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Testimony of a Human Bruise

28 Mar

I currently look and feel like a human bruise.  During my little family’s move into a larger apartment with nice wooden floors, I suffered two bad falls and simply got seriously banged up.  The amazing part, though, was that my arms and hands which had failed me so completely just days before held up just fine.

For the second time since beginning this blog, I feel numb.  There’s so much to be thankful for but at the same time so much is just plain difficult.  I find myself wondering if I took a wrong step or if I’m simply in the midst of a refining process.  The deed is done (the move), and I’ve discovered that as I face a flood of new challenges, God is faithful to keep me from drowning.

A natural tendency I have is to fight for what I think is right.  While fighting is definitely a part of the Christian walk, such as to war against the powers of darkness through prayer, I believe we’re supposed to be careful about the fights we choose to engage in.  So while my apartment has an unpleasant odor, my pricey new smartphone is forever dead, my washer and dryer are currently useless, and the second bathroom’s toilet seat is completely detached and a danger to use, what should my mind dwell upon?  Is there peace to be found in Jesus Christ?

Yes, God has given me peace; and I’m happy to testify that His presence is a perpetual comfort.

Philippians 4:4-9

New King James Version (NKJV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Are You Standing on the Right Soapbox?

22 Mar

I am often tempted to get up on my soapbox and wage a campaign for change about things like ridiculously long lines at Walmart after 9:00 pm, the bashing of Christianity in the media, the exclusion of genuine Christianity in Hollywood, and more recently why a company like Brach’s would stop making my favorite Easter candy which I’ve been eating since I was a little girl.  (Those marshmallow eggs are unavailable in all of Houston.)

But none of us can fight for every cause.

Backed by the favor and empowerment of God, I once organized a rally in support of our troops and in doing so was part of what began the “Support the Troops” movement that swept across America during Desert Storm in 1991.  (Read about my rally on the Congressional Record the day of 1-22-91 where Congressman Tom Delay spoke about the Alvin, Texas, rally and me, Stevie Johnson—before I took back my maiden name.)

At that event I got on my soapbox for the purpose of turning around the threat of treating soldiers the same way they were treated during Vietnam, and it made an impact on society (made national news, etc.).  So I know that one person backed by the support of God and the city she lives in can change the country.

That was a miraculous event, though.  I’d love to write about it more some other time.  The point is that when you get up on the soapbox that God is leading you to stand on, you are standing on the right soapbox.  But other efforts based on personal opinions and frustrations are not what we’re supposed to expend our energy on.

I believe that the biggest impact we can possibly make with our lives is to take the path God directs us to pursue.  When we go off on a tangent, we’re stepping off that God-empowered journey which will lead to ultimate success.  The results of our obedience won’t be known until we get to heaven; I have no doubt that standing in the right place at the right time will reap eternal reward beyond our wildest imaginations.

 

Matthew 17:19-21

New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”[b]

Anger Can Really Clean House

12 Mar

As I gave the house a good cleaning today, I got angrier and angrier.  It became more obvious as I went along that no one is helping me keep the house in order.  All of our household rules about picking up after ourselves are routinely ignored, which puts a huge demand on me unnecessarily.

As T. D. Jakes said when we were at church yesterday, anger is a good thing, as long as you let it go before the sun goes down.  And in this case, I believe today was a last straw in a good way.  I refuse to go through this aggravation again.  But I’m the one that will make this happen by enforcing the rules every hour of every day.

“Are you finished with that?  Put it back where it belongs.”  So simple!

When I was feeling sorry for myself in the midst of my anger, I thought about how often I fail to truly appreciate God.  Every day He gives me life, breath, and a heart that’s filled with the joy of loving.  He also meets all of my needs without fail all the time.  How do I thank Him?  One thing for sure, complaining is no way to show gratitude to God.

Did you know that it was complaining that kept God’s original human family from entering into their place of overflowing promise?  All God wanted was for them to remember that He delivered them from bondage and He would meet all of their needs as they followed Him on the path He laid out for them.  The end of the trail was overwhelming success!  So what’s to complain about there?

I’ve repented of my complaining, I’ve apologized for my grouchiness, and I’m excited about this new determination to follow up every day on keeping the house beautiful.  But I’m still angry at myself for taking God for granted.  What else should I do to make sure that I’m not taking advantage of God’s goodness and blessings?

Actually, I think I know how to express my appreciation for God.  Take up my cross daily, forget about looking out for my own interests, and follow Jesus.  Simple!

Luke 9:23

New King James Version (NKJV)

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me.