Better Than Jesus

betterthanJesus

The other Day I woke up as usual at five in the morning. Adhering to my daily habit, as soon as I placed my feet on the floor I prayed. Each day I thank our Heavenly Father for His protection and a good night’s rest. I acknowledge who He is to me and I thank Him for his mercy and His grace. I confess that I do not deserve Him. He gives me everything that I do not deserve and he withholds from me the things that I do deserve.

I head off to the bathroom and I continue to thank God for each thing I am grateful for. Thank you, God for plumbing, inside the house. It’s still fresh in my mind having to first build an outhouse on my farm so I would have a place to do my business. Thank you, Lord for electricity I still remember relying on a flash light to find my way down a dark narrow path to the outhouse. Thank you for an endless supply of water. The push of a handle to flush away waste certainly beats scattering ashes over your business deep down inside a dark hole. Hot water, supplied straight to a shower head and pressurized too. What a novel idea! Thank you, dear Abba for this. A true blessing considering that on my farm I carried one-gallon plastic bleach jugs full of water a quarter mile up a steep slope, daily. I boiled it and out of a dish pan, I had birdy baths in the open air. Thank you, God for clean and safe water to drink and brush my teeth. No one told me I could not drink the water supplied to the property line of my farm. I learned otherwise after I became so ill that I had to be hospitalized.

Thank you, God for soap, shampoo, tooth paste and a tooth brush, wash cloths and towels. Thank you for a house to live in with forced hot air heating and central air conditioning. The shipping container I lived in on my farm was cold at night when I wanted it warm and stifling hot at noon when I wanted a cool retreat from the blazing sun.

After expressing gratitude for these and many other moment by moment blessings. My mind turned to the hardships that Jesus endured throughout his life. Jesus didn’t have a mattress to sleep on, or a pillow to rest his head, fresh sheets or a comforter. I bet he woke up more times than enough with an aching back, hips and sore shoulders. I’ll bet there were many nights he woke up shivering from the cold and dampness from the hard ground. I have a comfortable secure house to sleep in and even on my farm I had a shipping container to protect me from the elements, wild animals and thieves.

Jesus didn’t have a constant supply of water at the flip of a tap. He either drank from streams or carried all he could with him, filling up when he had opportunity. Jesus never knew the luxury of an endless supply of hot, clean water to shower under for as long as he wished.  I doubt he ever felt the softness of cotton bath sheets and certainly not the softness of velour robes or memory foam slippers on his feet. Hot freshly ground coffee with cold milk, a hot bowl of cereal, a tart glass of chilled orange juice. I haven’t read anywhere in the Bible where he could select from a large assortment of clothing, a cool short sleeved shirt knowing it would be a hot and dry day. A day when he would want to chose shorts rather than heavy blue jeans. His sandals sufficed rather than comfortable, arch supporting, aerated, running shoes for his long treks.  

My thoughts then turned to something I had never considered before. With all the endless blessings that I receive from God each and every day and contemplating all that I enjoy that Jesus never ever had, I actually live, better than Jesus.

Where I enjoy the luxury of a city bus that actually kneels down for me, Jesus walked. I can ride across the city in 30 to 45 minutes. It would have taken Jesus the better part of the day to walk that same route. Forget about returning to his starting point, no, he just forged onward. It wouldn’t have made sense to walk all the way back.

Why has God provided me, a life better than Jesus? I’m certainly not better than Jesus in any way. Why am I blessed with luxury and comfort while God’s one and only son ruffed it with next to nothing?

Once again, my musings changed direction. Is my thinking that I live better than Jesus, founded on the materialism that the world dictates as needs? Jesus had an entirely different focus. He focused on God, our Father in Heaven, believing and trusting in Him to provide all that he needed. Jesus slept just fine in the peace of the Holy Spirit and unlike me, where ever he traveled he was invited into people’s homes to eat and rest. I have to pay for restaurants and motels. Jesus bathed in the never-ending supply of crystal clear, warm tropical streams, rivers and lakes, as often and for as long as he wished. I have to pay for my water to be heated, treated and piped into my home. Jesus was provided with basins of water to wash his feet and on occasion had his weary feet washed for him. I have never had anyone offer to wash MY feet. Jesus wouldn’t have wanted to ride a bus, he would have missed out on countless people to bless, heal and converse with. I can’t speak with anyone on the bus they all have earbuds plugged into their ears. Specialized clothing meant nothing to Jesus. His only goal was to please God, and for that, God provided for his every need.

Who lives or lived better than who?   Yeah!   I continued with my moment by moment prayer of gratitude. Thank you, Heavenly Father for your endless supply of love. Thank you, Abba for your guidance, knowledge and understanding……………….

May God our Father be praised forever and ever. A-men (Philippians 4:20, Contemporary English Version)

Faith or Fear? Worship or Worry?

Hope in Jesus

The very same day that The World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a pandemic, people reacted. Some started to stock pile face masks, others swooped in to buy all the toilet paper and others scooped up all the hand sanitizer. A lady came into our store and bought flannel sheets to cut up into pieces, to use as a toilet paper substitute. Usually we Canadians are pretty laid back and approach life in a more relaxed manner but now, shear fear is taking over.

As the next days unfolded it became very apparent that the vast majority of the people were panicking. They were out buying everything and anything. There were two and a half hour long lineups to enter big box stores. The grocery stores had their shelves decimated. I went to one grocery store to pick up my prescription at the pharmacy after work. I walked around the store to see what everyone was talking about. All pasta was sold out, all the rice, all the bread, all of the frozen vegetables and almost all of the canned goods. There was no toilet paper, napkins or paper towels and no hand sanitizer just as everyone had said. I bought two cans of tomato paste that I would use the next day to make a favorite soup. I bought a new flavor of cookies for dunking in my coffee, coconut/mango, and I bought four liters of 1% milk for my coffee and cereal. Nothing I bought was for long term survival, nor was anything a need. Everything I bought was a want on impulse.

I felt uneasy as I walked through the store. I wasn’t fearful and it wasn’t shock or bewilderment with the vacant shelves but rather a deep feeling of pity and sadness for the droves of people who were there before me.  We live in a first world country where everything is so plentiful, we have become wasteful. This day I was looking at the evidence of chaos, brought about by fear and uncertainty.

Just one short week ago my city, my country in fact, or shall I say the world, was largely basking in an overabundance of pride, sufficiency and contentment. Then suddenly, overnight, greed, selfishness, scamming and scheming, and distrust became the new normal.               

 20 years ago, the big worrisome fear was Y2K, do you remember that? Mass hysteria, panic, ill thought out plans, opportunist and scams cost large companies and individuals millions upon millions of dollars. People wouldn’t fly because they thought planes would drop out of the sky. They wouldn’t drive because automobile computers would fail. It was speculated that trains and subway cars would crash.  This fear came and passed and in hindsight, was there really anything worthy of the fear that was felt?

Today the runner up is the Corona Virus or Covid-19. Will it pass? Absolutely! The big questions seem to be, what will the health impact be and what will the financial fallout look like? Who knows? Can you or I control it? NO! All the worrying in the world won’t fix a thing! I’m placing it all in God’s hands and I’m trusting Him to solve these problems.

Listen, all this panic is from Satin. God is calling us to faith. Turn your thoughts to Jesus Christ, our savior and be free of fear. I’m not in a panic. I know my God. Everyone who knows me will testify I am at total peace. All you have to do is turn your worries into worship. You cannot worry and worship at the same time, they are opposites of one another. When you worry you are not worshiping and when you worship you don’t worry. 

It’s so sad to me that very obviously all of these panic shoppers have no connection to God or Jesus. Even members of my church are panic buying and they say they know and trust in the Lord. So, even more disturbing to me, is that many so-called Christians do not have faith in their God.

Are you at peace with God? Can you place your faith in Jesus Christ to get you through this pandemic, unscathed? If not, would you like to know what props me up? Would you like to witness the peace that surpasses all understanding? Read, Psalm, chapter 91. For easy understanding here it is from the International Children’s Bible

Those who go to God Most High for safety
    will be protected by God All-Powerful.   (go to Him now with the prayer below)
I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection.
    You are my God, and I trust you.”   (say it out load, now)

God will save you from hidden traps
    and from deadly diseases.   (you must believe it)
He will protect you like a bird
    spreading its wings over its young.    (picture a hen with her chicks under her)
    His truth will be like your armor and shield.    (now that’s protection)
You will not fear any danger by night    (you’ll rest peacefully)
    or an arrow during the day.   (you can walk in peace)
You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark    
    or sickness that strikes at noon.   (that includes viruses)
At your side 1,000 people may die,    (unbelievers and followers of Satin)
    or even 10,000 right beside you.    
    But you will not be hurt.        (Christians with faith in God)
You will only watch what happens.
    You will see the wicked punished. 

The Lord is your protection.  (A-men)
    You have made God Most High your place of safety.
10 Nothing bad will happen to you.
    No disaster will come to your home.   (your family is protected because of your faith)
11 He has put his angels in charge of you.   (angels plural, more than one)
    They will watch over you wherever you go.   (global protection 24/7)
12 They will catch you with their hands.    (that’s security)
    And you will not hit your foot on a rock.    (Satin will not be allowed to trip you up)
13 You will walk on lions and cobras.      (Satin will be kept below you)
    You will step on strong lions and snakes.  (you will walk all over Satin)

14 The Lord says, “If someone loves me, I will save him.      (praise God)
    I will protect those who know me.      (get to know Him, today)
15 They will call to me, and I will answer them.  (He’s listening and waiting for your call)
    I will be with them in trouble.     (now and forever)
    I will rescue them and honor them. 
16 I will give them a long, full life.
    They will see how I can save.”  (witness His blessings with me)

Matthew 23: 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and kill with stones those men God sent to you. Many times, I wanted to help your people! I wanted to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you did not let me.    

(You must want Jesus to help you. You have to let him help you. If you don’t want help and won’t let him help, he won’t and he can’t.   If you’re drowning and your thrashing all around trying to help yourself, no one can help you but when you get tired and give up, cry out and then you can be saved. Give yourself up to Jesus and stop trying to do everything your own way, then he’ll help.

If you have not given your heart to Jesus and you want his immediate protection, say this prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus:                                                                                                                                

I don’t understand everything about you and our Father in Heaven, but I am ready to accept you as my lord and savior. I understand that you voluntarily went to the authorities knowing they would wrongfully convict you and sentence you to die on the cross. I understand that you were perfect and sinless and yet you took ALL of the sins of the world (mine included) into death with you. Through your sacrifice I have been forgiven and made pure in God’s sight. I believe that three days later you were resurrected and after 40 days of showing yourself to your friends and many witnesses, you ascended into Heaven to sit with God our Father. I understand Lord Jesus that the only way I can be saved and enter into Heaven is through you. I give you my heart, mind and soul. I desire you to be my guide, my shepherd, my teacher and my savior. In your name I pray this prayer. A-men     

Read Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 To see God’s blessing on you.

My Stolen Backpack

my stolen backpack

Two weeks ago, my backpack was stolen right out from under my nose.

I went into work on this particular Monday morning and learned that I was being reassigned from my warehouse job to driving truck. Because I start work a half hour later than the truck drivers, I was already a half hour behind schedule. The assistant to the truck driver had already scraped the frost off the windshield, mirrors and side windows, started the truck with my key and had the heater warming the cab interior. He left the running truck to go inside and use the facilities and according to policy he locked the doors with a second key.

This is where I came into the picture. I approached the truck, attempted to open the door and it was locked. Unable to place my backpack inside the cab, I set it on the ground beside the driver’s door and walked about 25 feet away to the warehouse entrance door and inquired as to the whereabouts of my assistant. Within seconds while standing in the doorway to the warehouse, some movement caught the corner of my eye. I turned around and immediately noticed my backpack was gone. I ran around to the front of the truck and I saw someone on an e-bike turning right onto the street in front of the charity where I work.

There went my credit cards, debit cards, driver’s license, health card, social insurance card, free coffee loyalty cards, library card, points cards. My bi-focal eye glasses, gloves and toque, my camera, a half bottle of muscle and joint pain relief, my lunch, my clipboard with my instructions for the day, other work-related items and approximately $20.00 in change that I keep just for handing out to the beggers. These are just the things I can remember, other things will come to mind when I discover I can’t find them.

Immediately I told my manager that my backpack was stolen and I could not drive the truck with no driver’s license. Next with the much-appreciated help from my co-workers I began to call the police and cancel my bank cards. The next thought was that the thief had my I.D with my home address and a single house key. It wouldn’t take much to put the two together and knowing I was downtown the thief could clean out the house. Right after the police took my statement, I left work to go home and meet with my sister who had a key to let me in. Someone had to be there to make sure the thief did not make a visit. That night the locks were changed on the house.

There were so many things to consider and act upon that I really didn’t have time to get angry and by late evening I had accepted that my backpack and all of its contents were gone never to be seen again.

GOD IS GOOD!

I could not believe the focus and organization of my co-workers; it was as if God was guiding them in the perfect order to help me ion a most efficient way. They provided the phone numbers I needed to call and the website to file a police report. The manager downloaded the video surveillance of the person stealing my backpack as the police would want to see it.

Weeks ago, I believe that Abba put certain things in order. For instance, the loss of my eye glasses was not the end of the world as through a series of events that happened led me to owning if you can believe it, four pair of glasses. This is a story too long to go into here, but I still have three pair to rely on. I had a cash stash in the house, which was odd because I never use cash. I always use my credit card so that I can collect points. For whatever reason I had the cash on hand it made it easy to weather the storm until I received the first of my cards being replaced.

My manager took me aside the next day and explained that she was paying me for the full day at work even though I had left work early. I suffered no loss of income.

No charges had been made on any of my credit cards, a miracle considering I have the convenience of tapping for payment on both my debit and credit cards.

Two days afterward someone donated a Nikon D3000 DSLR camera which is a hundred times better than the Olympus point and shoot camera than I lost to the thief. I was able to purchase it at a mere fraction of its value.

A church friend refused my twenty-dollar payment to him for my ticket to a men’s breakfast convention saying to me this will help cover some of your losses due to the thief.

All of the other items including another backpack have been replaced as the charity that I work for had everything on hand which I purchased again at a fraction of the original cost..

I eventually had my lunch when I went home early so I didn’t suffer any.

Inside my back pack the thief would have found a dozen post cards referring him or her to my Christian website and a book I was reading on St Vincent de Paul whose life interest was feeding the poor and caring for the needy. The thief would be exposed to a good dose of spiritual loving.

On my clipboard I had a scrap of paper with scripture pertaining to thieves. I had been researching thief references in the Bible so I might be able to quote scripture while walking pasts a suspected shoplifter in the charity store. Shoplifting has been increasing lately in our store. That aught to have spooked the thief some.   

Several of my co-workers expressed anger over my loss but God guided me to not show hatred or a willingness to curse and seek revenge of the thief but rather calmly state that everything is okay and not to worry about it. Everything that can be done at the moment has been implemented. God sees all and He may very well be watching my reactions. My integrity stands and I am seen by my co-workers and volunteers as a true Christian.  

God truly can use evil for good. We just have to step aside and let Him handle the situation.  Genesis 50:19-20 NLT

Here are some Bible verses that helped me. They may help you in the future to deal with any inconveniences you may suffer. Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 7:12, Romans 3:23, Romans 8:35 and 37, Exodus 14:14, 1 Peter 2:23.

An Intimate Message from God to You

I bought a book from a second hand store and on about the fourth day of reading it I finally investigated a neatly folded paper placed in the center of the book. It touched me deeply when I read it and there was no question that I just had to share it.

I ran the letter through a plagiarizing site and quickly discovered that it was 100% plagiarized. I then investigated further and discovered its origin. The credit for this letter belongs to the author Barry Adams. You can find various versions of this letter in many languages at www.fathersloveletter.com

My Child

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31) For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27) In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28) For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44) I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1) Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 5:28) Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17) For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18) And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40) For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41) And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3) If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29) Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13) I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) When you are broken hearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18) As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11) One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4) And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. (John 17:23) For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26) He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3) He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31) And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:19-19) His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10) I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32) If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23) And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39) Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7) I have always been Father, and I will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15) My question is…Will you be my child/ (John 1:12-13) I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)

                                                                                 Love, Your Dad

                                                                                 Almighty God

*** Verses have been paraphrased and originate from the New International Version Bible.       

Personal Improvement

There’s a real gem of a book that I discovered a couple of years ago, a real treasure chest of true to life situations that I easily related to. It’s as though it were written specifically for me and I’m willing to bet that anyone who reads it will have the same life changing experiences that I have had and continue to have. 

 Truthfully, I’ve known about this book ever since I was a child. My Great Grandma Ribey poured over the pages of this exceptional guide book. It’s actually a series of books. I suppose she found it particularly helpful in her frail condition. When I knew her, she couldn’t have weighed more than 90 pounds except for the heavy iron leg braces she wore to keep her polio crippled legs from twisting in all directions. Passed down to my Grandma Dorothy, once again every page of this collection was turned, re-read and referenced over and over. I’m guessing she needed the self-help advice and guidance contained within its chapters to help her through her tough times. Her alcoholic, womanizing husband left her with four children and her crippled mother to care for throughout the, “Great Depression”. My mother took up this book next. She benefited from the information presented in it and even consulted copycat versions of it. However, they were not nearly as helpful as the originals. She co-raised a family of three after spending a day caring for the mentally ill in a provincial hospital.  As for me, well I’ve never needed to pick it up. I have always had my life all together and done just fine on my own. I didn’t need any advice telling me what to do, how to live or to behave.

My perfect self-guided life began to crumble when I began and stumbled through a long and miserable divorce and custody battle. This was followed by the unexpected loss of my secure, high paying job that moved out of the country. I entered into several adulterous relationships. By the way open relationships do not work. World travel with a, “I don’t give a rats bottom end”, what it cost attitude, depletes your savings accounts pretty quickly. I was taken advantage of financially, again, and after having my life’s goal and my only dream crushed before my eyes with no chance of recovery, it was time to crack the cover on this collection of personal improvement books that my family has used time and time again.

This book has changed my life forever and I am convinced it will change yours too. Not just your life but anyone’s, who reads it word for word, cover to cover. If you’re anything at all like me you’ve already denied that you need any help managing your life. You will most likely continue to deny yourself the information you need in this collection until you fall flat on your face and then remember reading this blog.  

I understand your fear of giving in and picking up copies of this self-help series. We’re greedy self-centered people by nature. The world tells us on every front, it’s all about me. Get all you can, get as much as you can, get it now and get it free. Have it your way, (Burger King) You deserve a break today (McDonalds)  I deserve the best, I deserve to have whatever I want, when I want it, how I want it and who I want it with. Why should I waste my time reading books that I am convinced will advise me that I can’t have what I want and that I must give up the joys and pleasures I get from my selfish desires.

By now you have probably figured out that I am referring to “The Living Word of God” (“The Holy Bible”) Look, if you’re sick and tired of the empty wisdom of society, if you’re going down in a spiraling ball of flames, if you’ve just recently survived a face plant at the bottom of the barrel, get into the word until the word gets into you. Get your hands on a Bible.  

It’s taken me the better portion of my life to wise up and that was only after I crashed and burned. Don’t follow my life of misguided pride, and my mister know-it-all world wisdom attitude.  Don’t wait to be thrown off your horse. You can avoid a lot of pain, anguish, embarrassment, and suffering if you will just take my advice and begin reading the owner’s manual of life. You’ll save hundreds on self-help books, or thousands on a psychologist. All the answers you need are recorded in God’s word.             

I’ve learned after reading through the Bible a couple times now, that I have had to give up very little. What has happened though is my values have changed. I experience a peace I never had before and I sleep soundly all night, every night. I hardly ever worry about anything. I agree and support the teachings and at the end of the day I am a much happier, joyful, content, gracious, truthful, loving and understanding person than I ever was before. The choices I make are so much better and I don’t have to retreat and eat my words any longer.    

The most interesting way I have found to read through the Bible has been this past year as I have read it in chronological order. You can find the order here. https://www.blueletterbible.org/dailyreading/PDF/1Yr_ChronologicalPlan.pdf

Get started today!

Number Eight of the Big Ten

God made a set of laws for us to follow. Ten straight forward, easily understood rules. All we have to do is obey ten simple commandments and we’re in God’s good books. Easy peasy, I mean how hard can it be to obey 10 rules? Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve failed at each and every one of them uncountable times throughout my life.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior and he paid the most expensive fine ever levied for my breaking these rules. The only acceptable payment would be the blood sacrifice of a perfect lamb. Jesus was the only perfect man to ever have walked on this planet, and he dirtied himself with my sins. He took all the blame for what I committed and paid my fines in full with his life, setting me free.

 Do you know how I repaid Jesus for this blessing of all blessings, for his suffering and his death? I went right ahead and broke every one of the ten commandments again, and again, and again. Have you done the exact same thing as I have? Thank goodness for us, that Jesus paid for “ALL” of our sins. That’s every broken rule from our past, every sin we committed today and every commandment dishonored in the future. “ALL” sins.

Today, I want to address commandment number eight. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Plain and simple, I am not to lie. Do I ever lie?  No, not ever! That was a lie about not lying. God is truth and we are to honor Him by not lying.

I have another skeleton in my closet and it was born from a lie. A lie that needs to be brought out into the open so that I can be more at ease with myself. A lie that I am tired of carrying around. A lie that threatens to be discovered. A lie that will surely tear down my integrity.

This particular lie started off as a way to avoid recurring suffering and pain when individuals innocently stirred up the single most painful unforgiven catastrophe of my life. The one I tried to ignore, bury and hide. My divorce. I did the complete opposite of what the apostle Paul advised in Ephesians 4:31 NIV

All it took was a few inquisitive words to set me off, like; Are you married? Where’s your wife? Did your wife come with you? Is she here? Why didn’t you bring your wife? I’d really like to meet your wife someday! To which I would reply, “I am divorced, I don’t have a wife”. Now that should’ve been the end of it, but no. Then the inevitable questions would come, the looks of disappointment, the prying, and sometimes I swear people just like to dwell on the misery of others so they can feel better about their own messed up lives.

These questions would expose the hatred I had stored up inside which provided fuel for the questioner to pour back onto the fire they just fanned into full flame. Oh dear! I’m so sorry! Oh my, what happened? Whose fault was it? How long has it been? You must be so lonely! Do you have children? How are they taking it? Is there anything I can do? What advice do you have about divorce? So now that you’re available, I have this friend…. Will you marry again?

These thoughtless replies and digs would bring back to memory all the greed, deceit, accusations, cheating lawyers, unfair statements, concocted self-purposing lies and financial loss. They would cost me weeks of sleepless nights, again, as I battled with my fury. One day after about four years of this malarkey I came up with the reply, “I’m a widower, my wife was killed in a car accident.” The inquisitive person is usually too shocked and too embarrassed to ask any further questions. An apology is usually offered, a little sympathy poured out and then they shuffled off on their way. This was brilliant. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Thus a lie was born.

Over time, questions concerning the death of my wife surfaced here and there and I unthinkingly provided quick answers to satisfy whoever was asking and to protect my claim. The lie was expanding and becoming more and more detailed, morphing into a hybrid. I repeated the hybrid lie so many times that it became a reality in my mind. Psalm 119:29 NLT I could still hate her, despise her, slander her in my heart and deny that she ever hurt me as deeply as she did. She was where she belonged, murdered, dead to me, out of my life. The hybrid lie also replaced disappointment and shame with the sympathy I desired. No one ever upset me again and I was at peace. Or, so I thought.  

This hybrid lie has retarded my life and my ability to move forward. Thirty eight years later I still had not forgiven my estranged wife as I never needed to. With the help of the Holy Spirit I realized the weight I was carrying and the need to offload it. All this time I have tried to hurt her by not forgiving her, but she doesn’t even care or know. I have only been hurting myself.  

Exposing myself, to rid my soul of this heavy burden would be a lot easier if I could be guaranteed that no one that I knew, would ever read this blog. All of my very nearest and dearest friends, many of my acquaintances and even my pastor have given me their sympathy which I accepted wrongfully. I have abused their love and care for me. Now I risk losing their friendship and their trust. I am trying to establish myself as a man of integrity and this certainly does not lend itself to my efforts.     

I never intended to hurt anyone but have succeeded in hurting everyone. Now it’s out in the open. I can start to breathe once again. Satin will not be able to derail me by exposing this secrete. I have exposed it myself.

It all started with one tiny little lie. I’m a widower!       

Exhumation of a BIG Skeleton

There’s a skeleton in my closet that has to leave. Excess baggage that’s weighing me down and I’ve slugged it around for 30+years. The skeleton is the bitterness, shame, hatred and unforgiveness  from a very, very toxic and painful divorce.

If you are leaning toward a divorce, listen up. Think twice and consider any alternatives. Do your research and know in advance what you’re getting yourself into. Especially if you have children. Consider what the Bible has to say about divorce. Mark 10: 6-9 NASB, Matthew 19:6 ESV, Ephesians 5:21-33 ESV. I encourage you to seek out faith based marriage counseling. Talk to your pastor or any pastor. Your marriage can be rebuilt and restored. I strongly recommend prayer and asking for spiritual help. James 1:5 NLT, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT.

If you choose to divorce let me give you a heads up and express what I went through. I suffered stress, emotional anguish and trauma, financial stress, bankruptcy, mental exhaustion, unwarranted damage to my integrity. I watched my children being used as pawns and bargaining chips without any regard for their feelings. Resentment, bitterness, being treated unfairly, badly damaged and broken friendships and family relationships. I was constantly on the defense. Anger, exclusion, isolation, depression, sleep deprivation, disappointment, false accusations, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide. Greed and selfishness, mental and physical abuse, loss of identity, low self-esteem and shame.

Your divorce will have long lasting effects not only on yourself but on innocent loved ones. Your divorce will be far reaching and affect others that you cannot even imagine. Other people in your community, at your place of work and anyone you are in contact with, directly or indirectly. When you get into it you will not be able to think rationally or clearly. Your future will be so blurred by the smoke that reaching tomorrow will be your future goal. One day at a time will be your new reality for a long, long time.

After all this, the resentment I felt turned me into an unrecognizable me. I became a miserable, angry person. I hated all women to point of even questioning my own mother’s treatment of my father. No one wanted to be around me. I didn’t want to be around me. After unsuccessfully attempting to commit suicide for the third time I again sought professional help and that is when the bitterness set in. To think that I came so close to exiting this life in order to escape the cruelty I was suffering and then that led to the inability to ever forgive.

Sadly, I now see that my unforgiveness had absolutely no effect on the perpetrators. But it has held me back, bogged me down, held me prisoner and cost me 30+ years of my life. Only through much prayer have I finally reached the point where I am now able to let go of this skeleton.

With the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives within me; To my ex-wife, I forgive you. To my ex-wife’s lawyer, I forgive you. To the one particular judge who was obviously a friend of my ex-wife’s lawyer, I forgive you for your ridiculous judgment that by the way never happened because of its absolute absurdity.  To the multitude of friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances that were coerced to join in on the feeding frenzy against me, I forgive all of you.

Although I was not a follower of Christ at the time, God witnessed all that was said and done. I hand over this incredible burden, once and for all. I’m not carrying it any longer. It is now in God’s hands for Him to judge and deal with as He sees fit.

With God’s guidance, I am so ready to start planning the rest of my life.

Are you up to going through a divorce? Will you be able break the chains that imprison you afterward?  

The Skeletons in my Closet

Hidden facts that should they ever be discovered, will undoubtedly damage my reputation. They threaten to destroy my most valued relationships and at the very least when exposed, people’s perceptions of me will be changed. I am ashamed and afraid of being rejected.

Satan hunted me down when I was weak. He found me when I had rejected God. He toyed with my mind, he enticed me, he lured me and he created irresistible situations. He set his traps for me. They were all disguised as fantastic opportunities, sugar coated lies and dreams he promised would come true.

To his delight I ran into trap after trap after trap.  For most of my life I played along and lived his lies. I was buried so deep and it seemed there was no way out. Living in sin was all that I knew. He taught me well.

God was watching and extending His hand. “Trust me, believe in me”. “Choose everlasting life over death”. I knew He was there. My heart told me so.  I could not see HIM but I could see my bank account, my trust funds, my investments, my new home, my new vehicles, my well-paying job, my circle of friends, travel, parties, lovers and I wanted more, more, more.

God created me for Himself and He wanted me back. God passed judgment upon me and He initiated His discipline. Stock market crashes, a horrific, costly, divorce and custody battle, lost employment, a sour property investment, crooked lawyers, false friends and I was crushed. When my head stopped spinning and I saw that the vast majority of all I had worked for all my life had vanished, I turned to the one friend who I thought would save me and he turned his back on me.  

 For the first time in my life I ran out of resources and I had no more answers. I didn’t know what to do. It all seemed hopeless. I threw myself a pity party and after a long hard cry and crying myself to sleep. Something touched me and led me to get down on my knees. I cried out to Jesus, I confessed many, many sins and begged for his forgiveness, for him to take me in, love me, help me and be my guide.

It’s been a little over three years since that day. For a while I still continued to sink but I held on to Jesus’ hand and refused to let go. I prayed to know God and I prayed for the zeal to learn more about Him. I began to read the Bible faithfully every day and research scriptures. I signed up for daily devotionals and began reading Christian based and themed books.  I started to attend church and prayed regularly.

In the last few months my life has finally started to turn around for the better. Blessings abound and I am so appreciative. I have actually received messages from God Himself. I am feeling so very confident and I know that everything is going to be alright. BUT! Guess who has never left?

There is one who is not pleased in the least that I have turned to God and Jesus and man is he ever angry. I cannot begin to count the ferocious attacks that Satin has come at me with. He wants me back and he’s playing dirty. There are many skeletons hanging in my closet. He helped me put them there. Things I’ve done that I am not proud of and lies I’ve concocted to hide shameful things. Stories I’ve told and people I’ve hurt, actions that threaten to destroy friendships and many unbelievable acts that will damage my new Christian character.

Satin was once so accommodating and he made it easy for me to achieve anything that I wanted. He congratulated me on jobs well done and suggested that I deserved more. He set up new temptations everywhere. All mine for the taking. Today these sinful acquisitions are my shame. They are the skeletons in my closet and he threatens to expose them so that he can bring me down.

These skeletons are my own and they are keeping me at a distance from God. Satin reminds me every day and asks me, “What were you thinking”?  He tells me, “You are such an idiot to think you could ever get away with that”!  

My only freedom will be to dig these skeletons out and expose them to the world, myself. I don’t see that I have any other choice. It is the only way that I can disarm Satin and improve my relationship with God.      

Many of us have skeletons hidden away. How will you deal with yours? I could sure use your prayers as I attempt to clean out my closets.   

An Attitude of Gratitude

Would you like to reduce your risk of heart disease? Would you be interested in knowing a free, no pill method to help fight depression, stress and anxiety? How would you like to improve your mood, sleep better and increase your energy?

At the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine, a professor by the name of Paul Mills says that by simply adopting a positive mental attitude, you can reduce inflammation around your heart and improve your heart rhythm. His studies have shown that the more grateful people were, the healthier they became.

I know what you’re thinking. Your thinking that it’s easier said than done in this angry, angry world. How do find anything positive among so much negativity? I can remember once in the very earliest days of my “Christian” infancy, praying to God and wondering if He had not lost the battle with Satin. My inexperienced eyes saw so much evil that any good was blurred over.

About this same time I learned an attitude adjustment prayer from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. He called it an, “Attitude of Gratitude”. I can testify that this prayer will change your life in numerous ways. I have prayed it on long bus journeys, flights, and at times when I am feeling sucked down by the world’s negativity.

Simply, you go through the alphabet, a-z, and you pray to All Mighty God giving Him thanks for the things you are grateful for. Dear God, thank you for the air that sustains my life. I am so grateful for my B bed that helped me get a good night’s rest. For this great country of Canada where I am safe and free.  Continue this onward through to the letter Z.

I’ve added to my, Attitude of Gratitude prayer and now I pray for three things for each letter of the alphabet. 1) For something that by God’s grace is given for free to everyone. 2) For a material item. Something you can see, touch and hold. 3) Something heavenly or spiritual, angelic, or a promise.

Everyone’s prayer will be different. We are all unique and place emphasis on a variety of topics and interest.

Here is my latest. You can use it, expand it, shrink it or change it in any way that suits you and your unique relationship with the Lord.

Air, Apples, Angels. Beat (heart), Bed, Bible. Canada, Coffee, Christ Jesus. Day (today), Dog (my), Deities (3 of God). Earth, Eyes, Eternity. Family, Flowers, Faith. Gratefulness, Glasses, Grace of God. Humor, Hair, Hope. Imagination, ice, Incarnation. Joy, Juice, Justice. Kisses, Kittens, Knowledge. Laughter, Lamps, Love. Music, Medicine, Marriage. Nature, Nuts, New Jerusalem. Ocean, Oven, Oath. Parents, Plates, Prayer. Quiet Time, Quesadilla’s, Qualified. Rain, Roses, Rapture. Stars, Spices, Savior. Time, Trees, Truth. Understanding, Umbrella, Unstoppable. Voice, Violin, Virgin. Water, Watch, Wedding. Xeroradiography (x-rays). Youth, Yeast, Year of the Lord’s Favor. Zeal, Zucchini, Zion.

This prayer is an easy and flexible way to honor and praise God. Start, stop and restart it throughout the day. Just make a mental note of what letter you stopped at and then continue later on.  In expressing to God your, “Attitude of Gratitude” you will obey many, many passages that are written in the Holy Bible.

We are told to give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT Just because we know and accept Jesus. God blesses us with every Spiritual blessing there is in heaven. Ephesians 1:3 NLT that’s a pretty good reason to be grateful.

Will you share your, “Attitude of Gratitude” prayer? Send it to the2yochristian@finchwisdom.com

References:     Gratitude Is Good For The Soul And Helps The Heart, Too

NOTE: I am not suggesting that anyone not take their medication or not to seek medical help for depression, anxiety or other situations.

Rewarded

Quite some time ago I printed up a couple of resumes, one for each location of the same business. A position was not available at the time but I just thought it would be a great place to work. One day a few weeks ago, out of the blue I received a telephone call asking if I had found work yet and would I be interested in coming in for an interview. WELL! YEAH!

After failing at a couple of other interviews where I marched in under my own power and full of self-confidence, “someone”, (hint)”The Holy Spirit” put it into my mind to pray and ask for guidance, help and support during the interview. I invited the entire Trinity along to join me, and to intervene wherever I fell short. The interview I felt, went very good. I was calm, laid back and relaxed. At the end of the interview I was asked to provide character references. This is always a good sign.

One week went by and I hadn’t heard anything but “something” again placed the idea in my mind to send an e-mail and lightly exclaim that I was still available and ready, willing and able to work. Well, another week went by and still I didn’t hear anything! “Something” told me to send another e-mail but this would be the last. It wouldn’t be good to be accused of harassment. Two days later on a Friday I received an e-mail saying that I would be contacted early in the next week. Now this just has to be a good sign.  

Just before meeting with my Sunday, Bible Study Group, I told one of my friends that I was pretty hopeful of finally being granted a job. After the study, my friend wished me the best and asked me to promise to let him know if my feelings came true. The study leader asked me what was up and so I told him my news. He reached out his hand for what I though was going to be a congratulations hand shake but he gripped my hand as if I were dangling off the edge of a cliff and he was pulling me to safety. His wife came over and placed her hand on my shoulder and they began to pray. He thanked God for my new opportunity and asked for His blessings on me and that if this opportunity was not to materialize I would continue to wait knowing He (God) has something better in store. Wow! What an unexpected act of caring, love and brotherhood. Aside from learning and understanding the Bible on a deeper level, this is what a small group is all about.  

Monday came and went with no telephone call or e-mail. Tuesday came and went and still no phone call or e-mail. Late Wednesday morning the phone rang when I was in the shower. I didn’t hear it but when I had finished showering, I heard the answering machine beeping, indicating there was a recorded message. It was the call I had been agonizing over. I returned the call immediately but was sent to voice mail where I left a message that I had received their request to call back . Later on in the mid-afternoon I called once again but was sent to voice mail again. Ahh you have got to be kidding me! I mean seriously I finally got a break and I lost it for the sake of a shower. Considerably later and after the business had surely closed I gave up on ever hearing from this business again. Finally the phone rang and I was told that I did NOT get the job I applied for but I was offered a casual/part time position if I wanted it.

It was so disappointing to once again be rejected. I accepted the job trying my best to sound excited about it. Certainly something is better than nothing. I moped around the house stewing about this latest let down. I went to bed early and once I had calmed down, “The Holy Spirit” and maybe Jesus as well started reasoning with me. Hey! Did you not pray for a job? Did you or did you not ask God to give you a chance to prove that you’re worthy of a job? It’s a job! What did you have an hour ago? Did you even think to thank Him? Psalm 9:1 NIV. This opportunity checks off all the requirements you wanted in a job. What are the chances that will happen again? You’re going to be working at helping people in need. You will have every Sunday off and never have to miss church. You will receive some benefits. It pays better than minimum wage. It’s a small company with a small family atmosphere. There is no labor union. You have not hit bottom yet, is that where you’d rather be? Be grateful for goodness sake! Start with what you’ve been given, do your very best and see where it takes you.

They were so right and I was so wrong. I may not have the position I wanted but I have work. God has heard my prayers and once again He has delivered. Psalm 118:21 NIV How do I know what He’s thinking? I don’t know His plans for me. This could just be the beginning, a test or a sampling. No doubt, if I work as though I am working for Him, proving myself worthy and showing my appreciation He’ll increase my blessings. It’s an opportunity to praise God through managing the wages that I earn and give back to the Lord His share.

I prayed so many times and I even begged for a chance to prove myself to Him in a job and now that I have been blessed I’ve already failed. I did not thank God for this blessing. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV.  I got down on my knees and I prayed. I thanked Him and apologized for being ungrateful. I confessed that I am weak and I would need His strength to keep me from becoming prideful and thinking I can manage from here on in. I asked that He keep me appreciative and performing my very best. I asked that He guide me and help to plan the proper use of the wage that I receive.

In so many ways this starter job is of key importance because everything I think and do, how I act and react, is being scrutinized. My attitude will determine whether I am worthy of more and whether I should be allowed to progress forward. My faith is being tested. I must remain positive and hopeful.   Hebrews 11:6 NLT

I would do well to remember the second sentence in Isaiah 60:22 NCV, “I am the Lord and when it is time I will make these things happen quickly.