Saturday, March 26, 2016

IT is REALLY FINISHED

Our TAXES are DONE for this year! Yahoo!

I typically love to do taxes. This year, I haven’t lost the love of it, but our taxes were hard to do. We have added things, such as a new HOME, in our life, and I had to figure it all out.

It’s finished. I pushed the send button.

That’s what Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” And then he died.

If we could only grasp that to its fullness.

Just like I pushed the send button, and I was all done with what I was doing, Jesus meant it when he said it was finished.

He IS the final sacrifice for sins.

There is not one thing you can do to add to the payment needed for your sins.

Not. One.

Nope, not that.

And not that either.

The price is paid.

We recently paid off our car. There is no reason to give the bank any more of our money. Our car is paid for and is legally all ours.

We paid all we needed to pay for the car. There is a zero balance.

We could keep paying for the car, but it is completely paid off.

Just like we can do things to try to pay for the price of our sin to God.

Are there consequences to sin? Yes. Sometimes. You can do things that will send your little self to jail, or break up a relationship, or make you suffer physically.

But between you and God, Jesus death on the cross paid the price for our sins.

Can you believe that?

Will you believe that?

I used to struggle with that and make myself pay penance for when I messed up. Until I realized, I was living like I did not believe Jesus died on the cross as the final sacrifice for my sins.
I had to have faith that if I confessed my sins Jesus would be faithful to cleanse me from all unrighteousness and that He was for me, not against me. He wants me to be victorious.

The more time I spend in His Word, the more I get it.


Jesus said, “It is Finished.” I’ve learned to believe it. I hope you believe it too.

Friday, March 25, 2016

CROSS=LOVE


My husband and I are back at school. Our brains are being used in a way they haven’t been in a very long time.

The teaching is fast and it takes a bit more of an effort to store the knowledge in our brain’s files and not let it float in and fly right out again. Sometimes it was like a very windy day in my head. I would go over and over and over a formula before the information actually took.

I did a LOT of note taking, while it seems most of the younger students were actively participating.
The teacher for my first class had a gift of teaching. He and a few of the students actually enjoyed figuring out different problems.

Did I forget to tell you I took a Pre-Algebra class?

And they seemed to be having fun working out all of the formulas.

I am so glad I took the Pre-Algebra class to get my brain warmed up again. I had to go down into the cellar and pull out the drawers of some rusty file cabinets to draw out information that had been stored for ages.

I was quite surprised to realize how much a person does use the information I was reviewing and re-learning in Algebra in ordinary life.

Once you get the easier formulas down, you can easily compare the price of one item to the next and pick the least expensive if you so choose. You can figure out how far to go on your tank of gas or even your tire that may need replacing soon. You can get the best discounts on clothes. I knew this before, but did not connect it to Algebra.

Then as a person advances and learns other formulas they can figure out how long a shadow of a tree is, or how tall a tree is in ratio to a person’s height, how many games a person won or lost in a season. A person can get really good at statistics.

And when you figure out some really hard, and mind tiring formulas, you can measure circles, cylinders, squares, houses, buildings, and then…you can measure the speed of light! You can measure the distance to Mars if you so like.

In every formula there is an order of operation, Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction. You can remember this order, by remembering or saying “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” If followed correctly, you will have the right answer. If not…One time I did a problem over and over again and kept coming up with the wrong answer. I did everything according to the ORDER of OPERATION. The problem is, a person can do the order, but you still have to do what’s in the parentheses, exponents, division, multiplication, addition, and subtraction correctly to find the variable x or y, which is a missing number.

It can be very frustrating and take up a lot of time to figure out the right way. 1y + 1y = 2y
Well after doing the formula a person discovers, ‘y’ is the number “1.”

Almost thirty years ago, I thought I had the right answers, and then I had to start studying the Bible for a reason that is a story in itself, and discovered something that allowed me to discover who “Y” is in my life.

I’ve always believed there was a God in heaven. I’ve always known that Jesus died for me on the cross.

Up to that point, I didn’t have the formula that connected the variable “y” with my life.

I still remember the first day I understood the “Y” in the Bible, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

WORDy = GODy

I read the next verses that explained the Word = Him. And that through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

So “y” is a him.
WORD(him) = God(him)

The Bible goes on to say that anyone who believes in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

But what is His name? So WORDxy = Godxy

John then explains in verse 14 that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. And then in verse 17 it lets us know who the Word is…Jesus Christ.

Word(Jesus)(Him) = God (Jesus)(Him)

I discovered a truth that opened my heart and mind to want to discover more about this Jesus. It was obvious by this formula that He wasn’t made on Christmas day. That wasn’t his first day, because as the formula states, He is the WORD and the Word was in the beginning with God doing all of the creating.

He came down to earth as a man and walked among us.

He left everything and became a man. He wasn’t a created man. He became a man.

After walking among His people for about thirty-three years he made his way to the city where he would give the only sacrifice needed for all of our sins.

Jesus(y) = final(y)
Jesus(sacrifice)=final(sacrifice)
His life was the final sacrifice for sin.

When He was in the garden He prayed and told the Father, not my will, but Yours be done.

He wasn’t taken by surprise when the soldiers came. He knew they were coming for him. He knew Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him. He knew.

Still he went.

He knew he was paying the price for all of man-kinds sins.

Still he stood when they were beating him. He stood while they spit in his face. He stood while they put the thorn of crowns on his head. He stood while the crowds cheered for Pontius Pilate to crucify

Jesus.
Jesusy = Steadfasty
Jesus(love)=Steadfast(love)

When I read the account of Jesus death with the knowledge that He was God the Son. He could have called down a legion of angels to wipe out the people who were torturing Him. He could have walked away, but didn’t.

He walked TO... He struggled, weak from the torture, he needed to be helped, but he didn’t stop, he went to the cross. He didn’t call on the angels or command the men to stop when they hammered him to that cross.

Instead, as He looked over the city, He asked God the Father to forgive them.

Jesusx = forgivex
Jesus(love)=forgive(love)

WHY?

He determined to keep to the Father’s plan and be the sacrifice that was needed so I could be with the Father in eternity. If I only believe.

Not just me but YOU too!

When I realize what He did for me and you, it makes all of the promises of scripture became real and true.

He says, He will NEVER leave us, nor forsake us.

He says, NOTHING can separate us from His love, NOTHING.

Not even ourselves, if we believe.

God has taken the most tortuous kind of execution and made it so it is a picture of absolute pure love.
Jesus hung on that cross, beaten to a pulp, because He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, were determined we would be with them in heaven for eternity.

Good Friday has the color of love.

Word(him)(light)(love)(steadfast)(forgive)(final)(sacrifice)(eternal)=Jesus(God)









Friday, March 18, 2016

There Are NO Such Thing As MONSTERS!


 “There is no such thing as monsters or ghosts,” I said those words many times to comfort my daughter at night, but still I checked in the closet and under her bed to prove it. She didn’t always trust me and believe she was okay enough to close her beautiful eyes and go to sleep. There were many times; I ended up lying beside her bed until she fell asleep, to protect her from the fears that come from the shadows of the night.

I got it.

Are there really no monsters or ghosts? (I know in the real sense of the word, there are not.) As an adult the monsters that keep me awake and peeking out from under my sheets at night are different.

Some of them are real. I just watched a forensic show yesterday that had a criminal who was very close to my worst night fear. (Do not ask me why I watched it. My curiosity got the best of me.)

Monsters really are out there! You can read about them and hear about them.

And then there are the type of monsters that wake us up at night, finances, jobs, health test, health issues, relationships. It can be a very long list.

When I had an undiagnosed illness, I had a very hard time letting myself sleep, because I didn’t know what I was going to deal with physically the next morning.

My friend, Chris, gave me a verse, Psalm 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

At that time, I made a decision to believe that verse and trust God when I went to bed. There wasn’t anything I could do to stop anything from happening to me, but He could.

Still things DO happen. God does watch over us. Yet, in this world, people are caught up in things, and we sometimes feel the repercussions of those things. Disease also happens, job loss happens, disasters happen.



I have a clear remembrance of when this monster bird poked his head into my window wanting to eat. I screamed and pushed the button to get my window up while my husband and daughter laughed...hard. (NOTE: I have a big fear of birds.)

This monster bird and the others with it, stretch their necks into cars that pull over to the side of the road to feed them the food they just purchased at the booth. Exciting and fun for some. It was terrifying for me.














When those big monster birds poked their heads into my car to get food from my daughter’s hand that was even more terrifying for me.

My screams were loud, my husband and daughter’s laughter was louder.

Nothing bad happened. All was good when we left the ugly, scary, monster bird area.

A few weekends ago, my daughter and her friend got to go to a movie by themselves for the first time.  I was in the building in another movie, still they were on their own.

It was probably a fun adventure for them.

Yet for me; giving a child freedom to be on their own in a public place isn't an easy decision in this day and age.

It is a very scary decision to make as the parent. There are a lot of horror stories out there. Stuff DOES happen. Yet, a child has to learn to handle themselves and be prepared for adulthood.

Back in the day, I pretty much hopped on my bike and was gone for the day with friends. I had my boundaries. In all my "playing with friends," I don't recall a mom or dad having to tag along unless it was an occasional event where parents had to drive, or we were at a home where a parent was home.

It's a lot different now. I have tagged along on almost every play date my daughter has been on.
At this age though, I am going less and less on play dates with her, unless I am hanging with a friend while our daughters hang out.

This is the age the apron strings start to be cut. It’s not easy making the decisions though of when I need to be nearby or when I can just let her go.

Last summer, my friend, Bilinda and I had to make a big decision about letting our daughters go to youth camp for five days and four nights without us.

Both of us had concerns about letting them go to the youth retreat, and it would also be the longest time they had been away from us.

There were many things we worried about. Would they fit in? Would they be homesick and lonely? What about the river? Would they be safe playing in the river during the afternoon free time?

Big worry, What if there was a lunatic around the camp? It happens!

There were many other things that went through our mind. Things scarier to me than those big monster birds.



One night while on a walk after camp was over our conversation went something like this.

"Just think two weeks ago we were on our walk feeling all anxious about our daughters going to camp." I said to my friend Bilinda.

"Now that we are on this side of it, we can see there was no reason to be anxious. And if we would have taken them home early like we wanted to, they would have missed out on all He had in store for them."

Bilinda's birthday was on the Friday of camp so we went over to the camp to visit them on Friday afternoon.

They seemed bored and would have come home with us if we let them.
We gave them pep talks.

One of the things that was mentioned - this was a time set aside for them to hear God and to see what He had to say to them. He knew they had this time set apart in their lives so what was His plan for it?

We left them at the camp and drove away wondering if we should turn around until we started talking about how we didn't want to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.

When we returned on Sunday to pick them up, we were met with tired, but excited girls who had incredible stories to share about what had happened in the group and in their lives.

And it started Friday, after we had left them behind at the retreat instead of bringing them home early.
What if we had decided to cut short their adventure? They would have missed out.

As a matter of fact, I had toyed with not letting Sarrah go at all, because of a circumstance I was afraid MIGHT happen. It didn't. It actually worked out really well.

Fear. Worry. It hinders our lives in so many ways.

I have had times where I stayed awake at night. I have fretted an entire day, weeks even, and talked and talked about something that never happens the way my mind conjures up the way it could be.

I am way, way better. Still, there are those things in my life that can send me straight to worry and fear, instead of to my knees in prayer. I do pray, always pray, but then I battle against the thoughts in my mind.

Airplanes.

I had such an intense fear of flying. The first flight I took was a big emotional ordeal for me. I was fortunate enough to sit between two ladies who saw my fear and entertained me the entire flight.

Despite that...I did not want to fly home. Ended up driving home.

My next flight I didn't have too much time to get riled up because it was an emergency in the family kind of flight. On the way home when we flew over water...well...that was a different story. My brother entertained me during that time.

When I am flying somewhere...I could really conjure up some scary thoughts and be curled up in fear.
But I've learned...curling up with fear. Spending the day with worry. That's not what God wants in my life.

Now, when I get on a plane. Yeah, the thoughts threaten to fill my mind. And I still hate the take-offs, and I ignore looking out the window if we fly over water.

But...

I have filled my mind with God's truth to help me walk with Him instead of with fear and worry.

The number one fear breaker for me was when I read in Psalm 139 that GOD had numbered my days. That He knows how many I have.

So, here is the deal. Whether I am driving a car. Walking down a street. Or flying in an airplane. If today is the day. It's the day. Worry. Fear. Have absolutely no power to change that day.

Instead, I have to choose (as we tell my daughter) to be the best me to glorify God today. I may not have tomorrow. I may not have tonight, the next hour, the next minute, the next second.

What I have is right here. Right now for sure.

The number two fear breaker for me was I know where I am going after my last breath here on earth. One breath here, the next in heaven with Jesus.

The Bible tells us that He who believes shall never die. We will die physically but not spiritually.
The more I read in the Bible about God's plan for me and everyone else, the less fear had a hold on me.

The third and absolutely hardest thing that is breaking the power of fear and worry for me is TRUSTING God.

That is a hard one for me. I don't trust very easily at all. And here is the ridiculous, embarrassing thing about not trusting God...Uh...He is the one I run to. And He is the one with the answers. He is always good.

But sometimes, I struggle, is He really going to be there for me?

And the other struggle. The biggest struggle...Is He going to be there for me the way I want Him to be there for me? Or does He have another plan and that other plan might hurt.

Such as the well-being of the people I love. I realize God wrote their days too. Am I willing to accept their day may not be another tomorrow? It will break my heart. It's not like I have a choice or not about accepting the days God has written for me and others. What is written is written.

Still, I have to trust and know there will be days in my life that may be filled with pain. And on those days...turn to the one who brings comfort to His people.

My prayers are still for what I hope will happen, but they are also; prepare me for what may happen, along with; letting go and letting God run this world, my life, the way He has planned.

Whenever I am on the other side of pain, I have always been able to look back and see something wonderful He has done. Also, I have been able to be there for others because I have more than sympathy, I have empathy.

Learning to stand, and believe in the promise that "All things work for GOOD for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Is a hard thing to do during adversities in life. It's is an easier thing to do after each adversity because there is the discovery that He is there even when it feels like He is not.

On Facebook, I have been seeing so many people going through scary, painful trials. Health issues, job issues, deaths, etc. The other morning I read about one girl in particular who is suffering so from cancer and has been leaning on God even when it seems He is not there.

I remembered some times when I cried out from deep within my being and it seemed there was no response. No one there. I just had to deal with the pain. Those are moments I will not forget.
I also will not forget the discovery that He was responding. Just not the way I thought He should at that moment. He has moved me on. He has dealt with the issues. And when I look back. My faith grew as I got to know Him and see how powerfully He worked in my life.

Fear. Worry. Can be Hindrances.






Unless...the minute they creep up and start talking and filling my mind full of stuff that terrifies me...I turn and tell my heavenly Father those things...and then take His hand and let Him walk me through the valleys that have shadows of death. Life is better when I turn my eyes to Him and not the shadows, not the valleys.


Psalm 23