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?  

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.

Jobs, Jobs, Everywhere (but not a one for me)

Job hunting is an emotional rollercoaster and if you have recently been through this laborious exercise or are caught up in it presently, you know exactly what I mean. It doesn’t matter what your age, gender or race is, in this day of age, it’s tough. Add in old age, overweight, unskilled factory worker for most of your life, and just try to imagine how steep the mountain slopes and how deep the valleys are. I’ve been up and down so many times that I should be as fit as The CrossFit Games winner, Rich Froning Jr. and as sleek and skillful as a leopard.

I’m going on into my fifth month without work and worldly ideas and thoughts are taking over my mind. Why am I not getting a job?  Is it because I’m old? Is it because I’m fat? Is it because I’m too picky? Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough or possibly my resume is not written well. Do I appear unprofessional or too professional? Do I come on too strong or am I too wimpy? It doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day the world assumes it’s my fault that I don’t have work.

After these insecure thoughts, a flood of other world feelings bear down on me. Feelings of rejection; You know, when the manager or public relations person couldn’t be any more disinterested in you, if they tried. You’re absolutely not getting that job! The worldly feeling of being let down and disappointed; I am way more qualified and able than that person they hired. Who is he, the boss’s grandson?  Then the world offers up frustration. Ahh come on! I’ve handed out a gazillion resumes. And  what would the world be, if it didn’t pour anxiety upon you? How will I ever be able pay my debts? How can I even live? Finally; Depression! The world tells me, I’m good for nothing, a loser, pathetic, washed up. Step aside, get out of the way!  

Where does one go from here? How do you get out of bed the next morning and continue on any longer? Well, take a look up to the heavenly realm. Let’s see what Jesus has to say. What promises has God made to me and what does the Holy Spirit have to offer? I turned to God and I prayed. I asked Him, “God, why is it taking so long?” Am I not praying the right way? Are you hearing my prayers? When?

God assures us, I hear your every prayer.1 Peter 3:12 ESV
God is in control, working all things together. Romans 8:28 ESV
God provides for us. Luke 12:24 ESV
God is with us, wherever we go. Joshua 1:9 ESV
God is going to bless us, I have plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
God will deliver a job, at the perfect time. Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV

Jesus will not let us perish. John 3:16 KJV
Jesus helps carry our load. Matthew 11:28 KJV
Jesus is the truth and will provide the way. John 14:6 KJV
Jesus prepares for our future. John 14:2 KJV
Jesus lights the way for us. Matthew 5:16 KJV
Jesus is ready and willing to help us. Matthew 7:7-8 KJV

The Holy Spirit gives us power. Act 1:8 NLT
The Holy Spirit pleads for us when we are weak. Romans 8:26 NLT
The Holy Spirit teaches us all we need to know. John 14:26 NLT
The Holy Spirit guides our lives. Galatians 5:16 NLT
The Holy Spirit prepares us to work together Galatians 5:25-26 NLT
The Holy Spirit lives in us. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT

Who do you allow to govern your life, the world or God?

A Limited Time to Live

Well here we go again. What a month of revelation it has been. Never before, have I had so many dreams, thoughts, and circumstances open up before me. All of these, I’m sure are God’s way of confirming what I have learned by reading His word, studying daily devotionals, attending Bible studies and church services.

Once again, and I believe it was just prior to my waking, I had another experience. I don’t know anything about dreams and dreaming or when they occur but I suppose it’s always just before waking up because that’s when all of mine seem to have happened. Well anyway, this time my encounter wasn’t a dream but more of a suggestion and recommendations. I wasn’t being addressed by anyone specific but by an invisible voice that just came out of nowhere.  Like you would expect might come from a spirit. Holy smokes, just as I finished writing that last sentence, I realized my first dream was with, The Son, Jesus, my last dream was with The Father, God, and now this one is from, The Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity, all three have now spoken to me at three different times. Not exactly in the order we are used to hearing them presented, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. A while ago I did have a dream from The Father which would place these occurrences in the order of how we address the Holy Trinity. I haven’t written about the first because I am still struggling to share and how to share the content of that one.

This time, I heard, “what if I told you that you only have a limited time to live?” I was speechless. I believe God has a sense of humor but I don’t believe He would joke about death. It was dead quiet (no pun intended). I was a little panicky and a hurricane of thoughts was quickly accelerating in my mind.  Why? What is it? What’s wrong? When? The reply was, “It doesn’t matter why and there’s nothing wrong. It’s time, and it will be today.  Zowza! “I strongly suggest, you get your thoughts in order and carefully plan your time.” I don’t remember being afraid but in a panic, I just couldn’t seem to set any priorities. As quick as I thought of one thing I thought of another that was more important. Many were of no importance at all. Needless to say I woke up a little disturbed. The thought followed me all day long.                                                                                                                                                     

If today were the last day of your life and you just found out about it, what priorities come to your mind?  Okay, here, let’s make this real. An out of control car, comes speeding around the corner, hits you and sends you flying. You’re lying on the pavement, a small crowd of people are gathering around and you hear someone call out, “call 911.” You don’t really notice any searing pain but you know you’re really messed up. Instinctively, deep down inside, you know, this is it. What would be your priorities?   How exactly would you prepare for eternity?                                   

Now is the time to get your house in order. It’s time to get all your ducks in a row. We have absolutely no idea when our number will come up. Jesus can return at any moment, nothing has to be wrong. How long do you have? A year, a month, a week, days. In this scenario a day at the most, possibly only an hour or just minutes.                                                                                            

We’ve got to make this good and it has to be right. Are you going to be thinking about all the material things you’ve accumulated? All that money you’ve invested, in your stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts and in your pension plan. Guess what? You’re not taking it with you. How about your car? You’re not taking that either.  Not your home; your shoes, clothing or jewelry. I think we can throw out any ideas of making material items a priority. How about your career, you know the job you put before your family. How about your gym membership, the “Golf Club,” your baseball team or your booked vacation? Sorry! You won’t be going anymore; your friends and acquaintances will figure it out on their own. So, we can throw out your social life. What’s left?

I’ve given this some pretty serious thought. Without a moments delay I want to be sure that I am right with my savor, Jesus Christ.  Dear Lord Jesus, come down from heaven and please take my hand. I’m sorry for any sins I may have or have committed today. Thank you for giving up your life for the likes of me and thank you for paying the penalties for my sins. Thank you, that my sins have been forgiven. I forgive everyone who has ever sinned against me. I’m yours Jesus and I look forward to following you to my new home up above. Please stay with me until this life ends. In your name, A Men                   

If I still had some time left I would then want to make sure my family and friends were sure of their day of reckoning. If I had the time to go to them or assuming they would come to me, I would ask them to join me in prayer. I would pray that each of them would place their trust in Jesus and on the spot confess their sins, promising to try their utmost to continue sin free. I would pray that each one would offer up their own lives and ask Jesus to become their shepherd, their life coach or manager. I would not want anyone to be sad for me but to be happy and know in their hearts I will soon be in heaven. Goodbyes would be appropriate while there was time.

Spiritually, are you ready? Are you sure of your destination? Will your family and friends be joining you in the future? There’s time.

Experiencing God

In that pre wake up state just before becoming conscious and getting out of bed, I experienced an incredibly profound encounter or dream. I don’t know the exact time or the duration but it was so realistic that when I awoke, I was still in it. This event accompanied me from slumber into the beginning of this new day. I was fully awake and yet still in the dream. I was at peace, like I had never felt before. I was swimming in joy, contentment and gratitude in a complete state of euphoric bliss. I remember waking up smiling and continuing to smile throughout the entire day.

Allow me to try to describe what happened, to the best of my recollection.

I don’t know where I came from or where I had been and as far as I know this dream just started with me facing forward. I was motionless, bogged down, stooped over. I was carrying so much weight in many backpacks, duffle bags, extra canvas bags, and tarps. There were additional rolls and blankets, tents and baskets with numerous items dangling from ropes. I was loaded up like a pack mule. My pockets were stuffed full and whatever I had in them was pulling down on my sweat stained shirt, my filthy jacket and dirty pants with my knees exposed. My heavy worn out work boots were like weighted, lead divers boots, on my feet. 

It was sunny, hot and dry, my lips were cracked and bleeding. The skin of my face, hands and arms was like checked dark leather. My feet ached; my legs were throbbing, my hip joints burned with pain. There was no comfortable position to relieve the riveting electric pulses shooting across my lower back and around to my protruding ribs. My spine felt compressed, my shoulders were hunched and my neck was stretched forward so tense and stiff I could not turn from side to side. My posture was so poor I was looking at the dusty ground just ahead of my feet. I raised my head up as high as I could muster the strength, so I could face who I supposed, was Jesus.

I didn’t see anyone but hearing him speak, it could only be him.  I’ve no idea how long I had been walking, traveling, drifting.  I’ve no idea where I accumulated all that was weighing me down and no idea how long I had been carrying it.

Jesus said, “come to me, let me help.” “Take it off and hand it all over, I can handle it.”  I didn’t move, I just stood there before him, I was too weak to move. I didn’t say a thing, I’m not sure I could even speak. How I was even able to stand was confounding. I was just frozen like a pathetic statue. 

Jesus stepped toward me and gently began lifting bags off my back and setting them down. I didn’t even notice at first. Gradually, I began to feel that the pressure upon me was being lifted and I was able to move a foot and reposition and stabilize myself.  All the while, Jesus was unloading my baggage, he spoke softly to me.       

I don’t recall what he said at this point, but I can only surmise now after the fact, what he was saying. I imagine he asked, how long had I been carrying this heavy load? I imagine him, telling me he’s going to share my burden. I do remember he encouraged me to let it all go, give it up and trust him. I still didn’t say a word but I remember there was a point, when I started to off load some of the last remaining weights, myself. Finally everything was off loaded and I just silently stood there facing Jesus.  Dirty, slouched, broken and sore, aching all over and tired, oh so terribly tired, exhausted, depleted and burnt out. Jesus spoke again and I remember him saying, he was there for me, he asked me to believe in him and to trust in him. Have faith in me he said, and I will give you rest.  

Finally I broke my silence and I told Jesus, “I believe.” “I do.” “I believe.”  “Take all of this away, I’m so tired, I can’t carry it any longer, I just can’t do it any more, I give up.”  “Please take away all the negativity, the pain from holding on, the mental anguish, the hurt feelings.” “Oh Lord Jesus, please take away the lies, the guilt, the resentment and the hate, the disappointment, the fear, the anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness and despair.” “I want  to be free, free of the handcuffs and free of the chains holding me down.” 1 Peter 5:7 : “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”                                                                            

I remember that I was crying and sobbing, my eyes are swollen and my nose running, my mouth was dry and sticking like glue. All the while I continued becoming lighter and lighter as I asked for each sin to be removed. I reached a point of weightlessness and I then realized that my belief and my faith in Jesus was heartfelt and genuinely true. The more I repented the lighter I became. The lighter I felt the stronger my faith. I recall, just knowing in my heart that this really is true. The Bible, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, every bit of it. There is no question in my mind what so ever. It’s all true, it’s real just like the Bible claims it is.

 Again, I don’t know when or how it happened but there I was standing straight, I was clean, shaved and groomed. Next I noticed there was no pain, no pain at all, not a pick, not an itch. Nothing, nada, zero, zip. There was no pressure, no pinch, no tug, pull or tension. No eye strain, no stomach ache, no arthritic pain in my fingers, no joint pain in my hips, elbows or ankles. I could move in all directions, throw my arms up in the air, jump up and down, turn my head from side to side, twist my back and look behind.          Now wait a minute. What’s this? No heartache either, no worries, no negativity, no fear, no panic, no stress, no apprehension. Had I died? Had my life ended? Was it all over? Was I finally at rest? But no, I was alive, I had never felt so alive. I fell to my knees and bowed my head low to the ground before Jesus. Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, you truly are who you say you are. What? There’s more! I became aware that I was engulfed with love, hope, joy, gratitude, peace, satisfaction, awe. It was euphoria and then, I woke up.

It was just before my 5 am alarm was to go off. I’m smiling ear to ear and I say out loud to myself, “so this is what it is to be truly free.” “This is what you get when you’re finally able to turn over the last chamber of your heart to Jesus.” “When you truly believe, when you no longer hold anything back, when you express total unquestionable faith.” I’m in a state of pure bliss. There is no one or nothing, that can wipe the smile off my face.                                          

I threw back the covers and planted my feet on the floor and I prayed. “Dear Abba, So this is what it is to totally give up my life to you. Thank you from the deepest parts within me. Thank you for giving me this incredibly awesome experience. I know now what I have to do and I now know the reward. Abba, I freely hand over every area of my life to you. Accept my life, take over my life, may your will be done in me. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.                                                                                           

House Cleaning with, “The Holy Spirit”

Before seeking Jesus, confessing my sins, asking for forgiveness and asking him to take over my messed up life, it was not uncommon for me to wake up for several hours in the middle of the night. I would awake enraged with anger over some issue that occurred the previous day, week or even months and sometimes years earlier. I would be so upset that it would take me hours to get back to sleep. I could never solve the angering problem and most often I would watch television or read a book until I could be distracted enough or calmed down enough to return to bed and finish what was left of the night.

Sometime soon after seeking and asking Jesus to take charge in my life, I had my first encounter with The Holy Spirit. I didn’t know it at the time but hindsight is 20/20. Now I understand some of the gifts of The Holy Spirit that Jesus gave to me when I reached out to him and accepted him as my Lord and Savior.

The encounter was right after I woke up in a fit of anger. At first I dove right into the problem, swinging and kicking, thinking of what I should have said and should have done at the time, muttering profanities under my breath. Then, when I realized I was losing the battle yet again, I got this idea to ask Jesus for his help. I explained what was going on and that I was the victim and needed his help. What happened next was pretty amazing. That problem dissipated and in no time at all I was lying back down and dozing off to sleep.

What a great idea I had. Why didn’t I think of it a long time ago. I had heard talk about The Holy Spirit but I had no idea where he fit into the grand scheme of things. The only things I understood was God is the creator and Jesus is our Savior. I figured that I had discovered all on my own that the way to beat these Satin antagonized bouts of anger was for me to remember to ask Jesus to help me. I’m not sure who tipped me off that it was not me that thought to go to Christ for help, but that it was actually The Holy Spirit that gave me the idea and prompted me to stop fighting and leave it for Jesus to battle it out. He is my shepherd and protector.

It must have been the better part of the first two years of my becoming a Christian before I stopped trying to deal with my sleep time anger problems on my own. Then realizing that to avoid defeat all I had to do was run to Jesus and let him settle the score. No one has ever accused me of having a thin cranium. There’s some pretty dense bone and matter up there that makes it pretty difficult for knowledge and experience, to break through and take up residency.

At about the two and half year mark as a Christian I had finally learned that The Holy Spirit was a gift from Jesus and that he actually lived right inside of me. I had begun to communicate with him one on one, and prayed, and gave thanks to him right along with Abba and Jesus. The Holy Spirit has taught me to recognize when I am under attack and when Satin has begun throwing old wounds at me. When I fail to react right away The Holy Spirit gives me a nudge. I’ve learned to not even try to resist, but to run straight to Jesus immediately.

Psalms 139: 23-24 NLT : Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Up to a point I was always on the defense, reacting to Satin’s ploys. At some point the Holy Spirit turned the tables and we became the offense. I would pray to The Holy Spirit to dig out a piece of garbage that was lingering around inside me. He lived in me and who would know better the gunk that was in there than he. I would ask that he bring to my attention the pieces of baggage that he knew I would be able to handle. Those old unforgiven hurts were dragged out of the closets and presented to me, often in the middle of the night or early pre waking hours. I would wake up, realize what they were and take them to Jesus. I would pray with Jesus that I forgive this person for doing that to me, pray for healing in that person and then mentally with Jesus we would fold up that hurt, tie it up secure and we would throw it in the furnace and watch it burn until there was nothing left but ashes.

One day I tried to remember the hurts that had been tossed out. I planned to count them up and see how many we had gotten rid of. I could not for the life of me remember what the hurts were that we had tossed away. When Jesus takes on a sin it is washed away forever, once and for all.  It is hard to imagine that I had carried all that excess baggage, some of it for decades. Some of it was so old and so insignificant now that I had to laugh at the immaturity of it. How much needless stress did I put myself through by not forgiving these hurts at the time? How much energy and how much of my life have I wasted carrying all this unnecessary waste?

The Holy Spirit has done some serious housecleaning in me. He did not just dig out my hurt feelings but also grudges, jealousy and wrongs that I did to others and never apologized for (OUCH!) This housecleaning exercise is still underway to this day. I hate to admit it but there are still sins so embedded inside that it may be a while yet before they’re dislodged. Wounds and sins so painful that I have made up lies to cover them and to deal with them. Lies that I’ve convinced myself are true. Lies that I have convinced some of my nearest and dearest friends are true. For me, it is very important that I am able to present myself new to my friends and as clean as possible and new to the Lord.

I know Jesus washed the slate clean with his precious blood some two thousand years ago and I am not trying to buy my way into heaven because we cannot. With the help of The Holy Spirit and Jesus I can take a load of heavy weights off and live a much freer life that I am sure pleases our Father in heaven.  

Romans 6:13 NLT : Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourself completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

Before I Write

I truly aim to lay myself bare before everyone who sorts through this site. Anyone reading my post will come to have a pretty good idea of who I was, who I am and where I’m going. It is my hope that readers will be able to watch me grow in Christ. I’m a newbie at only 3 years old now. No doubt there will be many ups and downs, successes and failures, and stalemates such as I am in now. Over all I pray everyone will see a steady incline but who knows what you’ll see.

I don’t know that anyone has ever charted the growth of a Christian before. I believe that it has to start with complete honesty on my part. Let me testify here and now that it is not as easy as you might think. It would be simple if I could be guaranteed that no one I knew would ever find this website because  there are lies that I have told to cover up the deepest, darkest areas in my life. Lies that I have told so often they have become reality in my mind and some of my best friends have accepted them as the truth. Now! I risk losing them or at the very least disappointing them severely.  

I can’t do this on my own; I have to have the support of our heavenly Father, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and the inward coaxing of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise I’ll just paint another pretty picture of myself, pretend everything is rosy and bright and show you what a wonderful person I am.

 Before I start every posting, I pray three and sometimes four prayers. The first goes something like this.

I tell Abba, I am not blogging for myself but for Him and I ask Abba to refine me with each new post, ranking me as He sees fit. I ask to be put to good use or to suffering, for Him. I ask that I be allowed to post for Him or to be put aside and used for another purpose. I plead to be lifted high but only for Him or to be brought down low, also for Him. I tell Him to do with me and each post whatever He will knowing that He knows what is best.

I pray that God will not let me strive to fill this website but to submit thoughtfully and to genuinely care what I post rather than compete with other sites. I ask for help to seek holiness and not hits on this site.  I confess that I would rather be a follower than have followers.  

My ambition is to fill the website with Abba’s character and grace but keep as low a profile of myself as possible. I pray extensively on this because the site is about me but I ask for help to always exalt Him and humbly place myself below His feet. I pray for the strength to not seek anything from this world but to continually crave all that He is. I pray that all my words will be worthy for Him to read, and express that He is enough. He is the only one I need to please.

 I ask that the Holy Spirit help me to write for Christ smile and not for subscribers and that my daily declaration, not the size of my audience be the certainty of my redemption. I ask that the uncountable graces received from Christ be my identity and never the number of comments I may receive. I pray that the only words I upload are the truth and what I have lived.

I offer to God Almighty ever word, every sentence, every title and every post, every comment or no comment, all to His pleasure and perfect will. Then I confess to Jesus that my only fame is that I bear His name. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. My only Glory is the gift of His grace. The only true readership I seek is His eyes wandering the earth searching to and fro for a heart that is hard after his. I beg Him to make all of this so.

I say, Yawweh, You alone are my God, nothing else receives my love like the love I have for you. I say, Jesus you alone are my savior, I look no further than you. I say Holy Spirit, you alone are my comforter, nothing else can bring me the comfort that you do.

I ask that this prayer will stand today, yesterday and for every post to come. This is my prayer and I wish for it to be legalized in heaven. Amen

Although every prayer I pray is vastly different as I elaborate a little or a lot on each of the points above, the main structure of my prayers before writing each and every blog post, follow Ann Voskamp’s “Bloggers Prayer” A very special thanks to you, Ann. Your prayer helps me to stay focused, remain humble and address every point. It keeps it in my mind where I stand and who God is. Praise God.   

The Grocery Hoard

I have moved back into the city and the few possessions that I have are in bags and boxes and my two suit cases. Since leaving Ecuador, I’m like a drifter carrying all my worldly goods with me place to place. Oh why did I buy that extra-large cast iron frying pan?

Not even settled in yet and after only a few days in my new residence I woke up early one morning and began my quite time. I’m not too sure if was a dream or if it came to me as just a thought but I had this idea in my mind to take all the groceries I had brought with me and give them away.

What a crazy thought! Why would I do that? I brought them with me because I need them. I have to eat just like everyone else. Those groceries I have are to sustain me as long as possible and I have to carefully watch over my spending while I search for a job. After I find a job and I have an income it won’t be a problem. So at that, I didn’t give it another thought and went on with my day. The next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about why I should give away the groceries that I was presently eating from. This thought just wouldn’t go away. Finally I figured well, I can give them away and then just go out and get some more. I can’t really afford it but I feel that this is what I should do, so I’ll do it. There seems to be a lot of “I’s” in this paragraph, huh!

After some time and still thinking about this give away idea, the Holy Spirit within me began to bring to my attention all that God has provided throughout my life. He has always given what was needed and when it was necessary. In fact, He has provided substantially more than what was ever required. Always praying for faith and proclaiming faith in Him. It’s now testing time. Jesus clearly planted the idea to give away the greedy hoard that’s stashed away to test my faith, my trust in him. Is it a lot of hot air that has been being prayed or could this Christian finally be ready to exercise some of that sworn faith.  

Jesus is teaching my faith, to trust in him and to begin living in faith, day by day with the add-on, what it feels like to be truly generous. No more quarters and dollar coins for the poor. This time some new bars are being set. Now, it’s my coveted grocery stash, possibly a hundred dollars cut from a fund that’s quickly running dry.   Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

I headed on down into the basement to gather all the grocery items. I removed any items that were opened. No one would want something that was opened and food banks would throw it away because it could be contaminated. Then I thought to myself, I’ll remove the baking items because poor people most likely don’t have the other ingredients to add, in order to make something out of what I had to give. Then I took out some cans of kidney beans, chick peas, black-eyed beans, and tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. These items can’t be used because unless you have spices and the other ingredients to make soups and chili con carne they would be of no use to the needy. What was left over was not very much. So my solution, I’ll just go shopping and get some things that people in need can use.

At the grocery store I looked at some cans of tuna that were on sale and I noticed that some had pull tabs to open the cans. What a great idea because poor people may not have can openers. This is when God reached down and boxed my ears a good one. That brain rattling set me thinking in a different way.

Of course people who need a helping hand have can openers. I don’t but I can borrow one and so can they if they don’t. I bet they have pots and pans and glasses, plates and cutlery and a stove to cook on too. How utterly ridiculous I’m being. In the way that I’m thinking, there is nothing I can give to anyone because they won’t be able to get into it, cook it or eat it. Thanks for your input Satin!

God put it into me right there and then to add back all the items I had removed and I would buy extra to make up for the items removed because they were open or half eaten.

On Sunday I took the groceries to church. I had no idea if the church had a food bank but I figured they would find some way or someone who could use them. I asked the greeter at the entrance of the church and he told me that the church does not collect groceries.

During the service the reverend announced that in two weeks’ time the church would be starting their spring food drive in support of the local food banks. Hmmmm! Do you think God has been busy? I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that everything is done according to God’s will.

Alright! It’s time to ponder this through. What are the lessons here, for me?

  1. On numerous occasions I have expressed to God, “Whatever you ask of me, my answer is yes, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense to me. You know what’s best”
  2. Initially I completely failed here when I selfishly thought of my own needs and discounted any crazy notion that I should give away any of my own food.
  3. Failing even further when I finally came around and agreed to give away the groceries, I began to claw them back, greedily justifying to myself why I should not give some of the loot.
  4. By thinking, I’ll just go and buy more to replace them, I totally missed the point of this exercise. Jesus wants me to depend on him, he is my provider not my bank account.
  5. When God spoke or in this case planted a suggestion in my mind, again I counted it as my own idea and pushed God aside.  
  6. If I want to hear Him I have to be quiet, focused and not so quick to take over, as I always have. Psalm 143:8 ESV

Will God give up on me? No way! Isaiah 41:10 CSB. When I don’t get it, the Holy Spirit will point out to me and will remind me what God has said. John 14:26 TLB.

Did I pass the test? I think so, and I picked up a few new pointers as well.

Can you relate to this situation? Send me your story, when God spoke to you and how you responded.

January 22, 2019 (b)

After lunch I realized that I had not given thanks for what I had just eaten. I have been trying so hard to remember to give thanks for each and every blessing that I receive. Each day starts off easy. Thank you Abba for your mercy and for your protection throughout the night. Thank you for this new day. Thank you for waking me earlier than the rest of the family so we can have our quiet time together, uninterrupted. Thank you for indoor plumbing, I still remember the inconvenience of the outhouse in Susudel. Thank you Lord for my morning coffee. It’s a totally unnecessary commodity but you give it to me, I believe, for no other reason than you know it’s something I enjoy immensely.

As the morning progresses forward, I continue. Thank you for breakfast and here comes Ginger (my little Cocker Spaniel) thank you for her. Thank you for the dishes to eat my breakfast on. Thank you for clean, hot water and soap to wash the dishes. Thank you for my computer and the Internet to work on. Thank you Holy Spirit for the inspiration you have given me to write a new blog post.

As the day wears on I lose focus and become more engaged in finishing what I have started. I become sidetracked by phone calls, e-mails, and several small tasks and errands that I think need to be done.

As I begin to plan dinner and how I will have it completed on time I have all but forgotten about the blessings that are still being poured out on me.

At some point in there, I remember my lunch and squeeze in a prayer. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the blessing of the lunch I enjoyed much earlier. I am sorry for forgetting to give proper praise at the time and for the many blessings since. Thanks for your help in reminding me to be more aware of my blessings, moment by moment, giving praise to God for them.      

December, 27th, 2018

This morning before even getting out of bed, I prayed to God our Father and I thanked Him for His great mercy, for His blessings and for His grandest blessing of all time, His gift of Jesus Christ. I thanked Him for honoring His promise to provide us a savior. 

I thanked Abba that He has chosen me to be a part of His family in eternity. I gave thanks to God for bringing me down on my knees and facing me toward Jesus, when He knew it was the right time for me.

I thanked Jesus for his parables, his teachings and the examples he set for us. I thanked Jesus for fulfilling his purpose, the plan that God had prepared for him.

I apologized and thanked Jesus for his forgiveness of my sins and for my wasting the previous day.

I prayed to Jesus that today I would be more aware of His presence moment by moment. I prayed that I would remember to pray for everything and anything that comes my way, every good thought and every blessing. I prayed for the ability to focus on him throughout the entire day.

Every morning I start my day with a coffee and I welcome, “The Holy Trinity” to join me in my Bible studies. I ask for help to understand what I am reading and how it applies to me or to relate it someone else.

First up is a preselected, “Verse of the Day” in BibleGateway.com. It was, Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT) [A Psalm of David] Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

Does this prayer from David seem similar to the prayer that I had just finished praying? I just finished praising God and asking Him to help me to remember all that He does for me. So many times I find verses in the Bible that just confirm to me that I am on the right track. God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is not speaking directly to me here but by mirroring David’s prayer with mine I am definitely being reassured that God is with me.

After reading these verses I thought to myself, “He’s Back!” I had not felt that God was around for quite some time but then I thought, “Or could it be, I am back?” I remembered that God promises repeatedly time after time throughout the Bible that He will never leave me and will always be by my side. Genesis 28:15, Deuteronomy 4:31, Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Joshua 1:9, 1st Chronicles 28:20, Psalm 73:23-26Psalm 94:14, Isaiah 41:10-13, Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:21 .

 God does not make promises and then break them. It wasn’t God who drifted away, it was me.