Today I’d like to talk about trusting the Lord. This is what you always hear when your struggling with something, like finances, addiction, marital problems, children, your job. All the areas of life. So how does something so cliché and simple work? Is it really as simple as trusting God? The things I mentioned above are only a few areas of the things we can trust God in. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding”. The meaning of trust is the assured reliance on the strength, ability and truth of God and nothing else. I’ve been a believer for a long time and I thought I trusted my Lord in all the areas I needed to. But I just found out different. Oh how I love how the Holy Spirit continually reveals to me things that are keeping me from that fullness or complete relationship with my God. Let me explain with a visual that has helped me over the years. At salvation we ask Jesus into our lives and he comes to live in our hearts. So I’ve actually pictured the Lord in my heart. This is my literal sense of being. One day many years ago I was standing in my living room and It was as if I saw Jesus stand up on the inside of me and stretch his arms and legs out and say to me, “get the garbage out.” Wow that was interesting since Jesus forgives our sins and it’s removed, but at the same time I knew there were things in my life I was struggling with even with Jesus on the inside and he was telling me they were in his way. Or in his space, so to speak. Well obviously, it’s been years later and I’m still “getting the garbage out”. Oh how I am so thankful for grace and mercy. So periodically I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that is in the way of my relationship with my Lord, so I can deal with it and “get it out”. So here’s another visual that has helped me. I picture my heart as having many chambers. The chambers represent each area of my life. The scripture says to trust God with ALL your heart. As the Holy Spirit reveals an area in my heart that I’m not trusting God, He also reveals with such love my sin of not trusting God in that area and how I’ve been holding on to that area and in what ways. So the other day this happened. I was so shocked because I thought I was trusting God in this particular place. So after repentance and awe I gave that place or chamber up and let my Lord into that place in my heart. It’s an awesome feeling of Gods love, grace, mercy and peace when this happens. So I know now that Jesus my Lord is getting all my heart. It may be in pieces as it’s revealed to me but it’s my will for him to get it all. So you can ask the Holy Spirit also if there is an area in your life that is hindering your relationship with your Lord, so you also can let him into that place in your heart. And that’s living life.
For the past several weeks I have thought much about identity and names. This has me thinking about how important our name is and how much it’s linked to our identity. Proverbs 22:1 says that “ A good name is to be more desired that great riches.” Or in some translations “ a good name is greater than gold.” There are different scenarios in life concerning the name that seems to lead to the same equation of who you are and your identity. One scenario is a blessing for our family but at the same time sadness for another family. One of my sons married a wonderful woman many years ago. In this marriage she brought with her two beautiful young children. We immediately embraced them as our own and now they are grown adults. When our grandson was about to be married he came to my son and asked him to adopt him. This totally took us all by surprise because there is a bio father alive. Without hesitation my son began the process of adoption. It was not difficult because of our grandson being an adult. The adoption went through right before the wedding and we now have a grandson and granddaughter with our name. Soon another adoption went through and it was for our great-grandson who was our grand daughters son when they married. I have often thought about how traumatic of a choice that was for our grandson to relinquish his biological name to bear the name of his step father. All seem to be very happy and thriving in their new identity. Another scenario is a young adult who went through great trauma as a very young child and continued on through their early teens. The two people who gave them their name at birth left this earth when they were still a preschooler and then ended up in a very abusive home until their early teens. I have watched this person struggle in ways that tell they are holding on to the things that they think gives them their identity and security but at the same time they are so insecure and unhappy. These wounds were put on them by others in their young life and now as a young adult they bears the scars. My prayer for them is that they will cry out to the one who can give them true identity and security and that is Jesus. Another is a young teenager who has again been abandoned and neglected all through their formative years. They have an opportunity to be adopted but they aren’t sure about changing their name. They seem to be holding on to the only identity they know. My grandsons decision to change his name was a willful and thought through choice. He isn’t struggling with an identity crisis. The wonderful thing about him is he knows who loves him. The others however are struggling with who they are and they are needing to know they are loved. They don’t’ know what love feels like, looks like and seem to be holding on to a false love. Philippians 2:9 tells us that the name of Jesus is above all names. In him we will have first eternal salvation but peace and security. We will be one with him. In Jesus we will have a name, and know who we are, he tells us we are His. I pray for the walls that have been built up around these hearts, to keep true love out, will begin to crumble. So that they can begin to receive true love, identity and purpose that they were birthed for. To watch an identity crisis play out in one’s life in heartbreaking. It truly takes the love of God in one’s heart to break through the wall and let that person out. 1 Peter 4:8 says“ love covers a multitude of sins.” In these people I see deep wounding and rejection. It’s Gods love that covers sins but it also fills the heart. Opening ones heart to receive love from another human and even God is often a very difficult thing to do when one has been abused. But once we choose to love and be loved and choose forgiveness that love that Peter talks about covers those sins of abuse. Accepting Jesus as your savior is the beginning of eternally knowing Gods love and who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Then we will come to know who we are inside and out.
Family dynamics are always full of drama, heartache confusion and miscommunication. I’m pretty sure every family has some if not all of these. Yes my family has it all. As I was talking to a family member this past week, she was telling me that she had a family meeting with her sisters, brother and their spouses. In this meeting they were able to begin the process of reconciliation over so much hurt that had divided them for far to long. As she was telling me all about it I could see an onion being peeled by layers and as she talked each layer had a different aroma. You guessed it, not a very good one at that. But also as she was talking and the layers were being peeled back I began to see the good that was coming out of this meeting and that once they got through all the layers the aroma was going to be a blend of sweet over powering the strong pungent aroma along the way. Also with each layer came a new set of tears. Beginning with bitter stinging tears and ending with tears of joy. Now she did tell me that they are still in the process of peeling back the layers but so far the communication has begun to flow and reconciliation has begun. This family member is encouraged and since she is in the middle of this family dynamic I think I’m more encouraged than she is. The scriptures tell us that Love covers a multitude of sin, and when it’s a family dynamic and many family members are involved there is surely a multitude of sin. But the key is to have a heart that is willing to listen and receive and to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. Repentance and forgiveness is key in all relationships and as we embrace them here on earth then we will be embraced by them with our Heavenly father. For as we forgive we are forgiven. I will continue to pray for each one of them that their hearts will be truly humbled and the multitude of sin will be covered by their love for one another.
Good morning, this is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it. There is so much going on in our world today. Our country is about to make a life changing decision. Our world is in udder destruction that is making it’s way here. Our little corners of the world seem to be stretching us is every direction and way. In the midst of this there seems to be much heartache and great concern. I got word over the week- end that my brother was in a bad car accident. From, what I know about it. It’s a miracle that he’s alive. He rear-ended a semi that was stopped in the road and it was too foggy to see it. His hospital and rehab stay will take months. Having said all that this marks a time in my life now that I have to let the past be the past and reconcile to today!Yet, we are a family that fell apart after a traumatic situation that involved us all. This situation divided us. So for a family that was actually close this was hard but it happened. So where does one begin to live today and not yesterday? I actually started doing that the day we divided. I started with repentance and forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me for my wrong in this. Although this situation included going to court and children, I can say this, I would do it all again for the sake of children. So having said that, the division hurts but it is what it is. I then began to forgive each and everyone involved. I learned long ago that forgiveness is not a feeling it’s an act of our will, it’s a choice and an act of obedience. The scriptures commands forgiveness if we are to be forgiven. So feelings had to be set aside, rights and wrongs had to be set aside and self had to be set aside. I willed myself to obedience and forgave. Now was this a one-time thing. Well sometimes yes but the depth of hurt and the seriousness of the situation seemed to knaw at my soul so I found myself having to forgive many times even in a day. The scripture is clear in Matthew 18:22 to tell us that we are to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven. Now that’s a lot of forgiving but in order to find the release and the peace in this it was seventy times seven easy in a day! The release and the peace came and I then began to ask God to bless them. Years of silence gave way a couple of months ago to “ God you are my vindicator, please vindicate me in this and bring healing and restoration in my family. My children have been heart broken because the division has kept them away from their many nieces and nephews. So now tragedy has come and I’m faced with the decision to let yesterday go and to live in today! I have made a phone call and spoken with my niece. I will be making the two and half hour trip to the hospital to see my brother and in Gods grace let yesterday go and rejoice in today!