Monday, March 31, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-seven ~ Mocking the Holy Bible

Matt. 22: 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

I always find it quite amusing when a movie comes out with a religious overtone but more times than NOT there is no biblical value except that they use God in a detrimental manner just to garner money. They turn non-fiction into fiction and to me those boundaries should not be crossed, not with the Bible.

I also find it interesting that Christians who KNOW a film or book is derogatory to scripture would actually PAY money to see it just so the can say, “Yup, it was foul. Don’t waste your money.” To me, they are just as bad as the person making the money, when they would hand out money for blasphemous, derogatory words against God.

The first thing that comes to mind is The DaVinci Code. All I needed to hear was the book stated that Jesus had sex. I didn’t need to hear anymore and I had NO desire to read the book or see the movie. I was not going to fall into satan’s lap just so I could say, “That was wrong! That isn’t what the Bible says.”

But wouldn’t ya know, Christians everywhere flocked to buy the book and see the movie. Why? Just to make themselves feel good when they asserted that the story was hogwash? Looks to me like satan won on that one. He had Christians by the millions buying what he was selling. Even if they hated it, it was with Christ’s blood that money exchanged hands.

Now I fell into the trap of paying to see The Passion of Christ, only because I had heard that it was an eerie, close rendition to what the movie industry imagined Jesus actually suffered. What an imagination. They saw it as Jesus suffering, blood-whipped, denied and persecuted. Hey, that’s how I imagined it too!

I do not and never will imagine fairytales of Jesus ever having sex. I won’t give any man money so he can live in a lavish home with swimming pools and acres of land just because he writes Jesus had sex. That would be satan’s lies and I know them when I see them, I don’t need someone justifying why THEY bought into his lies. Just for the clarity of them being right and the author wrong?

Biblical stories don’t sell unless they are wrought in lies. Take for example the new movie coming out about Noah. Now I don’t need a creationist to tell me the movie is a bogus bag full of lies, all I need to know is are they capitalizing on GOD, or in their terms the Creator, to make money? Are they stirring controversy? Is it a story rich with biblical truth or is it a twisted tale of deceit?

As soon as controversy surrounds a movie or book, I close off the evil that is trying to sell me on the falsity and lies. I know some Christians, many actually, won’t be able to resist the urge of satan pulling them into see what he has up his sleeve. They’ll feed the controversy, deny the lies being spewed by the web-weavers, then on some quiet night when they least expect it, they’ll find themselves viewing the blasphemous tale, just so they can add more, “What a foul movie. Don’t waste your money.”

Whether they paid for the movie or got it for free, they’ll view it and justify why, when satan came knocking, they fell prey and opened the door. The Bible stories are fast becoming Hollywood’s new franchise. Whether it is shrouded in truth, whether veiled in deception, whether blanketed in controversial themes, bible stories are a free for all.

I read this from Dorothy Pomerantz: “The fact that the Bible is in the public domain means that no one studio can corner the market on Bible movies but there also aren’t any pesky authors to negotiate rights with.”

Oh, I think she got it all wrong, as did Hollywood in thinking they have no ‘pesky’ author’s to contend with? Oh they have the One author, the One Creator, the One GOD to deal with. And since they don’t seriously believe in the bible, they feel they can mock it and toy with it without any ramifications.

And you the consumers are going to be swallowed into the abyss with them because what you think is innocent viewing is not as innocent as it appears. Remember the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Hollywood would have you think it is a designer shepherd gathering all you sheep by the waving of God in your face.

You smell the lies, you have the lingering wretched aroma caught in the back of your throat, your eyes see cinematic thrills that you want to hold in your hand to say Aha! When in reality, you are taking a bite of the apple and will soon be put out of the garden.

The Bible is not a fictional tale to be toyed with. The bible is a sacred text and anyone trying to put their fictional spin on it is falling into the arms of satan to do his bidding. I’m all for a fictional tale, I’m on board with a non-fictional tale as long as it is truth that is being sold. But I am not going to buy into any author who pretends to know a non-fiction story when they themselves were not alive to witness the story unravel.

To man, it’s all about ego and control. No man likes the fact that there is an all powerful God in control of his life. Man needs control to feel whole in this world so he takes a sacred biblical truth and makes it his own. It’s all about controlling the unknown.

I don’t pretend to know the whole truth, I don’t research until my fingers bleed to get to the truth of what the bible mysteries hold and I surely don’t feel it within my power to twist the stories around to fit in a man’s world. The bible stories are a mystery and should remain as such to maintain its sacred power.

The Holy Bible; you either have faith and believe, or you toss it with the rest of your arsenal of books as a good fictional tale.  The CHOICE is yours.

John 5:39-47 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
I receive not honour from men.
But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-six ~ Poetry Sunday

Matt. 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

The Multitudes Shall Eat

Wayward legs they followed Him,
Into the desert they strode.
Not a care for food to eat
Their pace was surely slowed.

Compassion for the multitude
He raised a hand to speak.
“Feed the hungry as they come
For all the ones that seek.”

Five loaves of bread to feed the many
Two fish to fill the crowd.
Gathered were the faithful,
Now sitting all heads bowed.

“Bless this bread, I give to thee,”
He broke the loaves in two.
Dispersed to his disciples
with divinity it grew.

“Fill not only with food you eat,
but also with my Word.
Remember My Father blesses thee,
With all that you have heard.”

Mark 6:41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.  [44] And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. [52] For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-five ~ Quotation Saturday


LENT

"Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers."
~ Sidlow Baxter

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces of against evil …”
~ E.M. Bounds

“Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.”
~ St. Peter Chrysologus

"Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying.”
~ Paul E. Billheimer

MAN

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Man is the cruelest animal.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal... In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.
Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh--not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”
~ Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings

“And therein lies the whole of man's plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.”
~ Milan Kundera

GOD

“God has no religion.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
~ C.S. Lewis

“I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That's how it often is. God's voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.”
~ Nicholas Sparks

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”
~ C.S. Lewis

TRUTH

1 Sam. 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

Pss.25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Pss. 26:3 For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

Rom. 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-four ~ Distractions

1 Cor. 7: 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Distractions

Distractions, distractions, distractions. It is so easy to be caught up in distractions. I don’t want you all to think I’m exempt from distractions. These posts have not been the easiest things I’ve done and there are days where I just either don’t feel like writing or am at a loss for as what to write. God has placed all of these posts on my heart and that is the only solidarity keeping me from the distractions going on around me.

We had a death in the family, my mother and I had a birthday, we had some excitement in thinking we’d see each other via Skype that fell through, a pretty big tree collapsed in my yard and I’ve been having some doubts where my relationship is concerned. Now I know all of these are normal distractions (not) but as I try to remain focused on God and all that he has done and is doing for me, the mastermind of all distractions is pulling out some mighty heavy punches.

While the master of deceit is pulling his own strings in keeping Steven distracted by stupid crud, I’m the one who is being hurt in the process and that’s the goal all along, isn’t it? Satan is pretty peeved that I might be making people think about God. I’m not MAKING them think about God, they ARE their own persons who can decide for themselves where their loyalty lay. But I am spreading a word every day, not just any word, THEE Word that God wanted us all to hear from the very beginning of time!

I am about almost twenty posts away from completion and there is quite a lot of road to cover that mister mastermind doesn’t want you to know or be a part of and as he’s working, my life is on stony footing. I will continue no matter what the cost and will not be sidetracked by distractions.

While good people walk the good path remember there is always something trying to throws coals in the fire hoping you get burned. I’m not oblivious to his machinations too, actually, I am quite aware.

Is there anything distracting you? Facebook, YouTube, Twitter where you spend more of your time in socializing and viewing and being all you can be for whoever is out there grabbing your every word? Are you focusing on the Lord at this time or are you distracted?

Sure, it begins all well and good, you’re focused on God topics but then there in the sidebar you see something funny and just HAVE to click and then keep clicking until you’re fixated on funny/humorous/chic/kitty/dog posts and pulled away from the intended viewing of God posts.

My social media time is limited. I despise YouTube, Twitter is not all it is cracked up to be and facebook is not much different than my school days, I laugh, I chat, I mingle but in doing such, I’m distracted from the One Mighty Lord who called me to this Earth.

Keep this in mind folks satan is a clever one. He knows what you INTEND to do and that is why he throws things he KNOWS you like viewing in your face to distract you. Master of mischievousness, just when you think you’ve gotten him under control, he slings another surprise at you.

Be armored! Be prepared. Don’t fall into the trap of, ‘he can’t tempt me!’ Because that thought alone triggers him to tempt you.


Job 13:1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.

Matt. 6:22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-three ~ Obedience

 Heb 5: 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Obedience ~

I woke up this morning and thought wow day 23. Maybe I’ll skip a post. I need a break. WHAT? Skip a post? Break?

Can you imagine God waking up and saying, “I think I’ll skip answering that prayer. I need a break!” ???

Well as you’re reading this, you can see I shrugged that silly thought under the rug. I made a promise and I’m sticking to it. Just as God makes promises and sticks to them, we have a duty to stick to our promises to Him.

1 Cor.15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

I get tired too. I sometimes just let off steam and rant my loose lips and just want to give up. But it is momentary, I’m telling you, I am an obedient servant of God and as I go through my day I watch as people say they are obedient Christians be anything BUT obedient to Christ. “Is all this in vain Lord? Why do I seem to be the only obedient one here?” I feel alone in the world sometimes and then a small sliver of light shines down in way of another obedient Christian. I see them, embrace them and for a moment I feel hope wash over me like a rain shower on a warm spring day.

Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

That was it, I had a momentary lapse of weariness. I felt overwhelmed with a task; I felt isolated and alone so I did ask God, “Is this all in vain?” He assured me that any task for Him wasn’t and gave me a shoulder of His to rest on so I would feel revitalized today and as ready as ever to move forward.

I think what is happening in the world is that men and women don’t look down at their moral compass often enough. They go on with their day, make sure they put their mask on before being seen in public, and go about their day lusting, wanting, needing, fulfilling their need to satisfaction and asking for forgiveness day after day, sin after sin. Why not, God is a forgiving God after all.

To me, obedience is nurturing the spirit. And I do mean nurture not just feeding my body of all that it craves. Sometimes depriving the body is just the right tool to move you into an obedient spirit.

Say you’re a chocoholic. You crave chocolate daily and every day you give into that craving and eat a piece here and there. No harm, no foul? You are satisfying YOU. Deprive yourself of that urge every single day for a month or two. You are now nurturing you and satisfying the spirit.

Now some of you will cheat and say, “I can’t afford to eat chocolate every day, so a month with none is pretty easy for me.” That is cheating. And who are we cheating? Our soul!

You need to find something that you get the urge for on a daily maybe even an hourly basis. Like say coffee? Can you obediently deprive yourself of coffee for a month? I know, you think I’m insane. Why in the world would you do that, willingly? Sometimes to nurture our spirits and become obedient to Christ, we need to deprive ourselves of urges we get and sacrifice them for the Lord.

I’m not saying ‘you’re going to go to hell’, I’m not saying ‘oh look at you, you’re a bad Christian!’ What I AM saying is that to nurture your soul, to hear God speak to you personally, sometimes we need to be willing to sacrifice for HIM to draw closer to Him.

A lot of times I hear people say, “God doesn’t talk to ME!” like they’re offended or something because I hear Him talk to me. Maybe because I don’t consume to satisfy ME. I don’t ‘click’ to satisfy MY urges. I don’t purchase things for ME! I’m not about ME, I’m about being an obedient servant. I’m about guiding my moral compass in the right direction and staying on that direction. I’m not about giving up, taking breaks and resting from my duties, I’m about fulfilling my promise to God knowing full well, He will fulfill His promise to me.

Ephesians 6: 7-8 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-two ~ Breathe a New Beginning

Pss. 51: 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Breathe a New Beginning

Don’t we all wish we could just breathe a new beginning? I think that is what Lent is for me. Normally I fast from food and do a deep spiritual meditation focusing on all things NOT related to technology. These days these techno gadgets are getting on my last nerve.

A new beginning to me is a fresh new day. Seeing things in life in a new perspective. That’s what my blog posts are doing for me, breathing in me a new beginning. While some people are content with their spiritual life, sitting at home living on the techno gadget they own and passing the time thinking this is a normal way of life.

I’m not knocking it if you are handicap and need techno gadgets. To some people it is all they have, it is their only means to viewing what the outside world is like. This gadget can be everything to a home-bound person. I’m not far from that in being the arthritis in my back won’t allow me to just get up and go so sometimes I depend on this gadget for friendships. But will it ever be the replacement part for the here and now called reality? Never!

I sometimes feel like Jesus, as I’m fasting from what the Lord asked me to and doing what He’s asked, I feel satan taking little nips at me as I’m in my deepest breath of a new beginning. Pick, pick, pick! He doesn’t care how or when he just picks and picks trying to get at me little bits at a time whether online or offline, he’s there, slithering in the garden, trying to sway me into a bout of anger.

I find it quite chilling that man (when I refer to man I mean the HUMAN race) thinks HIS will could over ride God’s will at any given time throughout a day. Man cannot live by bread alone. We were reading our bible study last night and it posed a question, “Who (or what) are you a slave to?” I just blurted out “God, I’m a slave to God.”

I think what it was asking is what do we find ourselves richly immersed in, in our lives? Are we surfing the net for hours? Then you’re a slave to the net. Are you listening to music for hours upon hours? Then you’re a slave to music. Do you sit on YouTube watching inane clips? Then you’re a slave to YouTube, just a wee part of the net. Ask yourself what is it YOU are a slave to?

I said I was a slave to God because I find myself hour upon hour, reading the Word, writing ABOUT the Word, talking about the Word and anything else about God or the Word I wrap myself up in and feel safe. I wouldn’t call it a slave though; I’d call it addicted.

Have I always been addicted to God? Well, it did begin as a minor obsession, then grew into a must have possession and then it became so phenomenally thirst quenching, I could no longer breathe a single minute without Him.

I did look into different religions and different faiths but nothing was so breathtaking as the Word from the Holy Bible. I then had to seek out a way to surround myself with positive-natured, God-nurtured people. Yes, my path was a little haywire at times, but I wound up breathing a new beginning with Christ.

I’m not here to judge how you walk in your breath of Christ; I’m not here to tell you the ‘right’ way or the ‘wrong’ way to find the breath of Christ alive in you. I AM here to tell you how the breath of Christ refreshes me and wakes me every single day and causes me to walk in a Light that many don’t understand.

Some try finding God in a book, some try and find Him in proof, some try and redefine the essence of His true meaning. Some will continue their search and change for the better. Some will get all the proof they need, read and believe until their eyes bulge out of their heads, but still remain a slave, to humanity. Me… I find the breath of Christ right here within me; I need look no further.

Pss. 40: 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty-one ~ A God Term?

Isa. 30: 28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.

 A God Term?

Do you ever just wake up, totally exhausted, knowing full well you had a good eight hours of sleep? I understand it when people who don’t sleep and sit awake all night living off a few power naps get exhausted, but me, sometimes after a good nights rest I wake up exhausted. I even think too much in my dreams!

As Lent is moving into day 21 I realized that fasting is much easier than what I’m doing this season and my brain is literally getting exhausted. We had a death in the family last week and that was/is emotionally draining and then there is this head cold. I haven’t had a cold in well over a year and a half and last week, WHAM, I woke up clogged, sneezy, sniffly and all the trimmings.

I wanted to put my spiritual season on hold but that just isn’t a possibility. I hear people say rest, take care of yourself, eat right, make soup, blah blah blah blah blah. With ears clogged, head all congested, I realized, guess what Joni, life is still going on whether someone dies, whether someone is sick, or whether people are hurting. Life goes on! So does our spirituality. It never rests but is always being fed.

Politically I’d say we go on with our lives because our government allows us to, Scientifically I’d say life is going on because you’re breathing and reading this, but the spiritual me wants to say it’s because God is in you. I honestly don’t think we can stop thinking about God for one moment in any aspect of our life. We wake, we breathe in deeply, and we look at the sky and say out loud to no one, “Boy, it’s a ____ day.” Fill in the blank yourself. Is it a beautiful day, a glorious day, an ugly day, a stinky day?

Just whom are you talking to? Yourself? You really tell yourself that you’re talking to yourself? Well you do know that sounds crazier than saying you’re talking to God right? Yeah I thought so.

We live in a world where everything has to be politically correct. Talking to God is NOT politically correct, so go ahead, hide your embarrassment that you said you talk to God, because talking to yourself is just the politically correct thing to say right?

It is as if the world revolves around politics and NOT the sun or the Son! I wake up and after I praise God for another day, I sit at my computer to write. Research is a part of writing and it all comes back to politics and what is ‘politically correct’. How come you never hear the term Biblically correct? Would that offend all those politically correct people? When did we become a nation bent on using the perfect words so we didn’t offend anyone?

Some will say it is Obama’s fault; they have to blame someone and it feels good beating up a president, ANY president, ANY body in charge, sadly it’s what the world does. But I seriously think it is technology’s fault. When the world is more immersed in ‘Don’t text and drive’ than the natural warming trend and droughts that are wiping out crops, something is seriously wrong with the human race. I can’t just say Americans because this is happening worldwide and as we come near the end, it looks like people could care less if it ends. We are a God depleted world. People are content on placing BLAME on someone else, RANT on and on, but do absolutely NOTHING to try and make a change!

I see them posts hundreds of pictures on how devastating it is that the world is: burning, dying and charring; how corrupt the governments are; how animals are being tortured, being put to sleep, gone missing; how children have disappeared are being abused, etc. etc. but I also see them sitting behind the computer screen comfortably tapping on their keys while complaining about this and that.

When was the last time they visited an animal shelter with the hundreds of dogs sitting imprisoned there? Shelters need help daily with walking dogs and help feeding them. Homeless shelters need people to FEED the hungry yet you are content just sitting on your computer spewing how awful this and that is, and doing NOTHING about it?

I see a nation bloated with technology, well fed in politics, rich in materials, affluent with the politically correct terms but I also see a world that is ashamed to say they woke up this morning and talked to God.

In a biblically correct term, I’m going to say, “God loves you!” Yup, no matter how much you ignore Him, how much you put him on the table. How much you post ABOUT Him but do nothing FOR Him, He still loves you. Don’t worry, He’ll be there when you call. He’s not about which ‘term’ is correct.

1 John 4: 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.




Monday, March 24, 2014

Lent: Day Twenty ~ Sacrifice

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lent: Day Twenty ~ Sacrifice

God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sin; the ultimate sacrifice. And here we are a nation finding it hard to sacrifice even a parking spot to the person who arrived opposite you at the same time. You hurriedly jump in the spot and you see it was an elderly woman with no handicap spaces available, seeking a spot close to the store. You scoot out of your car, hey because you were there first, and you rush in the store.

Do you recognize that scene? No? How about the person on the highway, doing the speed limit that you feel you NEED to pass up because they’re going too slow? A hurried race to get wherever you are going, doing whatever you were doing only to arrive at the same exact location you had planned.

Sacrifice. No one is willing to sacrifice one moment, one second of their time to complete the task they selfishly set out to do for themselves. Maybe this post should be about control because basically that’s what it is, the need to control every aspect of your life, not giving anyone else a moment of your sacrifice.

Sharing, sacrifice, caring about others feelings; these are all things the world is depleted of. I see the nation squandering opportunities of sacrifice to have the me, me, me position. Everyone has the truth, everyone has the proof, everyone dawdles their days away because truly, sacrifice isn’t in their vocabulary.

I was asked recently if I was Catholic. Because I celebrate Lent; she was curious to know. It was an honest and fair question, after all I say I’m a Christian and I’ve never really specified myself as attached to a certain religion. Yes I attend an Evangelical church, we’ve also attended a Baptist church and yes I was raised Catholic.

BUT I do not define myself AS an Evangelical, Baptist or Catholic, I define myself as a Christian, a spiritual Christian at that. Lent, to me, is a part of my Spiritual Christian journey. Sacrifice is part of the Lenten experience, to me. TO ME!

I sometimes get confused during this time because as I’m sacrificing, there are many people around me who don’t even acknowledge it as Lent and continue in there day to day life, over-indulging in ignorance and hate and selfishness and the consumption of life in general.

It puzzles me as how they can complain about something as simple as rush hour traffic, or the long lines at the food store, or not being able to get that parking spot closer to the door of the store. Humanity puzzles me when they don’t have one ounce of sacrifice in them.

How many people unknowingly suffer because you’re to prideful to sacrifice one iota of time, hate, mischief, misunderstanding and judgment?

It is really weird, because I spent twenty years sacrificing my life in a marriage that didn’t work two ways. The reasons behind failed marriage are because of sacrifice and compromise that two people couldn't agree on. Relationships are severed because it wasn’t worth the sacrifice. To some, sacrifice means everything while to others it means nothing. When two are not willing then one is left alone.

Lent to me is a time to find where more in my life might be sacrificed for others. I find no joy in living and never putting other people first while I’m off thinking of what I can selfishly accomplish today.

While sin is set on eating us away until we don’t even recognize the path we’re on is empty of worth, I’m off thinking how I can make a person feel that they are worthy. It is my goal to put you before me and see where it carries me.

Now if the whole world could think of Lent as a spiritual journey instead of just a religious holy time, I think more and more people would understand the fruit of sacrifice. Why is everyone set on what the materials fruit produces and never concerns themselves with the spiritual fruit salvation brings?

Sacrifice five minutes of hurriedness to slow down and take your time. Sacrifice the moment of hate and instead share love. If we can acquire 24 hrs of moments that we sacrifice bad with good, the world will then take a spiritual spin with you, otherwise the rotation will always be the same. Every day you will wake, seeking solace and finding none. More and more negative will flow in and soon it becomes too much of a burden to bear, then it consumes you.

Sacrifice…if God can do it for us, I think we OWE it to Him to TRY and do our best for Him.

 Pss. 54:6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lent: Day Nineteen ~ Poetry Sunday ~ Never Fear the End


Pss. 30:12  To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Never Fear the End

I walk the place I fear to go
Where all men one day travel.
The breath of me hangs on to life
While the other threads unravel.

I press my toes in the snow
No fear for the taste of cold
I tiptoe with the brush of frost
My tongue is tipped with gold.

Rays have reached the horizon
Stretched out in welcome prayer.
I slowly walk to greet them
For the end is hidden there.

I’m bathed in a bastion of beauty
Unveiled is the Light within.
I raise my hands in mercy
Washed away is clinging sin.

I remember all the moments
As they pass before my eyes
Warmth and love surround me
I hear it in their cries.

Every tear becomes a puddle
Of this new life I must swim
Sorrow is then converted
Into a glorious hymn.

My body dripped in sunshine
Not yet for you my friend.
I softly whisper for all to hear
The righteous shall not fear the end.

Pss. 37: 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lent: Day Eighteen ~ Quotation Saturday

~ Lent ~

"Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism."
~ Pope Benedict XVI

"Prayer does not change the purpose of God. But prayer does change the action of God." ~ Chuck Smith 

"Everything in life has its own time. There is time to celebrate and there is time to mourn. This is the time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we ought to be." 
~ Aaron Saul

“During these 40 days, let me put away all my pride. Let me change my heart and give up all that is not good within me. Let me love God with all that I am and all that I have."
~ Genesis Grain

~ RENEWAL ~

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”
~ Vance Havner

“Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”
~ Boris Pasternak

“The first step in conforming our intellect to God's truth is to die to our vanity, pride, and craving for respect from colleagues and the public. We must let go of the worldly motivations that drive us, praying to be motivated solely by a genuine desire to submit our minds to God's Word - and then to use that knowledge in service to others.”
~ Nancy Pearcey

 ~ LOVE ~

“Awareness born of love is the only force that can bring healing and renewal. Out of our love for another person, we become more willing to let our old identities wither and fall away, and enter a dark night of the soul, so that we may stand naked once more in the presence of the great mystery that lies at the core of our being. This is how love ripens us -- by warming us from within, inspiring us to break out of our shell, and lighting our way through the dark passage to new birth.”
~ John Welwood

“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.”
~ Mother Teresa

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
~ Paulo Coelho

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ William Shakespeare


 Isa. 63: 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.




Friday, March 21, 2014

Lent: Day Seventeen ~ Never Fear the End


Prov. 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Never Fear the End



This post was going to be about the end times but you know, when God places something on my heart to write, I have to write it not caring about what it is ‘I’ wanted to write. He is such an amazing and powerful God.



My own hand when writing these Lent post does not guide me and sometimes I’m even amazed at what I wrote. I hope you’re feeling the tingling chills that I’m feeling as I write and you read this post.



Yesterday was March 20 and all over I read it was the first day of spring (due to the vernal equinox) and while I await spring, my mind drifted back to forty years ago when cancer took my grandmother’s life. I was about to turn eight years old in three days, and that would be the day my grandmother was ‘laid to rest’ as they say. Placed gently in her grave on my 8th birthday.



For three days I watched as we the family cried from heartache and stood around a once vibrant woman who succumbed to cancer and now we looked on at her lifeless body. Can you imagine a small child trying to drink in the reality of death? Her beautiful pale blue gown can still be seen in my mind today as I write, like it was just yesterday that it had happened.



Then death struck again just two months after my grandmother’s death, her husband died, in his sleep, mourning her loss, watching a Lawrence Welk show I imagine; the tomato juice still fresh on his lips when his daughter found him. There were two deaths, two months apart, she on the 20th and he on the 22nd. Death, the finality of it all scared me for a while in those years but when I became a born again Christian, God placed something on my heart, Never Fear the End. Not a lot to go on, but I carry it with me to this day.



I imagine on the crux of death The Comforter is there watching over you, when you fear, He relieves that fear and the still small part of you clinging to life knows there is something beautiful awaiting you with no more pain, where only Light and beauty abounds.



On Monday we received a message that Steven’s cousin, Mary, was in the hospital with fluid on her lungs. She had been battling an extremely painful cancer privately for four and a half years now and was now in the hospital requesting prayer. For the years of battle, she never let on to anyone that she was suffering in so much pain. She spared her family and friends pain, and suffered alone. I know words can’t convey fear, but for her to be asking for prayer, I knew she was at the point where she knew she was dying and was now lying in fear.



I immediately went to prayer for her. You see, this family is such a close knit Christian family, it is not hard for you to meet someone once or twice and feel a bond with them. Mary and I bonded. Maybe the rest of the family never knew, but we did. Mary had a way of connecting with anyone and everyone.



We had returned to Nebraska, coming from Texas, to attend Steven’s grandmother’s funeral. Mary and I had only met a few times but as soon as our eyes met, we knew each other and went immediately for an embrace. She was happy to see me as I her. A beautiful young lady with brunette bouncy pixie cut hair circling her angelic face.



I mean really, she had flawless skin; perfect sparkling eyes and her smile could light the world. I think I was drawn to her because of the Light she emitted. I was off crying and she seen me, came over to me, put her arm around me and asked me if I needed to talk.



I told her how I had just met her brother Christopher for the first time. He was born in 1982, the same year I lost my son Christopher. I was crying because it was like seeing my son in him, alive and aging.



She said, “I guess that is our connection, and the fact you share my mother’s birthday.” We giggled like schoolgirls through tears. I told her how I was born on my mother’s birthday and she said, “That’s funny, I was born three days before my mom’s birthday, on the 20th!” More giggles, more tears. Giggling schoolgirls who were years apart in age but bonding as if we were the very same age.



I looked at her wide-eyed and said, “That’s the day my grandmother passed away.” More bonding through tears and when we parted her last words to me were, “You better be here when I come back home to visit.” I assured her I would.



As she clings to life in Chicago, I’m here waiting for her to come home. She did. The words ring in my ear and reach out as I whisper to her as she lay dying…Never Fear the End.



*update: I wrote this yesterday. This morning Mary is home, with her Heavenly Father.

She is no longer suffering in pain and I am comforted in knowing she is at peace. The day He sent her into this world is the day she parted this world. Thirty years old.



Rest In Peace, Mary.



Pss. 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lent: Day Sixteen ~ Disciples of Christ



John 14:16-17  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Disciples of Christ

We are called to be Disciples of Christ. The Christian life is all about discipleship. What does this mean? Isn’t it a bit of arrogance to say, “I am a disciple of Christ”? No not at all, a disciple is a follower BUT and this is a big BUT to BE a follower you must walk in the Lord. I’ve already touched on, YOU are the Church, I’ve brushed on you being a reader, believer, follower, and I’ve also asked which are you: soil, flower or ROCK.

Did you ever have someone knock on your door handing you a tract and say can we talk to you a minute? When you open the door you’re offended by seeing this person spewing Jesus stuff. NO, I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, I believe in the trinity and they see God as God, Jesus as a man. But I’m not here to debunk their Commission of Christ in which they take to a level you and I might never understand.

God commands us to a Great Commission and that is discipleship. Spreading His word is a part of that commission but you must be well versed in what you’re doing. You must know the bible not just spew it out with a pretty pic. I’m sure all manner of putting out the Word of Christ is acceptable to Christ but also He is watching the character of who is doing the spewing.

I’ve said before people think I’m a Jesus freak and I’m okay with that. But let me tell you, if a person ever said one time to me, “You sure don’t act like a Christian.” That statement would offend me. You know why? Because they are seeing my character as hypocritical to the message and Light  that I’m putting out there.

I’m not saying this out of arrogance or conceit, but people HAVE told me that they see a Light shine from me and the only explanation they have is that God is shining His Light through me.

I John 2:4 “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”

As a writer, I learned about character. The character in a book is a person that you create, give personality to and allow people to see them and judge for themselves if they are the protagonist or the antagonist. Even if your character is a good person, loving, giving caring, then they rob a bank, shooting five people in the process, you get the idea of their character and what has shaped them.

The same goes for a Christian; character is what has shaped you and what you carry and show to the world. Jesus’ disciples show to the world the Light of Him and all he has done and will continue to do.

A false witness is one who carries the Word but his character reveals something else, something hiding, lurking like a shadow instead of a Light. He pretends to carry the Light and sometimes shows the Light to the world, but the character of his actions speaks volumes.

What you do that you DON’T show the world is your character and this is exactly what the world can see coming from you. To be a disciple of Christ, you must carry Christ with you in all aspects of your day, not just what you pick-and-choose to show the world because more times than not, they’ll see through the veil.

I think of Judas Iscariot, he was a reader, believer and follower of Christ but in the end, his true character showed through thus betraying the very Man that had come to save sinners. I do not see him as a disciple of Christ because he betrayed the trust the apostle’s and Christ himself had put in him.

To be a disciple of Christ is not to betray Christ, His mission, His commandments or His work by picking and choosing wrong over right. Being a disciple is to choose RIGHT every time even if it hurts, through patience, diligence, honesty and righteousness. Men, who see through the veil and into your soul, thus exposing the inner depth of Light in your character, see discipleship.

Go with God my friend…

Matthew 28:19–20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lent: Day Fifteen ~ Anger and Hatred


Eph. 4: 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Lent: Day Fifteen ~ Anger and Hatred

Since the beginning of time, since Cain and Abel, there has been a seed of hate planted on the earth. And just like any seed that is planted, in the right soil it will flourish and that is what hate did.

Hate and love; they are the seeds planted in the hearts of men. When Noah was told to build the arc, God tried to clear the land of hate but among the passengers there must have been a seed of hate disguised as jealousy or envy and it was replanted in the land after the flood and once again grew to a remarkable harvest of souls.

For thousands upon thousands of year, that one seed would flourish because satan is the very seed planted slithering across the land feeding man with the nature of deceit. He is so conniving, just as he made that apple look so sweet and juicy to Eve, he makes hatred of your fellow man into a bouquet of luscious lingering aromatic roses.

You take the bait because to the naked eye you see beauty, gorgeous loving beauty; you never see the bee hidden in the petals of the beauty until you sink yourself in for a sniff. Bitten! You’ve been stung by hate! You too fell for satan’s lure, no different than Eve.

Is hatred beautiful to behold? When I see my friends spewing hate, calling people names, lashing out in a vengeful manner, disguising their sarcasm as a fruitful flower, I know they have been stung and no I don’t like seeing them prancing in hate as if it was a field of beauty to them.

Do I hate hate? No. I feel very sorry for those people because they are under the impression that they can continually sin and hey, they’ll be forgiven because it is written in the bible they read and believe.

In each book of the bible God shows his LOVE for men who stray. Through hatred He plants a seed of love that you either grab a hold of and walk with, or pluck out of the ground to watch it wither. Wither.

Souls wither when they are feeding the plucked flower of love. Have you ever gotten a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store; brought them home and placed them in water; a nice vase in front of you? Did they live and live, holding onto all the love that was meant for them when they were planted? No. They die.

That is the same for a person who thinks he/she is planted in love, they begin to wither because they would rather behold the beauty for a moment in the vase in front of their eyes instead of planting that plant in fertile soil and tending to it allowing it to grow to its full potential.

I see potential in the man who hates. Do I embrace the man? Do I overlook his sinful nature? Do I cry out with vile words and condemn the man for his choices? I can’t, I just can’t. God planted the seed of love in me and although I may disagree with a man or woman’s choice, I cannot hate and condemn that choice.

I wrote a post the other day about Muslims. I knew it was a controversial topic and I feared, truly I feared. God placed it on my heart to write and I have no idea why. But He placed it on my heart and I wrote, knowing the repercussions of such a controversial subject.

Yesterday morning, a loud knock came to my door. Living in the middle of nowhere, you tend to jump when a loud knock comes to your door. In my mind I thought, ‘The NSA knew I did research on the topic of Muslims’; I chuckled when it turned out to be the FedEx man for my neighbor.

I followed that post with a post on Suffering. I was amazed to see my stats for the prior day exceeded 100 hits! I might get twenty or thirty a day, but 100? Since the Lent posts began people are reading; they are interested. Controversy sparks interest.

Aha! There it is, I think people thought I’d write a post how I HATE Muslim, HATE suffering but no they got an eyeful of love and responded in honest ways. I understand people, I truly understand. Just as you don’t understand me and how I can forgive murderers, sometimes I’m perplexed by your way of hating.

I think of mother’s whose son or daughter was viciously murdered. She asks to see the murderer so she can forgive him. Shocks you doesn’t it? You lashed out and spew hatred at the man and the very mother wanted to see him and forgive him. You shuddered, you were appalled, you didn’t understand.

I’m going to refer back to an earlier post titled ‘YOU are the Church’. Are you the soil awaiting seeds to be planted in you, the flower in the soil waiting to be plucked and placed in a vase, or are you the ROCK a part of a SOLID foundation? Think about that a moment.

We are not called to hate. We are not called to embrace sin. WE (human, plant and animal race) are God’s bouquet. WE are called to stand on the Rock that He sent forth to guide us. HE doesn’t just pluck us out to be put in a vase for Him to idolize, no, He loves us and allows us to FLOURISH. The choice is YOURS!

Heb. 10:22-24  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent: Day Fourteen ~ Suffering


2 Cor. 1: 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

Lent: Day Fourteen ~ Suffering

Some say I turn a blind eye to suffering and strife in the world. Well let me tell you, I lived with a blind man for two and a half years so I know literally what it is like. I make no apologies for the way I am. God made me this way as He made you the way you are. Some SEE and some turn a blind eye to Him.

People are so full of hate for their fellow man that I’d say they are the ones consumed with turning the blind eye because they don’t see through the beautiful picture window, all they see is a small portal of the bigger picture. Whatever that portal feeds them, they believe it to be so.

Since I was born and long before I was born there has been suffering in the world. Turning a blind eye is assuming I don’t care but unlike you, instead of allowing hatred to fester in my soul I see the suffering as salvageable. No, I’m not on a mission to save the world, no I can’t spew hate because I disagree with someone, and I definitely don’t have the power within me to change the world and the way it spins.

Suffering is part of the Christ journey. If we don’t suffer than how are we to know the joy behind prayer? A lot of people won’t accept Christ or a God that causes suffering. I’m not na├»ve in actually thinking that God CAUSES suffering, MAN causes suffering and God cleans up the mess.

I also hear many times, if God is so great, how can He let people die, like children who were enjoying a wonderful day at school and a shooter comes in and takes away their very breath in life?

The problem I have with that thinking is they missed something along the way. God gave us free will so to blame HIM for the shooters choice (sin) is to blame God for HIS choice in creating. Doesn’t make sense does it? Why didn’t He save the children? Why didn’t He reach right in and stop the bullets? If he can ‘part the sea’ surely He can do that. Well, yes He could. He can stop all the suffering in the world but the real question is, why doesn’t He?

Tom W wrote: “Because of SIN in the world, God sent His Son, who in turn, gave His life that we might have a path to forgiveness. This, to as many as would believe. It did not eliminate Sin, but instead provided us a way out of the life of sin and the body of death. God does not form the actions nor decisions of Man, for if that were the case, it would be saying God caused man to sin. It was because of sin that man was separated from God, and given parameters to return to Him, and even offered His own Son as the necessary sacrifice. Even then, it is up to man to accept; actions derogatory to that end are against the Will of God, and will be dealt with as described in The Revelation. As a result, I take exception to senseless killing being called "God's master plan." It IS POSSIBLE, however, to disagree with people, humans, and not hate- This is what all God's people are called to. Destruction of the creation at the hands of the creation is simply sin in action.”

Let me try and make some sense out of this. I think I use the term God’s Master plan too loosely and to some it is misunderstood as me turning a blind eye to the suffering because I say it is all just a part of God’s Master plan. Clarity: God did not create us to sin. We were perfect in His eyes but when woman and man sinned, He didn’t just kill what He created right then and there, He gave us a chance to work our way back to Him, and I believe, to ME, that suffering is just one of the ways our spirit comes closer to God.

He sent His Son into this destructive world to suffer and die for us, our sin. Now I know a lot of folk who think this is a cruel God, they are not shy in expressing WHY they don’t believe and most of the time it has to do with SUFFERING that they think God causes.

Have you ever lost someone close to you? Have you ever suffered and just wish all suffering would go away? Why doesn’t God END all suffering? Why do we continue to suffer? I have lost two children and I KNOW suffering firsthand. I CHOSE to turn to God in my suffering instead of AWAY from God.

A majority of the time, when we’re in the midst of suffering, we pray, to whatever God or spirit you believe in, you pray. When there is the heinous crime of shooting and killing of innocent people, or when planes fly into buildings causing thousands to die, what is it we do in the pangs of our suffering, we pray. We call to God and pray.

God’s master plan is not the action of the sin, and I don’t claim to KNOW His plan, but I feel that through our suffering, we both call on God and come closer to Him or we shun and blame Him! As a note, my suffering has pulled me closer and closer to God. To me, I think people are blaming Him for creating the sinner more than the sin that man commits.

When I say God’s master plan, I only mean that He knows every hair on our head and calls us by our name; I’m not Joni the sinner, I’m just Joni but He already knows my sin as well as the mass destruction man is causing on the earth. No they are not, I REPEAT, the sins of man are NOT His master plan. Free will wasn’t even His plan for us but it IS our saving grace through the SUFFERING of His Son.

I do not turn a blind eye to suffering; as a matter of fact I’m focused on the suffering of many and am in prayer many hours for the suffering that goes on. Whether it is people, trees, animals, or the earth, I pray! I am connected to ALL of God's creation, not just what I pick and choose.

I disagree with a lot going on in the world today but instead of name calling, flinging mud in the faces of men and women and belittling God’s CREATION, I pray. My true colors are worn on my sleeve, I love and I pray while many would rather, in their disagreement of the world’s condition, they’d rather spew hateful words. THAT is showing THEIR true colors.

Which leads me to my next post…

Heb. 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.