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BITTER AT MYSELF ?

It is so painful when I see that my sinful choices have caused others pain and grief.

It hurts even worse when, after I repent, they choose to stay bitter, destroying their own lives further.

We may understand why they cling to bitterness because it feels, to them, that they are somehow making me pay for my crime, that they are protecting themselves from further hurt, that forgiveness would be tantamount to saying that what I did to them was trivial.

I remember a young man who was wasting his life in drugs and sex and talked his girlfriend into the same life. He then went on to find freedom in the Lord Jesus but she went on to die from the drugs. He found it hard to accept forgiveness, since, if he had not pulled her in, she might have still been alive and nothing he could do would bring her back.

I’m sure the apostle Paul can relate, when he affirmed that ” everyone should realize that I Paul am the worst sinner that ever lived ” He had killed Christians, they were dead, no hope of bringing them back. He could have wallowed in self-contempt and we would be missing much of the New Testament and the western spread of Christianity.

I can assure you that God not only forgives me but he loves to bring good from my evil for his glory. He loves to help me bring healing into the damage I have done, if the other’s freewill allows it.

Here is an important question. When I sin and others are caused pain and loss—1.Who is sinned against? 2.Who is the victim of the sin? 3.Who stands to be blessed by the event?

Psalms 53:1-4 KJV  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

So WHO IS SINNED AGAINST? I did NOT sin against the person hurt, I sinned against God, that is why he is justified in forgiving me and I are justified in accepting that forgiveness, whether the other is able to forgive or not. Psalms 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.WHO IS THE VICTIM?: I am the one damaged by my sin unless I run to God for mercy.

2 Corinthians chapter one 1-7. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.WHO STANDS TO GAIN?: The one hurt will find that the suffering caused is a blessing to them, if, of course they flee to God for strength crying out help! thanks for this! Show me your will! If the one hurt is truly damaged, it is always because of his sinful response to the pain inflicted. This is not an excuse for me to sin so others may grow but rather a focus of prayer that God might have mercy on me and on them to turn the hurt into beauty.  My sins sent my creator to the cross and yet I have been forgiven, cleansed, adopted and married to the very one I offended. I must ask for forgiveness from God and the offended ones. If they are not ready to grant it, I still need to accept God’s forgiveness and still seek to make amends, get the help to quit sinning and be ready  to reestablish relationship and move on with wonder-filled gratitude!

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BLESSINGS ON THE LITTLE GUY YOU AND ME (weak, untrained,troubled,ignored, etc.) !

Are you weak? Awesome, then join me in bringing God glory through our weakness.The Marines are looking for a few “good men”. God is looking for the weak–me and you! The Bible says that not many strong, not many wise  in this world’s opinion, not many noble will be used or chosen. I have this treasure in a vessel of clay that the treasure might be seen the more awesome.

This is not to suggest that I should try to make myself weak or ignorant. It is vital to study the word, become more practiced in prayer, increase my comfort at witnessing, but I must not wait to serve till I “seem”, in my own eyes or the eyes of others, to be strong and wise. Trust me, despite my best efforts, I have more that enough weakness for God to get glory from whatever he is able to do through me. I remember one unsaved lady who went to Women’s Bible Study Fellowship for a lunch and her prayer for salvation was such a beautiful start. “Well, God, if you think you can make something out of the mess that I am; good luck but go ahead and try.”

Because God loves to turn the world upside down with the weak, I need to look at my church and family to discern who “seems” to be the weakest. Since, according to First Corinthians 12:21, they are MUCH MORE important than the rest. So I would do well to think, “what do I need them for, how can I give them ministry, how does God want to bless me through them?” I need to give more honor to these weaker parts.

So who do I have on my list of the “seemingly” small and weak?:  The old, teens, mentally challenged, women, children, uneducated, low income, short, low IQ, shy, quiet, ME? Then these deserve, “more abundant honor and protection.

Even churches, that are growing spiritually and growing in numbers, seem to not have figured out how to pull in the old, the shy, the teens. Oh, we have a vibrant youth ministry but we have not figured out what we NEED them for.

The “WEAK” do not need to be ministered to so much as THEY NEED TO BE NEEDED.

Needed, not in a general sense (such as, “Well, we need everyone.”) but in a, “If we can’t draw them into doing their part then the battles will be lost and the church will not thrive! sense.”

The teens go off and are not often seen in the door to door calling or visiting the shut-ins or in upholding the needs of others in prayer. Young men, especially, want to be called to do great deeds and fight the good fight and become part of a group of “battle buddies”, warriors in a battle with purpose and vital things that they can do.

Instead they have been told that they need to “socialize” with other teens and “find themselves” and “develop their individual identities”. So they go off by themselves and play and when they pass you, they look right through you if you are an older person, as if you don’t exist.

What about the shut ins? What a potential powerhouse of experience and time to tap into for prayer if we would let them know the details of the battle.

It is hard to get the “weak” to do their part because they have been told so often that they are not needed or that their efforts are bothersome and not helpful. So when asked to pray, they never volunteer. Yet their prayers would be powerful before God.  I remember one time when a developmentally limited boy asked me for my business cards. Why? I asked. He replied that he was going to pass them out at his sheltered workshop and all the young people would pray for me. Hit the jackpot that time I did!

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BENIFITS OF A RIGHT HEART

NO FEAR OF FUTURE:Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in Verle, that he would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with him, and with his children for ever! —-“Do I fear for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren in this crazy world. Never fear that, says the Lord, fear me.”

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER: Deuteronomy 17:20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days, he, and his children.—- Lord help me to lift up my brethren and keep your laws so that I might delight in this life for as long as you choose to leave me here.”

BLESS MY CHILDREN: 2 Kings 10:30 Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done all that was in MINE HEART,thy children of the fourth generation shall be blessed.—“I should not think my own thoughts or ponder and imagine my own goals in my heart, but ask the Holy Spirit to help me discern God’s heart.”

HE HEARS ME:  2 Kings 22:19 Because thine heart was tender and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee–“Thank you Lord for being a God who hears little old me. Teach me to have all of my conversation, my walk-and-talk with you, teach me to rend my heart for my country and fellow citizens who are dragging down God’s wrath on their heads. Let me not just sit and judge but rather bow and weep.”

FIND GOD: 1 Chronicles 28:9 Verle, know me the God of thy father Gordon, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for I the Lord search your heart, and understand all the imaginations of your thoughts: if you seek me, I will be found of thee; “Wonderful, if I seek, I will find him, if I come to God knowing the he IS and that his very nature is to reward me for seeking him–reward me with himself!”

I WILL PROSPER: 2Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that you begin in my name, and in the law, and in the commandments, do it to seek me. If you do it with all your heart you will prosper.– “I have often done service in the kingdom because God is worthy and from a desire to be a blessing to others but have been left a little empty. Now I am trying to serve in his kingdom in order to draw closer to him and get to know him and sense his love for me.(PERIOD)”

HE PARDONS MY LAND:2 Chronicles 32: Notwithstanding, if  I humble my heart, perhaps the wrath of the Lord came not upon my country. God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if he does not punish the USA. Still I see many of his people who are humbling themselves. I need to join them and plead for my country. Perhaps he might grant one more great awakening that engulfs even the people from every tribe and nation already on our shores.

HE SEES ME: 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong on my behalf if my heart is perfect before him.–“He is not only the God who hears, he is the God who looks diligently and sees, not to destroy me or punish me, but to show himself strong into my weakness.  Much more would I then glory in my weakness. That way I have much to glory in as the chief of sinners and weakest of saints. I who am the least. So when I am weak then I am strong because his strength is make perfect in my weakness.”

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THE BAD ATTITUDE OBEYER

One of the devil’s favorite techniques is to tell me to obey God and then he gives his own definition as to what obedience looks like.
This puts us me a bind. If I try to “obey” the devil’s description it would mess up my life; I but, if I don’t “obey” I feel that God is angry with me. The devil has his own take on forgiveness, turn the other cheek, or integrity.
Today I’d like to talk about the obedient, bad attitude, son.
You might ask why I find this topic comforting. Well, obviously, I like to remember that God sees my obedience as a good thing even when I’m not all that “pumped” to do it. Which is most of the time.
Matthew 21:28 One day a dad went out to work and asked bad attitude son to help. “No way” was his reply. Then he asked the good attitude son who replied ” in a minute dad.” Then the bad attitude son showed up and worked hard all day and the good attitude son never showed up. You figure it out, which one did the will of his father?
The devil suggests that it is hypocrisy to obey when I don’t want to or can’t see how it would work or don’t feel worthy. (See my blog on the definition of faith under the category WORD DEFINITIONS.) It is enough to have a picture of God’s principles in action and then to move your body members in accordance with this picture. Romans 6:19  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
In fact those things that I don’t want to do, but do, because he asks me to, THESE PROVE LOVE MORE than obedience that comes easily.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s OK to enjoy serving the Lord, but don’t wait till it all comes natural and just bubbles out of you. I can teach and propound on God’s word and help his struggling children apply his wisdom to their situations with no struggle and with great enjoyment. However when I fast, pray or knock on doors, then the Lord knows how much I love him because it feels like wading through mud. I have learned not to judge others or be bothered by their judgment of me when I find some obedience easier or harder than they do.

I remember when, by grace beyond myself, I had managed to fast for 30 days.(Not an eat at night fast) I ran into someone who said, “yeah, I do that all the time, it’s fun isn’t it?” I had to run to the Lord, who assured me that he was aware that I hadn’t found it fun but that he appreciated it because it was a sacrifice. (I did find it beneficial.)
2 Samuel 24:24 Neither will I offer offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

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CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TOWARDS OUR BODIES

My understanding of the Hindu view, is that my body is the enemy, so, in order to be godly, the man seeking holiness goes out to the forest and doesn’t eat,  drink, wear clothes or find comfort. He must learn to not want anything and then is considered holy and happy because he can’t be hurt if he wants nothing. As Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a dam!”
As a Christian I see the body very differently. Yes, I need to live after the Spirit not after the flesh. However I need to take care of my body because:
1. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
2. My feet are beautiful when used to bring glad tidings to others.
3. Obedience is exemplified by yielding my body members slaves to Christ to do the opposite of my natural inclination.
4.God counts the hairs on my head.
5. I use my mind to worship and plan good for others and ponder God’s thoughts after him.                                                                                                                                                    6.Use my eyes to see the lilies and the ripe harvest and the needs of others.                      7.Use my mouth to exhort, rebuke and teach. 8. Use my nose and tongue to savor the richness of this world which God has given me. 9.Use my hands to heal and lift up and build.10. Use my back to bear others burdens.11. Use my legs to carry me to places of ministry. 12.Use my feet to wriggle in the dirt of the garden and run to the places of battle or service.

I remember a song that I was taught in Telegu as a child. “E rendu chatilu, Devundu ichaynu” or something like that. It meant: These two hands of mine, God gave them both to me, gave them to me for his service. The song then proceeded down the list of all the body parts God wants me to use for him. Another Sunday school song went, “be careful little hands what you do, there’s a father up above who is looking down in love, so be careful little hands what you do.” (I would do well to remember what I learned as a child.)
To use them for his service, I must take care of the tools:

Exercise them daily. Doctors used to say that three times a week was enough to keep people fit but new research suggests exercise to the point of puffing and  panting is needed in order to keep the blood vessels open properly to the brain.  Happily, 10 min, of cardio a day is enough. Surely I can find 10 min. somewhere. (you gain at least two IQ points with regular exercise and slow down the natural deterioration.)

Eat a healthy diet–no sugar and high fiber.

Get enough sleep. When I think that “I can function fine on less sleep” I am wrong. It is the last 3 hours of an 8 hour sleep that restores my damaged nerves, replaces my neurotransmitters, helps me remember the positives from the day before, strengthens healthy new habits etc. Psalms 127

Every part of my body is depleted with useless tension.

  Col 2:20   Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?23 Which things have indeed a SHEW of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and NEGLECTING OF THE BODY: not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. Don’t neglect the body.

Daniel 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. Eat healthy. I recently walked the Mackinaw bridge with 9 of my 10 grandchildren. Being on vacation I “cheated” and had some high carbohydrate snacks. My IQ plummeted and I could barely summon the strength to walk the bridge. I jumped back on my healthy diet and regained my energy and focus in a day or so.

I corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: Exercise and keep in good shape for better service of God and others.

My body is not the master but the servant but it is to be stewarded like all of God’s marvelous gifts.

ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship,(His proof of genius,His ultimate work of art) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Do I ignore and take poor care of his body which he bought with a great price after having made it the first place: or do you indulge its every whim to its destruction: or do you care for it like a Stradivarius violin and let him draw sweet music from its cords?

Psalms 139: 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.

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ALREADY IMMORTAL

I was talking to someone who was concerned that they would get bored being immortal. What would we do for all eternity? Of course they were thinking of eternity on this planet surrounded by sin and struggling with their own sinful tendency to be stressed. Stress that comes from striving to be strong and perfect, not dwelling in the here and now but letting their mind wander to the future and wallow in the past, not being where they are at, etc.

Trust me, eternity won’t be a problem because our attitudes will be perfected, but it doesn’t hurt to practice our eternity NOW.

I am commanded to take no thought for the morrow but rather focus on today. One gift the Lord has given me as early as my teen years was the gift of dropping out of time. I had been immortally alive since I was 5 years old and time seemed irrelevant. I watched my peers ignore the privilege of learning and being in the present because their happiness was connected to the weekend or being somewhere else.

WHAT’S THE RUSH? Death is but a transition from one home to another.

In heaven will I be eagerly awaiting the future, ignoring the wondrous present or wallowing in the past?

But I am already immortal! So I seize life one moment at a time, savoring what I have, relating to who are in my life, doing all things with all my might and rejoicing in the wonder of WHO I AM, thus acknowledging the brilliance of my designer.

The bad attitude of thinking life starts only after I get to heaven can only cause me to not grasp the privilege of NOW!

Think with me of all the COOL STUFF WE CAN do now that WE CAN’T DO IN HEAVEN. True, I won’t object when he calls me home but WHAT’S THE RUSH? On earth I can do battle with evil, I can witness to the unsaved, I can practice faith, I can exercise hope, I can comfort the ill and wounded, I can lay up treasure in heaven, I can encourage the weak, I can restore brethren overtaken in a fault, I can apologize and ask forgiveness, I can join in Christ’s sufferings and labors, I can pray power into the battle, I can hold up my pastor’s hands when he is tired, I can teach and share with others what God has done for me.

If I take for granted what now is, resent what now is and wish it were magically something else; then when things change, I will take that for granted, resent that, and wish for yet something else.

Now is the day of salvation, now is the appointed time. When THEN becomes NOW  then we will be free to freely grab that reality BUT NOT YET MY FELLOW IMMORTALS.

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ACT IN THE FACT

Folks in AA often quote the phrase, “Fake it till you make it”

As a Christian in Christ and Christ in me, I much prefer the phrase, “ACT IN THE FACT!”

I like 2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things (are so) , what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?

Now Peter is talking about the certain destruction of all current matter, but I think the idea applys to my positional truths as well. Because my position in reality is that I am in Jesus and he is in me therefore:

I am dead to sin——————-

I am alive to God——————

I am immortal——————–

I am a child of the creator of all——

I can do all things through Christ—–

I am the chief of sinners forgiven—–

etc. Since these are true what type of person should I be?

I am to let my light SO SHINE that people will see my good works and conclude there is a God.

But, you object, “I don’t feel these truths and instead I struggle on the inside with comparison, anger, self contempt, fear of the future, fear of the opinions of men, confusion, lust etc.”

The verse doesn’t say to feel in the fact  but to BE (Greek word hupoarcho) which means to begin and continue in the facts flowing to us from God. Like all adopted children, I have the right and power to act in the love and provisions of my new parents (the godhead) and respond with gratitude and love and delight in the things they make possible. Then, as only makes sense, presenting myself a living sacrifice.

So, fellow adoptee—-ACT IN THE FACT. Stop cringing when He goes to hug you, stop acting as though his rules are there to spoil your fun. You are loved.

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ACCEPTING FORGIVENESS-the ultimate humility

I knew and evangelist who was checking into a motel,bone tired and anticipating a week of services. As he walked down the hall to his room, he had an urge to go back and talk to the man at the desk. He thought,” I am always wanting to talk to everyone and this would make me even more tired. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”    He did not sleep well!   The next morning he went to the desk to ask when the worker from the previous evening would be on. The man replied, “Why?” ” I’m an evangelist and I just wanted to talk to him about eternal life.” “Too late”, was the reply, “He killed himself last night.”Another evangelist was running late on the first night of a campaign and decided to wait till the next evening to have an altar call and invite people to repent and find salvation. THAT NIGHT CHICAGO BURNED TO THE GROUND. 300 people died and the campaign had to stop.A young man I knew talked his girlfriend into using drugs along with him. He then found salvation in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to give up his drugs. She however went on to die of an overdose.

Heavy stuff!

They all went on to accept the forgiveness of God and to listen far more attentively to the Spirit. They came back to the now, by God’s grace, grabbing the present encounter. So often, we trash today because we trashed yesterday, which excuses trashing tomorrow. Today is the accepted time. God loves to restore the years that the locust has eaten.

Why, when we need forgiveness so much, do  we resist it so strongly? We are not even sure we will accept a God who would forgive someone as bad as we are!

You’ll have to examine yourself, are you resting in the forgiveness of God? Do you feel and act clean and pure and worthy because He has taken upon Himself all-all-all your sins? Or do you secretly believe that your sins are bigger than the finished work of Jesus on the cross?  Perhaps you are afraid that:

1. If I accept forgiveness for the full debt that I owe, I lose all rights. All “right” to bitterness or blame and have to accept God’s right to forgive my enemies. See Jonah.

2.If I accept forgiveness, I owe God big time and no longer have any basis for justifying defending my rights, owning my time, judging others, feeling superior, feeling sorry for myself etc. I Corinthians 6:20 KJV For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

3. If I accept forgiveness, I lose the rational behind not serving in the kingdom, realizing that no one is worthy to serve and, since I can see that I am the least worthy, that makes me “much more necessary”. So when God calls- I should GO! Exodus 4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore GO, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. It is especially difficult if the person I have hurt is still responding to my actions with bitterness. Still the choice remains the same, to wallow in self-contempt and cause even more damage to those around me, or to accept the forgiveness and reach out to those God places in my life letting God bless them through my yielded self. God knows that for me to be fully healed, I need to build what I have torn down and he loves to help me do this.

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Finding God’s will

I often wish God would email me, but with my limited internet skills, I would probably miss it or loose it. I was thrown off of my own blog–Lasting victory.com and have been waiting for them to send me a renewal bill but it has not come. So ? is it just my incompetence that caused the block and I just need to be more diligent in my work for God? Or is it proof that I am going in the right direction and the devil is seeking to block the work? Or is it God trying to redirect me in some other direction?

Well all this questioning is making me feel tense, which is a sure sign that I have passed out of doing my part into fussing with God’s part. So I will just relax and do what I can and probably find out that there is no perfect plan A but rather do all to the glory of God and do all with all my might and enjoy the whole journey since I am taking each step to do things together with my best friend Jesus.

I strongly believe that God can direct a moving object better than a stationary one, so I will jump in and when I get to heaven will find out what He was up to. For now, I will keep an open mind.

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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