You Can’t Go Back ~ victory is in your future!

car trip

God is always moving forward, not back!

You can’t go back and change what they did to you!

  • They didn’t treat you the way you should’ve been treated.
  • They didn’t love you in your family of origin.
  • They betrayed you.
  • They didn’t give you the promotion you worked so hard for.
  • They lied and gossiped about you.

My father and mother walked out and left me,
    but God took me in. ~ Psalms 27:10, The Message Bible [MSG]

You can’t go back and change what you did to others!

  • You lived with bitterness, and it spilled over onto others.
  • You weren’t responsible, and it harmed others.
  • You weren’t a loyal person, and you ruined past relationships.
  • You were lazy, and others had to do more than their share of duties/work.

For I will demonstrate my mercy to them and will forgive their evil deeds, and never remember again their sins. ~ Hebrews 8:12 [The Passion Translation, TPT]

As believers, we don’t need a PhD in theology to notice in the Bible God used a lot of highly imperfect people. They made mistakes and treated people badly, and/or others had treated them badly. In fact, it might be easier for God to use flawed people because, they’re not so ‘holier than thou’, that they can’t be used at all. It seems God picks people with a bit of humility who have been through some life battles who He can equip for His purposes. So, no matter what kind of a mess we’ve made, He can still use us for good. In the process, He can also bring peace and joy to our lives.

So what is it that is torking us off and twisting us up inside? Did we come from an abusive background, then married and divorced an abusive spouse, and we’re just mad, mad, mad? We can be blood bought and know we’re going to heaven and still have this low-level, simmering anger on the back burner. Our spirit was saved when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in our human spirits. But our souls (mind, will, and emotions) and flesh were not saved. Our souls and flesh have to be renewed and regenerated and this is a for the rest of our life journey.

There is a simple Biblical tool we can use to help us forget past hurts and to have more peace and joy in our lives. It’s the law of sewing and reaping. First of all, we’re to sew into good ground, not cast our seed toward someone or something we know is a poor prospect. For example if we were rejected by our parents as a child, then felt rejection since, and now feel lonely, we can sew friendliness. We don’t have to give money to someone, deep down, we know is a user. Remember…good ground. We don’t have to give money at all, or loan our car. Just friendliness.

Friendliness is of our inner self. Give a smile. Open and hold a door for someone. Say hello to people at church and remember their names, so you can use their name the next time. Introduce yourself to the pastor. Tell him/her what a good sermon it was. When their faces light up and they smile back, receive it and in that moment let it warm you. Let the experience go both ways. Ah, but you’ve always been reserved, an introvert. Receive it for what it is and feel good about it. It’s just a smile, a simple smile. It’s not a lifelong commitment. It’s not even an invitation to brunch, but it’s a start. Enjoy the moment, and resolve to move forward from there.

I have to keep telling myself these very things. I came from a reclusive family. We were definitely not movers and shakers in the local social scene. I had to learn how to make friends as an adult.  ~~  Don’t keep looking back at past hurts. Test the friendship water. Yes, test. Test! That’s using wisdom. Some people will not be up your alley. That doesn’t make them bad people. They’re just not your cup of tea. Smile and keep on going. Put your little toe into the shallow end of the people-pool. Keep engaging , keep smiling, laugh a little. It feels good.

 

ribbon pink

If you like to read murder mystery fiction having intense and difficult relationships between the characters, check out HARMFUL INTENT. Brooklyn (NYC) private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels has been betrayed. She rushes to visit a best friend in Abilene, Texas where deputy sheriff Dawson Hughes puts her at the top of his suspect list for a murder. ~ inspirational, clean reads.Harmful Intent 400 P

 

 

 

 

Demonic Activity in the Earth ~ not even trying to hide

A Hooded Demon

 

Entire cultures have fallen under the power of the devil

In this day of intellectualism many feel they are much too learned to believe in demonic activity in human affairs. But as we watch, via television and video, horror has been unfolding first in the streets of Europe, Australia, and now in the United States. Many of us can see actual demonic activity. We can see with our own eyes there is a supernatural level of evil running rampant in the earth that has gripped individuals, and they are acting it out. This evil is not hiding. It has become brazen.

Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. ~ Ephesians 6:12, The Passion Translation [TPT]

In my humble opinion, and I sincerely mean humble, as only an insane person would not be humble when speaking of and dealing with demonic oppression. So in my humble opinion, I believe blood bought, Bible believers (and include me) should do a lot less wringing of hands when they watch cities burn during a news broadcast. We should boldly talk back to the demonic spirits behind what is going on. Point at the TV, laptop screen and cast those demons out (where you have Biblical authority) in the name of Jesus. We certainly have Biblical authority in our own state, city/town where we are legal citizens. We have Biblical legal authority to cast the devil out of our own country…in the name of Jesus. And vote in November…or whatever date your country’s elections are on.

Even before you do that. Cast demonic activity out of your home, especially if you are head-of-household. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to any darkness lurking in your own home, your own life and cast it out. Do NOT do this under a spirit of condemnation. Self-condemnation is mini-self-murder. You are not fighting yourself or anyone else. You are wrestling with the powers of darkness…and you can win.

First – Thanksgiving. Thank the Father for all the blessings in your life. The people who love you. Go ahead and include your pets, for they are surely blessings. Your friends, job, the list goes on and on. It’s much more difficult for demonic attacks to take place in a house full of thanksgiving, joy, and laughter. If your are going through hell, keep on going, and going praising God and giving thanks.

Second – Forgive anyone for whom you hold a grudge, resentment, or malice. That doesn’t mean you turn you back on a dangerous person and go skipping through the tulips. Email and phone your elected officials, especially your local ones. Forgive them their mistakes but keep after them to do right. Assail them while maintaining your dignity. As stated above, first forgive yourself. If you are a believer, God has forgiven and forgotten your messes. So, why do you remember, rehearse the mistakes over and over? Let your negative past go. And then do as Jesus commanded. Forgive others as you forgive yourself.

Third – Get rid of any toxic possessions, objects, trinkets…the red toaster up on a shelf someone gave you as a housewarming gift even though they knew you had a brand new one, and your kitchen is white. The lovely gift that every time you look at it reminds you the giver thinks little of you. All believers should get rid of any object that is an occult symbol, or that you know was a possession of someone involved in occult practices.

Four – Any time you feel down, downtrodden, self-deprecating, hostile toward another, helpless about what is happening to your country. Turn on worship music, a video/audio of your favorite preacher, a Christian movie…or something that will make you smile, laugh out loud, and/or dance right there in your house. Don’t worry. Remember, your kids think your crazy anyhow.

 

 

Patterns and People that Bind ~ negative soul ties

Gate, Old City, Jerusalem
A remaining gate in the Old City, Jerusalem

 

And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. ~ Acts 3:2, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

 

We all have (or have had) patterns in our lives and relationships with people that bring (or brought) no, or very few positives into our lives.

This man in the Scripture was lame all of his life and was carried every day to the Gate they called beautiful in order to beg. He could not go into the Temple because he was not whole and in those days there were strict rules about wholeness and health. He had no access to what ‘normal’, successful people had access to, the inside of the Temple.

Usually we look at the man himself, but I wonder who were the ones who carried him every day to beg for alms? Were they corrupt greedy men who got a portion of what alms he acquired every day? Or, were they family and friends who could only see him as lame and with good intentions brought him to do what they thought was the only thing he was able to do? In either case, these were enablers with negative soul ties to the man.

This man had a negative pattern. He allowed himself to be carried to the gate to beg. Jesus came to him to break that pattern that had him bound. We all have or have had patterns that bind or have bound us. For some it’s alcoholism, gambling, pornography, self-mutilating, allowing physical abuse to continue, over eating (something prevalent in the church), anorexia, compulsive spending, overwhelming credit card debt. For others it might be excessive cleaning, or excessive running every morning even though pounding the pavement is injuring legs and feet. In these last two, the operative word is excessive.

What people do we have in our lives who enable us to be less than, support a very limited self-concept of ourselves? What patterns do we have that put walls up around us that might even look like a safety net, but keeps us bound. We all know, or secretly suspect what those things are. And before we take a step and do anything about them, we should ask the Holy Spirit to clarify who and what they are. We should pray about this, and whatever steps we take to get free of the limitations placed on us by others and the limitations of our own negative patterns should be done under the leadership of the Lord. And that will mean, there will be Scripture that supports what direction we feel led to take.

If a person has one of the patterns listed above, it’s quite possible the Holy Spirit will lead you to break the behavior off immediately and to speak with your pastor or a trusted leader in the church. The Holy Spirit may lead you to a treatment program, to Alcoholics Anonymous, to a weight loss group, to an accountability partner in the Church, or the like. Go, go, get help to break whatever pattern/habit/addiction is binding you. Take a step and then another step and then another out of bondage.

In the case of people who are enablers…if you are an alcoholic and a person is giving you alcohol, tell them to stop. If they won’t, cut them off. The same applies if you’re addicted to pornography or gambling, etc. and all your friends are into it too. Cut them off. These are super-negative soul ties. The end of the road with these ‘major’ addictions is sad, very sad. Often it’s jail, insanity, or untimely death. If you’re bound by one of these major addictions you must take immediate, firm, committed steps to get free. You also should have a human support system and the Holy Spirit can lead you to a good one. Please do NOT expect perfection from your human support system. Expect very human, caring support, capable of mistakes or being in error…while they hope they are supporting. There will be people in support groups who have become Pharisaical. Just pray for them.

Forgiveness is key. I’ve had to forgive people who were enablers, manipulators, and controllers in my life, people who sought to use me, people who were toxic. I’ve had to forgive them to be set free of them. This will be a constant. We will also have to forgive good, supportive people we add to our lives as we grown. They are only human. Remember, the final word on situations in our lives are not people, not matter how supportive. The One with the final Word is the Lord.

For perfect love and guidance turn often to the Lord.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Come Out of the Shadows ~ the shadow of death

Woman Free, Field

He’s gone, or she’s gone. Sometimes the difficult memories with some guilt attached come easier than memories of the happy times. That’s because the loss of a spouse is so great, sometimes the remembrance of the happy times is too painful. Sounds strange, but it’s true. Widow and widowers know what I’m talking about.

He or she will never laugh again. Or, I fell in love with him or her the first time she or he smiled just that certain way and I’ll never see that again. Strange as it is, the self-condemning memories almost feel better, less painful. ~~ It might not be self-condemnation. It might be that the loss is so deep, the pain actually feels good. These feelings are normal, but should only last for a season. The time must come when you allow gentle joy to come at the memory of your spouse…that your memories are couched in sweetness.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. ~ Romans 8:1 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

But what if the marriage had problems? What if it wasn’t ideal? Yet you still miss him or her, still love your spouse? That’s also normal, natural, not unusual, not stupid. What if because the marriage had problems, now that he or she is gone, you, the surviving spouse have guilt. You tell yourself, “I could’ve been nicer to him or her. Could have been more present in the marriage, more understanding.” Maybe so, but it still stands this is only a season during the mourning process. The Lord wants his children free of condemnation. Confess what you have to confess. Forgive your spouse. Forgive yourself, and come out into the light. Forgiveness is intentional. You may have to forgive your spouse and/or yourself over and over as you walk through this journey back into the light. And that’s okay.

In the light of Christ, work on relationships with people who are in your daily life now. What can you do to make the relationships you are in become more joyful, healthier? Can you let the little things go? At home, at church, at work…what are the small things that annoy you? Make a short, easily manageable list if you have to. Don’t make a list so long it will overwhelm you and make you further heap coals on yourself.

What’s really inconsequential in the long run? Pray over the list and intentionally let those things go. Let yourself see your own freedom in letting the angst go you’ve felt due to the little things on that list.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4 [King James Version, KJV]

Singleness ~ a most valuable season

woman dancing

In American culture we’ve treated the state of singleness as a state of me-ism, freedom from other’s needs and desires, carefree liberation, interspersed with times of mutual body disrobing. One nonfic writer admits, fueled by several glasses of wine, she started her list of things to do for her-single-self in prep for this body disrobing with another adult. The list included exercise class, clean apartment, spiff up her appearance and style, etc.. Doesn’t sound that liberating to me.

woman with violyn

As Christians, God should always be Number-One in our lives. We should seek God’s will for this single life-season. Actually, singlehood is one of the most valuable seasons. It’s a time to develop into whole, fully functioning human beings. A shalom time. In Hebrew, shalom means nothing lost, nothing broken. Whether we will marry, or stay single, singleness is a time for personal growth, healing, and developing of God given talents.

man and woman 1

I’m now single, again…a widow. However, when I was single the first time, it was commonly said, “two will make a whole.” That’s not true. Two half-people do not make one wonderful whole. Two half-people are two broken people floundering in a marriage. Many of us went into marriage that way. With God’s help, fifty percent of the marriages survived. Can I suggest, that mate-seeking model is flawed. It’s also a horrible model for eventual parenting. Jesus gave the best advise for relationships.

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12: 29-31

In my belief system, Jesus is telling me at the bottom of this, I should have appropriate self-love, but certainly not the puffed up kind. As a Christian, I believe all life on the planet, as created by God, is amazing, and all human life is sacred. That includes my life. As a born again believer, I realize the Spirit of God dwells within me. That’s something incredibly awesome and valuable.

I was born into singlehood. Although I didn’t always recognizance this, from day one until the day I married, was a time of preparation. Ideally, it was a time to get to know God intimately, and a time to know myself. It was a time of intense personal growth…a time to discover my talents and my purpose on the earth.

Forgiveness

In order to live intimately with another human being of the opposite sex, from a different cultural background, heritage, and ancestry…these years of singleness were a time to learn about forgiveness. In marriage you will have to forgive. You will have to forgive yourself perhaps even more than you forgive your mate.

These are things in our culture we don’t talk about much. We make game shows and reality TV out of marriage. We talk about buying the perfect wedding gown, taking an amazing honeymoon that will be the envy of our friends and coworkers. The wedding gown gets packed away and eventually might be given to the Salvation Army Store. We come back from the honeymoon and have to live together…actually communicate and relate to a human being totally different from ourselves.

Why not take this time of singleness as a time to know that God loves us. We can then love Him, appropriately love ourselves, and more deeply love others. Not just love a marriage partner, but our families (even if they’re flawed and they’re all flawed), and our friends. We can learn how to love the unlovable — in Christ, and not get stepped on, manipulated, and used because we know we have worth and purpose. Yes, singlehood is a very important and wonderful season of life.

For a Christian Woman Over 50 ~ things profitable

woman, of the worldI hope, as a seasoned Christian woman over fifty, I’m at peace with myself and others. From time-to-time in my pondering moments, I’ve wondered what are a few benchmarks, standards, norms a Christian woman over fifty should have attained, or be shooting for in her life. Below is a list I’ve compiled, and it’s by no means exhaustive.

1. Have a healthy, intimate relationship with God. ~ Knowing the Lord can’t be tamed, managed, or manipulated, we should be willing to intentionally follow His direction on the faith-journey He is laying out before us. We should we willing to hear the personal “word” He has for us.

2. Be in possession of a good Bible, not only a preWWI family heirloom you can’t write in, except to record births and deaths, and one you’re almost afraid to open lest a page tears. Make sure your daily-use Bible is in a translation that speaks to you.  And don’t be afraid to write personal notes in the margins. According to a recent survey, the King James Version (KJV) is still the most popular Bible and the most used by Christians. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a more literal translation from the ancient texts. The Living Bible (TLB) is making its way into many homes because although it’s not a word-for-word translation, it tries to say exactly what was meant by the ancient texts.

3. Don’t lead a cloistered life. As the Bible tells us we are not to forsake the assembly of the saints. Also become part of the community at large. We should shine our lights, bring peace to situations in our neighborhoods, at work, where we recreate.

4. Have a pretty good idea what our emotional baggage is and where it came from. But instead of picking lint out of our navels and analyzing it to death, we should invite the Holy Spirit into the mess so He can heal it. After all, Jesus is the healer.

5. Forgive everyone we can think of who has done us wrong. And when our fleshly-self starts murmuring about them again, unleashes bitterness and resentment aimed at them, once again, determine to forgive on purpose…and we’re free. Also, don’t forget to forgive ourselves. Jesus died so that we would be forgiven. So, it’s important and biblical to forgive ourselves…and go free.

IMG_0673
Christmas Eve in my family has traditionally meant a meatless meal.

6. Have at least one tantalizing recipe, you’re known for, to hand down to your kids, your friends, or offer to your church cookbook. Better still if if came from your mom, and she got it from hers. All these little things are a part of a positive legacy women can create.

7. Have a few things in your home that document and/or attest to memories. Photos, shots or video of an abfab church activity, conference or a vacation. Curios, knickknacks, or a fine piece of furniture picked up on that awesome vacay. Women say having these things around the house makes them feel happy when they take a small trip down memory lane.

8. It’s really important to keep dreaming and to have a few dreams so big it will take God to bring them to fruition.

 

 

.

Are You On The Outside ~ looking in?

Outsider

Are you the one who walks into a social setting and can’t find anyone to talk to? It seems all the people there are engaged in enjoyable conversations, but they won’t let you into the discussion. What do you do? Get a drink of something (wine, or a soft drink) and stand against the wall hoping someone will come by you can talk to? Maybe this even happens to you at church. Is that why you tend to come in late so you can slip in unnoticed…because you feel you’d be unnoticed anyway.

I am not a social butterfly. I do much better with the written word than I do socializing with a group of people. I suppose that’s why I’m a writer and not a public speaker. However, I’ve gotten better with people and have discovered there’s a root to this in myself and in others who are even more introverted than I am. It’s fear of man. Some of us have been sorely mistreated by others, absolutely run over (figuratively). We’ve been cheated, lied to, stolen from, and even physically threatened and abused. If we’re in a state of acute anger about this…let me remind you, anger is a cousin to fear.

Fear is the opposite of faith. And so, for believers, faith is the antidote or cure for fear. In any isolating situation, we need to focus on faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17 [KJV]

Several translations, including the NASB which is my favorite, say: and hearing by the word of Christ. Christians know the Word of God is powerful and can be and should be applied to everyday life There are many places to hear the Word of God. Just turn on any Christian television show or radio broadcast. Or go to that pesky church service, even if you have to sit way in the back at first.

In my opinion, the cure for almost anything is to follow the commandment Jesus gave us to walk in love.

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22: 37-40 [NASB]

What Jesus is talking about is agape love, or the God kind of love. This is the highest form of love and is sometimes translated as “charity”. We are to be kind and charitable to others and to ourselves. Who are we anyway, to be beating ourselves up with everything we did wrong, every mistake we made, every sin when God has forgiven us and remembers it no more? That self unforgiveness is really a manifestation of pride. We think: I’m so bad God might be able to forgive me because He’s God, after all. But it’s really unforgivable and so I can’t forgive myself. That’s actually funny, sadly funny.

Or, we tell ourselves, what they did to me was unforgivably horrid. How could they do that abhorrent thing? The real question is how could they not? We’re living in a lost and fallen world. Without the restraint of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they are able to commit real atrocities. Just turn on the news.

Whatever you did…whatever they did to you…let it all go and walk in love, kindness, and gentleness toward yourselves and others. This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat for the unrepentant, but you can forgive them and move on. You’ll be better for it. And maybe you won’t be so fearful and you’ll be able to come inside from the cold…even if it’s just a little bit at first. As you trust God’s grace, you’ll trust the God in you, and not be fearful of others.