Tag Archives: Jesus

Image

Faith, Hope and Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.(1 Corinthians 13:13)

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Love one another. Love covers a multitude of sins. God is love. Love God and Love People.

Love is a verb. Love is an action. LOVE IS A CHOICE not a feeling (but it can feel great)!

Love. Keep your LOVE ON!

IMG_0001

 

(Mixed Media – plaster on gesso board. Acrylic, gesso, coffee, stabilo pencil and antique hymnal collage element)

Does Man Need To Forgive God?

Warning: this blog post might offend you.

I am okay with that.

Forgiven

Forgiven

Lately I’ve heard a number of people say that they have forgiven God, need to forgive God or regularly forgive God so as not to carry offense.

I don’t understand this.

I don’t think it’s even Biblical.

Yet it is through the Christian ‘church’ communities or inner healing ministries that I frequently hear this claim. Or hear someone asking others if they have or need to forgive God.

I challenge this.

Of the roughly 130 times forgive, forgiveness, forgave, forgives or forgiving are mentioned in the Bible guess how many refer to forgiving God?

Zero. Yep that’s right. ZERO.

The Word tells us that He (the LORD) has forgiven us, forgives us and forgave us. That He is forgiving. The Word tells us to forgive and we will be forgiven, to forgive everyone that sins against us, to forgive as the LORD has forgiven us.

So where has this come from? This need to forgive God?

Pop psychology? Entitlement? Wrong teaching? The enemy? Victim mentalities? Poverty Mindsets? Ignorance? Innocence? Misguided view of God the Father?

When we have a need to forgive anyone – anything, can we agree it is because we feel wronged in some way or form?

I don’t argue that forgiveness is for us. It frees us! When we no longer carry offense our hearts have so much more capacity for love!

Honestly, sometimes we are truly wronged by others. People kill people. People hurt feelings, say mean things, abuse others, hurt themselves, leave us, don’t agree with us, try to control us…you know because you are human. It’s happened to all of us. And we have all caused hurt.

John 10:10 is one of my favorite verses. It is Jesus talking in the midst of Pharisees throwing a healed blind man out of the Synagogue. Jesus tells a story about a good shepherd, his sheep, a watchman, a gate, robbers and thieves (Matthew 10:01-10:21).

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

I usually hear these two parts of this sentence taught out of context and often without one or the other part. Either a teaching on abundant life or spiritual warfare.

Jesus made these statements in ONE sentence. To teach one without the other is irresponsible.

Jesus gives us this sentence so we can look at what is happening in a situation, discern whether it is life giving or not and KNOW where it originated from.  Is what is happening a reflection of full life – abundant life? Then it is from Jesus. OR is something being stolen (not just ‘stuff’ but also joy, hope, life), is death happening or is destruction at hand? Then it is from the enemy.

Why do we blame God when things go wrong, when disasters happen, when people die? When people don’t do what we want them to? When things don’t go our way?

We have an enemy. Yes, Jesus defeated the enemy – but we are on that same journey and have the same opportunity (in fact responsibility) to defeat the enemy. Daily we get to choose life or death.

We cannot overlook ourselves in this equation of forgiveness. It is not always other people or the enemy that have wronged us. Sometimes it’s ourselves. Do we place wrong expectations on other people? Do we believe that we deserve certain things, responses or actions from others because of who we are or what we have done?

When we need to forgive someone we have looked at three possible origins: other people, the enemy and ourselves.

To wrap this up:

The Bible makes some strong and amazing claims about who God is. His characteristics include: Divine, Incomprehensible, Sovereign, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Holy, Infinite, Eternal, Goodness, Grace, Mercy, Love, Just, Faithful and Wise (obviously this is not a complete list).

God is light. In HIM there is NO darkness AT ALL.

Seriously? You believe the God of the Universe, Creator of Everything, Manifest Holy Goodness, Father of Light, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Lover of your Soul, who died on a cross because HE LOVES you that much –

Owes you?

HE wronged you? HE didn’t give you your way? HE didn’t give you what you wanted?

You forgive HIM?

Really?

I’m going to step into firing range here and suggest YOU ask HIM for forgiveness for blaming HIM. Something like this:

Papa, please forgive me for thinking that I should forgive you. Forgive me for holding you responsible for my expectations, for placing blame on you. Father God – show me the truth, give me spiritual eyes to see what is going on here. Teach me about true forgiveness. Reveal to me any areas you are working on in me or that I need to think differently about. Help me move past needing to know why something happened or happens. Help me love you better. I give you permission and access to heal my broken places. Jesus cover me again with your loving kindness. I love you. Amen.

HE is so good. HE can’t wait to meet you here, wrap you in HIS loving arms and walk this out with you: HIS beloved son or daughter.

New Years Eve with Post Its!

DSC00699It’s New Year’s Day 2013.

I am standing in my home hallway. The presence of God is here – thick.

I am tearful, joyful, thankful, heart light, heart broken and so filled up!

You see, last night we had a different kind of New Year’s Eve Party.

We invited friends and family to share what God has done in their lives on post it notes. These notes hang in my hallway, a testimony of our Loving and Good God!

And I am wrecked as I read them!DSC00724

Marriages Restored.

Families Celebrated.

Cancer has been healed.

Nature Extolled.

Relationships Renewed.

Hopes fulfilled.

Healthy Lives Happening.

Loved Ones in Heaven.

Simple Pleasures Rejoiced.

Hearts Mended.

Provision Made.

Praise & More Praise to our Creator

Hope Filled Expectations for 2013

DSC00722

I wish you could have been here! I wish you could be here now!

I don’t know if I’ll ever take the post it notes down – they just may be here the next time you come over!

Celebrating Jesus with loved ones, praying to our Papa God and feeling the Holy Spirit move through our home is an incredible gift!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. “His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

We LOVE you LORD!

May your New Year be filled with the goodness and LOVE of God!

Blessings and Much Love From My Family to Yours!

DSC00706IMG_2618

Do It @ Home on ThanksGiving!

It’s that time of year again.

You know the time! The four letter word ‘busy’ is how everyone is, when you ask how they are.

The mall Christmas decorations go up as soon as the trick or treaters go home. Today is officially 6 weeks until Christmas Morning. That would be 41 shopping days until little Johnny finds out if he can keep up with the Joneses – or not. Thanksgiving gets sandwiched between Halloween and Black Friday, shopping lists are made, dream holidays planned, credit cards get worn out and we step into the highest suicide rate of the year. Or not.

We actually have a choice in this.

Are we powerless victims to advertising? Or are we powerful believers in a redeeming, hope filled season? One where Jesus reigns?

Okay, honestly, I am mostly the powerful believer in a redeeming, hope filled, Jesus season with occasional tendencies toward powerless advertisement victim…Don’t judge me!

What are our options this year? How can we remain Christ centered? I could give you some lists (maybe next week).

How about one thing?

Is there one thing I could do to slow down, be thankful, remember who I am in Christ, stay focused on Jesus?

Yes. There. Is.

Communion.

Celebrate the Lord’s Supper at home. Start with Thanksgiving!

Recently, as I have been reading my bible, I have been hit with such a huge realization. Jesus didn’t go to ‘church.’ He didn’t ever tell people to go to ‘church.’ He didn’t have a ‘church’ building campaign. He didn’t tell us to build a ‘church.’ The word translated into ‘church’ in our bibles was the word ekklesia and it means ‘called out ones.’ It refers to people not buildings.

I am for the the local ‘church’ buildings – they provide an amazing service. But I also believe we should not depend on the local church to ‘do’ our walk with Jesus for us. I love sharing communion with other believers in a church service. I think it is a holy moment. It’s even better in your own home!

Jesus didn’t take communion in a ‘church’ building. Or a synagogue. Or a temple. He broke bread, in a home, with his twelve friends (11 if you don’t count Judas a friend). These are the guys He did life with.

This famous ‘Last Supper’ bread breaking was during the Passover meal. This  celebration was and is in remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel. Jesus and the disciples were in someone’s home. In a guest room set up for this feast. For almost four hundred years after Christ’s resurrection, believers met in homes and shared communion in their own homes. (Mark 14:12-26, Matthew 26:17-30, Luke 22:7-23)

Some of my personal thoughts:

I think Jesus loved this! He broke bread and gave thanks as the risen Christ with the guys he met on the road to Emmaus! He loved being with people, enjoyed eating with them, feeding them (sometimes 5000 at a time)!

When I take Jesus with me when I am not in a ‘church’ building and place Him at the helm of my every day life – heaven smiles.

If we take communion at home in a biblical model (1 Corinthians 11:23-25):

1. We examine or test ourselves to see where our heart is at. What does this look like? I usually do this in a two step process:

(a)   Do I need to forgive anyone? Close your eyes and ask God. Did anyone come to mind? If so – forgive the person – out loud (whether you feel like it or not doesn’t matter – just do it). Release them from your expectations and ask God to bless them. 

(b)   Am I believing any lies? Close your eyes and ask God. Did you hear a lie you are believing? If so – ask God to forgive you for believing the lie and ask Him what the truth is.

2. We give thanks. Whatever this looks like for you. What are you thankful for?

3. We break the bread. Jesus did this and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” As you take a bite of bread remember what Jesus has done, who He is, how much He loves you.

4. We take the cup. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this,  whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Drink from the cup (or a cup) and remember Jesus, consider the wonder of the new covenant – us, no longer separated from our Heavenly daddy!

It’s really that simple. And that beautiful. And that holy. In your own home. With your own family and or friends. Do it when you gather as a group or family in  remembrance and honor of our Lord Jesus. Do it at home! Often.

Jesus never intended communion to be reserved for a ‘church building’ or ‘church setting.’ Heck, there weren’t any when he walked the planet.

Jesus wants to walk with, commune with, love and laugh with, guide, counsel, protect and bless you 24/7! Invite Him to dinner! (Revelation 3:20)

We set a place for Him at our home. I believe He is with us and will show up on my doorstep for dinner!

Art and Soul!

A space of my own has been a dream for my whole life. Not just any space, but a peaceful, joyful, beautiful, feminine, creative and holy space! Maybe you can relate?

A part of me realizes that this is my inner desire for Heaven – an ache that is ever present. That niggling feeling that says, “There is more.” Sometimes this feeling is more pronounced. Other times it is just a whisper in my heart and soul. Nonetheless it is always there, waiting for me.

This art space is part of my solution to the way Jesus taught us to pray: On Earth as it is in Heaven…

Through the years I have carved out corners, closets, cubbies, tables, rooms, decks, porches, lawns and patios as a private retreat space. As an art space. As a breathing space. As a quiet space to meet with God.

This year, thanks largely to my husband, I have designed – prayed over – and am now using “The Upper Room.” A space of my own!

Of course it is an evolving space – just as I am evolving – ever growing – in my walk with Jesus and my creative endeavors.

So – If you haven’t seen me lately…I’m hanging out in the Upper Room with Jesus!

Soon to follow: More photos and Upper Room Creations!

Thanks for letting me share! Be blessed!

Is God a Snitch?

My son asked this of me the other day.

“Is God a snitch?”

Max was not particularly happy when he asked me this question. He was late getting home from a friend’s house. I had greeted him with the question, “So…where were you?”

“You know. I already told you I was going to Hank’s house,” came his cautionary reply.

“I know that’s where you told me you were going. But where were you really?” I raised an eyebrow and tried to look stern. Inside I was giggling, I knew he hadn’t been at his friend’s home.

“Fine. I went to Monte’s house.” He was honest. That was a huge plus in my book!

“I  knew that is where you went.”

Max was exasperated. “Mom! Quit praying that stupid prayer! Is God a snitch?”

Max was referring to a prayer I began praying about eight years ago. It goes something like this: Dear Lord, please grant me the wisdom to be the type of parent you want me to be. Reveal to me only what I need to know, today, to be that kind of parent – that I might protect the children you have placed in my care. That I would be wise, merciful, gracious and loving AND fully informed!

God has been so faithful in answering that prayer. Totally on a need to know basis.

When my children are in trouble, when they aren’t where they say they will be, when they need to confess something, when they need an extra hug or encouragement – God lets me know.

I have three sons. God knows what I need to know and when I need to know it. I haven’t been able to protect my sons from everything – I guess I am not supposed to.

Sometimes it’s more about me trusting God, no matter what has happened or is happening.

God has also led me to the discovery of the firecracker in the toilet, the car rolled out of the driveway, the gasoline bomb and a few other ‘boy’ actions that I’m sure to share at a later date…

God also lets me know when I need to keep my mouth shut, my opinions to myself or when I need to disengage. I have learned, through His guidance, that it is often wise for me to go to my own ‘time out.’ Of course, I am still growing in all these areas…

God is not a snitch. He is a faithful God. There is no deceit in HIM. He is jealous for us (not of us). Anything that attempts to separate us from His love is unacceptable!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39).

I am convinced that God simply wants to help me train my child in the way he should go. How could I even try that without the grace, mercy and supernatural power of Jesus?

This is a two-way street!

My own faults and shortcomings are always revealed to me. The Lord often uses my children in this endeavor (bless their hearts…).

It’s only fair that we would both (parents and children) have an edifying, enlightening, loving, inspiring, life changing, personal and encouraging relationship with our Creator.

Isn’t that why He came?

Beneath the Questions


Have you ever tried to force something? Because you thought it was the right or best way? Even though the circumstances were telling you different? Even though everything pointed in the opposite direction? Even when it was hard? Did you give up? Give in? Surrender? Change your mind? Compromise? Or did you hold fast, rigid and determined to stay course? Your way or the highway? Is your way the ‘highest’ way?

What is your motive? How do you make your decisions? What about when there is no clear right or wrong?

Here is my dilemma. We have chose to homeschool our thirteen year old. Very specifically, at his tearful request to do so. Now six weeks later we are at his tearful request to NOT do so. What should we do?

It would be so easy for me to admit defeat and send him back to public school. You see, I have not ever felt called to home school.

I have felt homeschooling a better option for our son, Max, than public school (when HE was the driving force behind the the decision).

Why? Because he can’t sit still! He was labeled a ‘problem’ by many teachers. He has ADHD (although maybe it’s just ADH – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and the other D – Disorder is wrong, maybe it’s not a disorder at all, just how he rolls). When Max begged to homeschool, I thought maybe we stood a chance. Now when he is begging not to, our chances for success seem dwindling.

It would also be an easy decision to force homeschool, persevere and see what happens. The decision would be easy, but the day to day reality would be a completely different story. Arguments, head butting, not at all what I signed up for! I just don’t know if I have the fortitude for the trial. Not that we didn’t have arguments and head butting with public school – we simply had some other parties involved in the skirmish!

I am also not sure this is really all about homeschool. I think homeschool might be the surface topic, but what is underneath may be more important. So what is underneath? Because I really don’t want this to be about me. Yet I am half the equation in the homeschool dilemma.

And there lies the first ‘what lies beneath’: I believe my husband Jeff, Max’s father, should play a more active role if we are to homeschool.

Here are the other ‘underneaths’

  •  I love learning and school. Max doesn’t.
  • Max is becoming resentful toward me.
  • Max is more like Jeff than myself in personality, learning style, communication and love language.
  • Jeff quit school in the ninth grade (Yes you may read between the lines concerning Jeff’s view toward school…).
  • I have perfectionist tendencies – not a good teacher quality!
  • I love teaching and training – willing and eager students…
  • Jeff and I both have Attention Deficit traits ourselves (we are not the best ‘set and stick to a schedule’ people).
  • Structure is a great concept. We lack a team effort to maintain a daily structure.
  • I am losing all confidence in my ability to lovingly mother Max.
  • I am becoming resentful of my husband’s lack of interest in and support of: homeschooling, parenting and solution based action. I don’t want all these decisions to be mine alone!
  • Jeff feels attacked when I try to discuss my feelings on this situation with him.
  • Homeschooling was not on my radar, but I was willing to take it on if (and only if) Max was the driving force for his own success in the endeavor. And this has changed…

My other considerations:

  • Max has a tendency to relentlessly pursue something until he attains it. Then he quickly loses interest.
  • I am not a quitter.
  • I don’t want to raise a quitter.
  • I honor my commitments.
  • I want our child to honor his commitments.
  • I want what is best for Max!
  • I don’t want Max to see himself as a problem at home, at homeschool, at other school or anywhere else!

Okay, and very honestly, Underneath EVERYthing:

  • This situation has exposed some personal dissatisfactions with my own life.
  • Jeff and I have some conflict resolution work to do.
  • Our marriage needs some strengthening in the communication skills department.
  • Our parenting skills need brushing up and tweaking to adapt to parenting Max.

Where is God in all this?

Everywhere!

 What does He say?

 He says it’s all about love. Seeking Him first.

 For me this means each nanosecond requires a Jesus connection.

 Next, it’s all about loving each other (aren’t Jeff and Max my neighbors?) as our selves. Making sure there are healthy ways I am loving myself, so that Jesus’ love flows out from me to my family (and others).

Matthew 22: 36-40

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

I am prayerfully seeking the answer to homeschool or not. (To be continued…)