It’s Been Awhile

It has been awhile since I’ve written.  Why?  I guess I haven’t felt inspired, like I had anything to offer, anything good to say.  Honestly for many months last year things were really good, so good that I was busy doing so much.  It was great.  Then on Christmas Day I got exposed to the flu, and it’s been one thing after another since that time.  It has been very frustrating to say the least.

At the end of June I went to a conference put on by Priscilla Shirer, and she had asked us all if we had a prayer request to send it forward.  She said that they would pray over all of them the following day.  So I again asked for healing from the CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia.  Twelve years I had endured that illness.  The night I got home from the conference I was awoken at about 1 am.  My whole body was buzzing and tinging — like nothing I had ever felt before.  I felt so good for the first time in years!  The thought that came to my mind was that the Lord was healing me, so I began praising Him and thanking Him for whatever it was He was doing.

I awoke again about 3 am and my body was still buzzing and tingling — still amazing and like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.  I then heard the Lord speak to my heart “I AM healing you through your blood.”  I was so excited and blown away – and continued to praise and thank Him!!  I didn’t want that feeling to ever end.

It was shortly after that night that I gradually began to get better!  Day by day, I was able to do more and more.  I was so excited!  I had started doing things that I’d never been able to do before.  It was the best six months that I’d had in a long time.

I want to get back to that again.  I don’t know what the setback is, but I know I will overcome through the blood of Jesus Christ.  I am an over-comer!  HE says that I am and I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ.   I don’t know why this latest “attack” has been happening, but I will still praise Him.

Psalms 30 ”

I will exalt you, Lord,
    for you lifted me out of the depths
    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
    you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
    you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
    I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
    Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

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Living Within Your Means

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Phillipians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

When I was first divorced I had over $20,000 in unsecured credit card debt.  I didn’t qualify to file for bankruptcy.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it.  I had never lived within my means.  It was so easy  to use credit cards because I got instant gratification for things I wanted.

I had to learn.  Learn to live within my means.  I had to dig myself out of this debt hole that I had made for myself.

First things first.  I knew I had $XX amount of money that I made each month.  Rent should always be paid first.  You have no place to live?  The other bills don’t matter.  Power bill came next.  Water, sewer and garbage next.  The basic necessities.  Phone? Cell phone?  Cable?  All luxuries.  I got the very basic cell phone and basic phone plan.  With cable I was able to find the absolute cheapest plan at $12 per month.  Sure it didn’t have much, but it was better than nothing.  Next was food and supplies.  Everything beyond that was a non-necessity.

I quit going out to eat.  I quit getting my hair cut and colored.  No more manicures or pedicures.  These were all things that I began doing myself.  If you have no money, these are things that you should not be doing.  If you don’t have money to pay rent, you DO NOT get your nails done, hair done, go out to eat, etc.  You don’t have money to pay for food — then you don’t go to the movies, get your nails done, eat out, etc.  These are not necessities.

My clothes were “hand-me-downs” from friends.  At one point I was in need of work clothes.  I did not tell anyone that I needed clothes.  I just prayed and asked God for His provision.  I left it in His hands.  Within about two days I had a friend contact me and tell me that she had cleaned out her closet.  She wanted to know if I needed any work clothes!  Again, I did not tell anyone I had prayed this.  This was ALL God!

When I would go grocery shopping I would take a calculator and only purchase what I could afford.  I always left a little extra in my checking account so that I didn’t go all the way down to zero.  I used coupons.  I bought only things on sale.  I made a point of NOT telling others when I “needed” or “wanted” things because I didn’t want them to feel compelled to buy it for me.

Once I had a friend tell me she was praying that God would give her an espresso machine.  She said this to enough people, and voila, “God” got her an espresso machine.  No, God did not buy her that machine — she manipulated enough people with her “prayer” that they felt compelled (manipulated) to buy it for her.  She did this with a computer she wanted.  She “prayed” that “God” would give her a computer, and she told enough people about her “prayer” and someone bought it for her.  That disgusted me.   Sure, I could have done exactly what she did, but did I really want to get “things” that way?  No way!

I had noticed that other people who were struggling would often tell me and others that they didn’t have money for medicine, food, rent, etc., but yet their hair was perfectly in place, had their nails done, were getting tattoos, and were wearing the nicest clothes.  These people were always “fishing”.  I didn’t want to be that kind of person.  I was nobody else’s responsibility but my own.  My daughter was nobody else’s responsibility but my own.

It wasn’t easy.  I began to keep track of every little dime that I spent, and found where I could make changes.  Every bit of extra money that I got did not go to splurges or treats, it went to pay off my bills.  If I got a bonus, it got put onto my bills.  No it wasn’t “fun”, but once I got those bills paid off it was a HUGE relief!   Sure it was frustrating to tell people that I couldn’t go out to eat, or to the movies, or (fill in the blank), but I had to live within my means — not live in the means that I wanted to in order to impress or please others.  Heb. 13:5 “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”

Once I got out of debt, I made a vow that I would never get into that kind of debt again.  There have been times that I have had to borrow money through a credit card to start a business or buy a car, but I did the same thing as I have done in the past — work towards paying off that debt so that I am not a slave to it.   Prov. 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

I am thankful to the Lord that He gave me the ability to dig myself out of the hole I was in, and for where He has put me today.   I always hope that I can share the knowledge that the Lord has given me, so that others do not have to go through what I went through.

“You Will Know Them by Their Fruit”

Matt. 7:15-17 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.”

Definition of “good fruit“:  Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Good fruit
Good Fruit

Gal. 5:17-18 “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Definition of “bad fruit”:  Gal. 5:19-21 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Bad fruit
Bad Fruit

As you can see from the pictures, a tree that is free of fungus (sin) bears good fruit.  A tree that has fungus (sin) bears bad fruit.  When I first came to the Lord, He gave me a dream in which He showed me three trees that were full of fungus.  Due to the fungus these trees were unable to produce any fruit.  I was instructed to remove the fungus from the trees, and put them into garbage bags to be burned.  I was told that once the fungus was removed that the following year, the trees would then produce good fruit!  Thank you Lord!

I then began a process in my life through the recovery group called Celebrate Recovery.  In this process I began to recognize what my sins were, ask God for forgiveness, and not allow them back into my life.  I was in the process of removing the fungus (sin) from my life.  I did this process for about three years in Celebrate Recovery.  This was one of the best things that I ever did for myself.  Through that process I learned so much about myself, and about the Lord.  I learned how selfish and self centered I had been.  I learned how unforgiving I had been.  How full of sin I was and how much I needed Jesus.

Taking that long look in the mirror was a hard pill to swallow.  I was so ashamed of how I had treated people — and if you’re one of those people who thinks “I don’t sin” or “I have no sin” or “I treat people really good”, please really ask yourself honestly what the truth of these are.

We ALL sin and we ALL fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess them to Him, He says that He will then cleanse us from all unrighteousness!  That is GREAT news.  Sin is fungus in our lives.

I am a continual work in progress and I am so thankful to the Lord for His mercies that are new every day, and I am thankful for the relationship I have with Him today.

A Cause for Pause

surrenderA big pet peeve of mine is when people say, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” FALSE! Nowhere in the Bible does it say this. Believe me, I’ve looked.

When we go through trials, people want to say things to comfort you (understandable), and I’ve heard this many times “God will not give you more than you can handle.”  What has happened is that people have taken a scripture that is similar to this statement, and twisted it. The actual scripture is: 1 Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

And when people say “God must think I’m a bad(***)” because of all they are going through. No, God doesn’t think like that of us.  If we are strong, it is only because He has given us strength.

In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh.  Three times he asked God to remove it.  Paul explains his thorn in 2 Cor. 12:7-8, and why God has not removed it:  “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul continues “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When we go through hard times and we make it through them, it is only because of the Lord that we have made it through them.  We can do nothing apart from Him.  John 15:5, Jesus says “I am the Vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Be careful about taking credit for things the Lord has done.  There are several examples of that in the Bible.  One memorable one is the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel, or King Herod in Acts chapter 12.  This should cause anyone to pause.

In all things, give God glory.  He is the reason for our breath.  He is the reason we are alive.  He is the reason for all that we are and do.  To God be the glory, Amen.

What’s Best For Us?

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We raise cows.  We usually get them at about 3 days old.  This gives them a chance to get the good colostrum from their mother.  We then bring them home and continue to bottle feed them until they are old enough to eat grain and hay.

When the babies first come to us they don’t really know how to drink from a bottle so the first few days are quite challenging.  Recently we got a bull calf, and he literally ran all around the pen away from us because he didn’t realize we were there to help him and feed him.  He was scared.  If he won’t willingly eat we then would have to tube feed him so that he didn’t get dehydrated and malnourished.  They HAVE to eat.

The first month seems to be the hardest time for the baby calf.  They are taken from their mamas, put into an unfamiliar place, and now have to adjust to life without their mamas.  I don’t necessarily like it, but it is how it is done if we want dairy products in our stores.

So back to feeding this new bull calf:  He didn’t understand that we were trying to help him, so he was running from us.  We finally got him pinned and put the nipple into his mouth.  I squirted a few drops into his mouth so that he could taste that we were trying to feed him.  It took him a few minutes, but when he realized that it was food he began to nurse on the bottle.

My point is that he thought we were trying to harm him when the reality was we were trying to help him, feed him, nourish him, keep him from dying, but he didn’t know this.  Once he gave us a chance he realized that we were good and not something to be feared.  Now he comes running when it’s time to eat, and knows that what is coming is good and good for him!

This scenario made me think about people who don’t know Jesus Christ.  They think that we Christians are trying to hurt them or shove something down their throat that isn’t good, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth!   Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Is There a Brain?

I didn’t always believe in God.  I grew up in church, I knew my prayers were sometimes answered, but I wanted to do my own thing.  I wanted to sin and do it my way.  So I get that.  I used to make fun of people who were Christians, and called them crazy.  So now today, nearly 11 years after giving my life to Jesus Christ, I wonder why people don’t believe He exists.  The evidence of God is all around us.  The way the human body works so intrinsically together so that we don’t implode and die.  The way the atmosphere around us doesn’t instantaneously kill us upon breathing in.  How is it that the air is made so perfectly that we can breathe it in, and it nourishes us and keeps us alive?  How is it that we can drink water and it hydrates us so perfectly?  How is it that the food created on this earth is so perfectly designed that we can ingest it, digest it, and then eliminate it so perfectly?  How is it that the earth hangs in the air and doesn’t just fly through space uninhibited?  How is it that we aren’t burnt to a crisp by the sun, and that the sun is the perfect distance away from us that we don’t burn up nor do we freeze?  Job 26:7 “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; He suspends the earth over nothing.”  How is that??

Just because someone says that God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so.  There are many people walking around that sometimes I wonder if they have a brain.  I mean, I can’t see their brain, so they must not have one, right?  However, the evidence is there that they do indeed have a brain.  They are walking, they are talking, they are blinking their eyes, they are breathing.  There is clear evidence that this person does indeed have a brain, but I can’t see it.  I simply have faith that they do have a brain.

Yes, over the years people have done MRI’s to prove that the brain does exist in some people, but not all people have had an MRI to prove they in fact DO have a brain.  So do they?  Or don’t they?

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Embrace!

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In January 2015 I wrote a post titled “Embrace”, and it was about not bracing for what God’s will was for my life but embracing what God’s will was for my life.  I laugh now.  This year has been a hard one so far.  On February 9, 2015, I came down with an awful bacteria called camfylobacteria.  I won’t give you the gory details, but let’s just say I ended up in the ER severely dehydrated and in immense pain.  That took me several weeks to get over.   Before I was healed of that, I came down with a severe sinus infection.  This in turn triggered another type of infection, yet another infection, and then another bodily issue.  I was miserable!  Of course, all of these things triggered my ME/CFS or as it has been renamed to Systemic Intolerance Exertion Disease (SIED).

I pray each and every day the Lord’s prayer, and do pray for His will to be done in my life.  So if I’m praying His will to be done in my life, then why are all these bad things happening.  I don’t know to be honest.  What I do know, however, is that I have grown much closer to the Lord through all of this.  It has driven me further into His arms, and further into His Word.  So for that, I’m thankful.

Jesus warned us that we would have troubles in this life, but to take heart because He has overcome the world.  Our life with Jesus is not like Joel Osteen tells us (Your best life now) — that is a lie straight from the pit of hell.  Why?  Because it causes people to become false converts of Christs.  What??  I know, harsh, but truth.  If we come to Christ only for what He can do for us, and then bad things happen, then those people will fall away.  Bad things will happen in our lives.  If you read the Bible at all, you will see that all of the disciples went through major trials and tribulations.  Look at the Apostle Paul.  He was shipwrecked, beaten, and finally beheaded.  But you know what?  I think that the Apostle Paul would say that that was his best life now.  He had eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.

When we come to Christ, we are to repent and turn away from our sins.  Not go into the relationship with Christ expecting Him to make all our dreams come true like a genie in a bottle.  Jesus is so much more than that!  If we go into the relationship expecting Jesus to make this our best life now, we are going to be seriously disappointed.  We are to look heavenward, and we are not to love the things of this world.