We Are Almost Home

We didn’t meet by chance. I was in the middle of middle age, hosting a dinner for single parents, and he was in the middle of raising two kids on his own, in search of a break. Through a period of time, of questions and prayers, he chose to believe in Christ.

I always want to do more, but there is a distance between us which prevents a closer relationship. We live in different cities. His children are younger, our children are older. We do get together once and awhile, but once and a while is not enough.

More often than not God brings us together at just the right time, and I am so thankful for that.

We’ve had our talks about church and the importance of surrounding yourself in God’s family for growth and support. It has been painful watching many of my new believer friends struggle to find a place where they feel they belong.

Meanwhile there are those friends who have believed for a long time, and don’t anymore. I guess it is the way I’m wired, but it hurts every time I see someone just give up, or walk away. I’m not angry, but I wonder all the time, pray and ponder about why some dig deeper, and others just quit. Cause it’s not about just quitting on a club, or the gym, it is about quitting on “the friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). It is about breaking promises. It is about “forgetting our first love” (Rev. 2:4). It’s about missing out on giving your children the best you can give (Deut. 11:19-21).

I’ve long since stopped accepting excuses. My friend’s life has been very difficult, but life is hard. And no one knows that better than Jesus.

God knows we need each other to run the race of faith together. We can’t do it it without Him, and we can’t do it without one another. Somehow we have got to come together, and isn’t that what church is all about?

 

 

Our friend came to visit this week, and we were delighted to have lunch together. It didn’t take long for me to hear that compromise had come to call. I appreciated his honesty, that way I know how to pray, but I felt a sadness creep over me. I went home and prayed at the piano –

“We Are Almost Home”

It’s not as if we met by accident, God knows when – a heart is ready. I wonder just how many times He’s prayed, hey – to get us where we are today?

I’de be the last one to ridicule your life, but I’ll be the first to sound alarmed. If you forget what He said, and tell Him it’s too hard.

He said, I’ll never leave you or forsake you. No child of mine is left alone. Don’t let the voices confuse you. We are almost home.

The secret’s not about what we can do, that’s the truth – grace is hard to handle. Patience has to be His middle name, hey – He believes that we can change.

You’d be the last to adjudicate my life, but please be the first to take my arm, if I forget what He did, and tell Him it’s too hard.

He said, I’ll never leave you or forsake you. No child of mine is left alone. Don’t let the voices confuse you, we are almost home.

©December 31st, 2015

DON’T GIVE UP – WE ARE ALMOST HOME

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

But Most of All, If You Love Jesus….

The words below are for people who believe in Jesus and are struggling with communication problems in their marriage.  One of the biggest warning signs there are, is when you recognize your self as a separate entity within the marriage, maybe it’s separate bank accounts, maybe it’s separate ministries, separate this and that, and pretty soon, everything is separate.

I have a very good friend (a believer), who is struggling within the marriage relationship, and I wrote this for _____.  I realize each marriage is unique and each marital problem is unique.  There may be people who take offense to this.  There may be people who relate.  I know that the Bible is very clear about those of us who know the truth and walk away from it, 2 Peter 2:21.

My dear friend, do you remember when?

When (_______) got married a second time and we felt like we were going to a funeral instead of a wedding?

When we couldn’t take our kids to their grandparent’s house again, because they didn’t live together anymore?  We still took them to visit their grandparents, but it was never the same.

That was just yesterday and we swore that would never happen to us……

We swore we would never put our kids through that, so help us God.

So what happened? 

When did you decide you didn’t need God’s help?

….communication breakdown? 

If the silence goes on for too long, the lies take over. 

You of all people – love being tough, why not fight the lies?

You always thought you were so strong, well guess what?

No one is stronger than the lies.  No one except Him.

So what can we do?  We can’t – but He can.

And He tells us to confess (speak out loud) that we might be healed (helped along by other brothers and sisters in the Lord) James 5:15 – 17.

Jesus saw this (your pain) coming, and let them pin it all on Him and nail Him to a cross.

So the least you can do is pin your pride there too. 

You know how to press in and push through anything – this time DON’T – let Him.

But while you’re letting Jesus help you, don’t decide what He can and cannot do.

Have you forgotten nothing is impossible with Christ? Luke 1:37

You tell me you’re not sure what to do, God does and He’s given us a formula to follow that will bring the most miraculous outcome…..

It’s just that very few choose to trust Him, and very few really want what is on the other side.

Are you really going to settle for the temporary, or do you want the eternal?

The lies like to make the temporal very attractive. 

It is a mystery to me, how so many of us believers at one time or another have trouble communicating with our spouse, so rather than sit up in the middle of night and battle it out until every last issue has been covered,  we look for another someone to communicate with?

What makes us so sure the problem doesn’t lie within our own hearts, and that the same communication issue will follow us where ever we go?   ….. unless we let Jesus deal with it.

Remember the race we’re in, remember there are witnesses watching our faith journey?

Are we going to give into those lies and be a stumbling block for our own children?

If you want the best for your spouse and your family, take a deep breath and put yourself last one more time….and read this message from God’s own mouth.

But most of all, if you love Jesus….

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For who ever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.”

I want you to know that I believe your pain is real, I also want you to know – there is no excuse for what is happening right now, but we humans, we that are “flesh” (Psalm 78:39), can always make something up.  What does the Bible say?  1 Corinthians 10:13

In Love and in Truth,

Cindy

 

 

 

Maintaining Healthy Relationships

I’ve been working on a paper for school.  I share this information not because I am focused on the importance of chasing intellect, but because the subject of my paper and my present heart ache are connected.

I am exploring the importance of remembering God’s saving deeds throughout history and sharing that information with the next generation (Psalm 78).  Ultimately the message scripture is revealing is about maintaining a faithful relationship with God, which brings me to the question “how do we maintain healthy earthly relationships?”

We know if our relationship with God is not healthy and growing, our earthly relationships will also be affected.  If our relationship with God is healthy we are able to embrace others. Perhaps the word ’embrace’ only applies to some, and the word ‘accept’ applies to others?

See what I mean, we are such a fickle people, deciding whom we should love based on what feels comfortable, always so in tune to the immediate and the physical.

Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves….but if we show favoritism we are sinning”(James 2:8,9)

What if we are doing everything in our power to maintain a healthy relationship with God, but some of our earthy relationships still remain strained?  We cannot control another person’s response, but we can ask God to help us with our attitude.

I’ve also wondered, why I seem to be harder on people who are believers, when they make bad decisions?  Is it because they know better? Perhaps it is an opportunity for me to see how God feels when I disappoint him.

The Israelites knew better and God was patient with them.  They rejected Jesus and put him on a cross.  Here we see God sacrificing his own Son in order for us to be in relationship with him.  I find it amazing how He loves us all the same too, how his love isn’t based on our height, or weight or smell, or intelligence, or behavior.

Perhaps I have come full circle.  By constantly remembering what God has done for us, our mind has no room for pity or circumstance, no time to point the finger of blame? By constantly talking about what God has done and can do, we are obediently announcing that we trust Him with everything, especially that which we don’t understand, and totally mesmerized with who He is!

That’s where I want my mind right now Jesus; totally off my circumstance and pain, praying for those who have hurt me, for they too must be in pain, and a heart that is totally in awe of YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

Living Vertical in a Horizontal World

Good morning Jesus. It has been an interesting week, holding on tight to your hand and walking with you while you open my eyes and lift my chin gently upwards with the tips of your fingers.  You keep me living vertical.

Windows and doors open all around me, revealing images of this world’s reality, of our perilous soul condition.  Objects of desire are blotting out the Son, blind sheep still wander.  The weight of it wraps around my feet and threatens to keep me horizontal.  The pain of it tries to drown me, but you severed my ball and chain on the cross, and we walked into freedom from the tomb.

Since you joined the Father and left your Spirit here, there’s a lot of seeking going on, but not for you.  Your truth has been traded for brighter lights, bigger toys, man’s temporary fascinations.  As if we can compete with you and your design, your purpose and your plan? Have we forgotten the cycle of history repeating itself?  Our struggles and our triumphs are not original, or the first, or the last, but You are.

You hand crafted our intricate, brilliant minds in your image, kissed our lungs with air and yet some can’t even bring themselves to speak your name.  So much safer and hip to use the buzz words of the day, so non-committal, so plastic intelligence, empty, and most of all – powerless.  But my soul is not downcast.

You delight to say my name and called me before the earth felt the warmth of the sun.  The realization that I even bleep on your radar slays me, that I am so much smaller than the stars, yet matter more to you than the entire universe put together.  I am but a speck of star-dust orbiting around you.  You are a mystery magnet I cannot explain. I am in awe of you and go deeper, past the velvet curtains of your solar systems to the beginning and the end, into your heart.

How do I know you are real?  How do I know there is one God, and that you love me?  How do I know I have nothing to fear when I put my trust in you?  You have proven yourself over and over and over again.  Every living cell bears your seal, every generation has witnessed the majesty of your handiwork.

The closer I come to you, the faster you run to me.  I don’t need to see the exact lines of your face to feel you here beside me.  I am not ashamed, and I will not apologize for believing in a baby born in Bethlehem, born of God and born of man.

As the world grows darker, as the pages of time draw to an earthly close, even though my body may lie down before the trumpet sounds, keep my spirit living vertical.  I love you.

Missing – leather bound Bible, last seen?

dreamstimefree_175096By recognizing we are ignorant on how to show up in the lives of single parent families, or any other “neighbor” for that matter, a deeper truth appears.

We, the believers of North America have lost our Bibles.  God is not relevant anymore.

With our Bible buried underneath some stack of magazines, God becomes far away and forgotten.  If we get stuck we can pull out a scripture or two or maybe some popular tweet.

Besides, we all have our own problems, and we really shouldn’t be helping anyone else until we get our own lives together, right?

We’ve also become so smart.  Who needs Jesus, who needs to read the Bible?  Look what we can create on our own.

Oops, that’s when our condition is glaringly revealed.  Mankind might look intelligent on the surface, but God sees the heart.  Look out because history is repeating itself.  Contrary to popular belief, we are not getting better.  Society is digressing.

If we desire to be relevant in someone’s life today, first of all be very happy Jesus planted that seed in the first place because it certainly didn’t come from our own self-righteous hearts.  If we want to be relevant in someone’s life, Jesus needs to be relevant in ours.  We need Jesus and we need to know what He is saying to us.  Only through Him will we be able to move past our own flaws and embrace others.  Only by embracing others are we able to really get the big picture!  The Bible, God’s Word is the only place you find the “big picture” and we can hear His voice and see His plan if we read it.

We can stay where we are if we want to, with our techno toys and our busy lives and our own pain, but we’ll miss the miracle – the miracle of love.

And although the “miracle of love” might sound light and fluffy and sweet, it isn’t.  Love is bloody and sacrificial and hard work, and miraculous.  Just ask Jesus, He knows.

John 19:17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull

Luke 9:23  Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Romans 15:4 NIV  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Below is just one website I found with a list of verses that talk about the importance of reading God’s Word.  There are many other resources that can help you dig into scripture.

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Reading-Gods-Word/

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Cindy Palin
Break of Day (practical break for the single parent family in our community)

www.firstbaptistolds.ca