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Archive for August, 2010

Pigs Can’t Fly

This is one of my oldest grandson’s favorite books, by Ben Cort.

It’s about a pig who is “Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored!”

So he sets out to find something to do that’s fun, but instead, tries to become someone else – a zebra, an elephant, a parrot, and more – in the belief that those animals have more fun than he does.

None of his plans work, though, and he becomes increasingly unhappy, until he finally finds another pig, who teaches him the fun of being a pig.

Cute book, with an interesting lesson – be yourself!

  • Pig could have had a lot of fun with the things he did, if he had just played with them, instead of trying to be someone else. For instance, he made stilts in an attempt to be a giraffe. If he’d been enjoying them, instead of trying to impress others that he was a giraffe, he might have stopped being bored.

Do we do that? Miss out on the joy of life because we are trying so hard to be someone else, believing that who we are can’t or doesn’t deserve to enjoy life, or that others will find us more likable if we are someone else?

  • He was bored because he hadn’t yet discovered how to be who he really was. When he met another pig, he learned how much fun it was to be himself!

And how many of us are in this position? Bored off our socks because we don’t know who we are, or who we are created to be? And to what lengths do we go in an effort to alleviate that boredom? What do we fill our days with to drown out the ‘I’m bored!’ cry of our hearts?

I found myself bored today. Wanting something or someplace new. Tired of all the books I own (having already read them multiple times); the puzzles and games I have (ditto on these). Sewing, cooking, even art, all bored me today.

In the past, when I reached this point, I usually went shopping, or to the library or the park. But today, none of those are options. And even if they were, they wouldn’t satisfy this bone-deep need for something different.

So today, I think I’ll try something new. I think I’ll get alone with Father God, and ask Him to tell me more about myself, my purpose. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy being with Him. That is never boring. He always teaches me something new about Himself or me, or reveals more of His sense of humor, or just loves on me.

May you be blessed today with a new understanding of who you are created to be and acceptance of it.

May you be blessed with things and ideas to fill any areas of boredom in your life.

And may you find that the best boredom-killer is time with Him.


Cowabunga!

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Caution: rant below!

Yes, I’m mad!    Ticked off!    Angry as all h*ll!

The last few weeks, I have been dealing with some health issues. Last week, I found out that one of them is life-threatening. (Treatable, though, thank God.)

In coming to terms with all this, I have discovered some particularly ugly lies that have been part of my life foundation since I was a child. (I think sometimes that the worst thing you can do to a child is raise them in church.  They pick up so many lies that way!)

Here’s what I found in me: as a child, I heard that ‘the flesh’ is wicked or evil or something to be put down, controlled so it won’t take over, etc, etc.  And that’s all from scripture, but, the way I understood it is not scriptural at all! As a result of my childish understanding, I spent my whole life thinking of my body as a ‘necessary evil’ – something that had to be tolerated so I could move around on the planet, but definitely worthless beyond that.

So, I neglected my body for the most part. Sure, when I was pregnant and nursing, I ate right, exercised, took naps and stuff. But the rest of the time . . . well, it’s just something to be tolerated. By the time the MIHM told me he wanted me gone, I had gained 100 pounds, and was not doing anything about it. (Depression will do that to you. And hopelessness.) The first year after we split up, I lost 70 of that. And had to have my gall bladder out. After that, there were some minor health issues here and there, but nothing major; nothing that made me look at this lie.

A few months ago, Father God began working on this belief, though. (Which I thank Him for, as it has been easier to deal with this health issue because of the truths I’ve already learned.) He began to show me that our physical body is important to Him. Not just because He made it, either (I still wonder why, but He hasn’t showed me that yet). He showed me that Christ’s sacrifice for us took place on a physical level as well as a spiritual one, because our bodies are important. His resurrection was not just spiritual, but physical, too. In fact, Paul says somewhere that if the resurrection is not true, ‘we are of all men most miserable’. So, our bodies are important! They are just as important as our hearts/souls and our spirits! Father God intends for our whole being – body, soul, spirit – to live with Him forever.

And that’s why I’m mad! Oh, not because I hate the physical body (I no longer do), but because for so many years I hated my body. Because I believed this lie, I never appreciated my body for the marvelous machine that it is. I didn’t take care of it, didn’t feed or maintain it properly. I treated it with disdain, even disgust! I cheated my body out of years of respect and care, because I felt it was only to be tolerated, as it was basically so sinful. And now, I am paying the price. You can ignore proper maintenance on any machine for only so long, before it starts breaking down. Years of neglect, of stress and emotional pain are taking a toll. First the gall bladder, now this. (And yes, I do believe in healing – I can find no time limit on “by His stripes we are healed.”)

I’m so angry at this lie I believed for so long! Every time Father God shows me a lie I’ve believed, it makes me angry. I gotta tell you, there are times when I can’t wait for the end of this whole creation, when satan gets thrown into the lake of fire. I want to be there, to kick him hard as he goes past! (Where’s a pair of really pointed-toed boots?)

If you are going to teach doctrine to children, for heaven’s sake (and theirs) teach them what it means. Teach them that ‘the flesh’ does not mean their body, it means the ungodly/worldly/sinful attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that we need to exchange for Godly ones. Teach them that ‘love one another’ does not mean allow someone to abuse you. Teach them that there are a lot of things God hates, not just divorce. Teach them . . . sorry, I could go on for a very long time here.

The point is that children do not understand things the way adults do! Keep that in mind as you lay their foundations, whatever the facet. And listen to them, so you can understand what they believe, and correct the lies before they become embedded for life. Because once they are embedded, we no longer see them! They become so much a part of us that we don’t even know they are there, and don’t see how they are controlling our lives. Thankfully,  our Father God loves us too much to leave them in there forever, but they can do a lot of damage before they are rooted out.

May Father God show you the lies you have believed, replacing them with His truth and the freedom it brings!

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or not!

I don’t know about you, but I like to be comfortable. I like comfortable clothes, and comfortable books, and a comfortable life. Some people are armchair quarterbacks; for most of my life, I’ve been an armchair adventurer. I like best to sit on a winter’s night before a cozy fire, snuggled up with a good book or two, a cup of hot chocolate, and somebody I love.

But I’ve been discovering that being comfortable doesn’t help you in the long run.

For instance, if you are pregnant, and lie around the house the whole pregnancy, yes, it feels good. When you can’t see your feet any more, and your balance is so off that it takes major shifting and the help of at least one other person just to stand up, the idea of just staying in bed until the baby comes looks pretty good.

But if you get up and walk every day of that pregnancy, you will have a better (probably shorter, too) labor and delivery, because your body is in better shape to do what it’s supposed to do.

This holds true for pretty much all the rest of life, too, in all its facets. When we were babies, our parents fed us, changed us, carried us around. But by the time we were toddlers, we should have been doing a lot of that ourselves. Sure, we got carried once in a while, but by the time you’re two, you can and should be walking and feeding yourself. Under adult supervision, of course.

If there is something wrong with the baby, this normal growth might not happen, or happen at a later time. And that is sad. But what if there is nothing wrong? What if the baby just sits there, refusing to learn to sit up, or crawl, or stand, or walk, or run? What if the baby chooses to take the easy way out, and let its parents keep carrying it, feeding it, etc. for the rest of its life?

Spiritually, it’s much the same thing – when we are first saved, Father God wraps us up in the blanket of His love, and takes care of a lot of stuff for us. But eventually we start to grow up, and then we need to learn to handle stuff ourselves. I don’t say ‘by ourselves’, because we are in Him and He is in us, so we are never alone again, and never need to do things by ourselves. But we do need to learn to do things. We need to learn to stand, to walk, to resist the enemy.

Out of all the things God could have called Himself –Creator; Almighty God; Spirit; the uncreated, unending, supreme being; and all the names of God we find in the Old Testament, when Jesus came He revealed God to us as Father. God deliberately chose the concept of physical birth to represent the spiritual life. We really do follow the same growth pattern spiritually (and in the other facets) as we do physically. We are born again (John 3:3), we are children (I John 3:2), we are friends (John 15:15), we are His bride (Eph. 5:25-28). As we learn more of Him, we grow up, until we become the mature man of Eph. 4:13.

But we are capable of stopping this growth process in ourselves spiritually (and in other facets, too, but that’s for another time). Whenever Holy Spirit presents us with an opportunity to grow, to learn more of God and ourselves, to change and become more than we were yesterday, we have the option of saying, “No”.

We can decide that we want to take the easy way out, to become armchair Christians, so to speak – reading of others’ adventures in God: their exploits, victories and defeats – instead of experiencing our own. Watching them play the championship game on TV, or even in the stands, but never suiting up and heading down to the scrimmage line.

Let’s get one thing clear before I go on. There is nothing wrong with watching others in order to learn how to do it yourself. That’s how babies learn to walk, to speak, to do all the things we humans do – they watch us first.

But if you just keep watching, and never try to do it yourself, then you can be, at the end of your life, a 40-year-old spiritual baby. Ugh!

Another thing to consider before you decide to take the easy way out – if the time ever comes when you decide to learn to do a specific thing, or it becomes absolutely necessary, it will be a lot harder to learn! They say the best time to teach children a foreign language is before the age of 5. I didn’t have too hard a time of it learning Spanish in high school, but I’m now trying to learn French, and my brain just isn’t as absorbent!

And, trust me, there will come a time when you have to get up and walk spiritually, or run, or fight. Even though our Father is a gentleman, He is also our Father. What kind of father allows his child to sit in a corner, never learning, never growing?

I need to add here that sometimes, the hard thing is to trust Him by doing nothing in your own power or wisdom. To just wait, trusting, for Him to do it. This can be harder than going and doing. And while it looks the same as doing nothing – on the outside – on the inside we are fighting giants, and wrestling demons. To trust, when everything inside your mind and heart is screaming that He can’t be trusted, is spiritual warfare of an extreme kind. To wait, doing nothing, because if you did something it would be in your strength and not His, is ‘the hard way’ just as much as going out into life’s sewers to kill rats and save homeless, hopeless wanderers.

So the next time you are facing learning something new spiritually, or fighting a bigger battle than you think you can handle (He is with us, remember?), or walking out in faith on to that invisible bridge (I love that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!) and you think you’d rather not, you’d rather take the easy way out, think again. If you put it off, it will be harder to do later.

Aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t do that at Calvary, take the easy way out? He thought about it, even prayed about it (in the garden of Gethsemane), but in the end, He took the hard way, and bought our freedom!  Thank God that He did!

May you be blessed with opportunities to NOT take the easy way out. And may He show you very clearly that He is with you, and will not let you face more than you can handle as long as you let Him be in and with you, helping you and giving you strength and wisdom and power to finish the job.


It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. (C.S. Lewis)

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If you live in an urban area, you might not be too familiar with milestones, but if you live in the country, or have ever taken a road trip, you know that highways are marked every mile. This tells you how far you’ve come, how far you’ve still to go, and where the next exit/gas station/town is.

Every life has milestones, too: the start and end of school, college graduation, getting married, the birth of a child, etc.

And the Christian life has milestones – the day you ‘get saved’, get baptized, the first time you take communion are the obvious ones. But as you look back at your journey farther into God, you’ll find milestones marking other points. These mark times when a truth was illuminated for you in a way that set you free, changed your life.

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Here are a few of mine, in mostly chronological order –

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence – I read this one in high school, and it forever changed my ideas about the Christian life. I saw that we could and should be aware of Him beside us at all times.

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Sometime during high school, too, someone said to me “God is a gentleman. He won’t push Himself on us; He waits for us to ask. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.” This was the beginning of my trust in God to not hurt me.

Also during high school, I discovered that we can be honest with God about our feelings! I was reading Psalms, and David was whining, crying, bellyaching, even! He took all his emotions straight to God, whether they were nice ones or not. And if David could, I can! And so can you! (Is that why he was ‘a man after God’s own heart’?)

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Sometime in adulthood, I read Hind’s Feet On High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. That opened up to me the concept that Father God cares about my emotions, especially when they control me, like fear does for the heroine. That was amazing! God really cares? God really cares!

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John 17:3 – not only can we be aware of Him, but eternal life consists of knowing Him! Knowing Him and Jesus, not a bunch of scriptures, or a bunch of rules, or the right things to say and do. Knowing Him in a relationship, not just knowing about Him. Life changing! God actually wants to be known by us, to have a relationship with us!!

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Phillipians 2:13 – lots of people quote verse 12, especially when they are trying to control you through fear. But there is no period between v. 12 and v. 13. They are two parts of the same sentence! When I realized this, I stopped stressing about whether I would ever be able to do His will. In fact, I stopped worrying about whether I’d even want to do His will. This verse says He will work in me to bring me to that place. Gently, patiently, lovingly. Really ‘getting’ this verse set me free to trust Him to work in me what needs to be worked; to teach me what I need to learn; to love me not just in spite of my weaknesses, but maybe even because of them (they are, after all, part of what makes me a unique person).

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Another verse along these lines, but I’m not sure where it belongs in the timeline, is Hebrews 12:2 —  Jesus endured the cross for the ‘joy set before Him’. Okay, I memorized this verse eons ago in Sunday school. So?? So one day He showed me what was the joy set before Him. It was me!! Being able to have a relationship with me (and you, too!) was the joy that enabled Him to endure the cross!!! It wasn’t the joy of beating Satan; it wasn’t the joy of being able to get back to heaven where He belonged; it was the joy of having us as part of the family! What a milestone that was!

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I John 3:9 – this one is a little hard to explain, but was the most freeing of any of my ‘milestones’.

It says that the children of God do not sin, because His seed remains in them. What Father showed me through this verse was that we are no longer sinners after we become His children!! So all that stuff I was taught as a child, about how we are always ‘sinners, saved by grace’, and never worthy to be looked at by God without the ‘filter’ of Christ and His blood, was hogwash!!

While we were yet sinners’ He loved us so much He died for us! Died so we could become the children of God, become a new creation, become His righteousness!! We are not sinners any more!!

Sure, we sin now and then. We mess up. We may even have addictions or bondages in our lives that He hasn’t dealt with yet, which make us look like sinners to everyone around us. But if you are God’s child, His seed remains in you, and you are no longer a sinner!!!! (And you can ‘take it to the bank’ that He will not leave you bound by that addiction, that sin forever. Just be aware that before dealing with a habitual sin, Father God usually deals with the underlying wrong beliefs/feelings of unworthiness/lies of the enemy that have trapped His child in that sin. When those are dealt with, and His child is free to know and love God and him/herself, the addiction/sin is so easy to deal with that it’s sometimes already gone! God always looks at the heart, not the outer actions! And when He heals the heart, the rest of the person gets healed. Neat, huh? God is so GOOD!)

Wow! The guilt and condemnation and shame that set me free from! To know that I am not bound to/by/in my ‘flesh’!! For the first time in my life, I not only could easily study the Bible and pray, but I could do it without guilt! Before this revelation, prayer and study had been huge battles, because the guilt that I wasn’t doing them often enough/long enough prevented me from even trying to do it.

And now, listening to His voice was easier, because I was no longer afraid He would tell me how awful I was. So my prayer life changed dramatically, and then He started the healing process that got me where I am today. Still not perfect, still not completely whole, but His child, His new creation who is more than a conqueror!

I emphasize this because a lot of us, believing that we are ‘sinners saved by grace’, are constantly defeated by the enemy. Why? Because we believe that our nature is not changed, so we are still subject to sin. We live in a war zone of our own making; one where we lose again and again, simply because we don’t understand how completely He defeated satan and how that victory is ours because His righteousness is ours.  But once we understand that we are not sinners anymore, but a new creation, we are free to live the righteousness of Christ! Free to be victorious!

This doesn’t mean we won’t sin. It doesn’t mean we are perfect. In I John 1 is the famous verse that says that if we sin, He is faithful to forgive us when we ask Him. So in I John 3, John seems to be contradicting himself. But he’s not!

We are God’s children. His seed does remain in us. Those are unchangeable facts! We sin because we are unable or unwilling to believe this about ourselves. Unable to believe it because of lies we believe about ourselves or God; unwilling to believe because we don’t want to give up that sin. But neither changes God’s immutable truth – I am His child, therefore I do not sin. And because I am His child, He will work in me to reveal the truth that destroys the lies, and to change my desire for that sin (see Phil. above).

‘Reckon yourselves dead to sin’, Paul says in Romans 6:11. When you grasp this concept with your heart and mind and spirit, not just your brain, it becomes easier to live without sin. If you are dead, then your ‘sin nature’ is dead, too. You no longer feel chained to or by it, so you sin less and less. And as you sin less and less, and fight the phantom battle with your ‘sin nature’ less and less, you will have so much more freedom and strength and power for the real battles of life, for the work Father God created you for, and to reach out to help others.

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Every once in a while, it’s good to stop and look back over the road you’ve traveled. You really don’t know how much farther you have to go, but look how far you’ve come!! And if you take note of those milestones that helped you, you can tell others about them, and help them along their journey.

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” C.S. Lewis

May Father God show you the significant milestones along your road, and give you new ones on the road ahead. May you be able to share those important events and revelations with someone else to help them along their journey. And may you find that even what seemed like rabbit trails away from the road, that you feel were failures or sins, were actually milestones where Father God taught you something important.

Vaya con Dios!


P.S. ‘Vaya’ is the command form of the verb ‘to go’. So this is actually a command for you to go with God – you go with Him, not Him go with you. If we obey this command – going with Him, as He directs, not expecting Him to go with us where we want – our lives are so much easier! So that’s my prayer for you as you continue your journey. Vaya con Dios!

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