Tag Archives: TRUST

A Closer Walk: Where Do You Take Your Anger and Hurt?

What do you do when the One you trusted to always take care of you, always be there for you, let’s you down? Where do you take your anger and your hurt?

where do you go?

You realize you’re adrift, because the One you really need to talk to about everything, is the very One you are convinced has betrayed you.

Talk about frustrating.

Now what do you do?

Where do you go?

To whom do you speak?

That was my dilemma.

I had “believed” with all my heart that I had developed this face-to-face, heart-to-heart relationship with God. I had believed His word promised that He would always protect me. He was “my hiding place” where I could run and tuck myself under His wings… close… right next to A Heart that I just knew, would never let me down.

At least that’s what all the songs and bible verses had said—had promised.

Only, I was let down.

Monumentally so.

And I hurt.

I hurt

Like Job, my life was shattered in a million impossible pieces and I was wrestling with how to reconcile my understanding of all those beautiful bible promises with my confusing and darkening realities. This ugly stuff wasn’t supposed to happen to someone who had trusted and obeyed! Was it? And, as if my hurt and confusion wasn’t bad enough, add to it, all my so called friends and family had stepped way back, only watching my chaotic life from a nice cool distance.

Daily, their stony silence speaking volumes to my bleeding soul.

Ah yes, Job’s friends.

The “One” who could have prevented all of this—didn’t.

Now what was I supposed to do? To, believe? What kind of a GOD was this? And, why had He deserted me?

What had I done but trust Him utterly?

I had no answers, only lots of confused questions, hurt, and anger.

For three long months, each day I awoke to another day of turmoil. Sitting in stunned angry silence. (I smile now, remembering.) Because even though I didn’t want to talk to God, God was having none of it!

And so He began to gently whisper… and I listened.

I was desperate.

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I AM WITH YOU

Talk to Me.

I AM here: with you.

I know the others left you ~ let you down. My friends sometimes let Me down, too. They tried. They just couldn’t be there for Me. You know. Your friends have let you down, too.

(I know.)

You will have to make the same choice I did. You will have to forgive them their weaknesses and frailty. Come, if I did it, you can too.

I’ll help you.

You must learn the difference between the finite and the infinite ~ between potence, impotence, and omnipotence.

broken vessel

POTENCE: a vessel for force and power. That’s you! In all these difficulties and trials I AM creating in you a ‘force and power’ for My Kingdom. What you are going through, is preparing you, for what you are believing Me for. I will help you through.

Now, IMPOTENCE.

(We have talked of this.)

I want you to understand and learn, once-and-for-all, where power comes from:

“Vain is the arm of flesh.”

Your friends only have influence. I give you power.

Which brings Me to OMNIPOTENCE: unlimited power!

(That’s me of course.)

Dearest, can you see now? For Kingdom work influence will not carry you through. You need Me. I AM your supply of unlimited power!

Apart from Me you can do nothing.

That’s not idle chatter ~ that’s your LIFE!

a closer walk

 

“But God is my helper. He is a friend of mine.”

Psalm 54:4

 

A Closer Walk: Storms That Shipwreck Our Beliefs

I didn’t believe anything could shipwreck my beliefs but I had never been in a storm like this one.

If I were to say that my doctors didn’t take my response to their diagnosis well—that would be putting it mildly.

These guys were men of science.

arrogant doctors

They thought my faith was absurd!

I was told in no uncertain terms that if I did not follow their diagnosis their would be consequences!

Prayer—What is that?

My beliefs only made them angry.

Their threats became nastier.

They informed me I couldn’t leave the hospital until they ran more tests.

More tests? The bills were already in the stratosphere and now there would be no job and no money?

How had my beliefs brought me here?

shipwreck

My life was spiraling out of control!

So I called for the Patient Advocate because even in the hospital we have legal rights.

I asked him for a clear explanation of what my legal rights were.

He told me my options and I checked myself out of the hospital A.M.A.  which means “against medical advice.”

I went home still experiencing all of my negative symptoms.

That’s when God “showed up” in an interesting twist of events.

The hospital wouldn’t let me check out without giving them the name of a personal doctor.

So I gave them the first name I could find but they faxed all my tests to the “wrong” doctor. Except he really was the RIGHT doctor!

He told me what was wrong with me, prescribed the correct medication, and most of my symptoms disappeared in a few days.

angry doctorAnd my angry doctors?

They made good on all their threats.

I lost my freedom because they revoked my driver’s license.

Losing my driver’s license meant losing my job.

The hospital costs for all their tests put me into medical bankruptcy which meant my five-star credit rating was gone!

My family whispered in corners looking at me like, “What did you DO to make God so angry?”

What about my remaining symptoms?

I still could not walk from room to room without leaning on the walls for support. I had blinding headaches that stayed with me all day. It was tough to focus my eyes to write; forget about reading or TV.

I sat on my couch each day in stunned, hurting, lonely, silence. I was numb with pain, both physical, and emotional. Forget about feeling anything “spiritual.” I didn’t want to read my bible. I didn’t want to pray. I did not call for the church or pastors to see me. I didn’t want to talk with anyone.

depressed womanI had nothing to say to God or anyone else.

I was angry and afraid.

My life as I knew it had been destroyed. I felt as if I had been shipwrecked.

How was I supposed to fix this mess if I couldn’t work?

I thought each day about ending my life. My anger, doubts and uncertainty made everything look darker and darker as I stared into that black hole called hopelessness.

Questions kept circling in my mind like, “What had I done? Where had I messed up? Why was all this terrible stuff happening?”

Wasn’t obedience to God supposed to equal blessings?

I was caught up in one of the worst spiritual storms of my life.

Just when it seemed that the darkness would swallow me whole—God showed upagain.

a closer walk

But now the Lord who created you, O Israel, says: Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.   When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you… you are precious to me and honored, and I love you.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Isaiah 43:1, 2, 5  TLB

A Closer Walk: A Storm That Terrifies

Have you ever been in a severe storm?

Man, I have. It was driving back from the airport in Wichita to Hutchinson, Kansas to stay with friends.

It was my first time in a “tornado watch.”

We left the airport under sunny skies but soon after a storm began to brew. It looked like we were driving into the wrath of God with pitch black skies in the middle of the afternoon. Lightning was hitting the ground all around us and the peals of thunder were so loud I thought the sky was splitting in two!

A storm unleashing its fury can be terrifying.

But what about spiritual storms?

They can be just as terrifying.

motoring through lifeWe can be motoring through life with our destination firmly fixed in our minds and “Wham!” we can find ourselves unexpectedly hurled into a cyclone of  emotional devastation wondering, “Where is God?”

That’s how I remember January 1999. My life turning upside down and inside out with all of my nice neat expectations shattered and in broken pieces all about me—caught in my own Hurricane Andrew.

Remember Andrew? Not only did Andrew erase everything in his path as he swept through central Florida, the tornadoes that spun off the main storm created all kinds of chaos and collateral damage.

That’s what I want to talk about.

Storms that catch us off guard. Storms that flatten and confuse us. Storms that test everything we believe and then leave us asking questions like, “Will I survive this? How will I survive this? Do I even want to survive this? What will I believe afterward even if I do make it through this?

What will survival look like?

I want to take you on my journey through a personal hurricane.

I want you to meet a God who walks in when the rest of the world walks out and marvel at a Savior who treads on the top of our storms.

I hope you will also hear a Holy Voice whisper, with a Voice so quiet that sometimes He must shut out everything else in our lives, so that only His Still Small Voice can be heard.

Okay, so here is where my story begins.

It’s January in the Central Valley of California. The weather is cold, foggy and miserable, which is normal for our winters.

I love my busy life. I have a job I love with people who are depending on me every day. I am tired most of the time but who isn’t in these stress-filled days we live in? When I’m feeling exhausted (which is most of the time) I chug another diet cola, get a new caffeine fix, and motor-on.

Flu is everywhere. It’s the season for flu. So I don’t think it strange when I wake up one morning feeling like I’ve come down with a “bug.” It’s a pain, but a minor inconvenience, not a devastating catastrophe. I curl up on my couch under my favorite quilt and resolve to endure a week of misery. But you know how flu is. As the day wears on I begin to feel worse until it feels like everything in my stomach is about to hurl, so I run for a bathroom. That’s the last thing I remember until I wake up on my bathroom floor lying in a pool of my own blood.

I’m laying there trying to figure out how bad I’m hurt. What happened and why does my face feel like I’ve been kicked by a mule?

I holler for help so a family member can call 911. Minutes later paramedics are putting me in the back of an ambulance and I am on my way to an emergency room at a local hospital.

a storm that terrifiesAfter three days of running tests my doctors come to my room to share their results. Starched white coats with grim faces and official looking clipboards begin to paint me a picture black and bleak.

They tell me of the health issues they believe I am facing.

Their findings were all based on erroneous information but that will only come into the light—later.

My doctors get it all wrong but in the meanwhile…

Me? I’m doing my best to listen and not freak out!

I try to listen hard to what these men are saying, but their “conclusions” don’t fit with the facts that I’m remembering and the evidence on my face.

In addition I am missing the most important thing I need. I don’t have the “inner peace” I depend upon when making life-altering decisions.

These doctors are telling me I need to begin a drug therapy program immediately, but when I ask them about side effects, they freely admit these drugs will cause great harm if they are the “wrong” stuff.

So I tell my doctors, “I have to pray about this.”

They just stare back at me in stunned silence. These men are used to being obeyed without question. They do not take it well when I tell them, “No, I will pray first—then we will talk about what to do.”

They argue with me but I stand my ground. They threaten dire consequences but I stand my ground. They storm out in anger but I am still holding on to my ground!

I want to talk to God FIRST.

In the middle of my storm I reach for the Gideon Bible next to the bed, trying my best not to panic.

Praying  a desperate prayer I say, “God I am in DEEP trouble. I don’t know what to believe. You HAVE to show me what to do—and I mean RIGHT NOW!”

I don’t usually talk to God like that, but when you’re caught in a TERRIFYING storm flowery prayers are the last thing on your mind!

After I prayed I opened the Bible to Isaiah 51 and this is what I read,

a closer walk“I, even I, am He who comforts you… so what right have you to fear mere mortal men, who wither like the grass and disappear? And yet you have no fear of God, your Maker? ~ You have forgotten Him, the One who spread the stars throughout the skies and made the earth. Will you be in constant dread of men’s oppression, and fear their anger all day long? Soon, soon you slaves shall be released; dungeon, starvation, and death ARE NOT YOUR FATE.” [Isaiah 51:12-14 TLB]

I closed the Bible and said, “Okay God, that’s good enough for me.”

 

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Broken To Bless

Pottery4I think it was Ruth Graham who wrote, “…there is a broken heart in every pew.”

Many years down the road, with many a “breaking-experience” under my belt, I can say a healthy amen.

We in The Church are “a building” built from broken things.

I recall when I was the editor of my women’s church newsletter.

I went to our Women’s Director purposing a series on suffering. I offered a couple of samples topics and suggested the book of Jeremiah as our ongoing theme. Her response, “We don’t want to hear about these things. Write about happy things.”

I thought at the time, “Seriously?”

I personally knew of many people in our church that were going through a very difficult time.

There were single moms, struggling to get to the next payday, wondering how they would feed their kids. Divorced dads, hemorrhaging internally, but wearing stoic smiles. People out of work wondering only two things—where and when? Folks dealing with catastrophic illnesses, for themselves, or their families. Marriages that were being held together with scotch tape, and half-hearted,  “why-do-we-even-bother” prayers.

Could she not see? Did she not hear? Or, was it just the same old coldness of heart that chooses to walk by the bleeding and broken, choosing “the other side of the road” like Jesus related in the parable of The Good Samaritan.

Today, thirty years later—I still do not understand it.

How can people who meet together to sing about loving the Lord, listen intently to all those fine-sounding-sermons about reaching the lost, but then pass the lost, messy, and broken—looking right through them?

Perhaps it’s going through a few breakings myself. Knowing firsthand, the pain and confusion; the helplessness; the dark and intense days suffering brings.

And yes, I know there are “professional victims” in our Churches. Those who seek a continual attention-feast every time you encounter them. (Yes, I know.) I have also encountered the drama-queens (and kings) who suck all the emotional oxygen from the room. Every church has these folks.

The trick, as I see it, is to not let their choices blind you to the genuine suffering that is all around us.

We are buildings filled with the broken, and yes, sometimes messy ones. People whose lives are in crisis and need our compassion and tenderness.

Our simple and decent caring.

That is what I am pleading for here—hearts that care for the wounded and brokenhearted, rather than walling ourselves off behind aloof and superior stone walls.

Jesus calls each of us to reach for His basin and towel.

My bible says no one is exempt:

Does He not call you, too?

Jesus was always tender with broken hearts—asking what He could do.

Are we, not all called by Him, to do the same?

Is not the last word… His words to us?

 “…YOU …do as I have done for you.”

BROKEN VESSEL

Into a shop, I chanced to go
Seeking vessels high and low
When in a box I casually spied
A broken vessel—cast aside

At first glance, I thought I’d take
These broken pieces for to make
A vessel “new” from broken things
To carry songs and glad tidings

But no! My Master bid me take
This broken vessel, for His sake
And look again… “This jar was you…
Before My loving grace you knew!”

“I came into this world so dark
Received the nails that made their marks,

To gather vessels—not a few,
Shattered and broken, just like YOU;

To bring to wholeness once again,
To piece and polish, glue and mend…”
Ahhhhhhhhhh, now I see!” I answered Him.

“The centerpiece for which I search,
To show, display, inside the Church,
Is BROKEN—like so many more,
That wait for us outside these doors.”

Why are we oh so slow to learn?
Why don’t we see that what man spurns,
Is just the ONE that God will use?
He chooses MOST what we refuse!

I thank you LORD for taking me
A BROKEN THING—that all could see,
Had little use… not much could be…
Reclaimed… restored… for Your glory!

 

 

 

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 4 ~ What’s Your Name?)

WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

On Pinterest, I call myself “Molly-O.”

I chose Molly because I wanted a nickname for Martha. “O” is because I aspire to become an Overcomer each day, whether I feel like it, or not.

And… Jesus gets every bit of the credit for any overcoming ’cause I still struggle some days, and yeah, the tears still gush at times when I wish they wouldn’t.

What’s that old saying: Pain is universal but misery is optional? It’s true. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we will ultimately respond.

Only we decide on the who we will choose to become.

Let me add here, I have had it easy, real easy compared to what Believers have suffered on the other side of the world. Yes, there have been wounds. I have scars. So what, right? Nobody gets a picnic. Live a few years and life will teach youwere all messy and broken. And yes, I still get a little prickly, especially if I even think I’m about to get hammered from a pulpit. But I’m in church and that’s a flat-out miracle!

So now, I advocate for you—the broken and discarded.

Mainly because I know—it wasn’t Jesus that discarded you or pushed you away.

untitledYou may believe you have good reasons to be mad at God or distrusting of Him.

I can understand that, but you don’t—not really.

People maybe.

Welcome to the human race.

We’re all of us, every single one, sinful and selfish.

Like pain that truth is universal.

I don’t know where you find yourself today, or why you have chosen to leave the Church, or at the very least stay safely outside the fold, keeping to the frayed fringes.

I don’t know if you find yourself “wandering on every high hill” as Ezekiel says, but my hope is that this book will come alongside you wherever you are, bringing with it some real understanding for what you’re feeling.

It’s Mercy that washes wounds and Hope that brings the bandages.

I hope you find both here.

Broken Vessels are priceless in God’s eyes.

He sees your brokenness as an asset to His Kingdom.

You are not a liability.

He wants you to come home.

(Me too.)

We need you, and yes, I know there are some in The Church that are phony and meaner than a pack of junkyard dogs.

(I know.)

But there are GOOD people, too, and you are missed.

We are the weaker for your being AWOL.

We need you!

(Jesus and I think it’s high time someone told you so.)

It’s time to forgive and be forgiven.

It’s time to get back in The Game.

It’s the fourth quarter and were behind; fourth down and we need what only YOU can bring to the team.

There’s A Harvest waiting and the time to harvest is NOW.

So I’m praying… I’m asking you… Beloved Prodigal, please.

Please come home.

 

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 2 ~ Resume)

af77abc0a1bed356e257be989a2217ef

A WOUND DRESSER’S RESUME


Can you believe it?

I actually asked God to make me a Wound Dresser.

Man!

What was I thinking?

My prayer seemed so spiritual at the time.

I smile and shake my head today—remembering. Little did I understand the mountain of “woundings” that would come with God’s “Yes.” And, this roller coaster… this assignment of His!

QUALIFICATIONS AND PREPARATIONS FOR A WOUNDRESSER:

You know that cute little question, “Got milk?”

Yeah, well my question to you goes like this:

  • “Got a painful past?” or maybe,
  • “Got a trail of tears and broken dreams?”
  • Or, “Got so much guilt and shame you hate the mess you see in the mirror?”

Congratulations, you too, have all the qualities and experience required to be called as a woundresser!

My “prep” for this Calling:

  • I asked Jesus into my heart at seven while at a Christian summer camp.
  • That was the year my mother “bailed” on our family, announcing that she would no longer be responsible for being a wife, or mother.
  • For me, childhood was over. At seven I began my job as the female caregiver of the family.
  • Five years earlier My mother had had an affair with the pastor of our church and gotten pregnant by him.
  • Our family put on a good public face, still went to church, but we were very BROKEN from that point on.
  • Mom simply stated to me years later, “No forgiveness ever asked for. No forgiveness was ever given.”
  • Dad regularly reminded all of us, he would also be “bailing” just as soon as the youngest was done with school.
  • Meanwhile, we lived with their daily battles, and constant threats of abandonment, from the only one, doing any parenting.
  • Like I said in an earlier devotional, I have lived with angry people all of my life. Angry was my normal.
  • Grew up in a fire-breathing church, where I heard about hell and the anger of God, but little about His love.
  • God is just like your angry father… okay, check.
  • Shook the hometown dust off my shoes and went down the prodigal road.
  • I believed God was “out there” somewhere—but He sure didn’t care what happened to me.
  • If my father, who I could see didn’t care, why would a God I couldn’t see care? Check.
  • Lived a wild life for ten years doing my own thing and I’ve got the scars to prove it!
  • There were several car crashes I miraculously walked away from.
  • Years of ongoing depression episodes that had me thinking suicide was my only option for relief.
  • (Yes, you’re right. Some drown. Some are rescued. I don’t know why. Two of my cousins took their own lives.)
  • I, too, have had years of prescriptions for tranquilizers and muscle relaxers looking for any relief.
  • More years trying to drown all the pain in alcohol. I felt like I was the one drowning. But the pain? Lived on.
  • I won’t even go into all the “joys” of living as a “liberated” woman. What a lie that was!
  • At twenty-eight, after another night of heavy drinking, I awoke to find I had passed out leaving candles burning and almost set my place on fire.
  • Realized I could have set the building on fire and hurt a lot of innocent people in the process.
  • This is where I hit the bottom.
  • I made a “private plan” to end my life and be “done” because I saw no hope—anywhere.
  • I grew up in “church”; saw the hypocrisy; wanted no part of that again.
  • I simply wanted my pain to end. If it meant ending me—so be it.

God, however, had another plan.

Like the Apostle Paul, I had my own Damascus Road encounter with God. (See Coram Deo)

He showed up.

I believe, He showed up because He saw one beleaguered girl, searching for love in all the wrong places.

He showed up because He knew I didn’t have a clue about who He really was.

And He showed up because He knew I wasn’t going to come to Him.

In short this prodigal had to be—fetched.

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I didn’t come to my senses like in the story of the prodigal son. [Luke 15] Nope.

In my story, I am like that lost sheep.

The one where Jesus tells of leaving the ninety-and-nine “good” sheep, to go out and rescue the one who has wandered away.

God had to come after me because, just like Paul, I was so sure I knew who God was.

And, just like His Apostle I was certain—God didn’t care where I was, or what I did. So He decided to show up that day and introduce Himself. He barged in on all my “certainty” and shook me up so profoundly, I couldn’t ignore Him anymore even though secretly? I think I still wanted to.

ed22d31b128a5597c4b7d22c5a215a34Instead, He tenderly took this battered old heart of mine and began to teach me about His deep and abiding LOVE for me.

And, wonder of wonders, He also began to reveal how He wanted to take all the broken pieces of my life and use them.

Use them? My life. (It still stuns me!) How could a Holy God use such an unholy mess like me? When I looked at my past I saw only a junkyard—full of broken, wrecked, dreams. But when God looked at me… He saw potential for His purposes.

His Love is mercy wrapped in GRACE—and it is SO undeserved.

And, so amazing!

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 1 ~ bat Shuvah)

Lost-Son-1

The road you’re on is not an easy one. (I should know.) I have been down your road.

It is for that reason I wrote this book.

I am hoping it will plant some seeds of trust in that heart of yours.

The Jewish would call me “bat Shuvah”—she who has returned.

I have returned.

  • To my Abba-Father God.
  • To The Church.
  • I am a Prodigal no longer.

Yes, I returned.

But you know what?

I confess (even today) I still struggle to not get discouraged and go over that hill again.

Perhaps that’s because I also have learned—today’s Church can be a cold and lonely place for the wounded and broken. All the disillusioned, angry, and messy-ones. And yeah, it scares me to confess that truth to you.

Truth is, I grew up in a house full of secrets.

In my house?

It was definitely not okay to be wounded or broken.

(That would have been admitting the truth.)

No, appearances had to be kept up at all cost. Illusions were prized far above truth.

I still shake my head today, thinking back, looking at the choices my parents made I wonder, “Why would anyone want to live like that?” Then, I look at how it still is in today’s Church and I realize, not much has changed. People still live lives of posing and pretense.

Perhaps they think it easier… less messy—to just fake it.

But my heart has to ask, “Isn’t that just a waste… to live an unreal life?”

I mean…

“How do you ever become “REAL” without telling your real story?”

6a1d6b965ff0038f17473284a4997d96So, here it is. Mine, with all of its ugly scars, brittle edges, and more than a little healed-crooked, hard won, Jacob-type-leaning, and limping.

I’ve come a long way from that crooked and broken road.

(Been through some fierce storms, too.)

I hope I’ve learned—a little…

And maybe even earned… my place?

To speak to that deeply wounded heart of yours.

 



 


 

CODE RED

codered_w_phone

I am stumbing through grief again.

“So soon?” my heart whispered.

It seems as if I had just recovered from one huge loss when I got the jarring news that someone I loved dearly had been whisked away.

Gone.

Death always jars me to my toes.

I never get used to it no matter how many times I walk through it.

And I wonder, “Is this the way it is with everyone?”

So here I am again walking through each day in a kind of a gray fog. Trying to concentrate on the next thing; the next step; the next breath; and not doing a very good job of any of it.

My eyes gush tears when I least want them.

My heart overflows with this new empty.

I am lost in a maze of memories I can’t hold back or control no matter how hard I try.

I drift. I flounder.

I reach for answers I already know I won’t find; can’t find, until Jesus and I are face to face.

I scold myself. Telling myself, “This is how it is at your age. Loss will be a regular part of normal now.”

But grappling with that truth doesn’t help much.

The bible warns us, “You do not know what a day will bring forth.”

“Yeah.” I think. “No kidding.”

Like the other day.

We had just had a nice lunch with some visiting family. A pleasant afternoon. Peaceful. Little did we suspect that in just a few short hours we would be sitting in the kitchen reminiscing and the phone would ring with words flashing across the T.V. screen — CODE RED!

I stared at the screen then at the face of my friend as her expression went from happy to grave.

She was listening intently to the message from our caller.

emergency-response-training-9-638Then she hung up and calmly announced, “We have been told to pack up whatever we can and be prepared to evacuate.

There is a wildland fire burning north of here; it’s headed our way.”

We just stared at one another for a moment, stunned; trying to absorb the warning; trying to think. What should we do first?

What do you pack up when you have only moments to decide what needs to be saved, and what you must walk away from, and surrender to the flames?

“You do not know what a day will bring forth…”  James 4:14 warns.

(For sure!)

The ONLY thing that is certain in this life is it’s abiding and constant uncertainty.

So let me ask you a question

“What are you going to decide to do with His pearl that we call: The Gospel?”

It is the MOST important decision you will ever make.

Perhaps this is your CODE RED.

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Apart from His blood that He shed on His cross FOR YOU, to cover your sin, so that you can walk into the city of God, a citizen of His Kingdom?

You have no hope of heaven!

There is no other way.

The micro-second you step into eternity your decision and the choice have been made. It will be settled for all of eternity. No arguments. No explantions. No second chances, or do-overs. Nope.

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.  —John 14:6  NIV

None of us know when death will come knocking at our door.

(None of us do.)

Don’t put this decision off.

Some things can wait.

This can’t.

To refuse to decide — is to decide.

Denominational Squabbling Or What This Gospel Isn’t

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Denominational Made-up-Minds.

(Oh baby!)

Of all the things in The Church, perhaps this is the thing that scares me the most. This blind prejudice to, “We have always done it this way.” or “That is what my daddy believed, what my mama believed, and by golly, it’s what I believe!”

Well… okay then! Pardon my seeing this Glorious Truth through a slightly different lens than yours… and ummmm, is this what you call, “…walking in love?”

I think this intransigence I encounter to other interpretations, or points of view when interpreting the bible, is a prime breeding ground for strife and argument.

Jesus ate with publicans and sinners didn’t He?

And you mean we can’t tolerate someone who prays in a different style than ours? Sings with lifted hands? Waves banners? Chooses a different day to meet? Or, heaven forbid, voted for that other guy! Etc., etc., etc.

If you want to turn a devout-denominational into a cold fish at best, or a snarling junkyard dog at its worst, just begin to challenge their long held, “you’ll-pry-them-out-of-my-cold-dead-hands” beliefs.

Oh my, can you feel the love?

churchMy bible teaches me God’s “love language” is unity.  The bible speaks constantly about it, especially in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Doesn’t he implore us to do this over and over again?

Didn’t Jesus?

I just don’t believe division is really God’s idea.

(I think it took all of us to think this one up!)

witnessGod knows there is power in unity.

There is peace.

It’s in the book! [Ephesians 4]

No, we don’t all interpret the bible the same way.

I know.

But if we can agree on essentials—then do we really need to divide over the rest?

What childish nonsense.

Can’t we grant one another a certain degree of freedom for love’s sake?

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14 NIV

Why do we treat others with such cold and hostile disdain, or disrespect those, who simply see things a little differently or choose to worship in a style that is contrary to ours?

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Is that a reason for giving or taking offense?

The hour is late and I think most of us believe Jesus’ return is imminent. So… let’s be about our Father’s business. We have a Harvest to bring in. For love’s sake let’s stop our petty bickering and finger-pointing.

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What a relief, if we could all just decide to let go of the rope!

What delight there is in dwelling together—in peace!

Let’s do what we have been gifted for and have been called to do, in the unity of love; taking from that unity the power we need from the Holy Spirit in all of us.

Our mandate is not to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

Rather, our commission is to reach the lost, bind up the broken, and rescue the perishing—while we still can!

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4
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