couldn’t take flight from there. We then called the WV Raptor Center to ask what we should do, because keeping an owl is a federal offence and wild creatures shouldn’t be caged anyway. That’s a no brainer. The center was very helpful and got in touch with raptor transporter who came in a few days to retrieve Ollie for assessment and owl therapy. Who knew! that owls could have therapy?
Our last few days with Ollie at our house were spent letting it perch on our hand, scratching its head and rubbing our fingers down its feathers. It made no attempt to bite us, it was gentle as a pet, but the better it felt, the less it encouraged us to touch it. I fed it raw hamburger (not the best diet) but I couldn’t do the frozen mice thing. According to the Raptor center raw liver would have been better. But Ollie loved the hamburger that I would spoon feed it. Needless to say, I grew quite fond of this little creature of God’s.
Karen, the raptor transporter assessed Ollie for a few days and then called to say it seemed apparent that it could fly and she invited us to take part in the release. The release had to be in the same area for which it was hit by the car, and that happened to be at a historical site in our neighboring county of Gilmer called “Job’s Temple.” A Methodist Church building built between 1860 and 1866 and is constructed of poplar logs. It’s a beautiful location. And too ironic not use for a correlation between Ollie’s rescue and faith.
Because of the condition of Ollie’s eyes it was apparent that it had a concussion. I feared that it couldn’t see at all. When our hand would pass by its eyes there was no reaction.
I Once was Blind but now I see…
I was in that same state of condition prior to my salvation in 1996. The walking dead. I was a part of the problem with religion. I professed but didn’t possess the Spirit of God. And that sad part is, I wasn’t even aware; I just knew something was missing. That missing piece was the Spirit of God! It caused me to soar in life… wait… I’m getting a head of Ollie’s story. Ollie didn’t know or care who David and I were, only that we were caring for it. Feeding it, nursing it back to health. Oh how very grateful I am for the church people that took me under their wings and discipled me when I finally was rescued through salvation. Please don’t ever underestimate the importance of helping a new convert find their way through Christian faith. Just like Ollie, if people hadn’t protected and spoon fed me for a while on the ways of Christianity I would have been devoured by the beast of Satan. I wouldn’t have been lost… but I could have very easily been discouraged from flying.
Your Grace Still Amazes me!
Salvation is amazing! But much like Ollie I fear the captivity. If we’d have gone against the law and kept Ollie caged, it would have continued to heal and had the ability to fly but its flight would have been constrained to the area for which it was kept. Sad. So many Christians are constrained to the walls of the church when it comes to experiencing the full power of God’s amazing grace!
Everyone is at risk if they don’t take risks.
Ollie trusted David and I for a few days as it was healing. I was under the direction of several people in our church for a time, until they were certain I could take flight on my own. It was then that I was encouraged to branch out into the ministry and take my spot on the branch. I began devouring the word of God until I felt I understood it enough to share it and then I began to teach. I began on the very elementary level, junior high and high school classes for which I needed. Slowly I progressed into the adult ministry. I came up through the ranks of every age class in our church. And with each one I learned more and more.
Ollie was a mature adult bird. It should have known better than to fly in front of a car. I was brought up in a Christian home, I should have known better than to be lost. But I did not. It doesn’t matter our age, it matters how we react to Rescuer. And it matters if you’re in the right place of rescuing.
I won’t say that anyone else couldn’t have done what we did for Ollie. But they couldn’t have possibly cared more. And that’s how I felt when I found my church family. I’d never been cared for in such a way. If you’re not in that church… find it. Find the one that will encourage and strengthen your soul until you fly!!!!
I’ll Fly Away
Ollie’s release was bitter sweet. It was the right thing to do, but I had so enjoyed the company of God’s precious critter.
I met Karen at Job’s temple and we trekked up the hill behind the church. She allowed Ollie to familiarize with the area again. It posed on her hand like it was waiting for us to get one final picture, and then within a few minutes, Ollie took flight! Oh my stars what a wonderful sight! I rejoiced to have been a part of the process.
If you’re a child of God, you too should rejoice in being a part of the process of seeing another child of God take flight.
Just like Ollie and the car, the world can hit us when we’re off guard or on guard. We need to encourage one another to stay strong in the faith. We all have times when we feel faith waning and that we’re not sure if the journey is going to end well. If you’re a child of God, it ends so much better than “well!” But the journey also can be amazing. Study and learn the word of God, learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, and when it’s time to take flight, soar like you’ve never flown before. God’s got a plan for you. Nothing just happens.
God sent Ollie to David and I because He knew the end of the story. He knew that He would be glorified. Will He not do the same for His children.
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
This morning has been a time of worship and praise… I’ve sat with my guitar for over an hour, I’ve listened to worship music and I’ve wept over heart aches and illnesses. Heaven some morning’s seems too far away. It’s not that I’m wanting to die… no I want to live!!! I want to live for Jesus and tell the world of His goodness, but Satan is right on my heels every second of the day. Trying to defeat my witness, he can’t defeat me because Christ is within me, but he can sure do some damage the outer being of who I am. I know that my Savior has his head under His heel because the scripture says so in Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
I need that image in my mind… the image of the victory! Satan does his very best to cover it with the grief of the world when healing seems impossible, or distant. I follow the story of Joey and Rory Feeks and my heart aches for them; I want God to take away this heartache from their family and friends and heal her. That’s the kind of “heal” I want today, but it hasn’t come. And so I sing about Heaven and thank God for those songs of praise that cause my heart to rejoice, otherwise it would be in despair and I’d be of no purpose for encouraging you. My heart breaks for children that I minister to who don’t live in the best of circumstances and I want to show them that image of Satan’s head beneath our Savior heel and tell them to hang on. Christ will win their victory. I have friends in the faith whose children have broken their hearts and I want to tell them to keep praying! God can turn those situations around as quickly as it appeared to get out of control. He’s got this. He will have victory over every evil plot that Satan has devised to bring us down.
So what do you do when physical or emotional healing won’t come? Trust His Heel.
Hebrews 13:5 says Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Content… at ease.
My heart is breaking… allow the balm of His words to soothe it. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I don’t have the strength to get through… then He’ll carry you. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I’m all alone… that’s a lie from Hell. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Nobody understands… yes He does. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I’ve been hurt so deeply… so was He… beyond our imagination and by us. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I’m a failure… no, you’re human. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
It’s not fair… Nothing about this world is, but there’s a better world coming. Until then… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Thank You Jesus, that in the pits of my despair, You are there. I feel Your presence and Your Spirit well up within my soul as a reminder that You are truth, and Satan is a liar. Thank you for the gift of music that draws my mind into worship and help my friends Lord, to understand that You’ll bring them through. And in the end we’ll see you destroy that demon and his forces that cause us heartache today. And from that day forward there will be only Joy! Great joy…
Trust His Heel. He will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I have a friend or two and a relative or two who are most usually late for meetings and events. It’s not that they’re irresponsible or forgetful, they are some of the most responsible and intellectual people I know… it’s just that their prep time is longer than usual. Perhaps they need prompters to help them along. I’m about to take Mark 2 in places it may have never gone before, and for some of my Bible Scholar friends, they may prefer not to travel this road with me at all. But it’s on my mind today.
I love it when a preacher speculates about the story around the story; adlibbing conversations that may or may not, most likely did not, occur around a biblical event. My nephew Robert preached on Mark 2 last night at his home church, and he just wowed his ol’ Aunt Shari at what an amazing work God is doing in his life. Isn’t that the kind of work that God always does? Amazing!
This morning that scripture is still heavy on my heart, but not in the context that Robert preached it… I’m thinking about the story of the four men who carried their friend to church from an entirely different perspective.
And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
What a church service! Loud, crowded and the roof blown off. That’s just how I like mine.
Why is it that ¾ (or greater) of the churches in America feel the need to sit and soak… or sulk. They’re more resemble a funeral than praise and worship. What part of “Worship” hour did you not understand when you arrived at church. I’d rather see someone late and loud, than on time and dead. I love seeing people so desperate to see God move that they’re willing to take extreme measures to make it happen. So they got there late… I’m sure it was not an easy task for the four of them to carry this guy from his home. Nor is it always easy for that Momma or Daddy to get their brood bundled up and on their way. When they finally got there they were likely hot and tired, not willing to wait any longer. They were late enough! There’s got to be another way in… “Hey nobody’s using the roof!”
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
The man sick of the palsy could not get himself to Jesus, so his 4 friends not only lead the way up they broke it up. They were desperate to get to him to the Lord and they didn’t care how big of a scene it created. Sometimes it’s necessary for leadership to make a scene in order to get things stirred up and the Spirit moving. How far are you willing to go to hear the Lord say to your friend “thy sins be forgiven thee.”
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
And thus where my thought derived from this morning. They’d never saw it in that fashion. What fashion? I expect that he not only walked… he walked with style. Possibly what they’d call a swagger. He may have even danced a jig. There’s something about a new convert that can be visibly seen, if they’re lucky it never fades. Well… I don’t want to say lucky, let’s use the word blessed! When you’ve been bound by sickness or sin either one, and you’re suddenly free of it you understand the value of being “loose.” It changes the way you walk and talk and people notice. You have the freedom to speak and act with boldness!
Are you a fashionista? Are you loud, are you a leader, are you loose? (in the godly way of course.) Let’s make some noise for Jesus today!
I don’t think a day goes by that I have not heard the “C” word. Cancer. A word that can bring even the mightiest warrior to their knees asking for mercy. It is no respecter of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Saint and Sinner… it has claimed both.
As I listened to a devotion on Periscope this morning from a sister in Christ Jesus in Pennsylvania, she always closes her broadcast with prayer requests and prayer. There too the “C” word popped up. And as I listened to her sweet prayer she said something that sent my mind here… this place I’m at today. She asked God to heal those who He had created the blueprint for. The Creator. We just don’t give Him His just dues do we?
1 Peter 4:19
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Them that suffer
I cannot say that I have not questioned God’s divine wisdom when it comes to the diagnosis of someone I love. Even someone I don’t know! I see on social media post after post of heartache and my heart breaks. I see images that almost rip my heart out of my chest and I weep and pray and ask God to heal them and sometimes He does… and sometimes He takes them home and I’m left to pray for a heartbroken family; and again I ask God why? Why must these people suffer? It doesn’t seem right.
And then I am confronted with the truth that I am not the judge of what is right, only the Creator of all has that privilege. God’s plan was never that man would suffer. He created us in perfect health, in a perfect place with a perfect plan and then along came sin.
So rather than blame God for the suffering, which is what the world tends to do, we skip past the fact that Satan brought all of this into the world when he wanted to play God. And the human race is still allowing him to play god, the only problem is God is good, Satan is not. And this suffering that is in the world has an agent, Satan himself.
Suffering His Will
So why then is it the will of God that we now suffer? I do not know. Everyone’s blueprint for life is laid out differently, except for the fact that everyone is born with a sin nature, even the most innocent of child has been born into sin. That is why the bible says it rains on the just and the unjust. Everyone’s life is designed to point them and those around them to the Creator and that perfect life that He will afford His children one day in Heaven. A time when we will look back on this tidbit of life in the scope of eternity and think… wow… so that’s why it happened.
Committing the keeping of our souls to Him in well doing
How do you do well when life is not well? How do you sit beside someone who is suffering and tell them that God loves them? You commit them to Christ and then start looking for the work He’s doing through them.
The countless times that I have watched a child of God suffer, and yet still find the strength to praise God, I have also watched the blueprint unfold before my eyes. As hard as it was there was purpose.
I have many friends suffering right now, but there is one little girl on my mind especially who has suffered again and again because of Juvenile Arthritis. Last weekend she went into crisis having to have multiple surgeries and my heart ached as I watched for updates by her mom. She came through and so did Christ. Because she didn’t get to go outside a merciful nurse brought her some window paints and let her paint on her hospital window. The image above is her artistry. And there it was even in her darkest hours she was sharing the love of Jesus.
Her mom is a child of God. She has committed her child to Christ as they go through these hard times. I pray and believe in the Creator that holds her blueprint in Heaven, that He can guide the doctors to a cure for her disease. But until that day He continues to use her for His glory. And one day she’ll look back on these rough days and God will show her the souls that she touched for Him.
Just hold on… God is faithful.
Please pray for the sunshine girl. Her name is Reagan.
Someone becoming aware that I’m “The Jesus Chick” usually brings three typical reactions:
Joy from fellow believers (I love that!)
Rolled eyes from people who believe I’m a fanatic
Changed conversation from those who don’t want to talk about Jesus
I’m okay with all three because it doesn’t change who I am, and it certainly doesn’t change who Jesus is! It also doesn’t change the truth; which is what everyone says they want, and yet they really don’t. In John 8 we find the story of the woman caught in adultery, and the religious sect that wanted to stone her. But when Jesus challenged them with the truth “…and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (vs. 7) We find the world walking out. They knew the truth… we all sin! We just don’t like to name it. I always wondered if what Jesus “wrote with His finger on the ground” was their sins. Jesus knew them too. Conviction is a powerful tool of the Lord. That’s why when people hear the truth their reaction is much the same as the typical reactions to me. They love it, ignore it or change the conversation!
What I found interesting in John 8 this morning were verses, like so many others, that I have previously just skimmed over.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Convicted by Jesus’ words the religious sect picked up stones to kill Him. But it wasn’t His time. So Jesus hid Himself. Literally vanished from their sight. But an invisible Jesus didn’t change the truth, whether or not they wanted to hear it they were still held captive.
In verse 32 Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” On the counter side of that, if you ignore the truth you’re willingly being held captive by a lie.
The Invisible Jesus. He’ll eventually stop revealing the truth to you, and salvation will be further and further away; just where you thought you wanted it. And Jesus will have “passed by.” The two saddest words ever.
Failing to acknowledge Jesus may make Him invisible, but it doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. And what you’ve allowed to pass by is what you know you’re looking for and why I love being a Jesus Chick:
Peace (regardless of circumstance)
Love (when nobody’s around to love on you)
Healing (even of a broken heart)
Answers (to every question)
Solutions (to every problem)
Insight (to the mysteries of God)
Oh the list is endless…
Do you see Him? He’s precious… and so worthy of following.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Another day, another diet, another goal… life seems to always be filled with a purpose driven passion that can turn on a dime to another failure and leaves me wishing every day were Sunday. It’s such a day of encouragement for me, I love listening to preaching and singing and serving the Lord, but even it can turn into frustration when I get my eyes off Christ and onto people. I have somewhat become un-enchanted with social media over the past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be back at it soon but felt the need to take a hiatus for a few days to “detox” from many of the posts I was reading. Political and personal rants have become the norm, and what used to be common sense flew out the window. Freedom of speech should sometimes be best used by the freedom of not saying what you could.
Several months ago, I either read or heard a statement that was a game changer for me regarding what comes out of our mouth. Satan and his band of troublemakers are not all knowing, only God has the ability to be the discerner of our every thought. But Satan doesn’t have to be a mind reader he only has to be a listener, or a reader, because we’ve laid out the stick for him to stir with plain and clear when we air our frustrations in our status posts. Perhaps it’s the era I was brought up in or more than likely the family, but we just didn’t make our troubles public, and yet today people not only make them public but wear them as trophies and care not that their friends and family know how very messed up their lives are. I guess this is a rant of my own of sorts… but it’s written to encourage my fellow servants of Christ to press on, not down.
Negative posts do not encourage positive living. You can quote me on that, that’s good stuff! The seeds that we plant in our life is what we harvest… I know that’s a no brainer, but it must not be, because there’s plenty of people sewing garbage and wondering why their life stinks.
Here’s just a few that I’ve noticed on social media on a pretty regular basis:
Satan may or may not have known that “so and so” got on your last nerve, but following that Facebook update he did. And now he has another avenue clearly marked in your life to making you miserable.
Nobody knew what a terrible mess your life was in until you went on that rant about it and now every time you walk on the street you feel as if you’re being judged, or so Satan says.
You posted your opinion on a matter that few agreed on and now you feel attacked because someone aired the opposite opinion on your status, welcome to America.
Let’s attack our family and make it a public spectacle and then wonder why nobody enjoys a family reunion, except Satan… he has a hayday!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! That’s why I needed a few days to regroup. Not only do those post affect the person who posted negatively but everyone who reads it. By the same token a positive post creates a positive atmosphere. So here’s my challenge for you today. Ten positive posts and if you care to you can use this blog as one! And zero negative… not even bad news. Press on Pilgrim, it’s a happy day!!!!
At 2:30 this morning I awoke to the thought… one more day. I couldn’t sleep and several prayer matters were heavy on my heart. I scrolled through Facebook on my phone to see if there had been any updates, and there were but it wasn’t good. Families facing critical reports, people hurting; the faces just kept pouring through my mind. And the realization that we’re all a phone call away from that kind of news on any given day. It’s just by God’s grace…
Then my mind turned to the weekend events. Easter! Resurrection Sunday. One more day. And that was my prayer for the people on my heart, “God grant them hope for one more day.” Sometimes we can’t think about days and weeks ahead, just one more day.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
I would venture a guess that the day of Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples and Jesus’ followers were living minute to minute. They weren’t thinking about day 3. Jesus had told them, “I’ll rise again!” but they didn’t get it. They were scared for their own lives, they’d lost the best friend they’d ever known, and the world was shaken up! Literally. Earthquakes, the temple veil torn in two from the top to bottom, rocks falling, and the graves were opened up and the bodies of many saints were walking through the city. I’d say the city was shook! And those who crucified Jesus, they were definitely shook. The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate concerned that someone would “steal” Jesus’ body. Or perhaps after what they’d just witnessed they were more than a little concerned that He’d do what He said.
Pilate said in verse 64 ~ Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
So the last error shall be worse than the first… Their error was God’s design and what a difference a day made. The disciples were heartbroken but their grief was about to turn into great joy! In the book of John 20:20-22 we read the Victory speech of Christ for all believers.
And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw theLord.Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
One day turned hopeless into a happening! And because of that great resurrection morning we have hope today and peace of mind through the Holy Spirit, so that when our world gets turned upside down we can hold onto hope one more day.
Psalm 119:67 says “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
Matthew Henry’s commentary expounded on it like this “Prosperity is the unhappy occasion of much iniquity; it makes people conceited of themselves, indulgent of the flesh, forgetful of God, in love with the world, and deaf to the reproofs of the word.” Matthew Henry is far deeper than Shari Johnson. I skimmed the “But Now” verse for today and thought…. “ahhh, he’s right with God.” I missed the part about being afflicted until I read it again; trying to unpack what it was the Lord would have me to understand.
Before I was afflicted…
You know, when all was right with your world. Before you lost yet another job, before you lost that friend, before you felt bad, before your family was hurting, before you were frustrated, before, before, and before again. Dear gussy! Why must it always be that way? Before we keep God’s word, our world is filled with awesome sauce. It’s only when those distresses, dangers and depression come into our lives that we read God’s word and think, “That’s a good idea.”
News flash! It was a good idea before the before. “But now… it’s an even better idea!” Because now we’ve come to realize that without God in the equation of our life we come up with the same answer. Wrong. It is God that makes everything right, even the wrong stuff. Over the 19 years of my salvation I’ve witnessed first hand
God move financial mountains like they were ant hills
Heal disease without treatment… and with treatment
Answer the prayer for healing with “Not on this side,” and provide the peace beyond!
Friendships broken beyond repair… and then mended
Drunkards find new wine
Dopers find the greatest high in life… salvation
Prison in people with freedom, and freedom for people in prison
Lives shattered and then pieced back together to become a beautiful mosaic.
And so much more!!!
That’s how God works! But not by choice. He’d rather we get it right the first time. He’d have rather there would have been no sin in the garden, but now… there’s Satan. And he’s got to stir it all up and see if anything stinks and stink it does. Until we smell the sweet aroma of God’s presence in the room, when He shows up and we say… I think I’ll keep God’s word. It’s the only thing that has ever stayed trued and beyond a shadow of a doubt has kept me through it all.
It’s kept me:
In hope when the world said there was none.
In peace with the world was in chaos.
Together when I was alone.
Filled with joy, without reason.
Complete, when so many things in my life were missing.
I am that mosaic. A beautiful piece of art fabricated out of all the brokenness and afflictions, and glued back together with His word. It’s such a privilege to have it.
But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
So today is not about me… again. But I thought it was when I lay in bed this morning arguing with God that I was growing weary of this “but now” series. My Attention Deficit Disorder thought there was likely something shinier I needed to be looking at. Ha! God said. My Word always shines!
So last night I’m sitting at home and I get an unusual call from a fella who’s near and dear to me, but the last thing he usually wants to discuss is church; because he knows I’ll be on him like white on rice. But this time he’s on me. Sunday morning, when I was where I was, and he was where he was, he’d seen a video on one of the cable music channels. He had previously heard this song on a local radio station, but this time it had images to go with it and a purpose; and none of it was good. The song is titled “Take me to Church” and can be found on Youtube by clicking the song title. I don’t recommend it if you’re squeamish, but it was needful for he and I to see it, because God had a message for us both.
I quickly skimmed the song facts before returning my friends call to answer as to “what I thought of the song.” The song was successful in that it’s intended design was to slam Christianity. The singer, Andrew Hozier Byrne, was quoted on songfacts.com
Written in the wake of a breakup with his first girlfriend, this is both a love song and a contemplation of sin, drawing influence from the late atheist writer Christopher Hitchens. Hozier described it to The Guardian as, “a bit of a losing your religion.
I found it odd that he was quoting an atheistic view point, but capitalizes the name of God in his article, as if God were someone. Well, He is Someone. But He’s not who they characterize in the video. The song criticizes the oppression of gay people in Russia and is said by Hozier that it’s not “an attack on faith.”
Well, this seriously isn’t an attack on Hozier, because he’s not the one responsible for that song. He was a tool, and mightily used by Satan himself. The friend who called was not affectionate of gay people. As a matter of fact, you would more than likely find him either telling or laughing at a gay joke. He’s a red-blooded American boy brought up in the heart of the country. But this song struck a chord in him. The chord that it was intended to strike; the one that paints the church as a narcissistic governing body of people that preach hate.
So, I had some explaining to do. Because it is unfortunate that we are portrayed that way because of a few (by comparison to the numbers who don’t preach hate).
So back to the “But Now” scripture in Job that I whined to God about. Elihu, the “friend” of Job is he who speaks the words in scripture. He too touts to Job that it is obviously because of his wrong living that he has landed in these dire straights.
Elihu is not singing God’s song.
Neither are the religious that damn the homosexual. Because as it says in John 3:17“For God sentnothis Son into the world tocondemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And the gay person is no greater a sinner than the drunkard or the glutton, yet they are all sinners and need redemption.
God does hear vanity, and He ain’t happy
Elihu said that surely God will not hear vanity, insinuating that Job was being self-centered because of his suffering. Really, Christian folk do that? Yes! Every time we fail to hear the cry of a hurting soul because of their sin, thinking that they “brought their suffering upon themselves,” it is we who are vain and stand in the place of God, judging.
Judgment will come… on the sinner and the church folk too
As I said before, this isn’t about Hozier. He needs to know that Jesus loves him. But what Satan meant this song to do is convince him that Jesus hates him, and that’s a lie right out of the pits of Hell. Christian’s who preach hatred will have their day before God. I’m not saying they’re lost, because Christian people make bad decisions and God doesn’t throw them out of Heaven for it. But they will stand before an Almighty and Powerful God and answer as to why they drove someone away from Jesus.