Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I remember once as a child telling my grandmother, "Those kids don't like me, grandma.  They make fun of me."  Her response to that was "Remember that no one can insult you unless you give them your permission."  That was good advice and I lived to recall it at other times in my life.  Still, there were times when it was difficult to not take the hurt if I felt wronged even in some minor way.  It can be difficult to refrain from speaking out in some situations, and perhaps regretful words are said, and then it's just out there - you've said it, and often wish you hadn't.

Jesus gave us the answer to this sort of problem in saying "Turn the other cheek."  If someone insults you, forgive them - whatever they have done, forgive them.  In one of her wonderful hymns Fanny Crosby wrote of the desire to live "above the world."  It is a truth that above the world or outside of the world is where our lives will be when we press into a spiritual existence with God.  It is a wonderful experience to feel you are not to be deflected by the world's point of view, which leaves one with options for handling anger that don't prove helpful, and proof of that is the years of therapy people often endure.  God would never tell us to do something that He did not have a direct hand in.  The ability to love and forgive under even the most difficult circumstances is one of the many gifts of God's Holy Spirit.

And so, we believe - we show faith - which is what we have to have - and God changes our situation.  He takes away anger and hurt.  He replaces it with love, understanding, and forgiveness.  Yes, my grandmother gave me good advice, but still it took me years to learn what I needed to have, and that was a place with Jesus in my heart and God's Spirit to guide me through. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


At a Bible study the other night my pastor made a point which I found interesting: He pointed out that while many people, including the disciples, didn't always pick up on everything Jesus said, the Pharisees did.  They paid attention to everything he said and after his death they were the ones to realize Jesus had spoken of rising again in three days.  That is of course why they posted a guard at his tomb.  The point of this is that while the Pharisees knew scripture, knew Mosaic law, claimed to know doctrine, and were very expressive in public with prayer, still they did not comprehend.

The comprehension of God's word comes directly from God but it has to be that one is in a receptive state of mind which cannot follow unless the heart is with God.  The Pharisees had knowledge of religion, but they were a long way from loving God.  They were tied to the world.  They were highly impressed with their place in the world as religious leaders and they wanted all the pomp that went with that.  And so they stood by and listened to Jesus teach, heard every single word, knew scripture, were quite amazed with his ability to interpret scripture, and saw the miracles he performed, but still did not concede - did not understand.  The fact seems to be that they did not want to understand, and God let it be. 

Thinking about all this proves out to be a good lesson in life for any of us.  God wants us to come to him and we're all invited to do so, but we need to open our hearts.  The world can be a distraction, but the closer we come to the presence of God, honestly, the less the things of the world concern us.  God's love is so complete and the longer we are with Him the more we learn how to live in this world but be separate from it.  How sad for the Pharisees that they did not grasp this, but let's remember that it goes back to a heart that is unwilling to receive God's love and let's give thanks for the understanding within our own hearts and never depart from it. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I remember as a teenager sitting among several ladies probably of the ages of 50 to 60 and hearing them talk of concerns in general.  My memory isn't clear on exact words which were said, but I remember feeling superior in some way because I didn't bother with trifles such as they had.  Oh youth!  How unperceptive we can be at that age.  I grew up - I learned.  I was able to look back, and understand.

Anxiety - it comes with aging.  It comes with living.  In some ways it's good to have because in some way it monitors our actions when we realize there is a reason for cautious concern, but there are people who really struggle with anxiety.  It pervades their lives.  I had a conversation once with a lady who said to me, "I don't know why I'm anxious, or about what..I guess it's just everything."  That is hard to live with: a constant state of worry.  And I think people who go through this often get very good at covering it up.  They probably feel compelled to do that because so often the response they get doesn't show a depth of understanding.

God always has the answer for us.  He always has the way to bring us through these things.  Jesus pointed out that God doesn't miss anything.  He knows about our lives.  Our needs are known to Him.  We can count on that fact, and we are very welcome to come to Him in prayer.  The problem we so often have is when we begin casting off in various directions searching for answers, expecting help from the world - not really grasping the constant of God's love and concern for us.

God doesn't want us to live in fear.  Our adversary is the one who tries to keep us in a state of uncertainty and fear.  Satan tries consistently to bog people down into a state of mind which if he could have his way would be intolerable to live with.  He wants people to give up.  He wants them to feel helpless.  The main thing for us to remember is that through Christ we have every assurance of the fact that we can come to God and receive His help.  We are not alone.  We are not helpless.  The Bible teaches us, and how true it is, that through Christ we have the victory.  Don't ever forget that.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There is a lady I've known for some time and the reason I know her is because we have worked together and although we're not acquainted outside of the workplace we have had some pretty in depth conversations.  She is very good to work with and almost always it seems with a smile and kindness to those around her.  I was surprised though when one day she said to me that she struggles with anger and in fact not just anger but a deep sense of hatred toward certain individuals which has become so much a part of her she feels she will never be free of it.  We discussed it as much as time would allow, and I know she understands that God wants her to be free of this anger, but somehow she keeps circling back to the idea that it's too much, too embedded, too deeply rooted within her.  It seems as far as she is concerned this will never change.

I feel certain this sort of situation is why the Bible so clearly teaches that we should let go of anger.  Anger is a natural response of course in some circumstances, but it's the holding of the anger that allows for a situation wherein Satan can bring us to a terrible low point in life.  It's not always something understood by those affected, but it is a sad truth that Satan fuels a situation like this - this is a situation he can use to his advantage.  He is good at keeping people locked in to that state of hostility.  He works so hard at it because he knows the overall effect is that it will stand in our way spiritually.  When we are trying to reach out to God the anger within us blocks our way, unless we lay it down.   

Jesus said we must forgive.  When we come to prayer the first thing we need to do is offer that forgiveness.  I don't doubt for a minute that God understands a sense of hurt and anger.  He has compassion.  He understands how much our lives are affected by our emotions. He not only understands but He provides us with a way to receive healing.  God communicates with us on a spiritual level, and it's the spirit of us, the soul, which belongs to God, which He wants to see cleansed and pure, because this is the part of us through which His own spirit flows.  And when we become that vessel He can fill with his love, then the change comes to the outward part of our being and it becomes very evident what has happened.  Our words, our actions and reactions are different. 

I pray that the time will come when my friend will be able to see that God is certainly able to release her from this hatred and deep sense of despair she feels.  I want her to know the healing power of God's love.  We need to remember that Jesus went to the cross for us, and because of that we are free to come to God, forgiven.  We stand before Him that way, forgiven, when we understand and receive Christ.  And there was no anger in that, no sense of hatred.  He did it in love.  Let's remember that and seek to live within that love.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I realize there are people in this world who deny God's existence and what I think about that is this: I think there are people who will say they have no belief in God and yet they do continue to have thoughts and feelings which conflict with their statements.  The beautiful thing about this is that there is still an open space and God is trying to bring light in through that direction.  He is trying to bring understanding to this person.  Despite their general disregard of Him, God hasn't given up on them.  On the other hand there are those who deny God's existence completely and have walked a very long way in the opposite direction and have become so unreachable that they don't experience those times of conflict regarding what they believe - for them, the possibility doesn't exist - and the roof hasn't fallen in on them and they are satisfied with life.  They may feel life is as good as they had ever wished it to be. The thing to understand is that the fact of their total comfort in the situation does not bode well.  It could be that a definite separation has occurred and God is not going to intervene in any way.  They don't feel drawn because the reality is that the choice they have made has left them standing totally outside of God's presence.   If there were any chance for them to respond to the invitation, that chance is probably almost nonexistent if God's spirit has drawn away. (which is why we should remember to pray for them, that this will change)

There is no way possible for any one of us to comprehend the things of God unless God himself reveals those things to us.  Now, God freely gives that gift of understanding to each of us when we ask.  God is spirit, and therefore the things we understand about God come to our mind through the spirit.  It's a knowledge He imparts.  When we come to Christ we receive God's spirit and the Bible tells us that His spirit works within our own spirit, and therefore we should no longer live our lives guided by the prior which was a life lived outside of this understanding.  The Bible tells us that our flesh "wars against the things of God."  God's answer to that is draw close to Him and He will bring us to that place where we have His direction to such a point that we are taken beyond, far beyond a mere existence in this world wherein we hope for better in a mortal body.  He takes us to the spiritual place of our existence, in this life, when we follow His lead, and that is the leading of His Holy Spirit.  And believe me, this is just a foretaste of the eternal, because the spirit never dies, and God's love never ends.  It goes on and on.

For the atheist, the non-believer, the one caught somewhere in the middle: they can never put a stop to God's love and compassion for them.  Nothing they will ever do will change the fact that they were born with a need within their own spirit for His love.  They've not recognized it; they've not connected with it, but it is there inside of them.  But does God strive with someone forever who has gone the way of total denial of His existence?  Possibly not.  God wants us to have the choice.  It makes me think of the words from Old Testament scripture: "Oh that you would choose life!"