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What Will You Do With That Freedom?

23 Mar

braveheart-1313768696-hero-wide-0If you’re a big fan of the movie Braveheart, like I am, you immediately recognize the words, “What will you do with that freedom?” When you say it like Mel Gibson did, you can grasp the passion behind this post. Just like the real battle depicted in that movie, we are all in a battle every single day. There is a battle for our souls, which determines eternal direction. And then there is the constant battle for our minds. If Satan has already lost us through accepting Jesus as our Savior, he fights with all of his experience gained through the ages to at least rob us of our joy and the victory of living in Christ.

(Please continue reading in the growl of a Scottish warrior)

God wooed me to himself many years ago, and I repented of my sins on October 4, 1979. Since that time, I have been clinging to Him and reading the Bible as though my life depended on it. As a result, He delivered me not only from death but from the lies of the enemy that robbed me of my peace day after day.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8

Here I am now, with a mind that is free. Yet the battle for souls rages on. God has called each of his children to be a light in the darkness. We don’t have to go out and become televangelists or Scottish landowners to fulfill our calling. The battle is won on our knees.

We must pray for those who don’t know about God’s all-consuming love. Pray that their eyes will be opened and their souls will be saved. Tell about His faithfulness.

If we will stop lying complacent on our beds, we can fulfill the calling that Jesus gave:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27

So that you have marching orders for the day and an understanding of where your battle can begin, here is Psalm 34:12-14:

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

The Lord has set you free from the bondage of sin and the bondage in your minds placed there by lies of the enemy. Take up your cross! Seek peace and pursue it! You have been set free! What will you do with that freedom?

The Solution to the Problem May Be Under Your Nose

25 May

I’ve had to miss work because my fingers and hands were experiencing excruciating pain.  And all that time, my computer was capable of talk-to-type technology!  I’m using it right now. No need to spend a dime, much less the hundreds I thought it would cost.

 

I’m talking and the computer is typing by itself. Awesome! — Photo by Vera Kratochvil

The answer was right in front of me, and I was completely clueless. I think many problems in life are the same way. Being out of shape, for instance, just requires more exercise. It’s a matter of deciding to do something. You don’t have to have access to a gym to get in shape. YouTube has lots of free exercise videos. Heck, you can just walk and get your body in shape.

The Bible says not to be worried and that each day has its own troubles. It also says that God will never give us more then we can handle. He always makes a way to escape temptation. That applies to overeating as much as it does adultery, don’t you imagine?

I think most of us go through life struggling with the day’s challenges, and we forget to really enjoy life. We get into a numbing, joyless routine.  All the while, the happiness we desire is within our reach every day. I can say this because I believe that true joy is in the Lord, and He is ultimately all we need to have overflowing contentment.

It’s a good idea to just open our eyes to what is already in our hands and be thankful that it’s enough for this moment.  There’s probably more in hand than we realize.

 

 

Deeply Moved by the Music

24 May

Every time my heart has a question or a complaint that I’ve repented of, God always answers.  Seriously, in the decades that I’ve been a born-again Christian, the Creator has consistently revealed His presence.

I’ve struggled recently because I moved and had to move again.  Home is the most important place to me, as only God understands.  And I murmur about living in a big city when I long to live in the mountains encompassed by nature, a longing which makes my earthly dad seem near.  Well, through American Idol of all things, God has reached into my heart and given me unforgettable assurance that I’m in the right place and God will change my attitude so that I embrace my place.

Phillip Phillips

 

Phillip Phillips, our new American Idol, sang his single “Home” last night, and pretty much everyone who heard it was blown away, based on the crowd’s roar and reviews, etc.  And for me listening to it was a spiritual experience, which seemed strange at first.

But then I became familiar with the words.  The song was like a conversation with God in which He took my hand and leaned in close to whisper powerful words of reassurance.  The words of the song follow (I don’t know yet who the writer is):

Home

Hold on to me as you go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

Settle down.  It’ll all be clear.

Don’t pay no mind to the demons —

They fill you with fear.

The trouble, it might drag you down.

You get lost; you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

I’m gonna make this place your home.

Free-Falling into Cushy Faith

21 May
Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you sometimes freak out over concern that a chair won’t hold your weight?  If you do, you’re either a very rare person or you’re struggling with extreme obesity.  The fact is that most of us sit all of our weight in chairs every day without a second thought, and the furniture holds us up just fine.  I believe that this “chair” principle is a perfect example of how life is meant to be lived when our faith in Jesus is genuine.

My situation recently got very scary.  I actually had good reason to believe that I had a limited amount of time left in which I would be physically capable of using my hands to work on a keyboard.  Every job I’ve ever had involved typing either on a typewriter or a stenograph machine or both.  With my elbows also problematic and my hands in bad shape, how many jobs fit my capability?

So between the chronic pain and the descent of a loved one into the proverbial bottom of the barrel, life has been extremely intense and stressful.  My response at some point was to simply jump off of the cliff I was clinging to and into the arms of God.

I’ll tell you right now that it’s safe to leap into faith feet first.  Jesus caught me.  In fact, He was with me through the entire ordeal and never left me.  What was missing was my complete trust that I can rest in the Lord as comfortably as I rest my tucas in my favorite reading chair.

My hands have improved tremendously, and I have two new employers who, together, are prepared to keep me working as a writer full time for good pay.  Wow!  And praise the Lord, right?  My loved one is the subject of prayers every day, and I’m trusting and resting in the Lord regarding the outcome.

Don’t Pry the Clutter From My Cold, Dead Hands

14 Apr
office supply barrette

office supply barrette (Photo credit: jamelah)

Gifts come in all forms, and one gift I want to leave my children is a lack of clutter to deal with when I change my residence to heaven.  I’ve been working on getting rid of stuff for years now.  It’s most difficult for me to let go of anything related to writing or office supplies.  I discovered today that I also hang onto the children’s toys.  They have boxes of things to play with, yet all they usually want to play with is their DS.  I’ve put the multiple pieces of various toys together.  But what I really need to do is donate more than the one box I’ve got ready to give away right now.

When I move (again!) soon, my goal is to have gotten rid of the approximately 10 or 12 boxes that were in a storage unit.  Now everything will be in one apartment while at the same time not crowding us out of our closets.  Amen.

Why is it so dang hard for me to let go of these little things that, put together, add up to boxes of clutter?  I absolutely love feng shui, the minimal environment that promotes inner peace (I don’t pay attention to the parts of feng shui that could be considered a form of worship of other gods.)

In my clutter devotional called Devotional for Clutterers by Melody Carlson, today I read the thing that I believe most about this entire struggle.  Carlson says, “As we become more orderly and less cluttered, we focus less on surviving and more on actual living.”

The Lord is good and is helping me through a lot.  But He doesn’t mind that in the midst of it all, I’m asking Him to help me eliminate all the clutter I possibly can before we move into our new home.  Nothing is too hard for God!

I just know I’ll sleep more peacefully knowing that when I ultimately fall asleep for the last time, my children can deal with their grief without having to deal with my clutter.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve got my own death on my mind, it’s because I secretly wonder if moving twice in one month is going to kill me!  lol

The Pieces Came Together Before I Fell Apart

13 Apr

God rarely leaves me hanging for long, when I’m in a place of genuine desperation.  Today I found my answer for where to live, and it’s already all set for me to move there.  Not much longer in this toxic apartment; but I’m going to miss the completely ideal front porch with the cool breeze and freedom to let the kids play.

Where am I moving?  I’m going back to the same apartments I’ve lived at for the past four years.  They’re very nice, it’s quiet, the apartment has a large built-in bookcase, and we all feel safe there.  Best of all, to me it’s home.  I love “home.”

I’m determined to let this move — which carries a lot of significance the details of which I haven’t gone into — be an exciting new start for me and the kids.  Living life the way I truly want to, with a dependence upon God that the kids will participate in simply through acknowledging the Lord as a family more.  It doesn’t have to be a pipe dream!

Faith Like Potatoes

Faith Like Potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a movie called Faith Like Potatoes.  It is an amazing true story and an ideal example of living for God.  You have to watch the movie and then also watch the documentary part which reveals true footage of the man this film is about.

I’ve mentioned an admiration for the Amish; but there is something that seems to be missing in those communities, that being an apparent faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior over and above their ordnung.  The Faith Like Potatoes guy lives out the life I long for.

Okay.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve felt that a husband was a necessary component to really pulling it off.  But of course that’s utterly ridiculous.  Living an obedient, worshipful life with God as the Lord doesn’t require a husband!

My despair has disappeared like the fog in Houston when the sun burns hot.  My feet know where to go and my heart knows what song to sing.  Praise the name of the Lord!

7 Ways to Be at Peace When World News is Depressing

1 Apr

You don’t have to listen to the news very long to hear something that may be upsetting and probably too hard core for a young child.  In my area this week we have a toddler who wandered away from his home while mom napped, and he drowned in a nearby pond.  Andrea Yates is in the news regarding her request to visit church on Sundays; she’s the Houston area mom who drowned all five of her children in a bathtub about a decade ago.  And nationwide upset over the death of Trayvon Martin is alarming not only because of the needless loss of a young man’s life but in the way the shooting seems to be creating further racial divide.

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Some people are so busy today, they literally may be tempted to organize a community awareness campaign about how easy it is for children to drown, protest the weekend release of Andrea Yates, and then organize a fundraiser to provide assistance to parents of murdered children.  There are a million and one daily opportunities to be involved in the world.  So how do you keep from being overwhelmed by both the sadness and the urge to take action?  I will share my secret, but it’s actually advice that I got from the Bible.

God created you; He understands that life can literally knock your feet out from underneath you.  He instructs you and me (all of us) to:

  1. Simply take life one day at a time.  (Matthew 6:34)
  2. Keep your eyes on things above and not things below, which means to dwell on God’s Word, His promises, His instructions, His goodness, heaven, etc.  (Colossians 3:2)
  3. Get in tune with God and listen for His voice because He will tell you what your part in the world is intended to be.  And when you do what God has for you to do, you can be sure that it will be effective.  (Isaiah 30:21)
  4. Be thankful!  A genuinely thankful heart is a happy heart.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  5. Be generous.  You can’t solve world hunger.  But you can buy canned goods for the local food pantry, donate the clothing your family doesn’t need anymore, and help a friend in need.  (Luke 6:38)
  6. Treat others the way you wish you were treated, and that alone could change the world by starting a domino effect of people being good to one another.  (Matthew 7:12)
  7. Delight yourself in God and in the other good things of life, such as family.  (Psalm 37:4)

The Christian life doesn’t mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds, but it does mean that we can dwell in the peace of God no matter what the bad news of the day is.

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), frontispiece to the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home. Scanned at 800 dpi. Français : Illustration du Psaume 23 (version autorisée par le roi Jacques), en frontispice de l'édition omnibus du Sunday at home. Version numérisée à 800 dpi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)