Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pierced Like A Knife

The question sunk into my heart like a piercing sharp knife. Shock and then humiliation swept over me. The humiliation grew, as one by one those around me, heard what had been asked me. 

Words of encouragement and comfort were given, but the humiliation and hurt went deep. The words had hit their mark. 

Just that morning I had been excited by progress I had made in an area I had been working on in my life.

The words spoken said loud and clear the work WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

The hurtful words, and then the humiliation that came from others knowing about the spoken words, was enough to make me either trip that person as they went out the door…Or not.

Or to fight the tears of anger and embarrassment, and just get out of that place before any further damage was done.

I chose the latter.

It was hard. I was hurt. I was embarrassed and the knife had hit a very tender, sore spot in me.
Yes, later I cried. I complained. And it affected me for awhile.

Another question began to tap me on the shoulder. “What are you going to do the next time you see this person?” The odds were high that I would be seeing this person within the week, if not shortly thereafter.

This became an internal struggle. I tossed around the thought that I could be polite, but aloof, or very guarded. The easiest thing would be to ignore this person. Act like I didn’t see them. There wouldn’t be any harm done in doing that. After all, I didn’t have a relationship with this person other than the few minutes each week I said hello and had a short conversation. So what would be the difference?

It ended up I didn’t see this person until just a few days ago. That gave me a few weeks to toss things around in my head and get the right perspective.

It seems like whenever I have a situation that I’m struggling with, I seem to hear story after story of other’s struggles and how they handled them…the right way.

Hmm.

One of my favorite singers competed on one of the popular reality singing shows. One of the judges said some unkind things about her during one of his interviews. Millions watch this show.
I am one of the millions, although I don’t recall this particular incident, probably since there were lots of incidences this judge trashed people without considering their feelings.

However, the singer I am talking about saw the tape and heard what he said. She knew he said this on national television. She knew millions heard his comments.

How humiliating would that be?

I don’t know how much she struggledbut I do know she ended up showing she was an obedient Christ follower. And that she had an incredible faith.

She actually told the judge she forgave him for what he said because she was a Christian.
I thought that was incredible.

If only I could move my thoughts to that incredible place.

Hebrews 12 Living Bible (TLB)
12 Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.
If you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him. After all, you have never yet struggled against sin and temptation until you sweat great drops of blood.
Jesus calls us to follow Him. Despite being humiliated, tortured, and hung to die, he asks the Father in heaven to forgive them.
Luke 23 Living Bible (TLB)
34 “Father, forgive these people,” Jesus said, “for they don’t know what they are doing.”
So…as my own story goes, I saw the person in a crowd a few nights ago. I shot up another prayer about the situation and then made myself busy by talking to someone else.
When I finished, I turned around, and the person was standing there purposely waiting for me and wanting to talk to me.
Strangely, everything changed inside of me about the situation. I gave the person a hug, and chatted and chatted. I walked out of the building chatting along.
I felt good afterward. Things were right again in that part of my world.
Afterward I recalled a story told by Corrie TenBoom…she had been a prisoner in a concentration camp, along with her sister. One of the prison guards beat her sister. Corrie hated that prison guard. Before her sister died, she talked to Corrie about needing to forgive as Jesus forgave. Corrie ended up being the lone survivor of the concentration camp in her family.
She went on to be a public speaker sharing her story and how God worked in her life. One night after she spoke at an event, she spotted the person who had been the prison guard coming from across the room toward her. She battled internally until the moment the guard reached out a hand for a handshake. When she took his hand, God enabled her to forgive him.
My situation wasn’t quite so extreme. Yeah, I hurt. It was a knife to the heart. But with the stories of the believers that go before me, and with the story of my Savior Jesus, and the help from His Holy Spirit, I was able to not only forgive, but show forgiveness.
During this season where we prepare to celebrate Easter, the day Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then came back to life again three days later. I hope to focus on the mark ahead and be able to lay down all the things that would hold me back, such as unforgiveness.
I do seriously want to add, that if you are being abused by someone get out of the situation. Immediately. You can forgive the person, but forgiveness doesn’t always mean there will be a relationship with the person you forgive. It does mean, you have forgiven that person, and they are no longer indebted to you. 



Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Legend OR The True Valentine?

With sickness in the house, hospital visits for family these last few weeks, taxes, and doing re-writes on my most current book, Lost Song, this blog has been put on the wayside.


So, I am bringing out an oldie from a few years ago to share with you once again.

I hope you enjoy it and know that you truly are someone's special Valentine... 

I was reading the history of Valentine’s Day, and from what I found, romance is not its true root beginning. So they say.
From the information I gathered, it was a day to honor a Christian martyr that was named Valentine. Now a martyr is someone who faces death rather than renouncing his religious beliefs. I’d say there had to be a lot of love and conviction to face death for anything. Still, it’s not romantic love.
I also found various versions of one legend that I particularly like. I’ll give you the paraphrased version.
There was this mean, horrible emperor who wanted men to be in his military, but he couldn’t get people to sign up. He figured it was because they didn’t want to leave their loved ones. So the guy banned marriage. (Whatever!) Still a priest named Valentine married people in secret. When he was caught, he was sentenced to death, and while in prison fell in love with a girl that visited him often, who may have been the jailors daughter.
Before his death, he wrote her a letter and signed it, “From Your Valentine”.
So I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that’s a pretty romantic story and would even be a great movie.
Whatever the start, Valentines Day is when people make card industries, “RICH” by buying over priced Valentine cards with sweet sentiments. And one of the best parts, CHOCOLATE is everywhere. I think that is an incredible part of this day.
And it’s a day to give fun presents that make people feel good. And some people get engaged and may be getting engaged today! 
But in reality, whatever the reason, it’s a day where in the hustle and bustle, we actually spend the entire day showing people through our gifts and actions exactly what God commands us to do in His Word.
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest, He answered, to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love other’s as we love ourselves.
The Word also says to love one another, forgive one another.
The fruit’s of the Spirit are love, kindness, goodness, patience, joy, peace, PATIENCE, (that’s a toughie in this day and age) faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22)
And the hardest one of all…to LOVE our enemies!
The Bible is the best Valentine book ever. It is filled with a love story that is unexplainable.
The wonderful thing about it is…today there are romantic, movies, books, and stories, where we hear about people finding love; a person is either a participant, or an observer. But when a person hears about the love story in the Bible, they can move from observer to participant, and say I want that love in my life, too. I want to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night and have this love that never changes or goes away, no matter if I’m having a good or bad day. And Jesus says okay. I’m here for you for ETERNITY.
While doing a study on the book of James the half-brother of Jesus, it appears that James and his brothers didn’t believe in who Jesus was before his death. But after Jesus resurrection the Word shows James and his brothers in the upper room with the disciples the day of Pentecost. James is the leader of the church in Jerusalem. James writes a letter to the believers that becomes an incredible book of the Bible.
How did that happen? The Bible tells us that Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection. It doesn’t let us know what the conversation between the two of them was, but it clearly was a good one because it changed James life. And through James testimony of Jesus love, many other lives are changed, including mine.
To me, what happened in James life is a wonderful example of how Jesus wants us to be in our own relationships, to go the extra mile for the people in our lives.
I mean, He loved us so much, He let them pierce his hands and feet with nails so HE could die and pay the price for the wrong things we do.
If there ever was an example of love, He gives it.
Galations 5:13-14 “….Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love, for the whole law can be summed up in this one command; “love your neighbor as yourself.”
My prayer for you today, is that you will walk filled with the love that can only come from Him. And that someone else will be blessed too, because of it.
Happy belated Valentine’s Day.
Bible verses from the NLT