Category Archives: Hope

When My Spring Comes…

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Spring. Unpredictable weather. Thunder storms. March winds. April Fools. Warm teasing sunny days. Snow slipping in for a final blow. Birds gathering nest materials. Male seeking female. Procreation. The pink, yellow and silky white of blossoms against a back drop of mint green. The sleeping mountains waking up.

Promise.

There is something about the Spring season. For this particular year, this flash in my life, Spring’s abstract nature is in complete accord with my own. More than at any other time in my life. The culmination of years has funneled down to our here and now. Rain swollen banks giving way under the pressure of life. I don’t want to use the term last chapter of my life…I prefer saying the next chapter. I don’t want to use the term, Golden Years, either, as I’ve yet to see it’s shiny glint. Perhaps it’s been dulled by the regret of time poorly spent.

For now, I guess, I’m in the Fall of life. Seems fitting. My leaves are a bit faded and crumpled. My life’s blood is slowly draining…leaving me a little less colorful. And it’s okay. That is the beauty of this season. Even as winter approaches and it’s harder to get warm, I’m learning to be perfectly okay with it. Yes, my focus has narrowed. The spectrum will probably narrow still more in the coming years, if I’m granted them. Acceptance. That is God’s gracious gift to me, to all of those in my particular forest.  It is VICTORY!
Where, O death, is your victory?” read more…

Spring will come again. To those who choose to follow Christ, reaching the end of our winter means only that we’ll be sown, tended, then, praise God, raised up new!!

Find me at www.godsizeddreams.com on April 12th.

“Familyweed”

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tumbleweeds-against-fence

On August 13th I wroteA tragic event in March of this year left my families lives turned upside down. It’s not my story to tell. Suffice it to say our balance has yet to be regained. If anything mid July saw it thrown off once again. I would say I’ll be happy to see the back side of 2016…but I have to wonder what 2017 will herald in?

A scant four days after I posted the above statement another harsh reality slammed into my family. We didn’t have to wait until 2017 for another mind numbing experience. One we’re still in the throes of. As if we aren’t still caught up in the gale forces of January, March…and July. Will I never learn? How could I even begin to relax and think we’d weathered the storm? Now August has blown into the mix.

I sit here gazing out my window, feeling only slightly like Job. I feel guilty too for not making the 70 mile trek to the hospital today. A place I’ve grown to despise even as I appreciate all it provides. It’s kept two of my beloved ones alive these past long weeks. One endless stay turned into another. A dark tunnel with no end. Emotionally drained. All of us. Weary and helpless.

Fear. Denial. Anger. Sorrow. Tangible frustration that knows no bounds. Aching acceptance.

It’s the realization that absolutely nothing will ever be the same. Massive tumbleweeds, familyweeds, of lives more than half over. Lives that have been enter twined since birth. Brittle and gnarled. Traveling in whatever direction the wind rolls them. Hither and yon. Landed here in the twilight. Full of debris picked up along the journey. Crumbling, weary and breaking apart. I fear complete detachment. It’s a chasm that can’t be crossed this side of Heaven. I began as the last of three. I can’t imagine life without my two. Friends, enemies, timeless love. Good, bad and all in between. Thick and thin. Even strangers sometimes. Dare I wonder how the inevitable will come?

Where would I be with out my faith? Without my God who strengthens me and hears the plea in my heart? Pleas I can’t put into words though the Spirit does. I feel Jesus surrounding the broken places that I don’t understand. Reaching up for the peace that surpasses. I long for my loved ones to have peace. I feel refinement being wrought. Almighty El Roi lead me in the path You’d have me go.

So I pray.* My Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I know, as I release my pent up breath, that my woes are smaller than most but larger than some. Aren’t each of our troubles? Isn’t that the very nature of humanity? All I need to do is watch the evening news to realize that God has been kind to me and mine. Kind indeed.

Now to share the sliver of light that is breaking through my dark.

 

*Lords Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

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Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,  in the middle of its street.”
Revelation 22 (read more…)

Time Heals All Wounds?”

I don’t buy it.

The passage of time doesn’t heal, it simply makes pain easier to bear, leaving scar tissue in it’s wake. Periodically a façade of relief, a fine, thin layer of peace tries to cover over the worst of it. But the damage remains. It’s ever present. There will always be times when “something” comes along to pierce that fragile covering.

In my experience people never truly get over the death of a loved one. You learn only to live life with out whom you love. The covering of a grief wound can be ripped away with a memory. Add to that, if applicable, the agony of things left unsaid or undone that may find the bereaved left writhing in a cesspool of guilt. It seems to happen more often than not.

Grief also comes in the form of living in the fall out of poor decisions. It never heals either. Do we ever stop blaming ourselves when a poor choice we’ve made directly affects one dear to us? Does the raw nagging ever cease? Is there not a way to cut out the guilt and the pain and cauterize their edges? Would the destroyed nerve endings make it stop or would it dehumanize?

No matter the prayers, no matter the peace that surpasses all understanding, sometimes pain is just part of being alive. Why? Because heart wounds are comprised of fallible humanity. Loved ones that fill our thoughts, our moments, our beings. My wounds fester when I see my one of them struggle with faith issues. Sometimes because of their own stubbornness and I want to scream, “change your life!!” It’s really so simple. It’s really so hard. Sometimes the scar covering is slowly, excruciatingly peeled back when I know their struggle is the result of my past mistakes. Is the wound then caused by my own wishful thinking? My shame? My own wants and desires? My own aggravation because I can’t change other people? Or is it more selfish…like seeking absolution from the part I may have played in it? A little of all I’d say.

Praise be to Jesus who came to set us free from the guilt and shame of our sin. It’s ours for the asking! He does absolve us! That is the simple part. The hard part, and it is so hard, is to accept responsibility for our mistakes. Living with the scars, the consequences that our poor choices set into motion. But even that, no, in spite of that, God can and will use us for His glory. I realize all I can do is tell people what Jesus has done for me…I can testify only for how He’s changed me. I can share my story. I really can’t make others believe. Neither can you. At the end of the day we all have to make the choice to either believe and accept or not.

Now I see! The time will eventually come that will heal not only our wounds but our scars. Just not in this brief span we’re granted on earth. Only when we’re walking on the banks of the River of Life and drinking from His fountain will we find complete and healing rest.

Listen….All My Fountains

“On Guard”

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The weight of the world is more than I can bear. My own personal struggles exhaust my spirit. My heart wells up with sorrow when I see the state mankind is in. Is it sapping your strength too?
When it’s bearing down on your heart and your soul and your mind, turn that energy instead toward God, for He tells us:

5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27

Brothers and sisters are you finding it hard to find your footing in the war of good vs. evil? Lately I am finding that things don’t feel as “sure” as they used to. It frightens me. Until I remember who is causing these feelings of fear and unrest. Until I remember the insidious ways in which Satan forces himself into my thoughts. Even when I pray it’s as if he hovers ’round my prayer chamber. I believe this is only the beginning dear friends. Why are we so surprised by current events? The Bible warns us of it’s coming. Perhaps we didn’t think we’d see it in our lifetime? It’s hard to admit but part of me feels robbed somehow. I’ve finally reached this golden time in my life. I feel I’ve just learned how to live yet stability crumbles all around me. I wonder which world event will be the swell that bursts the dam of my strength? Which event will plunge me into the rush of chaos and try to erode the walls of my faith? Even as I type I envision footage of a dam bursting. Retaining walls collapse and the force of the water blasts through the wall that has held on as long as it can.

I think of the small crack in the wall that led to the total breach. I think of my view of right and wrong. I think about tolerance vs. acceptance…are they one and the same? I know in my life I’ve made small allowances here and there for one sin or another. If I take my one small fracture and multiply it by every other Christian’s small fracture, over the course of a century what do you have? A flood of watered down Christians preaching a watered down gospel. We’ve allowed the subliminal messages on television and now social media to seep into the weak areas of our faith. We’ve decided to just live and let live. Now we’re living in a torrential mess that makes Sodom and Gomorrah pale in comparison.
Yes, Christian’s are to love everyone and do all that we can to keep the peace. But we simply can not tolerate or accept that wrong is right or that right is wrong. We can’t let what our minds are being bombarded with weaken the resolve of our biblical teaching. This verse of Scripture has been quoted so often in the last couple of years. We’re living it.

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
II Timothy 4:3-4

Take heart loved ones, listen you who call on Christ as your lifeline and Savior;
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.
Hebrews 8-9a

Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Be on your guard…

Matthew 10:15-17a

“Call Me Stormy!”

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Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he (Jesus) was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.
Mark 6:47-52 (NIV)

I missed my calling. I should have been a storm chaser. Goodness knows gale force winds find me, even when I’m minding my own business, even when I least expect it. I don’t know why I thought living for Christ would be free from thunder and lightening.

Once upon a time I was the storm. A cyclone of self ruination. I twisted out of control with no regard to the mess I left behind. Wild seemed to brew in my in-most being, building in intensity, screaming for release. I got caught up in the approval seeking tunnel, grasping for affirmation, no matter where it came from. Substance abuse, meaningless relationships…anything that made me feel wanted, part of something. Yet something was always missing. Then Jesus, Master storm chaser pursued me and pulled me into the eye of His calm. He began to still my spinning thought process, He began to change it, I found my something and began to hone it. I wanted to know this Master of the wind.

I was finally doing what I was meant to do. The twister I didn’t see coming though was the chunks of me that would either be ripped away or forever changed. I don’t mean just the the visible signs of my morphing into a Christian. I’m talking about things I couldn’t change. Hearts that didn’t want to come with me into this new life. Hearts that feel there’s no need to be different. I lost some relationships, and some are separated by a chasm of, we agree to disagree, and stubbornness. I’ve waded in the floods of sorrow as the waters of resentment and anger rushed me, ever swirling. Under currents of dislike, hate? I’ve experienced the pain of loss even though the flesh and bone forms live and breathe. There are days I feel helpless. On those days I carry that hopelessness to the power of the Cross. I cry out to the Lord for mercy, praying for those who’re lost, longing to bridge the gap. I know He hears me. He comforts me and assures me that I am His. He makes me ready to resume my voyage and equips me for the next gale.

Yes, I still struggle when the sea of my past crashes into my present. Lately, clouds of bygone instances have blown their way into blue skies, threatening and dark. The winds of remorse gain speed, brewing up regret, and sorrow, and discontent. My sturdy façade quakes as the battering force threatens to blow it away, trying to uproot the foundation of who I’ve become. Who I was always meant to be. There are times, even now, when I think it would be easier to take my eyes off of Jesus and look down into the roiling cauldron of worldly living. Satan luring me back into a vortex of age old lies. But I know I won’t. I won’t because God is bigger. He teaches me things even when I struggle against my own churning wake. Even when I’m blindsided by squalls not of my own making. In my minds eye I lift my hands up as forces rage around me, and in me. That are me. I see God’s hand splitting the heavens, reaching down to grasp mine, His spirit calming a heart out of control. The storm abates. The waters still. I look up, compassionate eyes, merciful smile, God of my storms…God of my calm and I say amen.

My prayers go out to anyone who knows the pain an unforeseen twister can wreak. Don your life jacket of salvation and keep your eyes on the Maker of the rain. Go to battle with prayer and petition and rest in the knowledge that He hears you.

Beautiful, please listen! Master of the Wind

“Un-Easy”

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It’s so easy to be a Christian and spout off godly things while sitting among my fellow church mates. It’s so easy to blog the thoughts swirling in my mind while surrounded by my Bibles and commentaries, concordances and dictionaries. It’s so easy to think I’m prepared to face the adversary called unbelief. To think I have answers to questions a non believer might ask. Until a non-believer asks. Until out of the mouth of one who seeks comes a question or thought that leaves me dumb and grief stricken.

It’s one thing to deal with theological questions from young children, but grown analytical minds? Keen, intelligent minds? That’s another story and nowhere close to easy. Young children are relatively content in taking the word of their parents or other trusted adults. It’s only when their minds start thinking and feeling independently that we’re challenged. Then in a blink you have adult children who have their own views and opinions. Each stage of this process changes the playing field. If your kids are still young, well, I hope this somehow encourages you, or warns you. Whether it be children, other family or  friends, fight hard for their salvation. Do all you can and then some. I’m sure there are scores of books on the topic. Had I read one or two perhaps I could better deal with the searing sorrow of feeling I’ve failed dear ones. Perhaps I’d be better equipped at swaying the heart’s of those who don’t believe that Christ is our Messiah. It’s a heartrending reality.

I had the opportunity to witness to a young woman recently. I was met with questions like, “Why do I have to worry about how I live now? I’m young and have lot’s of time. Why do I have to worry about what happens when I die?” “I want to have the same faith you do but I just don’t.” “It seems like everything is an abomination to God then.” I could see the confusion and the rejection of my words written on her furrowed brow. This sharp young mind feels there is no need to fret about what happens right now. If people are happy and getting along, all should be well. As I continued my witness I floundered like a fish out of water. It’s as if I couldn’t string two words together, I felt something wither up in my inner being. I was failing her, I was failing God! I could hear myself speak but heard it with her ears. It sounded confusing and unrealistic. Her arguments had value and weight. The reality we live in now makes Scripture seem outlandish, otherworldly yet outdated. Had I allowed Satan to best me in that round? Maybe. Regardless of my un-easy feelings, I know a mustard seed was planted in that young heart. I know it! I may have waxed in-eloquent but the seed was sown.

Enter free will, the choice to believe or not believe.

It’s our job as Christian’s to sow. To tell people who Christ is and what He’s done for us. Christians are responsible only for sharing the Word with those who’re seeking. We can’t force people to accept it. If a person rejects Jesus it’s because that person has chosen not to believe. We don’t have to prove Jesus but we do have to live for Him and let Him shine through us.

For those of you that stand helplessly by while loved ones struggle with Christianity, I know it hurts grievously, but take heart. Once the seed is planted our job is to storm the gates of Hell and fight with prayer. Praying that the tiny seed will grow into the being God meant it to be at it’s conception. We all fall short…so help me I didn’t know how far short I was until I witnessed to this young woman. Oh the things I should have done and didn’t! I explained that it’s a total misconception for non-Christians to think Christians are being judgmental when sin is pointed out. It’s not that we feel superior to anyone, in fact we can end up feeling completely inferior when arguments are tossed our way. It’s vital to know the Word of God…it’s just as vital to realize we simply don’t have all of the answers.

I dare say we can all look back and see where we could have been a better witness for Christ. Don’t stop trying. Ever! Parents, grand parents, read the Bible to your kids or grand kids. Tell them the accounts of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Keep the truth ever present for them to see…and pray.

Father in Heaven, hallowed Thy Name.
Grace is given to cover my shame.
I struggle and fail more often than not,
A work in progress, I’m being wrought.

Lord grant that the seed, I may have sown,
Large or small, be Jesus own.
Into His hands I commit the soil,
For which by prayer, I’ll continually toil.

You did the work on the cross You bore,
My paltry offerings never a chore.
Let eyes of the hearts that I hold dear,
Find You, Redeemer, before their bier.


In His Name and for His sake,
I lift this prayer for You to take.
Amen.

~pdh~
February 12, 2016

“One Nation Under God. What Does This Mean To You?”

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The original Pledge of Allegiance was penned by George Balch in 1887 and said, “We give our heads and hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one flag!”
This was later revised by Francis Bellamy in 1892, he penned,
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It’s obvious what was left out of Bellamy’s revision, and he a Baptist minister at the time. It’s only been a scant seventy four years since congress adopted the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s been an even scantier sixty one years since it was revised to include the now antagonistic phrase, “One nation under God.”

Here’s where my musing gets dicey…at least in the mind of this very average, tad past middle aged woman.

Does one nation under God signify that His sovereignty is confined to the borders of the United States of America? Absolutely not. The Christian nation, is God’s chosen people, people! If you are a Christian, you have joined the nation of God. Don’t get me wrong, I respect that our forefathers fought to protect our religious freedom. I love that this nation still allows Christians to worship freely and with out fear. I love my country and am blessed to live here. However. This country is called the United States yet we’re anything but united. Each state makes their own laws! I truly believe the intent for our nation was to become a nation full of God fearing Christians, our political leaders fell short didn’t they? But we the people, the professed Christians allowed it. Ouch! The good news is that God’s nation is totally unified through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One nation under God. No matter what corner of the globe you’re in!

Perhaps when Bellamy tweaked the pledge and left God out he realized something. Perhaps he was thinking; if we have declared this to be a free country, and we invite aliens and their culture to come here to live and be, we can hardly ask them to pledge themselves to something they don’t believe in. They will pledge to the land and to it’s freedom, but not to our God whom they don’t know. Maybe? It’s almost like our forefathers set us up for an onslaught of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty shouts loud, long and hard to the masses. Could any of our founders have seen the problem this would lend to the future of America? The very nation that has claimed to be under God has allowed all cultures in, they’ve planted themselves here to mesh and meld with ours. There is now a fancy name for it, Multiculturalism. The force now to be reckoned with.

We’re living in an age where this nation is trying to remove all traces of Him who we once claimed to be under. This is not a new concept. If you care to troll the Old Testament you will find that ungodly kings would come along and remove all traces of Yahweh and erect their idols. Then a godly king would come on the scene and destroy the idols and turn the nation back to God. God did not want His people to have a king at all! Why? Because He is ruler of all things, He’s always been enough. Stubborn, willful man.

Here’s the dice of my muse.

Almighty God, creator of all people and all things, commands His children to be kind to the immigrant. Not to become enslaved by the immigrant. His people were once immigrants by invitation. Then they became slaves to their host. God’s people have made this mistake repeatedly. It just seems that if we wanted to be a nation of only Christian’s, we’d have taken more care with the tired and the poor who sought refuge here. We’d have made sure they understood that we serve the one true God. Then it came to me. An immigrant is one who is unsaved. The battle is this: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”(Eph. 6:12 KJV). History teaches us that the thread of good versus evil has been woven into the tapestry of life from the very beginning.

We must continue to pray that a godly leader will again come and govern this country, if anything, to maintain the Christians freedom to worship. Humanity will not eradicate Christianity. It’s been tried and it’s failed every single time. Heinous acts are carried out in the name of God and religion. It’s despicable to hear politicians spout theology and quote Scripture only when it suits the audience.

The day in God’s courtroom will come.

There is only one true nation under God. It’s creed is Jesus, the way the truth and the life*. It’s flag is the banner of grace. In light of this I will pledge allegiance to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Bible, and to the Christian flag. These things know no borders. Make no mistake loved ones, even if our next leader is an ungodly person, the nation of God will continue to exist. It will not only exist but remain eternally alive.

May God have mercy on His nation. Amen.

*John 14:6

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