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A BACKUP SAVIOR?

No one would ever admit it in Sunday school, but I have come to realize that it is awfully easy to have a back up savior, a plan B for life, just in case this one falls short.

“Yes, Jesus is enough for my current happiness and for eternity, but I am going to also seek pleasure and a sense of being in control and being secure by….!

For example, Demas hung out with the apostle Paul and with Luke and was listed as a fellow labourer with Mark and Aristarchus but then he forsook Paul, having loved this present world. When things seemed to be going well he was all gung ho! Then he was gone when things were seeming to fall apart. Lots’ wife came along with him as he was fleeing sinful Sodom, but she looked back and wham! Salt pillar! Boy am I glad that God doesn’t treat me the way I deserve as an example to others. Paul complained that he had almost no one to send to the Philippians because, “all seek their own and not the things of Christ”. Three people offered to become followers of Jesus, (The master and creator of the universe) BUT first they wanted to do something else or couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping on the ground with no pillow but a stone and no where to call home. So, they lost the chance to follow the master and support him. Phygellus and Hermogenes went down in history because they turned away from working with the Apostle Paul.

The word worship derives from the word worth and one would refer to someone of worth as “your worthship”. Worship is seen and experienced in whatever grabs my time and thought and money and heart. I need to guard my heart and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

I need to practice the “grain of mustard seed faith” which Peter voiced in John 6:68 When Jesus asked him if he also would go away, Peter said, “To whom shall we go?” He understood that there are NO back up saviors, no other sources of life truth and no alternatives.

I remember a patient that was not making much progress on the problems in his marriage. Come to find out, he had a girlfriend in the wings waiting for him if his marriage efforts failed. The Bible says that I should make no provision for the flesh, if I want to overcome it.

Jesus says to me, “Verle if you don’t come to me, and hate your father, and mother and wife, and children and brothers, and yes your own life also, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not bear your cross, and come after me you cannot be my disciple. So likewise, if you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciple.”

“Dear Lord, help me to see any hidden back-up saviors or plan B’s and love you so much that I hate any attempt by any other good person or good thing to get between us.”

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HOLD EVERYTHING IN AN OPEN PALM, NO CLINGING!

The Lord gives and he takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord! Job 1:22

Now, come on, be real! Is that the first thing you think of when you have lost something very very important to your happiness? It sure is not what I think of, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”.

I was a very lonely child and longed to have a family and along came Lois and then our firstborn Cheri. Talk about important to my happiness! Then God decided to test my assertion that I held all things in and open palm. Cheri became quite ill, and the doctors had no clue what to do. I faced the possibility of losing her and by God’s grace I ran to him and affirmed that she belonged to him and asked for the grace to love and serve him no matter what the outcome. I then had the elders of my church fast and pray with me and anoint her and God chose to heal whatever the illness was. James 5:14, Mark 9:29

God, in his sovereign wisdom might say “Yes, or NO, or Later”, depending on what is best. I need to say, “You know what I want but have your way even if it isn’t mine”. Luke 22:42 I need to remember that if I whine a lot, God might give me the desire of my heart and send leanness to my soul. Psalm 106:15

An excellent exercise is to review all the things that are in my life on a regular basis. I then ask how I would feel and think about God if those things were taken away. If I honestly would feel destroyed and bitter, then, that thing has become my God. I remind myself that whatever I “own” will soon own me and I will be a slave either to God or to people and things. Romans 6:16 (I would rather be a slave to God). I remember that my God will fight for his relationship with me against anything that threatens to get in the way. (Jealousy for a relationship) Exodus 20:5 So, if anything is more important that God, then both the devil and God are motivated to see it taken away. The devil wants it taken from me because I have promised to be angry with God and God wants it because he will have no rivals in his love relationships. Wow! I had better hold everything in an open palm.

When I was about 12, I was envious of a man at church that had a beautiful baritone singing voice. (Unlike my high squeaky soprano). I remember him singing the following song. by:Bill & Gloria Gaither

I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand
I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow
Is the one who stands by me
And the path that be portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood

I used to sing this song from the top of a 50 foot tree in the mountains of India in order to cheer up my lonely soul. Later, as a young adult, I returned to the church where I had first heard the song and I shared about how it had blessed me. The congregation seemed strangely quiet in response to my sharing. Later I learned that the man, who had sung this song of faith, had lost his daughter to a car accident when she was 18 and had become bitter towards God and had abandoned the church as a result. His daughter had become his god. God is interested in “total surrender” and not in some sort of insurance bargain where I pay my weekly installments and he must come through with———– (fill in the blanks).

“Dear Lord help me to carry all people and things in an open palm and be able to say, “The Lord gave and then took away blessed be his holy name!”

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COME AS I AM PARTY?

When I die, I would love to have people sing the revival hymn written by Charlotte Elliot, “Just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O lamb of God I come.” When they sang that at the US capitol for Billy Graham’s funeral, I almost cried. I am told that it was written by a 45 year old lady with severe disabling arthritis that felt that she had nothing to offer God. Finally the Lord convinced her that she, with all her limitations, was the gift he would accept, just as she was.

Romans 12:1-2 God talks to me through Paul. “I beg of you dear child, to do the only reasonable thing, (considering what I did for you) that you present yourself to me as a living sacrifice. This sacrifice, limited and messed up though it is, I will see as holy and will accept. I will then help you to not let this world culture press you into its mold but will instead metamorphose your mind into my mind. Remember, I let go of all pomp and ceremony and became a servant, a human. If you let go of all ego, then you will be able to prove how good and acceptable and perfect my will is.” Philippians 2:5

I have heard that people wait to offer themselves to God when they are a little more wise, capable, strong; and a little less messed up.

Whether it is coming for salvation from my sins or coming to offer myself and my body parts tools for him to use; I must come now, I must come just as I am. I must say (as a sin filled businesswoman at an outreach diner did) “Well, God, if you think that you can make something out of me, good luck but you are welcome to try.”

I have the treasure of God in a very earthen vessel so that people won’t be impressed by the frame but will be impressed by the picture. So that people will see what I do and conclude that there must be a God and an awesome one at that; because human beings would never act like that on their own.

The military might be looking for a few good men but not God. He is looking for an available man that he can be good through.

Once adopted all filthy and blood smeared and uncared for and unwanted, he washes and salts and cuts off the cord and clothes and feeds and teaches and protects. Why? That he might present me to himself as a bride having no wrinkles or blemishes. He washes away my stains with the water of his word. Yes he wants me to grow and learn and reach my potential. What parent would not? But he takes me “Just as I am“Ezekiel 16:6,7 Ephesians 5:27

I often feel that God loves everyone else but that I am invisible and expendable. I don’t whine like Asaph in Psalm 73 , “Sure God is good to everyone else but poor me I am miserable” My sin is a little different, I think, “Sure God is good to everyone else and rightly so but I am the exception and just don’t count”. I tell everyone else that God loves them now and just as they are, but have trouble accepting it for myself.

I know where it comes from, having been ignored as a child as my parents served God on the mission field for the welfare of the lost. I have come to realize that my reactions are themselves an accusation that God is not able to make something from nothing and that his love has made me someone. The truth is,in me, he has made something from nothing and I am no longer invisible. He is teaching me that, as the hymn by Charles Weigle says, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there’s no other friend so kind as he, Jesus placed his strong and loving arms around me and he leads me in the way I ought to go. O how much he cares for me.”

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MY RIGHTS? HOW ABSURD!

Be angry!

And sin not! (Ephesians 4;26)

Not so easy, huh?

The basic virtue is the fear of God. This is the beginning of all wisdom and the fear of God = passionate hatred of sin and intense thirst and hunger for righteousness.

(Proverbs 1:7,Proverbs 8:13, Matthew 5:6)

I don’t know about you but every time I find myself angry, it is not sin I am hating; it is the thought that “They are stepping on one of my rights!” I often have hidden “rights” that I don’t even realize lie dormant, waiting to trigger anger, until I find myself angry. I then ask myself, “OK what is the “right” I am clinging to?” I then give that one over to God to protect and handle as he sees fit. (Luke 12:13-15)

All godliness is impossible for me. For without him I can do nothing. (John 15:5) Ishould never say, “Boy that will be hard.” No, I should say, “Boy that will be impossible for me! However, I need to do this impossible thing, so please, Lord, help me do it.” (Philipians 4:13)

Proper anger is no exception, and, because it is the foundation of the core virtue, the devil will fight against godly anger and strive to make me:

Be angry and stuff my angerr and wallow in apathy and despair. (Leviticus 19:17)

Be angry and wallow in bitterness using my review of the details of the wrong done, to justify my own sin. (Hebrews 12:15)

Be angry and drag others into my bitterness.( Hebrews 12:15)

Be angry for all the wrong reasons. (Jonah 4:9)

Be angry and attempt to injure the other. (Romans 12:19)

Be angry and let the wrong done take my focus from God. etc. etc.

How can I tell if my anger is godly or not? Well, what is the “chatter” in my head? Am I focused on the wrongdoer being the true victim of their sin? Am I concerned about their welfare and on the price they will pay if they don’t repent? Would I be angry at God if he forgave and healed and blessed them? (Search for my blog on forgiveness) Or am I focused on their trampling on one of my “rights”?

Do I think that, “at least” I have a right to my time, my money, my things, expressing my opinions, my space etc.? There are many things that I would give my life fighting to defend, such as the freedom of worship and speech. However, these are not rights, they are awesome gifts from God and are always present on this earth in limited and imperfect forms. They are not things that I deserve but are undeserved gifts, ie. grace if God.

I often ask people if they would like to live in a FAIR world where all their rights were upheld. Many foolish people raise their hands. I then ask them to close their eyes as I pray, “Father, these people would like to get exactly what they deserve right now, but if you are going to give it to them, please leave me out of it!”

They quickly pull their hands down.

True, this world if full of unfair misery. Still my life is so full of unfair love and mercy which I would never trade for getting what I think I deserve.The trouble is that it is hard for me to picture the vast debt that I owe and the vast undeserved gifts I have been given. I often acknowledge these in Sunday school class but secretly believe that “I wasn’t that bad, certainly not the chief of sinners (I Timothy 1:15, Romans 3:10) and God really got a good deal on me!”

The analogy I use to help see my debt is: Imagine I degenerated into a cold blooded murderer and thief. (Most of the Bible was written by such) and am on death row, (justifiably). On the day scheduled for my just execution I receive a pardon from the governor. As I sneak out of prison in my filthy rags having no where to go and no one to take me in, I meet the governor on the front steps. He invites me to come live at the mansion with him and his family. I get there and am offered a shower and fresh clothes and am invited to diner with the family. At diner he says that he noticed that I have no one and nothing and asks if he could legally adopt me as his son! He then points out that, even with all this, the danger is that I might slip back into my old ways and offers to keep me at his side at all times to help me in my rehab.

Now, where would there be any room for demanding rights?

There would be none, just vast room for gratitude and being kind to others who wrong me.

“Lord open my eyes to at least a tiny bit of the reality that I am the chief of sinners, forgiven, cleansed, adopted and empowered. Then help me accept the gifts you offer and act in them.”

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SIN’S FUN!

I believe that it is a mistake to suggest to our children that sin is just nasty and no fun at all. They will notice that there is a law against children drinking, having sex, smoking etc but no law against eating dirt. They will conclude that it must be because the illegal things are fun and grownups just don’t want children to have any fun. They become curious and envious, they are open to trying;they then indulge and find a huge rush of dopamine. Since it feels so good, “how can it be wrong?” Soon the pleasure is gone and the destruction sets in but they have become slaves. What did they expect? “Know ye not that to whom you yield your body members slaves to obey, that is whom you will become enslaved to? Romans 6:16 As a result these poisons are creeping their way into younger and younger ages.

The scriptures say that Moses gave up the “pleasures” of sin because they are just “for a season”. He chose instead the reproach of Christ, keeping his eye on the future reward and on “the invisible one” that he walked and talked with. Hebrews 11:23

Sin is fun, and the fun is often intense and immediate. Godliness is not as strong at releasing dopamine but it does not burn out the reward system and it produces pleasure that is deep and lasting and “addeth no sorrow with it” Proverbs 10:22. In fact anything that releases too much dopamine too rapidly will first imprint the urge centers of the brain to seek more and then burn out the reward system leaving the urge system miserably intact. We find ourselves doing what we really don’t want to and which brings no reward and much emptiness but can’t quit. Romans 6. God wants us to do all things with moderation. Philippians 4:5 God wants us to do all things for the “end” goal of pleasing him and never as an end in themselves. The end of everything must be a closer relationship with Jesus, a better understanding of Jesus, and life forever with Jesus the alpha and omega of all, the author and finisher of our faith.

What about enjoying the intense pleasures of sin and then, when burned out, giving my burned out husk to God,the “big spoil-sport in the sky”, or even trying to indulge in sin but planning to quit before I get too damaged,?” The problem with this plan is that all sin causes damage and pain far beyond any “gain” from the pleasure and even the pleasure is mitigated by a sense of empty hollowness. Then when if I repent and return to godly obedience I find it robbed of it’s ability to reward because my brain is comparing it with the original pleasure surge of sin. We used to tell drug and alcohol addicts to, “Get high on life”. NO! All getting high causes damage. I need to get satisfied, strengthened, filled with peace and inner contentment. Having food and clothes to be content. 1Timothy 6:8

God’s ways are not as dramatic but they are real, solid, and in the end much more intense and never damaging and last forever. When we wait till marriage to imprint on one spouse as a spouse and all other women are mothers sisters and daughters or on men other than our husband as fathers brothers and sons, then when we are intimate with the God given partner we can experience deep pleasure with bonding and spiritual wholeness not superficiality and spiritual deadening. 1 Timothy 5:2 The same is true for our experience of food, nature, sports, clothing, travel or any other pleasure. Used according to God’s design they are to be enjoyed but not indulged in.

“Lord help me to see the adder in the bottom of the wine glass and not be enticed by the smell and taste of the wine!” Proverbs 23:31

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WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WHAT DO I WANT?

A blind man came to Jesus and Jesus asked him what he wanted. Sounds like a dumb question right? The man was blind. However maybe it isn’t such a dumb question. Luke 18:41

Deep in my heart are desires that I am not entirely aware of and that ultimately control my motivation, drive and gratitude. I need to be careful because if I keep wanting what is bad for me, God may give it to me as punishment to wake me up. Psalm 106:15

I need grace to openly figure out what I want, see if it conforms to God’s desires (do I want to look good to others, be comfortable, live a pain and trouble free life, have power, drown in fun, get others to do my work for me, etc.) and then ask God for what I truly need. See the poem by an anonymous Civil War Soldier:

“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve, I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of others, I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.,
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life, I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for — but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I among all people, most richly blessed.”

God knows what I need even before I ask , Matthew 6:8, but like any good parent, he still wants me to ask and let him decide what is best. This both tests my faith to openly rely on God when I can not see the answer and it encourages my humility by openly acknowledging that I have a need that I can not meet and that he is wiser than I and it might even be best if he said, “No.”

Like the humble man who said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” I need to say, “Lord my desires are confused and often contrary to yours but give me what I need and help me to reprogram my heart to be after your own heart. I Samuel 13:14

Sometimes I really just want to circle endlessly on the details of the unfix-able problem. In Philippians 4:6 he tells me to cut it out and with prayer and supplication bring the problem to him, thanking him for what he will do. I am to make “my requests” known to God. Then I am to cast my fear on him remembering that he exists and does care for me.

The last thing in my brain to become aware of what I am doing, is my “logical” cortex. / The inner chatter (heart) and inner desires (what I secretly want and hope will happen) need to be clarified to myself since they are the “boss” but I am either not aware of them or by the time I realize it I have already done the preprogrammed “old nature” response. My brain needs to be reprogrammed because it is out of the heart that deeds will arise.

I need to pray with the psalmist, “Search me O God and know my anxious thoughts and lead me in new ways” Psalm 139:23 I remember one man who struggled with lust and on the surface begged God to take it away. One day he was taking a shower and heard God reply, “But you like your lust problem and would be mad at me if I took it away.”

I can immediately start to catch myself by being more mindful and humbly admitting the times, places, people, emotional states, and triggers that are connected with my screwing up. I can predict these and catch myself and give the Holy Spirit credit for helping me catch myself. I need to be patient because it takes about 3 months for me to reprogram my inner thoughts and desires. Pretty much I need to desire God himself, then he will give me what I desire–himself. Psalm 37:4 All other desires lead to frustration. Matthew 6:33 I need to seek first the kingdom of God.

My experience is that 95 percent of people who would claim to be godly will assure me that the desires of their heart are all pure and fit with the Bible. However, I have found that when I look at God’s ways and am honest with my true response to the thought of applying them, I am sure that I will lose all, be ridiculed, just mess it up because it is impossible, don’t really want to, and it all seems crazy and unfair. Besides I am just not strong enough. If I then take my true inner feelings and thoughts to God and acknowledge them, he helps me obey anyhow. My guess is about 5 percent are enough aware of their heart to get help reprogramming it. God won’t fix my heart if I insist that it is OK.

Lord part of me is hesitant to obey and part of me knows that my way will not work so use my obedience in spite of my inner struggle and help me with my struggle. Like Jonah, God can use my bad attitude obedience and even help me with my bad attitude.

The devil will say that bad attitude obedience is hypocrisy. NO! Hypocrisy is obeying even though I don’t believe it to be right but I see it as having secondary gain for me. Obedience: doing what is right because God said it / no matter what my inner self is chattering on about. Read Matthew 21:30 about the bad attitude obey-er who did the will of his father.

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FORGIVENESS: What it DOES and DOES NOT mean.

FORGIVENESS DOES MEAN THAT I:

Do not let what others or life has done to me control me, shut me down to new truth and ministry or become an excuse to sin. (I need to remember that knowing to do good and not doing it because I have been trampled on–is sin)
Forgiveness is a gift God enables me to give myself,, freeing me from the weight and damage of bitterness.
Forgiving others allows me to freely accept the forgiveness from God that I so desperately need. I no longer need bitterness to balance and ignore my own guilt.
I will be blessed in exact proportion to how enthusiastically I do my part, remembering that only God can forgive the offender but I have a part in responding to having been hurt. Luke 6:38

  1. I Thank God for his intentions in letting it happen and ask for grace and wisdom to have a godly response, turning the other’s sin into my opportunity for blessing. Ephesians 5:20 I am to give thanks always for everything!
  2. Work to not take it personal even though it feels very personal, it was actually against God not against me. I need to beg God to have mercy on them and take the role of Moses standing between the rebellious people and the God who wanted to obliterate them. Exodus 32:9-14, 31-33 David’s sin with Bathsheba and killing her husband was against God alone! Psalm 51:4 The prodigal son stole his father’s money and love and said, “Father I have sinned against Heaven and in front of you. Luke 15:14 God reminds Samuel who is taking it personal that the people want a king not a prophet. “Samuel, they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
  3. Remember that they are the victim of their sin and will surely pay unless they repent. I must pray for them that despitefully use me, “Father forgive them because they don’t really understand what they are doing.” I must pray this even when my inner chatter screams, “They do too know what they were doing and did it on purpose!” Luke 23:34 Then, for their sakes, I need to ask God to open their eyes and let them have light and turn from darkness and from the power of Satan unto God so that they may be forgiven. Acts 26:18
  4. God often uses trials to open their eyes and I need to not gloat, Proverbs 24:17-18 and to stand ready to minister to their need and share that I am in no position to judge since I am the chief of sinners. 2Corinthians 2:7 I am to comfort them so that they are more open to “better not bitter.”
  5. Bless them, find something good to tell them and others about them. No gossiping! Leviticus 9:17
  6. Ask God to show me ways to do them good so they will know that I am not their enemy and will be more open to self examination, repent to God and re-establish relationship with me. Romans 12:20
    6.Humbly admit that I might be misunderstanding or exaggerating their wrong and minimizing my part. Matthew 18:15-17, Leviticus 19:17 “No stuffing it! No discussing it with everyone but the offender! Go to them one on one and check to see if I got it right, they might not have realized and might be willing to apologize. If that doesn‘t work, take a neutral person to hear both sides. If we still think they are wrong we may still have it wrong ourselves, so go to the church elders. If the other still won’t repent and the elders say I have a case–set limits as a church. ( Always set limits for the offender’s benefit, i.e. Turn them over to Satan to make their body miserable and save their soul. I Corinthians 5:5)( Jesus refers to confronting offenders as the most important example of “Love my neighbor as myself.) Leviticus 19:16-18
  7. Humbly ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart and see if I am actually suffering from bad attitude and delivery even though I know that I am correct. Daniel purposed in his heart to do it God’s way not the boss’s way but then he appealed and saved his neck. (See my tool blog on the Appeal) Daniel 1:8
  8. I need to find healing for my own pain and let God bring good from evil and let grace even more abound by: 2Corinthians 1:4 let God comfort me and then comfort others by pointing to God. Working to prevent others from being hurt the same way.
    9.Take a small and growing risk on relationship, if I see true repentance. (See my tool on godly apology) I am to forgive pressed down, heaped up and running over and when they slip–I have done so over and over–I am to get up and try to rebuild relationship again. Matthew 8:22/ Luke 6:38
  9. I need to see suffering in a new way. Suffering is inevitable to godly people, “All who live godly will suffer”. I am not to see fiery trials as unusual I Peter 4:12-14 For it is a gift to me to not only believe on Jesus Christ but also to suffer for his sake, Philuppians 1:29 filling up in my body what Jesus got himself into when he went to the cross knowing Colossians 1:24 that if I suffer with his I will also reign with him. 2 Timothy 2:12, and 3:12

FORGIVENESS

DOES NOT MEAN:

  1. Not having scars: When we see Jesus in heaven he will be proudly wearing the scars he earned on the cross. John 20:27
  2. Having no feelings: Paul felt such intense sorrow over the sin of his people that he felt heavy and would have given his own soul to see them saved. Remember that hating sin is the basic virtue but not hating the sinner. I should carry a burden for the sinner. Proverbs 8:13
  3. Acting like nothing happened. Paul would not take Mark on another journey because he had not repented for his abandoning them on the previous. Later when Mark repented and changed, Paul found him a valuable co-worker.Acts 15:39, 2 Timothy 4:11
  4. Not setting limits/consequences: I Corinthians 5:5 Paul commands that the church turn the unrepentant sinner over to Satan himself so the Satan can plague his flesh in the hopes his soul will be saved. Matthew 18:17 In 2 Samuel 12:10-14 God spells out the consequences that came to David even after he repented. When the Israelites said they were sorry for not going into the promised land and that they would go now—God said “No, you will all die in the desert but I will feed, clothe and protect you and lead your children in.” Numbers 14:39-45. Above all we need to protect children and weak people from being hurt again.
  5. Taking unreasonable risks: We are not to “cast our pearls to pigs” and if people will not receive us we are to move on.
  6. Taking away their guilt before God. If they ask your forgiveness, do urge them to identify the inner reason that they did what they did and urge them to ask God for help with that.
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LOOKING FOR SANITY? THAT’S INSANE!

I think that the problem starts with assuming that, “Well, I am perfectly sane and those people don’t agree with me so they must be insane.” The truth is that we are all, naturally insane! So why do we whine about human beings doing insane things? What else could they do! Insane people do and think insane things.

Hopefully you can see the flaw in that reasoning. Of course, it is the assumption that I can trust my own reasoning. In Isaiah 55 God tells me to let go of my thoughts and seek the Lord’s thoughts if I want to do well because: my thoughts are not the same at all. He then reached for an analogy as to the enormous difference between his thinking and mine. He came up with my thoughts are like walking around on the earth while his are even higher than traveling the whole universe. As an amateur astronomer, I can see that his thoughts are way way beyond mine.

Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on Pexels.com

The problem is that my thoughts “feel” so logical. Our brains do not naturally question their own perception. In Proverbs 14:12, (And just to make sure I get it he repeats himself in Proverbs 16:25) God warns me that certain approaches to life seem right to me but lead to death. I am told in Proverbs 3:5 that I can’t both lean on my own faulty view of things and trust in the Lord at the same time. Jeremiah 9:23 God warns me,” don’t glory in your wisdom but use your brain to know and understand me.”

I might even experience my surface thinking to be all fluffy good kind and nice but the really important thoughts are the inner imaginations the mumbling heart thoughts that rumble below the surface; the “yes but” responses to God’s thoughts, the things that I fantasize and imagine, Genesis 6:5. ALL scripture will reprove me, according to 2 Timothy 3:16, so if I read it and it does not point out that my way is crazy and needs to change and grow—then I did not pay attention. Having brain to think I do not think, because who wants to see that they can’t even trust their own brain?

So is there a problem with getting educated? God tells me that by itself gathering knowledge and thinking skills (Knowledge) that are not leading to seeing things his way and knowing him more intimately, (Wisdom) just puffs me up. I Corinthians 8:1 Though I speak more eloquently than an angel it is just an irritating clanging in his ears without love. I could understand all mysteries and know everything and be able to teach others but it is pointless without Agape–my love to God and the love of God in me and through me to others. It is worth noting that our young churched people go off to college and abandon God and his ways because they are blinded by the brilliant fools, Psalm 53:1, who spout beautiful lies. Saint Augustine 1700 years ago pointed out that just because someone is eloquent and personable does not mean they are correct. However young people do not want to be Berean and check things out with God and his word, no they want to be the boss of their own life and the professors spouting that life makes sense without God give them permission to indulge their lusts for control power and sex. 2 Peter 3:3

So what is the answer? I need to ask for God to make me humble, ie. to see my intense insanity,( The higher one’s IQ the greater the insanity–unless God intervenes) and to see my worth and dignity and the enormous privilege of being helped to see as he sees. I Chronicles 28:9 For the Lord searches my heart and understands all the imaginations of my thoughts but if I seek him to know him and use my brain to marvel at his wisdom, then he will be found. Proverbs 3: 6 In every single thing that I do my object, my goal must be to get to know Jesus personally and then he will direct my paths. Psalm 139:23,24 “Search me, O God, and know my inner chatter: check me out and see my thoughts for you look on the heart not the outside and see all the wicked ways in me and then lead me out into your light!”

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IS JESUS IS A DEMOCRINE or a REPUBLICRAT?

He sure is not one or the other. I love it when Joshua meets the pre-incarnate Jesus, (This is when everyone else falls on their face and Jesus has to say, “Don’t worry I love you get up”) Not Joshua, he wants to know who’s side Jesus is on. I love the Lord’s reply, “Why I am on my side of course. Joshua 5:13,14 Then Joshua fell on his face and worshiped.

We get so worried about the politics as if any power comes into existence without God knowing and allowing it. Romans 13:1

God clearly wants us to care for the poor and needy which is what the Democrats claim that they want. He tells us that if we have two coats then share one and don’t tell a starving person, “God bless you” and not help them get something to eat. He was always healing the sick and feeding the hungry but he knew that this would not really help unless they dealt with their sin and accepted the gospel. Luke 7:22 Tell John the baptist that too the poor the good news is being preached and oh, by the way, blind, lame, deaf and dead people’s needs are being met also.

And how does he tell us to evaluate if someone is really needy? Well a widow should be taken care of by the church unless she has family. Even if she has a nephew, he should take care of her first. Also, while being provided for she should spend her time in ministry and prayer. I Timothy 5 :4

As is always the case, we humans get everything backwards! His ways are really not our ways. The Democrats go to the weak, poor and needy and say, “Trust us you deserve to be cared for without being expected to do anything in return. We will take other people’s money and give it to you because you are a poor victim. They should be talking to those with resources to help out and talking to the “victims” to do their part as well.

The Republicans should be talking to themselves to be more grateful and to really care about the needy. Instead they tend to say “those people are just lazy, they should get it the way I did, I did it myself. I thank God I am not like those lazy people and now I have enough so eat drink and be merry.” Luke 12:19, Luke 18:11, I Timothy 6:17,18, Charge those who have this worlds goods to first make sure not to feel superior, next to never trust in the things that you have or in your money but trust in God from whom true riches come, next they should do good works and to joyously and freely give to those in need both things and friendship.I John 3:17,18, Don’t let your good intentions be all words but let them become actions and in truth. If the love of God dwells in us we can’t help but help others. If I don’t feel a burden for the needy and claim I am full of God’s love–I lie” James 2:15-17 Comforting words are useless if not accompanied with practical actions. Without faith it is impossible to please God and faith always results in practical actions when there are needy people around.

God wants us to share with the needy but not in such a way that it makes them slaves of the government and unable to care for themselves. Guess what? Walking the tightrope of a godly response to life requires keeping my focus on the Lord and asking for guidance and self-examination. We would rather point fingers blame and give up rather than ask God what he is up to in giving us the leaders that we have.

As for me, due to the offering their babies to the no-god Molech in the name of babies are a hardship rather than a blessing, I am more a Republicrat against abortion but for practical help to help people help themselves.

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AND SO HE GIVES HIS BELOVED SLEEP

Psalm 127 says that there is no point to doing anything if God is not in it and if he did not ask me to do it. However, if he is in it, I need to get up at a reasonable time–enjoy my labor–quit when it is time to quit–and get a good nights’ sleep. Then I can take on tough jobs such as raising children.

Does this mean that if I can’t sleep then I am not resting in the Lord as well as those who can sleep? No, there are a lot of contributions from inherited problems to medical problems to legitimate high stress level to environmental contributions. Besides, yelling at myself for not sleeping is the best way to not sleep.

If you can’t sleep the first thing is to research healthy sleep habits:

1. Always start by thanking God for your problem with sleep. You are in good company.For example, king David did not sleep well.

2. Get up at the same time each day no matter when you go to sleep.

3. For an hour before bedtime have daily habits which signal your brain that you are preparing for sleep. These should be calming and Psalms 4 suggests that reviewing the day to give God thanks for what he has given you, enabled you to do, people he has worked through and in, new insight into how skillfully he has designed you, “accidents” he has arraigned to aid you and show you how much he is involved with you.

4. Psalm 5:1-3 As you drop off, promise God that the first thing he will hear from you in the morning is thanks that you are already dead to sin and alive to him and look forward to walking the day in his strength. If you just can’t quit worrying and reviewing negatives, work with a counselor to improve your ability to rest in the Lord.

5. No electronic devices unless you are wearing blue blocking glasses. The blue light in the devices signal the supra-chiasmic nucleus that it is high noon and you shouldn’t go to sleep. Your brain will not put out any melatonin if there is blue light hitting your eyes.

6. Focus on things calming and fairly “useless”. If you get a lot done by staying up too late, your mind will think that that is a good thing to repeat. The exception is reading the Bible or prayer. Psalm 42:8 119:148. Read things that are funny or interesting. Don’t do heavy exercising during this hour.If you do that, the devil will put you to sleep. Psalm 127 says, if God isn’t in it why do it and if he is, get up at a reasonable time, enjoy your work and quit when it is time to quit and get a good sleep.

7. Take care of distractions. When I lived in Alaska and had almost 24 hour sunlight, I covered the windows with aluminum foil and ran a fan to cover the noises of children playing outside at 2 am.

8.Most people go to sleep best in a cool room.

9. Don’t eat anything during this time. It may help you feel sleepy but then wake you up with heartburn during the night.

10. If you try to sleep and can’t, then get up after 15-20 min and go into another room and pray, read the Bible or read neutral things. If you stay and toss and turn, your brain will register that the bedroom is the toss and turn room and not the sleep room.

11. Never discuss or argue about anything with your spouse just before bed. (Subconsciously, some people pick a fight at the end of the day so that the other person will give in, in order to get some sleep.) Sometimes an important issue does pop up at this time and you are worried that it will be forgotten or swept under the rug if not dealt with then. Have a “Problem solving teamwork” book and write down the issue in it and set an hour each week in which to open the book and work to figure out A. Both peoples needs and B. How to include both people’s ideas about how to handle the situation. (Remember that if either of you “wins” you both lose because the “solution” will not work!)

12. Set an alarm you can trust and do not have a clock in the bedroom to stare at.

13. There are no proven herbals but it is OK to try teas. Just remember that most things need an hour to do anything.

14. There are NO really good medications but some are worth a try:

15. Melatonin works well for resetting the clock in your head if you travel to other time zones or if you sleep 8 hours but can’t get to sleep. Take the melatonin about an hour before you would like to go to sleep and it will over about 2 weeks slowly pull the sleep time back to the time you want. About one in ten take it and feel sleepy an hour later. Then about half will find gradual benefit after 2 weeks. Old people have trouble making enough and worry-worts use it up during the day trying to calm down. These have to replenish the supply in the brain. Never go over 10 mg as it can backfire and cause side effects. Long term use in children is not a good idea as melatonin is a hormone and no one knows what it might do to children who are growing and have crazy hormones to start with.

16. It is important to be aware that sleep oriented Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to work even better than medications.

17. If the above program does not work: try Trazodone 50-150 mg and hour before bed with melatonin. This is not addicting and should work long term if it works at all. Do not go over 150 mg or it will alert the rest of the brain and keep you up.

18. Restoril/ Temazepam works but often quits after 3 months. It activates the GABBA system in your brain which is calming. Of course, casting all your cares on God will lead to the same things but takes months to reprogram our ability to let go of worry.

19. Over the counter preparations usually have diphenhydramine in them which is fine for a day or two once in a while but usually quits after a week.

20. Zolpidem works and works fast and does not seem to quit but can cause sleep walking and seems to have thinking problems if used long term. The ordinary type only lasts 4 hours, so for middle of the night sleep you would need the long acting.

21. A great technique for middle of the night awakening is to take doxepin 10mg and dissolve the contents of the capsule and take 1/3 or about 3 mg an hour before bed but no more than three per week or it will quit.

22. Antidepressants can help with sleep as can dopamine 2 blockers but these are serious medications and should probably not be used just for sleep. However, if they treat an underlying psychiatric condition, that would help with sleep.

23. If there is a medical reason such as sleep apnea or high thyroid these must be checked out so the bottom line talk to your doctor and maybe get a referral to a sleep clinic.