Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pets in Heaven

Jireh lays by me whenever I read the Bible... I bet heaven will be like this - our pets laying beside us as we worship at the throne.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Giving Up Guilt

Usually, when I don’t blog daily, that means my depression is active. This time, I haven’t blogged because God has been blessing me abundantly and I can’t take it all in. I don’t get the chance to process His miraculous gift to me before he sends another. I’m talking about things such as finding an envelope with $100 in my purse, sending a BSF leader who ‘is the real deal’ (rather than merely talking the talk), receiving an order for 100 handmade Christmas cards for someone to send the troops in Iraq (that’s $300!), feeling comfortable in my BSF group where I am making new friends… the list goes on and on – and these things happened within 28 hours of each other!

Overcome with gratefulness, I prayed earnestly for God’s forgiveness in not trusting him to provide and admitted my shame at trying to manage my life without him, which led to too much sleeping and escaping. I vowed I would change my ways and not allow anything to come between us again.

That lasted a day. I am writing this at 3am after being awake for 2 hours, fighting shame and disgust because I fell back into my old pattern. I didn’t even keep my vow for 24 hours. Satan had a party with my mind, telling me I will never change and I will never be the obedient Christian I want to be.

Satan is the father of lies. Yet, what he was telling me is true- I will never change because I will always need Jesus. I am sinful and selfish, and that will not change. However, my reliance on God, along with obedience, can change. His Spirit can fill me with Him when I confess my sin, clearing my heart for His love.            

Yes, we can (and must) lay strongholds of sin at the throne… but it’s not a one-time deal. We must continually return the sin, not on our own, but with the power of the Holy Spirit. Giving in to shame and guilt is exactly what the enemy wants. He would love to see us give up. Well, I’m not giving up this time… I am giving control of my life to Jesus, and realize I will have to continually do so. That’s okay, though. It’ll keep me where I most long to be… at His feet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Landmines and God's Love

In the Experiencing God Bible study by Blackaby and King, the authors provide an example of God’s disciplining his children as described in Hebrews 12:6 – “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” They describe facing a field of landmines… would you take a map telling you areas to avoid? Or would you insist, “Noooo. I can go wherever I want I have free will!” Of course, you’d want to know where the landmines were planted!

I thought about the rest of the verse- “and punishes everyone he accepts as a son”. Those who accept Him as Savior and choose to live for Him are punished by him… perhaps having stricter punishment. Think about it…

If my dog was walking in a landmine, I would yell, grab, do anything I could to get the dog away from danger. The dog could do NOTHING to make me say, “okay! I tried to tell you but you are choosing to disobey me!” I would punish my dog until she obeyed me because I love her with my life. Now if it was a stranger’s dog. I’d tell them once, and if they argued with me or the dog started biting me, I’d let it go. My dog would be punished much more harshly in order to protect her from danger.

Why do we think our lives should be easier as a Christian? Why do we envy people who seem to get away with everything while we are struggling to hold on while following Jesus? Why do we judge someone who has trial after trial, assuming they are not right with God?

He punishes everyone he accepts as son… I am thankful for God’s punishment. I hate to imagine how my life would be if he let me go on my own ‘free will’.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Praying for a Boyfriend

I've started praying for a boyfriend. I'm 42 years old and am just NOW wanting a boyfriend. For the most part, I am content on my own. But seeing how 2 of my friends have supported me these past months, I realize how comforting it is having someone there for me. Both friends have families, spouses, lives, so I try not to ask for much since they have their own priorities. If I had a boyfriend, perhaps I would be someone's priority. I wouldn't be easily disposable. 

He would need to have experienced major clinical paralyzingly depression so we could relate to one another. I use to think it was frustrating being friends with someone who has never had depression. I realize now it is even more frustrating befriending someone with depression who speaks of the desire to die one day, and the next day claims s/he is fine because work keeps them busy, or the depression lifted after a swim with the kids.  

That is not the kind of depression I experience. Is there a nice guy out there who could understand and relate to my depression? Can he please come into my life, preferably before the holidays, so I don't feel so alone?

I am praying...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Indwelt Versus Filled with the Spirit


There’s a difference between being filled with the Holy Spirit versus having the Spirit live within you. Once you accept Christ as your personal Savior, you are sealed with the Spirit as a child of God. Romans 8 says:
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

ALL believers have the Spirit living in them, and there is nothing more to do to keep Him within you. You received a seal that cannot be taken away.
Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Being filled with the Spirit requires ongoing obedience to God, who fills us with power to serve and witness to others. But it requires a conscious decision to walk with the Spirit, denying the selfishness of our flesh. This requires trusting and depending on Him, praying for strength and divine resources. Galatians 5 states:
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

I imagine it this way- believers have the Spirit living with them, yet we can push Him into a closet when we do not yield and submit to God. But when we invite Him to fill us with His Spirit, He fills our thoughts, feelings, and desires. He wants to fill us… we must regularly make room for Him by clearing the sin and fleshly desires from within.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goldens


As an animal lover, I am especially fond of dogs. Dogs make this world a better place, displaying unconditional love and loyalty beyond measure.  Yeah, dogs are great! But do I want a dog? Do I want the responsibility of maintaining her health, tolerating high maintenanced chewing frenzies, squeaking toys when I’m trying to write, barking just when I finally fall asleep after staring at the ceiling for hours? Um, no thank you.

Unless it’s a golden retriever.

Goldens have been the exception since childhood, when we had a golden named, Rusty. Since I left home in 1992, I have wanted my own golden. December 5, 2010, I adopted 9 week old, Jireh (means “the Lord Provides”), who has (along with my cat) become my closest companion. Jireh is my buddy, and taking care of her is a labor of love – I don’t mind because the ‘sacrifices’ are minimal compared to how much Jireh enriches my life. Goldens are unique in that they are gentle, beautiful, playful dogs, making them more of a friend than a pet.

I explained this to Jennifer this morning when she challenged my statement about me not liking people. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just I’d rather be alone than socialize with others. I have a few exceptions (Sherry, Rob, Jennifer…) who are like goldens – yes, my friendships with them require energy, investments, and even sacrifices, but it’s worth it. They each enhance my life in ways which that me a better person. And my love for them makes it second nature to be there when they are hurting or need me, and even pester them when they don’t! Our friendships are golden… and we all need goldens in our lives.


*Per request of another 'golden' person in my life, I will add German Shepherds to the exception with dogs.