For those Lost and those Found

daniel-jensen-UDleHDOhBZ8-unsplashImage by Daniel Jensen

I never actually read through, “ A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, but it could be that the first paragraph of the entirety of the book struck me so deep:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

My friends, we are currently living a tale of two groups of people, and the above quotations can largely describe what we are all feeling like as a nation.

There is a lot of anxiety and fear right now, there is a lot of people that are afraid of the virus and anxious from being out of work that they will not know how to provide for their family.

There is a lot of hopelessness too, and people who just cannot see how if there is a God why He would allow something so horrible into our lives and uproot us fully from everyday life.

There is a blame game of the origin of where the virus began, and also blaming politicians in every nation for not doing, “ more,” to keep it from spreading.

Fear is mostly the culprit in all of this though, because store shelves are not just empty locally but all over the world there are shortages of items that people just hoarded and some of it has no real necessity at the very present moment.

We laugh at memes, we watch news stories, we mock people who do this or did that…

But fear is the real deal, and we should really stop and just check on people daily or weekly, our families, are friends and our neighbors.  Everyone is going through some sense of fear right now, does not matter who you are and does not matter what you believe….it is real, and we are all feeling it.

We do need to further discuss what are healthy and unhealthy fears though, because there is a difference.

Healthy Fears:

I am someone with a history of pneumonia more than once in the last 5 years, and I have asthmatic allergies that can easily bring that on if I do not take an allergy pill daily, but even more so, I have a mother with Crohn’s disease, who I have seen go through more than several surgeries in her entire lifetime, and once with Mrsa that left her in the hospital for a good few months and we almost lost her.  When she goes to the hospital they place her in the cancer wing, because she cannot take any chances of infection happening to her body.

Which is why if she receives the coronavirus it would be really difficult for her recovery.

In this healthy fear though, we just do what we need to do to keep us safe.

I am working from home, I stay indoors, and I have chosen not to see my mother right now, or my friends that need to be away from people because they have other health issues, because I have been working call center and have been around other people that I am not sure whether or not they could have been carrying it, and where I live right now has more “presumptive,” cases then the entire county, and so it is wise to be inside and use precaution as now it is necessary.

People have said, “ I will not let this virus run my life,” but honestly, not everyone has that choice, and we can make a choice to protect other people just by letting our daily routines change for awhile.

Unhealthy fears:

This is also a time that people will be preyed on to create unhealthy fears, and I would say the media is a great example.  It is a virus, we are not living in bomb shelters, and a hurricane is not coming straight for us.  The parks, beaches, Disney etc, they were not closed because you can get the virus from sitting on a piece of grass, they were closed, because people do not know how to stay far enough away and not cough or sneeze on others, and apparently many do not know how to wash hands properly and let us not get started on people who do not know how to use a toilet property…It is the sad truth.

Again, I work in a call center, and I already know that once you hear someone cough, then what ever the virus is at the current moment will travel through the air, it is what happens when you work closely with people, or are too close to people who are sick.

Putting both of these fears aside I want to speak a little more on what I have observed as I have paid attention to people all over the world, and it is not something I know for fact, but is something I have often thought of through the course of watching this virus consume different parts of the world…

Personally, I believe according to my own faith that this is God’s judgement on our world, we can agree or disagree, but it is my belief.

When Donald Trump took office it revealed some deep rooted things in the hearts of the people everywhere, but especially in America.  I am not talking about because he as a person became the president, but the reaction and the response from people since that moment.

I was raised to respect authority, my grandfather would not let me have something unless I said, “ Thank you, May I, or Please?” My parents used to tell me that when I went out into the world I was a reflection of them, at the time I did not really understand that, but now I realize it meant that I am to be in the world who I have been taught to be at home. (No home is perfect, but there are morals and values that are good that all of us have been taught at some point.)

I was taught to stay quiet when adults around me were having a conversation unless it was important.  I was taught to respect people of all cultures and races, I was taught to have respect for the elderly and listen to their stories of the wars, and where they came from…

I am not saying by any means that our president is a stellar example of character, but I am saying if my grandfather was alive today he would say he may not agree with the man, but he would shake his hand because he was the president.

When I think of the authority over our nation right now I think back to the book of Daniel, and how because he honored the Lord so much that even though he was under the King of Babylon as  prisoner he still showed honor to him too, not because he agreed with him, but because he trusted in God, and God wants us to give honor and respect to all authority.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

(Daniel 2:21-23)

King Neb (I can never spell his name, so we are nicknaming him), had a dream and asked for magicians and astrologers to interpret it, but they could not.  Daniel was able to interpret the dream because the Lord revealed it to him.  King Neb, fell down in front Daniel and worshipped him.

Daniel became honorary to the king and lived many years in the palace through king after king.

God does things to help his people rise up, He did not interpret Neb’s dream for the benefit of the king but for Daniel and the Jews.

It is possible that the church was never meant to be a building for worshippers that already know God, but possibly a place for those to go who do not, but want to know there is somewhere to find hope. As Christians, we are to rise up, and not waver under the fears that surround us all right now, we need to be strong for those who really are scared, and really cannot see hope from where they are.  We need to speak encouragement to people who have lost things during this time, jobs and graduations, ceremonies and other events that are not happening because of the quarantines.

People all over the world who are in quarantine are having time to sit and open their Bible for the first time, to listen to messages online, and people are praying who have never before.

We want them to keep reading, we want them to keep listening and we want them to keep praying.

“ If my people who are called by name, would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I would hear from heaven and I will heal their land.”

(2 Chr 7:14)

God is talking to those who already BELIEVE in the verse above. Yes, he is mainly talking to the Israelites, but  He is calling US to humble ourselves, to pray, and seek HIS face MORE than we have in the past, He is calling US to turn from the ways we have allowed the world to influence us and PRESS IN, and from our example, we will then be able to teach others around us how to do the same.

Whenever God gives judgement He will also bring about grace through it.We will get through this TOGETHER, as long we all stay together.

LSOF: Speaking Grace To The Mountain

One thing I know about life is it tries to set us up for failure. It tries to make us feel like we are not capable, not able, and not wise enough to overcome. But it is a lie.

It’s up to us whether we are going to choose to believe it, or receive what is the truth.

We were created for a purpose. Who we are, and everything we will do in life was built up into the plan God has for us. Sometimes though we miss the right road, and we have to find our way back through detours.

I have a habit of driving down the highway on my phone and missing my exit because I am too enthralled in a conversation to realize that I’m missing the planned destination.

The enemy likes to start with distraction.  He knows that if he can distract us, then he can slowly but surely turn ordinary situations and events that happen into huge mountains.

We can get distracted easily because when things are going so great in our lives we become blinded that there are tests. We forget that in the truth of what we have been taught that there will be trials.

What I have learned is that its more important to remember the power God has above what the enemy has done.

“What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel  you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:7)

This is how we need to answer to the mountains in our lives.

I know you are asking me, “ How would I begin to respond that way?”

I’m going to share with you how to speak GRACE to the mountain.

Reading the scripture above talks about a mountain that was stated would become level ground, but what we need to do is APPLY the same concept to our lives.

Grace helps us apply into our lives what we are reading.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Mark 11:22-23, NIV)

Do you believe that God can take down the mountains in your life?

I read some of Habakkuk as I was studying this concept, and what I want to focus in on is not just speaking grace to the mountain, but what the power of grace will do to our mountains through our belief.

I want to visualize these two different translations of Habbukuk 3:6.

He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed.  His ways are eternal. (Habakkuk 3:6, NIV)

He STOOD, and SHOOK the earth, He LOOKED, and made the nations TREMBLE, The ancient mountains CRUMBLED and age-old hills COLLAPSED. His WAYS are eternal.

He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.(Habakkuk 3:6, KJV)

He STOOD and MEASURED(also means to shake), He BEHELD and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were SCATTERED, the perpetual hills did BOW; His WAYS are everlasting.

I love the KJV version most, because look what it says about the mountains, that they were EVERLASTING…and yet, God scattered them, or in Hebrew context it read He BROKE them, and the PERPETUAL hills which meant, “ never changing or to end.” they BOWED to Him.

” The mountains saw thee and they trembled ,the overflowing of the water passed by the deep uttered his voice(thunder) and lifted his hands on high.”(Habakkuk 3:10, KJV)

I love to visualize the mountains trembling when they SAW God.

So what can we believe about our mountains currently in our own lives?

Could we maybe just believe that grace can overpower them over them overcoming us?

Speak grace believing of its power by BELIEVING what the Word says, and those times of trials you will remember what happened to the last mountain.

He SCATTERED them, He made them TREMBLE(writhe in pain), He made them CRUMBLE, and COLLAPSE before Him.

Let Him do the same for your own mountain.

Believe Him for it!

Blessings and Love,

Angie

 

 

 

 

 

” I’m Already There…”

There is this song by Lonestar, ” I’m Already There…” and it is about a man calling his family while he is away. He is sad he could not be there with them, but to comfort himself and his family he just answers:

I’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground

I’m the whisper in the wind
I’m your imaginary friend
And I know, I’m in your prayers
Oh I’m already there

Music touches my heart so deeply when it comes to my faith, because I read lyrics not in the sense of what the song is trying to convey but what I believe God is speaking to me through it. It doesn’t have to be a Christian song at all, God speaks through everything.

I brought this particular song up, because there is a verse that has been on my heart for the past few weeks. It is interesting, because this particular verse that is found out of Deuteronomy was a concept I saw inside the verse last year. God speaks through what He knows we already know.

Before I go into this verse in Deuteronomy 31:8, I want to share a bit about the beginning of Deuteronomy 31, and give an idea as to what is happening.

Picture Moses, Joshua, and the Isrealites standing on the edge of the river. Moses is 120 years old. He has done what God had asked of him, and God was ready to raise up a leader in Joshua.
Moses knew that the people would be hesitant to leave him, but also knew he needed to prepare the people that his journey with them had come to an end.

“I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said.” (Deuteronomy 31:2-3)

I think what might be being said here is that the people would not be able to face the nations before them until an appointed time. God had to cross over first, and then he would have Joshua follow Him.

I love how it did not go like this, ” Joshua will go ahead of you, and we hope he finds God there.”

Just as Moses was preparing the Isrealites for his departure with them, I would suggest that knowing Joshua no longer had Moses for a leader, that he was handed the staff and in Moses eyes it could have been said, ” Your Lord God will cross over before YOU.” He might have wanted Joshua to know that he would not be leading the people alone or blindly. He might have said that to first and foremost comfort Joshua.

The LORD will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 5-6)

Moses shares that the nations would be delivered to them, which is exactly why God told them to stay put and wait. God would know exactly what the best plan would be for the people. He tells them there is no reason to be afraid. God already knows the outcome.

“Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)

There is a pattern we can see in Deuteronomy 31 that I have not seen with other scripture. Moses tells the people: ” The Lord God will crossover before you,” ” The Lord goes with you,” ” The Lord himself, goes before you, and will be with you.”

I love how God never once says he is going ahead of them without saying that He will also be with them.

I think too often we forget that God knows the plans He has for us, but that He does not leave us to take them on alone. He is there with us through the journey.

I know as someone who is preparing to be led a different direction in my life, one that means it is a journey He leads, but that I follow; that there will be people following my footsteps too.

As many times as I’ve seen this verse the last few weeks in Deuteronomy 31:8, I can’t help but hear God saying loudly to my heart, ” I got this, I have your back, if you get discouraged…I may be ahead of you, but I’m still right here.”

We are not meant to go through this life alone, regardless of how much knowledge we think we have on accomplishing something, and regardless what position we have, we need to know we have support, we need to know God is there, and that He will place people in our lives that help to mold us into what He needs us to become for His namesake.

God is going to ask us to lead. It might mean we are going to have to put something down. It might mean the things we have to let go of might be people in our life. It might mean we have to change who we are so much that it takes a toll on us. It might mean that we might have to lose our lives completely for the cost of following Christ.

Whatever it means for us. He already knows, He was already there.

We are standing in his footprint.

LSOF: Darkness to Light

From darkness to light…

What has been, or is the “darkness,” in your life right now? What is a common theme
that just torments you where you stand?
Do you feel like, because of it, that you feel like your goals and dreams seem too far out of reach?

I’ve been there too.

I could best describe it as the ending scene in, ” Alice in Wonderland,” when Alice is going through the corridor
and all of the characters are chasing after her. At one point she starts to run in slow motion, and then finally reaches the door to the outside, only to find it locked.
And if I can recall she says, ” Please open the door, I need to get out of here.”
and the door speaks to her, ” But you are already out.”

I think how this story relates to us in regarding to the stuff that is swallowing us up in our lives,
I think it says that our reality is NOT the true reality.
I think it says that when we choose to believe what is found in the darkness,
instead of believing the Hope found in the light…
We create our own prisons. We mask ourselves and everything we are,
inside of our minds. We allow ourselves to be, ” chased,” by the common theme of thoughts,
and situations that plague us daily.

Why do we do this?

I think a lot of the time, its easier to believe lies.
Because the truth is something that has been more far fetched for us.

Put it this way, if you are used to feeling like a failure,
and then you succeed at something…
you probably won’t even realize that you have indeed, succeeded.

Why do we continue to believe these negative thoughts?

I think that we let one thing or a few things that have happened in our lives,
decide what the future will look like, because they have been so common.
Because the ending keeps looking the same.

Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

It’s basically like deciding tomorrow will rain, because today is.
We don’t really know for sure.
But we set ourselves up to the degree, that the worst will just continue to happen.

And honestly, can I tell you something…
We were not born with a storm cloud over our heads.

We have to remember that God has full control over everything that happens to us,
and all we have been through, its never out of His sight.

Which I have to just add something here that seems to be a common thing in this day and age:
When something amazing happens in another’s life, something unbelievable…
It is often chalked up as coincidence,
BUT…
When something bad happens, the FIRST thing others do is BLAME God!

It tells me that our culture doesn’t really believe in God, they believe that they believe themselves, and God just gets in the way.

How much of our darkness in our life is attributed to our own doing?

How much of our lives our wasted, because we are slaves to ourselves?

 

How much of our lives to we set ourselves up ON OUR OWN, with defeat?

I think so much of the time that even though there is a real enemy out there,
that he doesn’t even have to do anything to test us…we test ourselves and he just
sits back, laughs and takes some notes…

Do we really want to live lives that show we rather walk through our own mess everyday,
our own past, and keep it with us like some security blanket?

Because let me ask you something,
Do you feel secure?
Does it make life easier, because you live life the way you always have?
You might think so, but you would be very wrong.
We are meant to progress, we are meant to face ourselves…
Because we have to understand that God has set up our character, and who we are…
It’s set up for a purpose, nothing is in vain…
I am sure I’ve said that many times on this blog, but its the truth,
because once you start to believe that life is horrible,
and your web of torment will never let you go…
you are telling yourself…
It all was meant for nothing.

Healing from the darkness….

John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Healing from everything in our lives that has been the tier of negativity and destruction,
is not something that is simple. You can’t just read a “self-help,” book…you can’t listen to Oprah,
or Tyra, you can’t hear the right lyrics in a song, you can’t buy something at the store, you
can’t eat something, you can’t get it from sex, drugs, whatever…

True healing starts with realizing there is true darkness.

True healing comes from admitting that its a problem to your future.

It means admitting you are not God.
It’s admitting you have lost control.

Psalm 61:2
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I’m not saying that we need to start going to like ” Anonymous” meetings and saying,
” Hello my name is…and I have been dealing with this since I was 5…”

I’m saying that we need to put that darkness in its rightful place,
back to hell where it came from.

It starts with one day at a time living your life a little differently than you have.
It may mean you need to surround yourself with different people.
It may mean you might have to take on a different hobby.
It may mean you might even have to find another job at times…

But progress comes from changing what has been consistent,
to inconsistent.
It’s deactivating our thought process into a new form of perspective.

I also have a warning for you…
If you continue on, and don’t seek to start healing…

You are going to hurt people in your life,
you are going to hurt those who have reached out, and want to be there for you.
You are going to jump at something said or done that was completely
miscommunicated.

And you will go into a circle of consistent chaos…and that will become your future.

I want to leave you with this thought:

In a fire drill, we learn to STOP, DROP, and ROLL…

What if we looked at the darkness as flames….
and could speak to it…
” STOP tormenting me in my life, I am now going to DROP the control this has on me,
and It will ROLL away from my life by the hands of God.

We do not have to let our darkness overcome the light of who we need to be.

There are many out there who have no clue that darkness even exists in their lives,
because they’ve never known light…

Now that you know that there is a problem, now that you know that you need to stand up
and take care of your own, ‘stuff’…

Will you?

Because there is a world out there that God needs your help to heal…

Think about it.


Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint