Category Archives: Christianity

Truth and Love

The two things Christians need more than anything these days are truth and love.

Arguing about Bible prophecy or other controversial doctrines isn’t love. We do need to talk about these issues, but we need to blanket the conversations in love.

If you just have truth and no love, you aren’t attractive, no one will listen to you. 1 Corinthians 13:1

If you have all love and no truth…what good is that? Tolerating sin in the name of love, isn’t love at all.

We need to proclaim the truth, and be a people known for our love and grace. With the Lord, we can balance these two things, we can be a people used by the Him to change hearts…Just as Jesus, who came in love, proclaimed grace and truth to a lost world. John 1:17

Don’t let your love grow cold…your love for the Lord and truth, and your love for the lost. Matthew 24:12

1 John 2:5, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

3 Jn. 1:3-4 “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

The Day of His Sympathy

 The Day of His Sympathy
by C.H. Mackintosh
“The three Nazarites, Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego, walked with God in the king’s palace; and God walked with them in the king’s furnace. And is it not worth passing through a fiery furnace to enjoy a little more of the presence of the Lord Jesus, and the sympathy of His loving heart? Is not a furnace where He is better than a palace where He is not? Nature says, “No!” Faith says, “Yes!”It is well to bear in mind that this is not the day of the Lord Jesus’ power; but it is the day of His sympathy . When passing through the deep waters of affliction, the heart may, at times, feel disposed to ask, “Why does not the Lord display His power, and deliver me?” The answer is, This is not the day of His power. He could avert that illness–He could remove that difficulty–He could prevent that catastrophe–He could preserve that beloved and fondly cherished object from the cold grasp of death. But, instead of putting forth His power to deliver, He more often allows things to run their course, and pours His own sympathy into the oppressed and riven heart, in such a way as to elicit the acknowledgement that we would not, for worlds, have missed the trial, because of the abundance of the consolation (2Cor.1:4-6).
Such is the manner of the Lord Jesus just now. By and by He will display His mighty power; He will come forth as the Rider on the white horse; He will unsheath His sword; He will make bare His all-powerful arm; He will avenge His people ( Israel ) and right their wrongs forever. But now His sword is sheathed, His arm covered. This is the time for making known the deep love of His heart, not the power of His arm, nor the sharpness of His sword. Are you satisfied to have it so? Is the Lord Jesus’ sympathy enough for your heart, even amid the keenest sorrow and the most intense affliction?The restless heart, the impatient spirit, the unsubdued will, would lead one to long
for escape from the trial, the difficulty, or the pressure; but this would never do. It would involve incalculable loss. We must pass from form to form in the school; but the Master accompanies us, and the light of His countenance, and the tender sympathy of His heart, sustain us under the most severe exercises.
What remains? Just this: live unto the Lord Jesus Christ! Seek to be faithful to the One who is your very Christian life. Be not discouraged by the fragmentary state of everything around you.  Let the example of Daniel and his honored companions encourage your heart to seek after an elevated course here below. It is your privilege to enjoy as much if not more, of companionship with the Lord Jesus, as if you were cast amid the best days of apostolic testimony.”

When God has another plan…

My favorite CD lately is one by Susan McGill of Victorious Valley, titled Songs in the Night. On it she sings a song by the Greenes called “When God Has Another Plan”…and many others that just minister to the loss we all experience in life. Whatever you’ve lost–loved ones, a dream for the future, your idea of perfection–remember God asks us to trust him so that he can work his perfect will in us. We might never understand why the “plans” we have change, but we must trust that God knows best…and his ways are not our ways.

His ways are SO. MUCH. BETTER. You can trust that. Even when it’s awful, doesn’t make sense, hurts like all get out…even when it might not make sense till Heaven. Trust Him to take the hard things and make something beautiful out of them.

I couldn’t find a youtube of Susan singing this, so here it is by the Greenes with the lyrics below. I hope it reaches you where you’re hurting with the reminder that our lives are in good hands. Come what may, walk on with the Lord and just say yes, Lord, not my will but Thine be done….

When God has another plan
Forsaken by his brothers didn’t fit the scene..
Being made a slave, was not what Joseph dreamed…
The coat of many colors was stained with blood and lies
But from this divine appointment, a ruler would arise
When God has another plan – walk on and just say yes
When God has another plan – be assured that He knows best
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace
We don’t have to understand – when God has another plan.
Alone and broken hearted, questions fill your mind
Changes can be hard, but come by God’s design,
But if you could see tomorrow, with a view from Heaven’s throne,
Every unexpected struggle, has led you closer home.
When God has another plan – walk on and just say yes…………
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace,
We don’t have to understand – when God has another plan.

Fruit Inspecting

Oranges2Have you ever been in danger of becoming a fruit inspector? As a Christian, there is nothing wrong with practicing prayerful discernment when it comes to choosing friends and fellowships, in fact, we’re told to examine our own hearts before the Lord as well. But fruit inspecting often doesn’t stop there.

We all have convictions about things. Some convictions are stronger than others, but it’s best to err on the gracious side of things when it comes to interpreting other folks’ walks in the faith. My convictions are personal to me, and between me, my husband, my family and God. The Bible says in Colossians 2:16,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

We aren’t to judge on these things. Period. But I believe “fruit inspecting”–that is, judging one’s Christian-ness by one’s observable or outward “fruit”–is not only dangerous, it’s highly misleading and all puns aside: fruitless.

Look at the Pharisees. On the outside, they appeared to have it all going for them. They adhered to the “code”. The behavioral code. The good-works code. The dress code. The church attendance code. But they failed to love others, to have grace and mercy, to be humble from the inside out, willingly transparent about their struggles and faults. Their fruit wasn’t real, it wasn’t a result of being connected to the “Vine” or from abiding in Christ, nourished by Him alone. Remember that true fruit of the Spirit is defined in Gal. 5:22–23 as, “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”

It is tempting to focus overmuch on outward appearances and behavior as signs of salvation, not only in our own lives but in others. But we all know what the Bible says about that.

1 Sam 16:7b says, “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

There’s got to be grace. And we can’t examine others without examining ourselves more closely. Think of how much we all had to learn the hard way…our desire should always be to encourage and edify other believers in the Lord, and be salt and light, but not to get in the way of the Holy Spirit. When a person becomes saved, they become justified (“just as if I’d never sinned!) and sanctified (made holy and righteous in Jesus) but there is also an ongoing process of  sanctification. Our Father has his ways of refining all of us. The Christian life is a refining fire…and some may have to spend 5 years in the wilderness as opposed to others spending 40. Our goal is the Promised Land, a victorious life through Christ as we by faith learn what it means to reckon ourselves dead to sin after salvation, and what it means to walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh. Or in other words, how to plug into the vine and just be grapes! Also, when we look for fruit in a Christian’s life, we are looking for Gal. 5 fruit, not works of the flesh. The works of the flesh contradict the works of the spirit.  Read Galatians 5 and see how entangled the Galatians were with works of the law. Circumcision was bondage to them. Is there anything wrong with circumcision? No. But making it part of salvation or the fruit of the spirit, of a life abiding in Christ, yes, that is taking it too far.

Also, how do we accurately judge another Christian’s fruit when there is definitely such a thing as a carnal Christian? This is dangerous territory and I believe the only reason to *go there* is to determine if this Christian is one we want to pursue fellowship with on a deeper level. Remember that iron sharpeneth iron, and we often assume the standards of those we befriend. This would be advice for the single gal who is waiting and watching for a godly future husband. Or to the new family at church who yearns for true fellowship with likeminded believers. Ask yourself, are they walking with Jesus Christ and evidencing all the fruit of the spirit, not just pieces of fruit here and there? Or are they ‘hearers only’ as James refers to? Are they servant minded, feet-washing believers–as our Savior was?

2 Corinthians 2:15 says,

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:”

Our lives need to be a fragrance to the unsaved, our lives and fruit should attract unbelievers as they see Christ in us…If our lifestyle, actions, reactions, sins, or false piety, etc. raise questions and cause confusion to the unsaved, we become a stumbling block.

There is also a tendency to question our salvation or the salvation of others when we “fruit inspect”. We may say, ” Well, I haven’t consistently read my Bible in weeks, or shared the gospel with others in a long time. I feel far from God. I wonder if I’m really saved?” This is attaching works as if they are proof of salvation, when it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

Instead let us pray to our Father to keep us from being Pharisaical fruit inspectors and examine our hearts and others’ hearts by the word of God. Do we/they claim to be a Christian and lie? Do we/they claim to be a Christian and not have a servant’s heart for others? Do we/they claim to be a Christian and yet lack love and grace? That doesn’t mean those that do or don’t aren’t Christians, but it means we might not want to fellowship with ones that do these things, and it may mean an eventual heart to heart questioning them, “Hey, as a Christian, how do you reconcile this behavior of yours to the word of God, brother/sister?” A carnal Christian will have no joy or assurance in the carnal life, but they are still a Christian.

1 Corinthians 13: 3 really sums this topic up better than I ever could:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Good works apart from true spiritual fruit profit nothing.

Want to know more about carnal Christianity? Here is a short article on the subject.

Equipping the Saints website

Breezing in here to share a source of great wealth to me lately, the Equipping the Saints website. Are you struggling with hard things? Be encouraged by a site that explains how death to self takes faith to comprehend and experience. Learn about true humility, which only comes from Christ in us, when we abide in Him and stop struggling with being “good enough” or “doing enough” and just realize that until He takes over, we’re just good at getting in the way of progress! “Self” is a powerful enemy of the plans and purposes God wants to accomplish in our lives.

Here’s a quote from the site to whet your appetite!

“The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Him-self living His own life through us; ‘no longer I, but Christ.'” Miles J. Stanford

And something from the Lord to prick your heart,

John 15:4-5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Here’s to fruitfulness that only comes from reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ!

–Mary

Does the Holy Spirit ever contradict the Bible? Part 2

judgegavelIf you missed yesterday’s intro, please check it out here.

How does the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth?

Check it out: The Holy Spirit does guide us into all truth. How does he do that, so we can trust it? As you read the following proof texts, notice how interwoven the Spirit’s work is with the word of God. They go hand in hand. 

2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

The Holy Spirit was key in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, as such, he will not contradict them.

1 Cor. 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Don’t we prefer God’s wisdom over “Man’s wisdom” any day? We should. What does comparing “spiritual things with spiritual” mean? I believe it’s a direct insight into how to study the Bible with the Holy Spirit teaching…we are NOT to rely on man’s interpretation alone, rather we’re to use the Bible, letting it teach us by cross-referencing topics within the Bible. Get a concordance to make it easier and let the Bible define itself. We have learned how to do this in the past few years and there is no more rewarding study guide or commentary than the Bible itself. It is AWESOME! Watch it come alive to your whole family this way.  

1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”

Here’s the bit about there being counterfeit spirits and how to test whether you are hearing from the Holy Spirit or not. See the next verse.

Same passage, verse 6,

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

The Holy Spirit–the spirit of truth, is proven true or litmus tested by what those (Paul, John, other Bible authors) godly men wrote, and we hear His words that He spoke through them when we read the word. It’s pretty black and white–if you won’t heed the scriptures that they wrote…you are not of God. (Another litmus test, you could say, of the “believers” in your life, do they heed the Bible or are they constantly correcting it, doubting it, attacking it?)

John 8:47 is another profound statement of the above. If we do not heed God’s word, we do not belong to God. 

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” 

Paul emphasizes this more, with rejoicing, in 1 Thess. 2:13,

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”  (emphasis mine)

And these last ones found in John chapters 15, 16 & 17 are just icing on the cake as we wrap up this topic of the Holy Spirit’s guiding, truth, and God’s word: 

John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

THREE Objectives of the Holy Spirit

Wow! Three of the Holy Spirit’s objectives are listed by Christ in John 16:7-8,

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (emphasis mine)

The Holy Spirit’s first function is to “reprove the world of sin”…He points out sin, he doesn’t overlook it, or tolerate it…because he is HOLY. He helps us see our need for repentance and for Jesus, and then He grows us in the Lord.

John 17:14-17, again, words of Christ,

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  (emphasis mine)

What is the definition of truth? thy word is truth Jesus is talking to God the Father. “Thy” is referring to the Father’s truth, God’s word, which incidentally is another name for Jesus in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In another place, Jesus says he is the letters of the Greek alphabet themselves: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

So we go back to John 16:13-14,

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

We know that the Bible defines “truth” as God’s word, and through it, we are sanctified as Holy Spirit led believers in Jesus Christ’s shed blood at the cross for our sins, that he rose again and is sitting at the right hand of God, interceding for us this very day.

We need to remember that Christians are not immune to deception, nor are we immune to being unknowingly used as tools by the evil one. We read the opposite when we see Jesus rebuke Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan!”, and in the example of Ananias and Sapphira when Peter tells Ananias that Satan has filled his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost. Even in the Old Testament there are examples for our learning, when God’s greatest leaders relied on their own perceptions of truth apart from and in direct defiance of God’s word to them, and were deceived resulting in lifelong and devastating consequences. Joshua and the Gibeonites, with their sob story and moldy bread, for one example (look it up!). We are even told that we aren’t to offer hospitality to false teachers (2 Jn 1:11-13)…not that we can’t share Christ’s gospel with them, but that we are “partakers in their evil deeds” if we invite them into our homes, sup with them, or even bid them godspeed! Obviously, the Lord directs us in scripture to take these things very seriously..so the next time you are praying for guidance, and you receive advice that doesn’t line up with scripture…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Does the Holy Spirit ever contradict the Bible? Part 1

judgegavelHow many times has someone said to you, “The Holy Spirit told me so!” Was it really the Holy Spirit? Let’s explore this.

The idea that we can be Spirit-led even when the “spirit” is contradicting God’s word is embraced by many today, and along with it, the authority–much less the credibility–of the Bible is under attack. The danger here is in crafting a “god of our own imagination”…I guess it all boils down to: What is truth? People everywhere subscribe to a “version” of their own truth, but in a study of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit’s purpose and working in a Christian’s life we see that it’s all very straight-forward. If you believe the Bible…

Recently some friends and I were discussing this. I said, “How do we know what is truth, if we do not have an authority to turn to? We can’t rely on the Holy Spirit alone, especially if it contradicts God’s own words.”

This was interpreted as me saying that the Bible trumps the Holy Spirit. That the Spirit is incapable of guiding us into all truth and that the only way to stay out of hell was a literal reading of the Bible…

I should have clarified that the Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict the Bible, God’s words. Yes, the Holy Spirit is capable of guiding us into all truth–that is scriptural! So, hell aside, what did I mean exactly?

I meant that people get into trouble when they dismiss the relevance of the Bible, and rely on what they sincerely think is the Holy Spirit. Maybe they are being led of the Spirit..but the Bible tells us that there are “spirits of truth and spirits of error”…without knowledge of the Bible and how the Holy Spirit works in a believer’s life, we are ripe for deception by “other spirits”.

This is KEY: Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Paul is so serious  here, that he repeats this strong statement in verse 9, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Equally strong warning is found in 2 Cor. 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

A few years ago, this was a new concept to me…that there could be “another Jesus”…a counterfeit of the REAL Jesus. Not only a counterfeit Jesus, but a counterfeit gospel, presented as if it was the gospel of Christ. Along with this warning, we find many many others in the New Testament, in John, 2 Peter, Jude, 1-3 John, and in most of the Pauline epistles. So let’s take it to heart. There are many deceptions out there masquerading as the REAL deal. There is safety in no man, not even in seminaries or Bible scholars, or your beloved pastor, only in God and outlined clearly in his words to us–the Bible. In the end, WE are held accountable, and thank God for pastors and teachers–we’re sure blessed by many, but even the most godly of men can be sincerely wrong, so know the Book–it will reveal truth about our God and Savior,  and cover all the bases.

Tomorrow we will delve DEEP into scripture to see how exactly the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth!

 

The Great Science Debate

KJV_BibleLast Tuesday we popped up some kettle corn and gathered round the computer for what’s being called “The Debate of the Century”. It was 2 hours and 45 minutes of Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, and Bill Nye the Science Guy tackling the question, Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins in Today’s Modern Scientific Era?

The disappointing thing about the debate was that they didn’t get very far on the topic specified, but still, we were euphoric by the end, because Ken Ham did a fantastic job of presenting the validity of the Young Earth Creationist viewpoint and how scientists have been using the Bible for centuries to make valid predictions in the field. He had an impressive line-up of video presentations, including live interview clips by Creation scientists (such as Dr. Raymond Damadian who revolutionized modern medical technology with the invention of the MRI scanner) to back up his data. Most of all, we were impressed with Ken’s humble, gracious attitude and his heart for truth. He unashamedly admitted many times that he takes the Creation account literally, and presented the gospel at least 3 times during the debate…with scripture.

Ken Ham also pointed out the two kinds of science, a differentiation widely ignored by mainstream science. That is, that there is a big difference between historical science dealing with origins, and observable or operational science. Mainstream science wants to claim that there is no difference, hence their claim that an evolutionary worldview is essential to proper scientific understanding and procedure…which is not true at all.

Our children are ages 16, 13 and 9, and we figured there would be some evidence from Bill Nye’s argument for evolution that we’d have to research and debunk. On the contrary…I can’t tell you how many times the kids hit the pause button and spouted off the real science behind the manipulated facts Nye presented as solid evidence. I guess all of those creation seminar dvds and Apologia textbooks have been worth the hours spent studying! If you watched the debate and have questions, the Answers in Genesis website put together an “Answers” page, that provides answers for everything Bill Nye brought up during the debate. We were also disappointed that Nye didn’t seem to take this discussion very seriously, nor did he address the questions Ken Ham had for him. He kept saying that if Creationists gave one piece of evidence for an out of place fossil (using the secularists’ own dating methods), he’d be so grateful, science would be so grateful.  Ken Ham gave him that evidence, and even a picture of it in his slideshow–45,000-year-old wood in 45-million-year-old rock! Bill Nye willingly ignored it. Now he is calling for Ken Ham to build an exact replica of Noah’s ark and see if it is seaworthy for over a year. The interesting thing about the ark, is how it affected early Naval architecture. I’ve linked to more info, if you are interested.

If you would like to watch the debate, I am not sure how much longer they will leave it up for public viewing, but the Answers in Genesis YouTube Channel still has the debate available, as well as the Post-Debate Commentary, which we also highly recommend watching.

Estimates are that at least 5 million people from 190 countries were tuned in at one point or another to this debate…that is amazing coverage. And the debate is bleeding over into conversation all over the internet. My take-away from that? This topic of creation vs evolution has been silent due to secular censorship for far too long—and people want to discuss it!

One last important note. There are many Christians that believe God created the world via the big bang or that evolution can be explained into the creation story. To this, Ken Ham asks…how could millions of years of animal death, disease, predation, extinction and other natural evils such earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, as evidenced in the fossil record, come before man’s sinful fall in the garden and God’s subsequent curse? There really is nothing about evolutionary origins that is compatible with the Biblical account.

And that’s my .02 cents about the big debate!

Overcoming emotional hurts with Christ’s help

I often get letters, behind scenes, expressing great anguish and crippling turmoil over familial hurts that seem insurmountable and are accompanied by pleas for help. I just wanted to answer this one publicly and with virtual hugs. It’s okay. Jesus understands. And you are not alone. Here’s my story.

First, I want to tell you, I understand. I understand the being overwhelmed, the agony, the injustice, the “no one can understand and possibly everyone things I’m over-reacting”. The not being able, much less willing, to put yourself out as a target when those “archers” responsible are in the same vicinity! I felt the same emotional turmoil for years, whenever I was around a certain someone. Those were hard but growing years. I’m so thankful for a godly mother’s counsel, and her strong shoulder on which I cried many times.

Like you, survival meant keeping a distance and meantime in the civil distance, with much prayer and a lot of maturity in both the other person and myself, I have been able to put the hurtful things that happened behind me. I NEVER thought I’d be able to be around that person with my guard down, but happily I am. I pray that over time and with God’s healing between you and this other person, total renewal (love, forgiveness, trust) will be gained. Until then, you are wise to listen to your loving heavenly Father and protect your fragility, build yourself up in the confidence and strength that comes from the Lord.

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”

2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

Our heavenly Father will equip you. Perfect love casts out fear! Pray that Jesus will give you an overwhelming love–unconditional with no past recriminations hovering–for this person. A love that will cover their human failings toward you.If you are like me, you will have many kneeling-before-the-throne sessions, weeping, praying for the burden to leave. But the joy isn’t in the burden leaving, as much as it is in surviving it by God’s grace and coming out on the other side scathed, but healed, and enabled to help spread the message of hope that you’ve experienced firsthand.

The Lord gave me that for my situation. I wanted to bawl for joy when he crushed that last wall I’d built for my sanity and protection, and let me just feel love and compassion for the one that had hurt me so, with no history tainting it WHATSOEVER. I even cleared the air with them, and apologized for my part in the problem, not hinting at anything they might have done. It is so over–and I am free and so incredibly thankful to have that horrible, crippling angst of a burden rolled off my heart. To be able to be around them with no hurts between us any more is a MIRACLE! He is faithful so just keep hounding the Lord for peace and healing on this–even if your loved one never changes–I believe you will get to the point of having a Jesus-love for him or her that can see past their faults and sins and even let this unfair treatment of you and hurtful words roll off of you because you are SO bathed in Jesus’ affirmation and love, blood-covered and GRACED out, that you’ll hurt more for this other person than yourself when those darts hit their mark.

Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But, in the meantime, do keep your distance so you can focus on healing and commit to pray hard for this perfect work. I can’t explain how all my hurts, anger, insecurities, jealousies over the injustice of it all (false rumors, etc.) were completely vanquished and it wasn’t overnight…but it definitely happened and it was all Jesus. I think of this person now with so much love, sometimes with tears as I pray for their precious family. What a blessing!

Having read all of that, I hope you get a message of HOPE and can see that I’m not judging, because I’ve been there. Perhaps I didn’t have as much to forgive in my situation, as you do in yours, but Jesus can handle it.

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

Psalm 27:1, “The  LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

The blessing of total forgiveness is that forgiveness will come much easier for you down the road when others hurt you. The more like Christ we become, the more dead we become to self, and “dead people” don’t get offended or hold bitterness or grudges. I would much rather be dead to “self” and alive to Christ. For more on this, you may want to read my Dying to Self series. For now I’ll leave you with Galatians 2:20,

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

God bless you and heal you as you seek His ways in all you do…

Cookbooks and Food Miracles

Today I picked up a large cooler full of ground venison from the meat locker. Tonight we’re celebrating “red meat in the hoose” by utilizing The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook…her bacon-wrapped and bbq-tomato-gravy slathered meatloaf (page 150) to be exact. And her PW’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes (page 146) made from Yukon Gold potatoes from our very own garden. I haven’t been immersed in such a delightful cookbook since my mom gave us the Two Chicks from the Sticks cookbook. Another must-have. Hint. Many of our best-selling farmer’s market recipes have come from that last one.

But the real reason I’m blogging tonight (besides having t.i.m.e. and no one else competing with me for our one and only computer…) is that we had another miracle recently! We have them quite often actually. I wish I had time to blog about each and every one.

This miracle occurred one chilly morning a couple weeks ago. I was down at our field pens, doing chores for the 30 little chickies we’re raising…when a hunter pulled up. He’d been hunting and successfully bagged his buck and wondered if I could come take a picture of him with it. Just FYI, we’d met him the previous weekend when he’d kindly let us know he had permission to hunt the forested area north of our property. So he’d be driving through our place in the wee hours of the morning and didn’t want us to be alarmed. Heh, if he only knew how familiar we are with the “wee hours” of the morning, getting up at 3:55 am every day to milk. But I digress. Nice guy, from out of state. He waited on me to run up to the house and pull my banana nut bread out of the oven and then we were off for a photo shoot.

The drive was through pasture, a little rough. By the time we got done with the pictures, I could tell he was anxious to get the deer gutted and his deer stand dissembled, so I offered to help. That was a fun ramble through the woods to the deer stand…he pointed out a bobcat lair, among other interesting things I didn’t know were within a half-mile of my home!

The blessing of this adventure is that we got a large cooler of ground venison for our freezer! Because this guy was from out of state, he couldn’t take his deer home with him. He asked if we happened to like venison…we LOVE venison. Not only that…but less than two weeks before, I’d announced to my family that I was praying for God to dump some red meat in our laps so they better watch and see how He was going to provide it. We had been out of everything but our broiler chickens for a while, and I sure was missing the versatility of having ground red meat at my disposal. We just don’t buy beef from the store…we process our own beef here at home because we like to know what we’re eating! I’d even begun grinding some turkey so we’d have ground meat…but turkey is just meant to be roasted. An added blessing of venison is that it doesn’t contain any antibiotics or vaccines….which is a hallelujah side bonus! *grin*

We are truly thankful, and excited to enjoy this first meal made from this venison gift tonight. I guess I’d better go mash up some potatoes!

Have you got anything in particular you need to take to the Lord in prayer? Another thing you should know…the same day this hunter relayed his intention of giving us the meat from his deer, my in-laws stopped by with a grocery sack of beef from their freezer. What a double blessing! Meat to eat while we waited on the locker to process the venison. God loves to knock our socks off…but so often…we “have not because we ask not”…

What miracles has He done in your life recently?