I just read the following over on Twitter:
[by...] Savior's Words @SaviorsWords
Isn't that inspirational... Gosh, that hit me deeply, and personally. How encouraging!
Imagine what it is to receive a breath of air when one has been fearing death by suffocation. Imagine what it is to be given a cup of water when one has been struggling and stumbling through an arid desert. That's what encouragement does. That's what "Savior's Words" did for me just now.
But more than that was given to me upon reading those words. While I received a personal word of encouragement, the question, "Why is it that so many take God's love and, upon offering it to the world, wrap it in bitterness...?" also entered my mind... What a sad thought...
Wrapping God's love in bitterness is like pouring that above-mentioned cup of water onto the arid ground, while watching the thirsty die...and being proud of yourself for it. :/
"Savior's Words" did not offer love wrapped in bitterness. I have only been following "Savior's Words" for a short time, but each time I have found God's love wrapped in grace. But it happens... And we wonder why the world rejects Him... :(
I must confess I have a 'thing' against bullies. They try my patience. As a woman with a mother's heart, I have a tendency to be somewhat protective - and not just for my kids but for anyone being bullied. No matter who they are, where they're from, or whether or not I know them.
I've taken this 'thing' to God several times, knowing I'm to love even my enemy, but the 'mum heart' in me instantly wants to rise up and defend the underdog when the moment comes.
This morning, waiting for my hubby to exit a shop he had needed to go into, I was sitting in my car, reading "Journey to Freedom" by George Teo (whom I know as Teo - from my old Myspace days), which has, on more than one occasion, stirred to life the "mother heart" in me. I was reading the section that speaks of [General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party] Nicolae Ceaușescu, which informs us of his family background - his drunken father and the abuse suffered because of him. At first I was picturing Ceausescu as the 'bully' (tyrant) he was, then the child he was at the hands of his abusive father.
In the middle of the swaying viewpoints, with my heart being tugged one way then another, a car pulled alongside of mine, and the passenger door swung open and hit my car. The woman was most apologetic. I didn't say anything - her husband had a few words for her, and that was enough of that. As I sat there, alone again, I thought of the dents on our car, most of which have been caused by other people. One was actually caused when, while Tim and I were walking through the bush for the fun of it, a car reversed into our car - leaving the scene before we got back.
Anyway, setting those thoughts aside, I refocused on the book, but, I'm an abstract thinker, which means, while reading, my mind has been known to wander off on its own. ;) As it did so this time, I found one eye on the book and another on the dents of my car, and somehow the two joined to be one and it came to me that 'a "body" that is repeatedly "dented" will only take so much before it no longer cares about the consequences of hitting back."
So I'm looking at the "bullies" of the world at the moment (those local and living beyond my view), and wondering how many times they were 'dented' before they stopped caring... They were young and full of promise and hope, once, too.
What a sad world we live in...
God literally knows the heart of each and everyone of us. He knows the heart, the soul, the person we were prior to being broken. He knows the real us. He knows the 'us' that now hides behind the broken pieces; the fear; the abuse; the grief we try to deny with anger. And this is why He doesn't give up on us - and why He longs to see us set free.
I wonder what "bully" we can help be set free today by daring to reach beyond the wall created to protect the wounded heart...? I wonder which "bully" is longing to be loved?
I wonder which bully would be brought to their knees in repentance, and turned from their anger and bullying, if someone loved them; if someone spoke to their brokenness and mourned with them, bringing healing to them.
Oh, I know there are some heartless people out and about these days, who strike out and hurt and ruin simply for the 'fun' of it - and trust me, I want to awaken their conscience, but surely there are those who need love, too. And maybe they live next door to you...or in your home...or in the mirror.
Father God, help us to see the world as you see it. Help us to see each individual as you see them. Enable us to see the heart - the true person within, without us forming judgement and offering condemnation because of the actions. Lord God, help us to love as you love. <3
This Scripture keeps coming back to me of late, so I thought I'd share it - and what I feel God's telling me through it:
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Every time I hear someone being critical of someone else lately, this verse pops into my head, with the 'first guy' presenting his arrogant face to me, while proudly saying, "I wouldn't do that!"
I believe God is calling for me not to be the arrogant hypocrite, who compares himself to others and believes himself/herself to be the better person...
What do you reckon? I mean, would you mind if I compared myself to you and said, "I would never do that!" or, "If I had their position/their partner/their wealth/their whatever, I would never behave/respond like that...!" Would you mind if I compared myself to you and found something in your life and/or character that's not as good as mine and then openly declared it to others, with a big flashing neon finger pointing at you, for all to see and judge you as I would...? Would you be okay with that...?
You don't do that...? You don't compare yourself to others, looking down on them for not doing "it" or living as you do or would...? You never condemn or damn someone else for the way they've done something, or do something, that you yourself would never do?
When was the last time you looked at a fellow Christian, a preacher, a co-worker, a member of your family, or even someone in your neighbourhood, and looked down on them (even if only internally/privately) and stated, "I would never do that...! I would never be like them!" or "Thank God I'm not like that!" and even gone on to point out how you would act "if..." and made yourself look the better person - even if the only person witnessing your response is you?
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
It's funny, isn't it... We know that, if we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour of our life, God's love and acceptance, and our entering eternal life, does not depend on our works but on Jesus'...and yet we still fall into the comparison game if we're not careful, stating our works, and comparing our works to their works... and, sometimes we lose in this game, too.
I thank God that Jesus is not like me... and that it's by His stripes, His "works", His righteousness, that we're covered by grace, mercy and love, and that it is through His heart and His Spirit that God sees us... because I know darn well I DO have the ability to be like the first guy in the above parable and look down upon someone for not doing 'whatever' as I would...
Oh, that I would have His heart, and not the heart of a hypocrite...
Confidence has never been a strength of mine. Even as an adult, embraced by God, grace, faith, mercy and hope, I still find myself wrestling with confidence.
Oddly enough, I don't wrestle to hold on to it, as much as I do to accept it. In fact, for some reason during the course of my life I've learned to reject it. Perhaps it was because whenever I tried to stand while growing up, someone was always there to knock me back down, or to think me vain if anything good came of something I did. For me, confidence became a doorway through which ridicule and rejection (my two greatest childhood fears) came to abuse me.
Alas, whatever the cause, at the moment, it doesn't matter. There's no point in me rehashing what once was and can't be changed. All that needs to be focused on now is that which speaks to my heart, via my thoughts, and how I can use that to benefit the person I am, and the life I have, now. To grow, I must look forward, using the past as the stepping stones Jesus transforms them into. So...
In seeking to enable me to embrace confidence, God once placed it on my heart to fake confidence, and, in faking it, it would grow on me. So, when you see me, stepping out, reaching out, laughing, smiling or whatever, oft-times it's because I'm faking confidence in order to function a little better, and a little bolder, in society.
But God has moved me on from that revelation, prompting and leading me along the path of confidence, and bringing me - just this morning - to a thought that drives me to embrace confidence more readily. And that is: Confidence releases ability; a lack of confidence inhibits it.
As I writer, I've often lost confidence in my ability over the years, so much so I've often tossed out what I've written, believing it no good. I have discarded far more writings than I have ever shared on any site or anywhere. But I'm at a stage in my life where I want to be a published writer more than ever, so, the challenge starts again: The wrestle with confidence is on!
However, it's a new game. Once I wrestled in order to resist confidence, fearing it was a 'dirty word'... but now I wrestle to embrace it, knowing that MY life will never be what I desire it to be while I disallow confidence to help direct it.
I need confidence to write. I need it to take photos. I need it to face the world.
Confidence is not a dirty word. It is not born of vanity. It is grounded in ability... and without it, ability remains buried, and the dream unachievable.
Why do we enforce our sobriety onto others...?
In a dream one night, God said to me, "Two things you take seriously in life: Your love for Me and your love for others; everything else is just for fun."
That popped back into my thoughts this morning as I was out walking. I was walking along the shore of an inlet, when a young couple hurried by in a small boat; beyond them, on the water, a couple of elderly gentlemen sat in their dinghy, fishing, and an elderly gentleman sat on the edge of the banks - also fishing. And there I was with my camera, wondering what their response would be to one another, and to me taking a photo of them...
I realised in that brief moment that this scenario had the potential to birth aggression or light-heartedness. The first person to respond could've - I believe - created the mood of the moment any way they decided.
I imagined the young couple in the boat seeing me with my camera and either yelling abuse at me in response, or posing for the shot/waving off the 'paparazzi' in jest. And the elderly gentlemen in the boat beyond: They could've abused the younger couple for disturbing the fish, or flexed their muscle right along side the first couple, for the shot...
The writer in me realised a number of scenarios could've taken place there and then... and as I pondered what each response could be, I wondered what right we had to enforce our sobriety on to others.
Why do we take this life and our 'space' so seriously? Why can't we set the scene with humour rather than offence?
I guess what I really want to know is: Why is much of the world so pissed off with the rest of it...?
When was the last time you encouraged laughter? When was the last time you set your selfish, angry mood aside and brought light-heartedness to a situation...? When was the last time you reflected love and light, rather than selfishness and darkness...?
What would this world be like if love and laughter ruled our hearts...? What would your life be like if love and laughter ruled your responses...?
Make a difference in your world today: LOVE, LAUGH and let the anger go... Or not. Either way, you have the power to set the mood for many scenarios that come your way.
Just a thought #10
What if, instead of heeding the negative voices in your life, you listened to the positive ones?
How very different your life would be.
Do you ever fail to listen to that still small voice within that says, "Don't go there"...? I failed to listen to it this morning. I'd received fresh revelation from God, telling me I was looking in the wrong direction - which had been affecting my thoughts, which, in turn, went on to affect my confidence, emotions and decisions, and, because it was the wrong direction I was looking in, these things guided me towards the negative - and as I went to share this with someone important to me, I sensed God telling me not to. So, I didn't... However, a little while later, after I played with the thought, "But I really want to share this with [that person] because sharing this part of my heart (writing) with 'them' is very important to me," I gave in to desire and shared the revelation with them. Man, was that a mistake!!!
In receiving their response, not only did I allow joy, peace and confidence to slip from my hands, I now have to work on holding on to love and respect for them, also!
The silly thing is, despite what I wanted and hoped for, this has happened with this particular person and myself several times over the years. I should've known better. However, I thought they may have altered in this area, but, the truth is - which I now must face - they weren't created to 'get me' in a way I need 'getting' in this particular area. Neither do they believe in me as God does. And as much as I want this to be different, it's not going to be, so the sooner I accept this the sooner my heart can heal in this area and life can go on with peace, joy, confidence and love again. They may not 'get me' or why I do what I do for God, but that doesn't mean I can't accept them for the way they are. Neither do I need to give up my confidence because of their lack of understanding. They can't meet my need in this area, but it's up to me to accept this, not change them, even if I'm left feeling lonely or alone in "this area".
What my revelation was is not important here. What's important is that one must follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit in order to walk in a direction that leads to peace, joy, hope, healing, confidence, and so on, and not in the way of emotions that offer, like the proverbial carrot on a stick, the possibility of greater intimacy - even if that person is your partner.
If God says don't go there, don't go there, no matter what desire tries to convince you of, or you will suffer for it. Please don't mishear that! God's not going to punish you for 'going there', rather, He simply said not to go there because He was trying to stop you from suffering; to go there when He says not to, is to simply miss out on the blessing He had for you. You see, God was trying to protect me - even from someone who loves me greatly. Chances are, He heard my inner cry of wanting to be closer to this person, so, in response, He was leading me in which direction to go in order to allow that bond to deepen, and I blew it. I didn't heed God's prompting and I missed the greater blessing.
Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
My sheep hear My voice,
and I know them,
and they follow Me.
The thief does not come except to steal,
and to kill,
and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.
Mind you, if you did 'go there' when God guided you not to, or if you didn't 'go there' when He directed you to do so, and you walked directly into trouble because of it, He can take your mess and clean it up for you, if you want Him to, and if you let Him. :) He's not waiting to punish you; He is seeking to bless you.
For You, Lord, are good,
and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Two nights ago I had a dream where I was introduced to a friend of a friend, and this older gentleman whom I met was extremely wealthy. He welcomed me into one of the many buildings he owned and, with grave excitement, started showing me around, but his excitement, or enthusiasm, was born of having met me, not in showing off what he owned. So taken with me was he that he invented a job in his empire just for me, where I would be like his left arm, giving me free reign of the place - for he trusted me that much - and then offered to pay me $10,000 a week. How could a girl refuse, right? :) But I pondered it.
Last night I had a dream where I met another well-to-do gentleman, and he gave more heartfelt emotion, or feelings, with his response to me - a more physical desire. He also wanted me in his life. However, what he promised to give me would come after 'services rendered' - if you know what I mean.
Which one would you take?
And you may note the second one was slightly younger and more attractive. But the former one had an inner joy and peace the second one did not possess.
Again, which one would you take?
Well, obviously, I'm not being offered either, in reality. However, as I was thinking about the two dreams this morning, asking God if they had meaning, I saw that true love seeks to give without strings; it pays up front for that which it desires. Whereas lust demands its needs first with a promise of what you can get if you give them something first. With the former you are blessed above what you feel you deserve. With the second, you are lowered to a level of their lust/desires and who knows if they will go through with their promises.
The first made me feel special, and important, and wanted. The latter made me feel cheap and dirty and used. Yes, the latter stirred physical desire in me, but there was something missing - a piece of me, perhaps - that could not be found in any act I was to do for him.
Now which one would you take?
I believe the former dream represents God and His true love. He sees in you something special, something worth paying 'big money' for. He trusts you and sees in you more than you do, and to prove it, He virtually offers you all His kingdom, in which you have great freedom.
The former spoke to me of darkness and vain promises that may never come to pass.
The first raised me up. The second dragged me down in confidence, dignity and worth, and left me feeling a little lost and alone, and forever second guessing my "lover's" next move.
With the former I could do anything. With the latter I was nothing.
Which one would you take?
What would you do? Hand over your goods first with a promise of receiving some sort of reward, or would you wait until love proved its worth to you first?
This song came on the radio as I was driving this morning, and as I heard "we will serve the Lord" I suddenly pondered, and asked my daughter, "Why does the Government pay Dad for the work he does at the detention centre and not me...?" Of course, the answer is, "Because dad works for them, mum doesn't." It's the same with 'working' for God. God doesn't pay man to do Satan's will, just as Satan won't reward anyone for doing God's will.
LOVE is God's will... Anything outside of love is not of God, therefore He cannot reward, or pay, you for it. It's not a threat, it's just a simple fact. God does not reward evil, and anything outside of God's will is 'evil'.
The one you work for is the one you'll receive payment from.
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
Death and curse is not a threat... Life and blessings are simply God paying His workers for a job well done. :)
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Donna Keevers Driver
GOD is LOVE.