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SICK PEOPLE NEED DOCTORS

Its me! It’s me! It’s me! Dear Great Physician standing in the need of help!

Did you know that one quarter of the new testament was written by a physician? Jesus himself claimed to be a physician. In Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17 and Luke 5:31 he says: “Don’t you realize that well people don’t need a physician but sick people do?” This was in response to his being criticized for reaching out (as a physician) to obviously needy people who admitted their own need.

Did he imply that the Pharisees were healthier and did not need a physician?

I have often suggested that there are only three types of people in this world

1. Messed up people who don’t believe that they are messed up.

2. Messed up people who admit they are messed up but have given up and feel too damaged to bother trying to change.

3. Messed up people who admit that they are messed up but have a sense of hope and dignity and reach out to the “physician” for help in changing and are a little less messed up and getting better all the time.

I found that you can ask almost anybody whether they want to grow and be happier and healthier, and they will all agree that that would be good.// However I have found that God does not help people who just want to grow and be healthier and happier. Sure when he was on earth his valuable time was constantly being eaten up by people demanding to be healed physically. He tried to avoid this by telling those he healed, not to tell anyone so that he would have time and energy to teach us about the real need: dealing with our sin.

God helps people who, number one, identify their own inner responses to life as what needs to change, people who want to change in order to help others and who are desperate for that change.

Do you often feel that you are just the worst ever, too much water under the bridge, too messed up for God to use? Then you are God’s type of guy! As a physician I take an almost perverse delight in the real tough cases that are going to stretch me and held me prove that I am a good doctor. I love to appeal to God on the basis of all the glory he will get when he fixes a mess such as I.

Do you wish that you could help the needy people around you more effectively? Then you’re gods type of guy!

Do you feel desperate that something has to change? Then you are God’s type of guy!

“Great physician, like Isaiah, (Isaiah 6:5) In your presence I see my need for I am a man of unclean lips and dwell amongst a people of unclean lips. Please cleanse me with your purifying fire and then let me go for you into this needy world to bring the healing you want to bring.”

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WEAPON CHECK

I Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

What are my weapons?

First: watch for the ambushes and hiding places of the devil. Remember that he can present as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Don’t let the devil take advantage of you: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Ephesians 6;7-20

Take the whole armor of God.

How do I put them on?– Each morning remind myself that I have them.

Are they sharp?– Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to revel more and more about them.

How is my skill at wielding them? — Keep track each evening of the devil’s attacks that day and how God helped me and what I did to fight back.

Now don’t just defend–attack!–Add to my list of people to pray for and songs to sing and verses to quote.

The Bible says that the weapons of my warfare are mighty that when I attack the gates of Hell, they will crumble; then my weapons will tear down the devil’s strongholds; that, when I resist, the devil will flee!

In Revelation12:11 Overcome the devil with the word of your testimony, the blood of the lamb and not being afraid of death.

A: The word of my testimony. What is it that I need to testify to?” Hey devil, I have been saved from sin unto life eternal. . I wear the righteousness of Christ himself. I carry around with me TRUTH and I find in the word of God truth that is practical for reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, purification and ministry. I am at peace with God and can tell others how to find this peace for themselves. So Hah!”

B. The blood of the lamb. I need to remind myself and the devil to “take it up with Jesus” When he accuses me and plants doubts (part of his job description that he does especially well) doubts that I am unable and unworthy, I reply, “Yes, I see where you are coming from but Jesus does not agree with you so go argue with him! How do I know? By faith he has recently helped me (Do, minister, obey, grow, rest, learn etc.). These faith actions come from him and he has the stamina to keep it up in my yielded body. He is the author and finisher of my faith. I have been bought with his blood and belong to him. So hah!” (Shield of faith)

C. Remind myself and the devil, “You can’t scare me. What can you do? Torture me slowly to death? Well, yeah. Make me look like a fool? Block me from opportunities to minister? But then what? I go to heaven and find greater treasure awaiting me. Yes I do worry that under your torture I might betray Christ, but he promises me to never leave me nor forsake me. He promises that nothing you can do can force me to sin. So hah! Go ahead threaten me with heaven and treasure!”

D. Counter attack! “Hah! Mr. devil, just for attacking me, I am going to pray for: my pastor, family members, the church, my country, missionaries etc. I am going to call someone and encourage them in the Lord. I am going to write a letter of gratitude to someone. I am going to meditate on my favorite Bible passages. I am going to tell fellow believers what God is doing in my life. I am going to ask for their prayers and wisdom and support. And, most of all, I am going to sing and make a joyful noise to the Lord. So take that and that and that!” (Sword of the spirit)

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I SEE YOU!

Remember to run every verse through you emotional response to the reality it expresses.
I God see you! Everywhere and anytime–there I am watching you!

Well, how do you feel about being watched at all time? ( Ps: don’t mention this to your psychiatrist, they may freak. )

Hopefully you feel comforted that there is no place or circumstance where you might be abandoned. Frankly there are times when I forget that He is watching me both for me to reach out to for support and for me to reach out to in order to resist sin.

Men love darkness, to not be seen so that they can sin freely. They think, “What they don’t know cant hurt them or me. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas”. But God sees them.

One court standard of accountability is , “If a policeman was standing there would you have done that?” If you would have stopped then the court considers you guilty. Even if there was no policeman, you should have refrained. Well I have a loving policeman watching all that I do and wanting to be a part of all I do. I need to act accordingly.

God often uses friends at church, family members and even enemies to remind us that we are seen, in order to help us stay on track. It seems that no matter where I am, someone comes up to me and says “Hey, you must be Dr. Bell, right?” I can tell you that that is helpful at keeping me in line.

We have a need not only to be held accountable but to have others “see” us without our cover ups; see the good and the bad, and like us anyways. I remember in the hospital when we had people go to group without all their layers of makeup and how vulnerable they were. Still we have a deep longing to be seen and loved anyways. I think this is what family is for, in part, to grant us the comfort of being seen fully and loved anyways. This helps us picture that Jesus sees and loves even me! If no one grants us the comfort of acceptance, or if they only like the surface me and reject the whole, still it is enough that Jesus sees all about me and loves me anyways.

Lord thank you for being the EL ROI who sees me and likes me anyhow and hope for my future and delights in my design.

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ME, and GOD’S PLAN Z

God had a great plan A. He would make a beautiful garden and Adam and Eve would stay away from the tree and we would all live happily ever after.

Then came plan B: get thrown out of the garden and live by the sweat of your brow and have babies the hard way. He had to post a terrifying angel to guard the garden lest they try to go back to plan A. But plan B had a “HUGH” promise in it. The promise of the coming Jesus. Now all they had to do was get back on track and work hard and walk plan B with God. But No! everyone began to prey on everyone instead of everyone praying to God for everyone. So plan C Noah! But things went bad pretty soon and everyone was going bad again. So plan D: start a separate nation to teach the rest of the world about God. But No! They kept it to themselves and took up a bunch of demon gods. So plan E: have the tribe of Levi specialize in worshiping God and help the others stay in line.

Well, you get the picture. The good news is that God can take my current moment that is bent and twisted from his original plan by the millions of sin choices between then and now and he can come up with a ZZZ to the millionth plan. This plan will be awesome at proving God’s patience and love and where sin has abounded his grace will even more abound.

For the new plan to work, I must get my eye off of what could have been and embrace the new plan. Remember Lot’s wife? The new plan will have difficulties and losses calculated to teach me to hate sin and hunger for righteousness. It will also come with even more of his willingness to get “down and dirty” with me and walk the consequences with me. It will not be enough for me to “put up with the consequences that I have pulled on my head. I must rejoice in the consequences, Leviticus 26:40 for he whom the father loves//he punishes. Hebrews 12:6 Then God will meet me in the new plan and walk it with me for my benefit and his glory.

Some might even say “let me sin more abundantly because when I sin, he pours out grace to make the new plan work and gets glory from doing so. Therefore it is good to sin! God forbid! Plan A is always the best. Remember now your creator in the days of your youth.

I remember thinking that I would never make much of an evangelist because you have to have a sordid story of debauchery that is turned around by God before people will be impressed by God’s work. Trust me, all of our stories are sordid enough and impossible enough to bring God glory.

Others think that because they are so far from the original plan that God can’t use them. Too much water under the bridge. If we learn anything from the Bible it is that God is great at “making something of this mess too, if I will just let him do so.”

So Lord thank you for coming up with new plans but help me to stick with this one and revel in it together with you.

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SHAKY FAITH? OBEDIENCE STILL COUNTS

One of the many paradoxes of the Biblical walk is, the need to “shoot for the stars and feel good if you get to the treetops”.

In shooting for the stars God says that I should be as perfect as he is perfect. Even if I read the word “perfect” as “mature” it is still a tall order for me to be as mature as God is mature. Still way beyond my reach.

The easy mistake is to water down his rules to versions that I think that I can accomplish. I replace the word impossible with difficult and then try to reach that so that I can take credit and compare with others and feel in control.

A Christian should never say “difficult” but rather “impossible”. We divide things into what I can handle and what I can’t. The Bible says that without Christ I can do nothing so where is the divide? In even the smallest tasks I need to pray the three fold reminder, (Lord I can’t-help/ but you can-thanks,/I need to move my body parts in accordance to a growing picture of God’s ways in action–so show me how you want me to act.)

The other mistake is to leave God’s rules where they belong–in the impossible category, and then not even try to obey.

No I must obey and try the impossible and see it’s value despite its feebleness and imperfections. Because, when I try, God meets me there and adds his power to my efforts to accomplish the impossible.

The purpose of “Spiritual perfectionism” is to keep me from doing anything in my own strength or by my lonesome self. Instead I need to do all things as “fellow” laborer together with Christ, fellow soldiering along, fellow suffering the wrath of the world and finally fellow enjoyer of eternal blessedness in heaven.

Remember when the early believers prayed and Peter was released from the impossible prison? Remember how shocked they were that their prayers had been heard? Well that is how I feel every time that I do anything because of the foolish feeling that I have to generate some “faith” before God’s strength kicks in. The mere act of praying and testifying and teaching is what faith is all about.

Dear Lord help me to step out and try the impossible and please add your power to my feeble efforts.

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POOR ME! I’M THE ONLY ONE

It seems that we have two choices in life: to give up my unique personality and gifts and “fit in” or to be who God designed and intended me to be and not “fit in”. Then when the inevitable struggles of life pop up I think, like Elijah, “Poor me I’m the only one. I’m out here all alone and no one understands me.” Well, frankly I don’t understand me either. Why do I tend to do what I don’t really want to do and know it is not in my own best interest and do not consistently do what I know would be healthy and proper? And, “all alone?” Ultimately I belong to a large group of people who are living the uniqueness of their God design, so how can I be alone in so large a group? The Lord said to Elijah, “What are you doing here sulking in the middle of nowhere? Get up and listen to my still small voice. I have over 7000 that have not bowed the knee to Baal. Now go for me and get to work. I Kings 19:14-18 Romans 11:4

Which picture is more beautiful? A 150 lb. eyeball or 150 lbs of body pieces fitted together and working together in a living human body? 150 lbs of unique body parts divided and scattered around the room, or those same parts together accepting each other, guarding each other’s dignity and affirming each other’s worth? I Corinthians 12:17 God wants us to delight in each other’s differences and to give and receive from each others gifts. No comparing! The Bible says all comparing is foolishness. 2 Corinthians 10:12

I have learned and continue to learn to delight in my unique design, to delight in others unique design and try to give and receive in a united body of unique people. This often leaves me standing alone because so many people want to “fit in” by suppressing their special gifts and they find my stance to be frightening. They do not realize that they are rebelling against God’s right to design some clay pots this way and some that way.

“Lord, thank you for: how old I am, my gender, my family of origin, my height, my IQ, my time in history, my appearance, my personality, my gifts, in fact for all the unchangeable things that make me unique, make me stand out, and make me useful to you and others.

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UNDER HIS WINGS

Matthew 23:27/Luke 13:34 How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

Dear, dear, Lord, what have you done?

A brand new life you’ve just begun.

You gave this life eternity,

then gave it’s first few steps to me!

For such a task, I don’t feel fit.

I know I”m just not up to it.

I stumble on my rambling way,

and seldom find the words to say.

If, with just me, I muddle through,

how will I ever manage two?

Another soul to bless and guide,

to teach and cheer and walk beside.

To be a mother brave and strong

I’d need your strength the whole day long.

Oh right! I see what you’re up to!

You want me to rely on you,

to step aside and let you be:

MOM, TO BOTH MY CHILD AND ME

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TRANSITIONAL GENERATION? HOW UNFAIR!

Is it reasonable for God to expect me to give when I was not given to? To give when there is no likelihood of receiving in return or even being appreciated for having given?

YES!

First: ” This is the example of what love (Agape) is, that when I was his enemy Jesus died for me! I John 4:10, Romans 5:8

Second: I am told that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Third: My reward is from the Lord not from the person I am ministering to and the Lord’s rewards are great. Also, I am his child and like all children, I am trying to copy my Daddy, My Daddy is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil, sending his rain and sunshine on both. Luke 6:32-38

I have often found myself in a situation of trying to give my children what I never was given. This is hard because, in the very giving, I am reminder of what I lost out on and how sweet it would have been. Also it is a struggle because I do not have a clear experiential picture of how to do it. Still, would I want to ignore my children because I was ignored? NO! It is a blessing from the Lord to find grace to give.

I have also found that when I give time and love and guidance to my children, they seem to take it for granted and do not realize how hard it is.

I also found that when I was not able to involve my children in a healthy relationship with their grandparents and uncles and aunts because my family was not safe or interensted; that it is hard for them to relate to me as a grandparent as fully as I might wish.

Still, if my goal is to be like Jesus, his example is definitely to being treated “unfairly”. He gives even when there is not likelihood of return.

I need to bear in mind that my “paycheck” comes from the Lord and I will never outgive him. He will never wind up owing me. If I was hired to spy on a fast food place for another company and went to work at minimum wage at the fast food, but was paid $50 an hour from the other company; I wouldn’t complain if my fast food check was low. Colossians 3:23,24

I need to remember that each generation will be rewarded or judged on it’s own choice to follow God, or not. I can not get off the hook just because the last generation did not do it’s part, or the next generation takes it for granted. The, “cards dealt out to me” are from the Lord and include the family and time I was born into. Even if they meant them for evil, my Lord means it for good.

Lord, thank you for the inequities of life. Help me to walk them with you so that you may bring the good you intended from them to fashion me into your image and give me compassion for others.

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BE A BOTHER, PLEASE!

It is worth noting that most prayers in the Bible are “supplications”. They are “bothering God” for our needs.

I have seen a lot of trouble caused over to years by people who, “don’t want to be a bother.” (Including myself) We don’t ask for their needs to be met, but then feel hurt that others don’t just see and meet the need.

If the other person is a servant who loves to meet expressed needs, the joy of giving is often ruined if we do not ask for what we want.

What are some reasons that I am hesitant to ask? Why does God have to tell me over and over, ASK? Maybe I believe that letting the other know that their help is really appreciated, would put pressure on that person to have to do it again, and I don’t want to be a bother.

Isn’t it good to not bother others? No, it makes it hard for those caring for us to know what we do or do not want. Then when my unspoken needs are not met, it is easy to store up hurt and let it eventually explode. The other person realizes that they have been doing the irritating thing all along and not realizing it, or not doing the helpful thing and not realizing that it was needed. Now, all of a sudden it comes out. The giving person wonders what else they might be doing or not doing that will come out down the line. They find themselves walking on eggshells or just giving up on the relationship. Then the person who did not want to be a bother thinks, “See ,when I speak up for myself I just get abandoned.” However if they had asked for their needs all along the relationship would have been fine.

God says: “Ask and it shall be given unto you seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened unto you. Luke 11:9/Matthew 7:7 Jesus is willing to be a good example by knocking on our hearts door. Revelation 3:20 God told king Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refused because he did not want to “test” the Lord. But God had asked him to ask so not asking was disobedience. I must learn to please, bother the Lord with my needs and even ask others.

Not wanting to be a bother feels like a real humble thing but it is actually a judgement of the other person. It is to judge that they would find a request from you to be a bother. Presumably the need is not ridiculous so, if the other person were to be bothered it would mean that they are judgemental or uncaring.

The truth is that we are terrified that we might ask and be turned down and that would be a real blow to our sense of worth. It is a risk to “be a bother” but the risk is worth it. If the response is negative, then at least you have clarified that the relationship is unhealthy and that is worth knowing. If you don’t ask and the response would have been positive then you lose out on the opportunity to build relationship and bring meaning to the other person.

It has been my experience that most of the times that I ask others for help, they say no or just ignore me. I sometimes feel the Lord is like them, that he is too busy to be bothered with me and my needs. After all he is taken up with helping all the other more worthy people, that my needs would just be a bother and I should deal with them myself.. I know where this comes from, because as a child my earthly father was too busy as a missionary to meet my needs. My head knows that transferring this feeling to God is silly but I am working hard at becoming more of a “bother” to him and bringing all my situations to him and sharing the burden. So far he has never let me down.

There is also the worry that by sharing the need I might be judged as weak. I have personally experienced letting my boss know my strengths and weaknesses. I asked them to capitalize on my strengths and help me with my weakness, only to have them make fun of my weakness and ignore my strengths. It is still good to ask people for support but not to attach my sense of worth to the outcome.

There might also be a factor of wanting to feel abandoned or unsupported in order to justify feeling sorry for myself. I remember once as a child lamenting that no one loved me. My brothers started singing, “everybody hates me, nobody loves me I think I’ll just eat worms.” They made fun of my misery so I, rationally, concluded to just stuff it and deal with it alone. The Lord assures me that he will never leave me nor forsake me, that as it would be very hard for a woman to forget her sucking child, (and they may) still God will not forget me. Isaiah 49 15

“Dear Lord, the truth is, I need you every hour, without you I can do nothing! I even need your help to be aware of my need and to ask for help. So from now on I plan to be a real “bother” and bring everything to your loving attention. Love Verle”

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HOW MANY GODS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHTBULB?

I know, the title is a bit silly. There is only one God. Thankfully it only takes one God to “change a light bulb if the light bulb wants to be changed?”

Not all that humorous but it makes a point. Because of the importance of free will, the light bulb, Me, has to want to be changed before God will work with me to change.

When Jesus was looking down on Jerusalem, he cried out “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” He offered salvation to all but only those who wanted change got it.

In Hosea 11:8 God cries out, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I make thee as Admah? I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger. I am God and not man—13:6 (but) they were filled and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore I will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: O Israel , thou hast destroyed thyself.” No one wanted to leave their sex and demon worship so they were all destroyed even though God did not want that. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to salvation–but they would not.

In Ezekiel 22:30 God says, “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”

Most people seem to think that they really have no need to change. Even most regular church attenders can come up with nothing when I ask them what they are working on with the Lord’s help.

Some readily admit they need to change but feel hopeless because they have struggled in their own strength and now have given in and become a prisoner of war. The are still in God’s army but, as prisoners, are useless to the fight.

God is always looking to do me good but so often I am afraid of his good and do not allow him to do the good that he wants to. Why do I fear grace? I know that, if I accept it, I can never feel superior to anyone else, I can never judge another as hopeless, it will be reasonable for God to ask anything of me because of the debt that I owe, I will not be able to get my identity from what I do but rather from who I am in him. I feel that I will lose the little control that I do have over my life, (Such a sense of control is just an illusion)

Remember the definition of Faith? (Look on my menu under word definitions) When God calls me to change, it is normal to feel scared and that it is impossible and everyone will consider me to be crazy and it will never work. That is why God needs me to be entirely willing to let God change me. I remember one man who was caught in the clutches of pornography and was trying to change but still saw indulging as pleasant and exciting and godly celibacy as boring and empty. He complained to God, “God why don’t you take away my sex drive?” God replied, “But you love your porno more than you love me and would be angry at me if I took it away!”

Step 5 in the 12 steps of change is to become entirely willing to let God change you. My wording is a bit different. I tell God:

“Truth is, I am so messed up that part of me would like you to change your rules and tell me to go ahead and indulge, part of me still wants to return to my vomit. Proverbs 26:11 But Lord, I need to change so search me and show me my need and then teach me to hate my sin and hunger for you and your righteosness then lead me in new paths.”