Do You Live With Hope? Day 4 of FIve Days Of Thanksgiving ~ Drawing Closer to the GIVER

day 4

Are you a person of vision?

Do you see the glass half full or half empty?

Do you live life with the expectation of GOD’S deliverance?

Our attitude often determines our faith.

If we have a rotten attitude…..

Often times our faith is weak.

When our faith is weak it’s hard to see life through rose colored glasses so to say.

Some of us are so beat up by the world.

Maybe you are existing day in and day out in a state of acceptance of your situation.

We’ve become resolved to living in defeat.

We wallow in the past…..

Recalling happier days….

Wishing we could go back….

But friend, going back will only set you back.

The good news is GOD is always working your redemption story.

You are a child of the true KING, you don’t have to live with a pauper’s mindset.

You are a blue blood!

Though you are living in a place of life that is disheartening at times…..

As a child of the KING, we need to be living with expectation of what HE will bring our way.

If we have experienced victory in the past….

We will have victory again.

If you have seen GOD do amazing things in the past….

You will see amazing things again.

There is a story in Luke of a Prophetess named Anna. She was a member of the faithful remnant of Israel who was waiting for the Messiah.

She was over a 100 years old, living and serving in the temple even in her old age.

Yet she anticipated better days.

She daily lived with the hope and expectation there would be a Messiah born to save her people.

In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph bring JESUS to the temple as an infant, to be presented to the LORD.

GOD revealed to Anna who JESUS was…..the scripture says….

And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to GOD, and continued to speak of HIM to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

Oh friend….Is there a situation that needs to be redeemed in your life?

If so…

Start living and believing in the expectation of the KING’S arrival to redeem you.

Living in anticipation of what the LORD is going to do is a faith attitude.

Living in expectation of the LORD’S deliverance is a hopeful surety.

Be THANKFUL for hope…

Be THANKFUL for the anticipation of redemption….

Be THANKFUL for the expectation of the KING’S arrival.

HE has not forgotten you.

 

To worship the KING click on this link and worship with Elevation Worship team. Close your eyes and anticipate the KING’S presence in your life.

“How GOD Fixes Broken People” My Vietnam Vet’s Struggle With Alcoholism

My story…..is tightly woven into my love story. What a man…what a GOD…and oh what a story of FORGIVENESS.  I am recycling an old post to link up with the precious Suzie Eller for #livefree Thursday.

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The year was 1968.

He was barely 19 by just a few days when he received his mandatory invitation from Uncle Sam.

Life was simple….. but he was far from a simple boy.

Talent, smarts and personality oozed from every pore of his body.

Required to report within 21 days, he left his boyhood behind.

After 12 months of combat training he stepped off the plane in Chu Lai, Vietnam.

All he could see on the tarmac were thousands of body bags laying side by side for three lengths of a football field.

Fear struck his heart….

He told himself he would never make it home.

His boots hit the jungle ground running.

His daily goal was just to survive to see the sun rise.

He once went 3 weeks without taking his boots off.

When I asked why?

He said you didn’t want to get caught with your boots off.

When he finally removed them ….the medic had to strip the socks from his skin.

The nights were sleepless.

The smells were endless.

The noise was miserably deafening.

The sights were horribly unforgettable.

The emotional and physical stress took its toil….

He had his first taste of liquor to cope.

One by one he watched his friends die.

He was one of the lucky three that survived his squad.

The tactical missions occupied his mind…..

Shifting his focus from the prospect of death.

Once after an intense night of battle….

He carried a dead GI on his back until he met up with the medi-vac helicopter.

You never forget that kind of weight….he says….

It’s a weight that lays heavy in the mind….

It’s a weight you still feel 44 years later.

Every 3 weeks his squad would go to the rear, aka command base, for a precious 3 day rest from death and destruction….

That’s where he learned to drink in order to numb the stress.

He tells stories of GI’S who shot themselves in the leg or got food poisoning on purpose…

He laughs about one soldier who actually tried to fake being crazy…..

These were the ones who would suffer being a coward rather than face the alternative.

The gruesome images he saw….are still prominent in his memories.

The desperation of surviving affected him in ways he could never imagine.

There are times he is still in survival mode even today.

The shock of all his senses engrossed in the worst horror story you can imagine….

Is who he is….at the most unexpected recollection.

He was wounded…

They patched him up and sent him back to the jungle a few months later.

Again….he fought to live….

Day in and day out…

Fighting for a people who for the most part….

Didn’t appreciate the effort…

Or the sacrifices.

He managed to survive….

He managed to come home….

But he wasn’t the same simple boy who left at the tender age of 19.

He came home and turned to alcohol more and more.

He worked hard and long hours during the day…..

He partied hard and long hours into the night…..

Every hour of productivity or leisure was occupied with anything to ease the memories.

I met him in 1985.

I didn’t know it then….but he was still broken from the war…. 15 years later.

He was a functioning alcoholic.

A good one too.

He was the life of the party….

But after we married…

The party was getting old to me….

Especially after the first baby came on the scene.

I just wanted to be normal….

But he couldn’t give me normal because he was carrying the weight of an unresolved emotional trauma.

Statistics cite severe drug and alcohol problems for 60-80% of Vietnam veterans.

Divorce rates hover around 90 percent.

Somewhere around 58,000 Vietnam vets died in combat….

Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.

Over 500,000 have been arrested or incarcerated.

It is estimated that approximately 100,000 are in prison and over 200,000 are on parole.

These 800,000 men will never get back what they lost.

They will never know normal….

At least in the way it was before it was taken from them.

My veteran gave up so much promise….

So much hope….

So many dreams that have never been reborn.

He lived with years of pain….

Years of functioning dysfunction….

Years of guilt.

Until it all caught up with him….

And the self-destructible behavior cost him everything.

You see that’s what happens when we can’t cope with the pain….

The guilt….

The mistakes….

The horror of the past….

Man self -destructs.

Interceding prayers made the difference in my vets life.

There were numerous….a too many to mention, faithful prayer warriors…..who prayed for him.

Then one day….

When he could bear the burden no longer….

He surrendered to JESUS.

When the bible talks about a new creation being born at salvation…..

My vet instantly became a new creation.

What rehab couldn’t do….

JESUS did….

What an undying love from a faithful young bride couldn’t do…..

JESUS did….

Nothing the world could offer helped him in anyway….

But JESUS did.

Immediately his countenance was different.

Immediately his heart was light…

His smile was bright….

His soul was at peace.

I will never forget the conversation we had a few years back…..

He talked about how the LORD had removed all the guilt of what he had to do to survive the hell hole of Vietnam.

“All that guilt…and worry….the faces I used to dream about…it’s all gone, GOD took all that from me when he saved me, I am FORGIVEN,” he said.

GOD also took his desire for alcohol away.

He has been sober for 23 years.

What GOD has done in his life is nothing short of a miracle.

He is far from a perfect man…..

But he lives a spirit filled life of joy….

Peace….

Hope…..

Freedom….

He has health issues due to his service…

But he has JESUS….

And though life is hard at times….

And never reaches a perfect place……

JESUS helps us endure….

JESUS keeps us going…..

JESUS helps us live daily with love, laughter and vision for the future.

And now JESUS uses my vet for HIS kingdom….

He teaches Sunday school….

He witnesses and helps others struggling with alcohol….

He goes and prays with those who need a touch from JESUS….

He has led several in the sinner’s prayer.

You see…….

GOD doesn’t throw people away….

Because GOD never uses perfect people.

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No matter what emotional trauma you have suffered….

No matter what addiction or stronghold in your life…..

No matter if divorce happens…..

No matter the mistakes you’ve made with life changing repercussions…..

It just doesn’t matter to JESUS

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When you are HIS….

You are a new creation…..

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!            2 Corinthians 5:17

GOD wants to use you…

And your brokenness….

This past summer I heard a quote at a Proverbs 31 Women’s event and it gave me such hope….

“The thing that we think disqualifies us for GOD’S use…is the very thing GOD wants to use.”

Won’t you surrender to JESUS today and you can be FORGIVEN too?

If you have never accepted JESUS as your savior….there is no better day than today to become a new creation!  Please follow this link …..It’s so easy to come to JESUS!

“Getting Past Life’s Mistakes”

Do you ever wish there were “do overs” in life?

Like the stupid decisions that led to shame…or pain…or loss?

Or the lost opportunities we couldn’t see the value in when we had the chance to be something different….do something important?

How about the conversations or remarks you wish you could take back?

And the regrets of ungodly actions?

The older I get….the more I think about the “do overs” I wish I had.

If only we had the wisdom and discipline to make all the right choices….our lives would go a lot smoother for sure.

But there is hope….

Even when we make the wrong decision….GOD is there…..

If we trust him.

In Lysa Terkehurst’s new book “The Best Yes,” she shares we can’t let our mistakes make us think our life is ruined or forever soiled.

Lysa says…..

“An error is an unintentional mistake; an end is a termination. When considering the potential outcome of a difficult decision, its important to distinguish the errors from the ends in our thinking.”

 

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Even when we mess up…it’s not an end….it’s a mistake we did not intend to happen.

We CAN recover from poor decisions…if we let GOD have control of the situation.

Yes we may have to face some uncomfortable consequences but GOD doesn’t mark us off as disappointments.

In fact …. here is the kicker…..my favorite quote of the whole book……

“My imperfections will never override GOD’S promises. GOD’S promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on HIS ability to use well.”

I don’t know about you…..but this truth just pierces me deep down and makes me want to cry like a baby.

What comfort it is to know my mess ups will never disqualify me from….

HIS love….

HIS mercy…..

HIS kingdom purposes….

or….

HIS ultimate will for my life.

There is so much anointed wisdom from this new book….and I want to leave you with one more quote from Lysa to think about…….

It’s not the activities or accomplishments we string together that make lives well lived as much as it is the hearts of wisdom we gain and use along the way.”

We are going to mess up on this winding….rocky path of life, but if we will let the mess ups (errors)…teach us wisdom ……we will learn to make wiser decisions in the future.

Friend if you are mourning a poor decision and your stuck in the mire of consequences……

Don’t get discouraged……

Don’t hang your head in shame……

Don’t think your life is in a dead end……

Remember…..you are in the redeeming process…..

And what GOD redeems……

HE always uses for HIS GLORY!

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“We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge. What has “rushing” stolen from you?”

Taken from Chapter 2: The Way of the Best Yes

http://thebestyes.com/

“Really GOD? I can’t do that it’s crazy!”

“He’ll never change,” the lady told me.  “I’ve known him for over 20 years, he is what he is.  He will just break your heart,” she added.  “He will always be a drunk,” my loved one said.  I felt defensive, ashamed.  I started keeping the sordid details of my life to myself even amidst the turmoil in my heart.  What had been an exciting, three month courtship now resulted in a young twenty-two year old disillusioned bride.

I fell hard for this man. He was unlike any I had dated before.  Worldly, successful, funny and 15 years my senior. I felt safe with him, and there was no doubt I loved him.  My friends gossiped and marveled I fell for an older man. My family just about disowned me and did their best to intervene, yet something deep inside made me determined to marry him.

We were married 2 months when I found out I was pregnant.  This was the only child we had planned to have. Three months in I realized what appeared to be social drinking was really an alcohol addiction.  Confrontations led to dismal fights which led to declarations of cutting back or doing better.  We existed in a realm of illusory, he knew I wasn’t happy yet he tried. 

The drinking fractured our family time, our relationship, our outlook.  I started thinking about leaving, my adorable toddler gave me strength to insist we deserved better.  Then I found out I was pregnant, again.  I decided to keep trying but I had to have help.

I went to church but it wasn’t the right fit, I was gossip to those who knew me. It was hard getting myself together with a toddler in tow, to show up and make an appearance with a big smile on my face.  I didn’t see other wives hitting the altar because their husbands had issues.  Yet I had this overwhelming feeling I needed to be in church. 

The addiction continued to take its toll on our family.  In a drunken, angry state my husband quit a job providing a six figure income.  In the 80’s, this was a substantial salary.  Within months we found ourselves losing everything.  He agreed to rehab only after he came face to face with financial ruin. Soon he was offered a job in Louisiana.  It was a new start in a new place. 

He went ahead to find us a place to live.  Weeks later I came with our babies.  We were barely settled into our new home when I realized he was drinking again. I was heart broken, hopeless. 

GOD provided a Christian family next door.  I went to church with them, I felt GOD’S presence.  I saw hurting people on the altar, I let my guard down and shared my painful secret.  They prayed and taught me to pray for GOD’S will.  They shared with me it was GOD’S will for my husband to be a born again Christian and to be set free of his addiction.  I had hope.

We were in Louisiana just less than a year when the job was over.  The owner was selling out.  We were going back to Tennessee.   I was considering going my separate way when we returned home.  It would be an easy transition during the move. In the process of packing, I found out I was pregnant with our third child.  Yea….GOD has a sense of humor. I stayed.

The struggle continued to be heart wrenching, the finances were tight.  My first born was pretty sharp and soon picked up on daddy coming home drunk.  Thank GOD he wasn’t a mean drunk but a sloppy, affectionate, sentimental drunk. My feeble heart literally ached because my child could see the difference in a drunk daddy.

I remember crying out to GOD…..”I don’t know what to do, you have got to help me GOD.”  Our third baby was born and amazingly GOD led me to a new friend named Debby.  A vivacious, GOD fearing, spit fire full of faith.  What a friend.  She led me to a church with a pastor named Jerry.  An evangelistic, friendly, soul winner man of GOD. What a pastor. Jerry shepherded a loving, non-judging church family with real problems too. What a church. 

I started praying one night a week with Debby and another friend.  I learned to pray specific, I remembered the precious family from Louisiana who taught me it was GOD’S will for all to find salvation.  I believed and claimed this promise for my husband.  

We prayed it would rain on Sunday’s so he couldn’t golf and maybe go to church with me.  We prayed he would get hangovers….something he never did.  We prayed GOD would wrap his spirit so tight around my husband’s heart he would suffocate in conviction.  It rained 6 weeks in a roll and he attended church some.  He started puking his guts out after he drank and I so enjoyed listening to his gut wrenching bathroom sessions. I specifically remember thanking GOD for hangovers.

One night he sat down and watched a Billy Graham crusade on television.  I sat next to him on the couch as tears streamed down his face and he wiped them with his hand.  For 7 months, we prayed, we prayed specific, we prayed expectantly, we prayed in faith. 

Three days after we watched the crusade on television he was in his favorite local pub with all his golf buddies. It was a Sunday evening and my babies were loaded in their car seats as we headed to church.  The pub was on the way….GOD spoke clearly and said….”Stop and send Matthew in.”

“Send my baby in a bar Lord?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from GOD.  I literally sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes wrestling with whether to send my three and a half year old into a bar. Finally with a heavy heart, I stood at the door as my baby went in and asked his daddy to go to church with us. 

We settled into our seats near the front, liquor on his breath.  He wasn’t drunk but he had knocked down a few.  I remember thinking, I hope no one smells the alcohol on his breath.  The pastor brought a powerful salvation message directed at my husband.  I knew he was under conviction when the invitation started.  I looked at his knuckles white from griping the pew so tight.

The pastor offered one more verse, I was about to give up.  Then all of a sudden he turned to me and said, “I’ve got to go Mel, he’s calling me.”  He shot out into the aisle and hit the altar.  The pastor went and counseled him.  I waited and prayed but made it to the altar just in time to hear him pray the sinner’s prayer.

I remember my husband holding me on the altar after he asked Christ into his heart.  I remember the taste of my salty tears as we embraced each other for what seemed like forever.  I cried into his chest, he cried on my shoulder.  The entire church was rejoicing and praising GOD.  

GOD was so faithful to my family that precious night.  I relive it often.  He has brought us so far, replenished us financially, restored relationships, restored hope.  What the devil took….GOD replaced.

We will be married 30 years in January 2015.  He has been sober since giving his heart to JESUS on March 17th, 1990.  What rehab and a devoted, young bride’s love couldn’t do…GOD did. 

I have often thought about what would have happened had I not sent my innocent little boy into the pub that night? Crazy isn’t it?  GOD told me to send my baby into a bar?  I still scratch my head about doing so and I have never shared this detail of our story till now. 

We’ve read countless stories of GOD telling our bible heroes to do crazy things haven’t we?  So it stands to reason….why would he not tell us to do crazy things too?  Remember the leper, Naaman? Elisha told him through a servant, go wash in the muddy Jordan seven times and you will be clean. Naaman was angry Elisha did not come out to meet him and call on the Lord. He questioned the choice of waters stating there were cleaner rivers around. He went away in rage. If not for his servants convincing him to go to the Jordan and obey Elisha’s directives, Naaman would not have been healed. (2 Kings 5)

Its a beautiful story of stubborn obedience, similar to mine. I have learned through my 49 plus years, GOD’S ways are certainly not my ways. (Isaiah 55:8) He doesn’t do things the way my flawed mindset would do them.

If I had been the one who went into the pub that spring night in 1990, I don’t know if my husband would have responded with a yes. It probably would have angered him I showed up….especially in front of his buddies. The little wife had come to fetch her husband could have been his embarrassment….but seeing those sweet, little, expressive eyes with arms reaching up…speaking a tender, innocent plea…. I believe GOD used our baby to move my husband.

This reminds me of the scripture in Corinthians….

“But GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and GOD has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27

We don’t have a clue what GOD wants to use in our lives to bring him glory. Our ways are not HIS ways and HIS infinite wisdom will never be matched. It could be foolish things, the weak, it could be sickness, an addiction, a baby in a bar….but whatever he chooses to use…. we have got to be willing to do the things not making sense…. the crazy things…. if he asks us to.
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The Merry Life: "A Season To Mourn"

The Merry Life: “A Season To Mourn”: I stood at the graveside of my dear friend’s father today.  I watched the cold air sting her face as the tears clouded…

"Do I Trust You God?" #livelikeWill

The sadness hovering over our community this week has been debilitating to me personally.  The death of Will McKamey has dominated my mind and prayers. This beautiful young man was the type of kid the world needs more of.  Just doesn’t seem fair does it?  It’s just not the natural order of life to loose a young man with so much promise and goodness.

I have wrestled with so many questions this week.  Why things happen…tragedy, heartache, sickness and trials? 

The devil always throws a few more jabs when we’re discouraged……my husband had testing this week  revealing troublesome health issues.  Waiting with my husband in recovery as he slept……. I was miserable in spirit and I just found myself asking GOD….do I really trust you?

These are hard days Lord…..do I really trust you?

This life stinks Lord….do I really trust you?

It’s so hard to pray when discouragement bares down hard and you wrestle with life and death issues.

Getting down in the pit and rolling around in the discouragement is exactly what the enemy wants us to do because it throws us off our game…..focus….. and mission.  I’m sad to say I fell straight into the enemies snare.

I am amazed at the faith of the McKamey family……rejoicing in grief…..because they know where Will is.  I honestly don’t know what I would do in their situation?   I think back to the time my own son collapsed on the track after winning a regional meet.  It was his senior year and he had just won the KIL county championship the previous week.  He was preparing for his fourth visit to state, predicted to win it all in his division.

Doctor’s told us he had swelling on the brain from a bleed.  The swelling caused seizures and unconsciousness.  We were stricken with fear….I was numb.  He was a week away from graduating, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk across stage.  Diagnosed with a weak, leaking vascular angioma in the left frontal lobe of his brain, we were told surgery was too dangerous…..the risk for stroke too great…..and just like that…the scholarships were gone…..the athletic career ended …..it was over for our seventeen year old ambitious son. 

When I heard Will collapsed last Saturday morning, I immediately told my husband.  We stopped and prayed for him right then…..we knew what this family was going through.  My heart just ached for them.  I am still aching although I cannot understand the grief they are now in.  My son couldn’t compete anymore….their son is now in heaven……I can’t really relate to their loss.

How does a family go on in the face of tragedy?

How do we cope in times of hardship and discouragement?

Everywhere I have turned this week I have been reminded of the scripture in Isaiah 40. This precious chapter holds several of my favorite reminders that give me hope and remind me who GOD really is.

In verse 11 it says…….

          Like a shepherd HE will tend HIS flock, in HIS arm HE will gather the lambs…..And
         carry them in HIS bosom;  HE will gently lead the nursing ewes.

HE is our shepherd in all the seasons of life…..and death.   The shepherd keeps us from straying….in our deeds and thoughts.  Sheep are prone to stray, they are easily confused and frightened……. they are totally dependent on the shepherd for protection and guidance.  They listen to their shepherds voice and follow him…..they don’t lead……they follow.

If we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..HE is our good shepherd…..and we can totally be dependent on HIM.  HIS voice won’t lead us astray.

In verse 18 it says………

             To whom then will you liken GOD?  Or what likeness will you compare with HIM?
             
Who in your life has been everything for you?  Man will let you down….even family…spouses….but GOD will never let you down.  Who in your life can compare with GOD?  There is nobody in my life that can restore me….heal me…..replenish me…..comfort me….. only GOD has done these things for me……nobody compares with my GOD.

Verse 26 reminds us that HE is our creator…….

 “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, HE calls them all by name;  Because of the greatness of HIS might and the strength of HIS power, not one of them is missing.”

HE hung the stars, HE calls them all by name, HE knows exactly where each one should be, they don’t go missing.  HE knows and calls us by our name…..HE knit us in our mother’s womb…..we are not invisible to HIM….therefore; HE tends to our needs….our broken hearts….our souls…..HE sees us. 

The scripture goes on to say………

 “HE gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might HE increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly……Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

So here we are LORD…..we are weary.  Weary to the point that we lack might……so we wait for you LORD.  We wait for new strength…..we wait until you take our weariness away.  We need our good shepherd to keep us from going astray in our grief and discouragement…..we need you to call us by name and tend to our hurting hearts.

Who else can we trust?

Who else has been faithful the way our LORD has?

Only HE can be ALL and EVERYTHING to us.

Only HE can give peace to the McKamey family….only HE can give them a portion of healing to sustain them in the days to come…..

Only GOD can be their ALL and EVERYTHING.

No man or earthy thing can comfort them like our GOD can.

I honestly don’t know how people make it without JESUS?  How do they cope?  Who gives them peace and joy in tribulation?

I can’t function without my JESUS…..

We will experience hardship, loss, and pain in this life but the only one who can sustain us is JESUS.

JESUS is the only one we can trust.

Will McKamey’s life is powerful evidence of his trust in JESUS as well…….he knew him……he relied on him……he had felt his healing power before…….and now he is basking in his SAVIOR’S presence.

Tell me friends…….who do you trust?

 #livelikeWill

                               http://www.wate.com/story/19991699/will-mckamey-folo

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Navy-Will-Family-The-McKameys/289915881162967

"Rubbing Your Nose In the Past" He wants you to forgive yourself!

Well….I’m having one of those days where satan is absolutely trying to mess with me.  It actually started yesterday.  You ever feel like you are just so sinful….and unworthy…..and a disappointment to GOD?  Unfortunately I have many times.  I loose my temper…..I think a bad thought….I get stubborn and harden my heart.

 Its hard to lay our sin down sometimes…..but even harder to believe that GOD forgives us the first time we ask….so we keep reminding HIM and asking for forgiveness again and again….when really….if we are truly repentant….HE forgave us the first time we asked.

Anybody out there keep asking GOD to forgive you for something you’ve already confessed?

Satan is the one continually rubbing our nose in our failures……NOT GOD! 

Grace is such a beautiful concept that has always been so hard to graft to my heart.  I think insecurities…..child hood experiences…..even church experiences can have something to do with that as well….after all….Christians are hard on each other.  We want to recall or remember when our sisters or brothers wrong us…..yet we don’t want them to remember our offenses.

Feelings are liars……they make us think things not true….they make us believe the worst sometimes….when GOD has only feelings of love for us…..HE thinks only good for us.

I wish there was some kind of magic filter that I could just install in my psyche that automatically screened out all the feelings and thoughts that cause me to beat myself up….over and over.   “I shouldn’t have reacted that way…..I shouldn’t have said that…..I failed again.”

For instance…..when I felt GOD telling me to start a blog…..about three years ago….I kept telling myself….”Who do you think you are…speaking for GOD?”  Many of my friends know that I am a playwright for church…I even struggle with writing plays that are effective for the kingdom….I don’t feel worthy……up to the task…..clean enough……yet HE fills my head with all these beautiful pictures and stories that translate into characters on paper.

I fought the blog thing for a long time…..until GOD spoke to me and said….“Just share your struggles…..as real as you can.”  Relief is finally what I felt…because I no longer feel the burden of speaking for GOD.

  I am just trying to share my heart…..as real as I can….through words.  

Am I perfect?…..HEAVENS NO!!!  Do I struggle with sin?….ABSOLUTELY!!!!  All I can do is share how GOD takes this stubborn heart and prunes….jars…..grieves…..disciplines…. tenderly to the point of submission…. helping me think the way he wants me to think.

You see…..GOD just doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up over and over because of our failures……and as Christians….HE certainly doesn’t want us to keep beating up our brothers and sisters when they fail us….that’s just a tool of satan.

So when I fall in the ditch that satan has dug for me…..somehow GRACE sends just a bit of light….enough for me to stop….and realize…..GOD’S not rubbing my nose in my failures…..satan is. 

I deal with my stinking thinking and ask GOD to help me think his thoughts.  I recall some of my favorite scripture that encourages me…….

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
                                                                                                                                       Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1John 1:9

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they are red like crimson, they shall become as wool. 
                                                                                                                                        Isaiah 1:18

These are just a few of the many verses I love and write out from time to time just to let the words seep deep into my heart.  I encourage you to get alone and look up every scripture where GOD tells us HE forgives us….over and over. 

One of the tools I use to straighten out my stinking thinking is putting those thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 test.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….if anything is excelling or praiseworthy think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Put every thought of self loathing…..unworthiness……failure…….absolutely every thought that rubs your nose in your past……ask yourself…is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?

Remember GOD doesn’t want us wallering in our past failures….but Satan does!

ALWAYS BE ON GUARD OF SATAN’S TACTICS TO MAKE YOU FEEL LESS! HIS MIND GAMES ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE PITTS OF HELL!!!!

I pray that someone …..somewhere out there in the big “blog o sphere” that totally confounds me…..will get the message….HE loves you….HE forgives you…and HE forgets it……and…

HE wants you to forgive yourself!