Journey From Bondage to Freedom

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I’m in bondage. Fear has taken ahold of me. I’ll be honest with you readers it has been quite awhile since I have been able to go to church, mostly for health reasons but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be listening to the tape of the service and even longer since I’ve read my Bible. Some Christian Right? I known overwhelming fear and while watching “The Fighting Temptations” twice yesterday with two different friends, (I thought the movie would be a blessing to them, but I think it blessed me the most).  I needed what it shared, my church and being in the choir was the first blessing it gave me, remembering the joy for it. But then when my friends were gone came the real blessing facing hard ugly truths about myself, and this to share with you, also terrifies me, but I know honesty and transparency is what is required. So as my stomach churns, I progress.

Phillipians 4:6-7  “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 

The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to fear! That we are to put our trust in the Lord. It is that simple. He promises peace if we just trust, pray and thank Him, easier said than done.

I did say that I’m in bondage and yes that as I sit here I realize I have been most of my life. Fear has been the main underlying storyline of my life that, and a general feeling of unworthiness. This last week I’ve been drowning in fear.

Letting myself fear is a sin of not putting my trust in God the creator of the universe. How can I be so arrogant? Could it be that I feel unworthy of His love? His grace? His care? How can I say I put my faith, my salvation in His hands, yet I don’t trust Him with my health issues, with my families issues, with my friends? Do I really believe God to be the God of gods and the Lord of Lords? The Holy Father of the Son of God Jesus Christ who died for my sins? If I do how is it that this magnificent God is not worthy of my trust?

Matthew 6:25-26 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t so or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

You would think that these two verses, especially the last sentence would calm me and put my mind at ease; to know that the God of the universe thinks I’m of more worth than the birds of the air. I wish I could honestly tell you that the nerves in my stomach the overwhelming fear of the unknown has been comforted, it has not.

Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?”

Makes worrying seem rather futile doesn’t it? I know it does to me logically as well, but that doesn’t change the truth of what I’m really feeling, anxiety/fear/worry still.

Matthew 6:28-30 “And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not adorned like one of these! If that’s how God cloths the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith?”

There it is again He will take care of us with not just adequate care, or good care, but adorned by God. He clearly tells us all over His word how much He loves and adores us. Yet my sin, my shinning folly is staring back at me from the words I’ve just typed, ” – you of little faith”. I’ve been out of a Bible study and of my own studying of the Word, away from church, and only talking with God for a very long time. I know our relationship needs more than that my faith has lessoned. I’ve fallen. My God help @me! Save me from the fear, the worry that permeates my being. Help me put my heath issues in your hand!

Matthew 6:31-34 “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is the answer on how to actively stop worrying! First we must make the decision to obey God by letting Him know what’s our my heart. Phillipians 4:6 “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. ” We need communicate with our Lord, pour out whatever it is that is weighing us down, He wants to know it all. After all He already knows it – He’s waiting for us to let Him in. As I type this I realize I haven’t really been letting my Lord in. Father forgive me. Even better when we take everything by prayer and thanksgiving, making them known to God it will eliminate the worry!

Now before you call me crazy let me try to explain if it isn’t clear. When we give  our worries to God and thank Him for answering our answering our prayers (in advance) we have no need to take them back, thus causing us to worry that day. If we are tempted to take the item back we are commanded to pray in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, to let our requests be made know to God, it doesn’t say that there is any time limit. That we can only come to Him once a day, no! Our Father knows our frailties and loves us. He never slumbers or sleeps, available 24/7, 365, praise Him!

Better yet, that promise goes on to, Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Not only will God eliminate worry He will replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding! How does that sound for a promise? All we have to do is come to God in prayer and thanksgiving. He is such a gracious Father. There is no way that we can comprehend His peace but to experience it is a blessing of being a child of the King.

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Once we’ve poured our requests to Him, He commands us not to worry, Matthew 6:34 “…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  As the promise gives us peace, the command keeps us in the present. As Matthew 6:34 says, tomorrow (and as for that the next day and the next have/ [mine]) has enough worry for itself. The promise helps us stay in the present taking our requests to the Lord. The command protects us from living outside of the promise, which is what I was doing. Lord forgive my foolishness!

Joy – A Fellow SoJourner!

Project Love – Accepting Love

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Well readers by the title you can guess why the post regarding Friday was so late coming out, I’ve been sick. It started on Friday, was horrible yesterday, slept most of the day, and seems to be getting more tolerable today. A friend of my assured me this morning that it only lasts 4-5 days. I’m on day three so I see a light at the end of the tunnel and who knows maybe I will be spared of having to endure another day or two. One can only pray.

I live alone and needed help so I called a friend and she got me some much needed supplies to get me through this. Her help was so greatly appreciated! This time it was my opportunity to accept love. I had been able to do nothing much other than sleep and wake the entire day. By the time she was there I was feeling very ill and not sure if I needed to go to urgent care or not, however, the food and drinks she brought did wonders! She did all of this even though earlier in the week someone had knocked out one of the windows of her car and she had been waiting for the guy to come and repair it. It had been hours since the time he said he would be there so she came to my rescue. “Love…is not self-seeking,…” 1 Cor. 13:4a-5b She indeed was doing anything other than being self-seeking! Such kindness and thoughtfulness was overwhelming! I felt so cared for and so loved and unbelievably grateful for her kindness and selflessness!     

Who knew that when this started 4 days ago that it would begin a lesson on accepting love. I have never felt worthy of love. My youth group used to go to a concert/service where there was an alter call every Friday night and every Friday night I would feel compelled to go down to the alter to ask Jesus into my life. I had the misguided impression that God would sooner see fit to allow Hitler into heaven than me a 13 year old. I know now that if Hitler should’ve accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior he would be my brother. Which (forgive me Lord) still is a difficult thing to wrap my head around. (I definitely still need a lot of work.) One of the reasons why I’m so excited about #projectlove because I know it is going to do a work in me and I hope that it does a work in others. As far as the alter calls were concerned I finally realized with the help of a friend that I wasn’t trusting my Savior. So I decided to put my faith in Him and never ask Him again. However, when it comes to accepting love I still have a hard time. I have difficulty believing that I’m deserving of it. I married my ex-husband because I thought no-one else would want me and I better get it while the getting was good, which to be honest it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did care for him just not like someone that should marry. I told myself I did. Which was a lie. When I watch, really watch, people who are in love they know all about their beloved! I couldn’t even tell you what beer he liked. I would bring a different one home each grocery trip. There were a number that he drank so I’m not sure if he liked a few and I just never learned them or he just didn’t have a favorite and drank whatever was available at the time. I know not very present on my part. Not a very proud time in my life.

I have learned that I am worthy of being loved first by my LORD and then others (not necessarily a husband). The challenge for me is the head knowledge of knowing I’m worthy of being loved and accepting the love. Which when I think about it is odd because although I am truly happily single for 28 1/2 years. Yes, I got married and divorced at a young age, all I’ll say is both are in my 20’s and no it wasn’t a really short marriage. Receiving love or maybe rather believing that it is real has been difficult for me the majority of my life if not all of it. As with all stories it starts with my past, which wasn’t a pretty one. But praise God, He has brought me out of all of that and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I’m still in the process of accepting love. This is something that I have been working on for decades now and I am much better than I was when I was younger yet I may never be done with this lesson, until I die. I know for certain that if I do complete this lesson a new one will be waiting for me. It seems as though this particular onion has many layers.

We can be certain that God loves us time and time again in Ps. 52:”8 (NIV),  Hosea 11:1 (NIV) , Malachi 1:2(NIIV), 2 Thess. 3:5 (IV) all speak of God’s love. Of this we can be certain that God does love us! There is no and if’s or buts about it Ps. 61:7 (NIV) “May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.” God so loves us that the maker of the universe & every cell & atom in it (just try and wrap your head around that), who placed each one in prefect harmony, wants you to be enthroned in His presence! How’s that for being excepted?!!! It makes me down right giddy. And of course there is always John 3:16 “For God so loved other world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t know of any father that would do that. Here it is Father’s Day and we can be certain that no matter what kind of father you had or if your father is no longer with you, you do have a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally! Yep! Just as you are warts and all! No matter what you do He is in the business of forgiveness. All we need to do is ask and accept His love.

My hope for you is that if you struggle with accepting God’s love or the love of other’s that you would be encouraged and open yourself to accept what you do truly deserve and that we may journey together at accepting love.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

      

Project Love – Goodbye (So long?)

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Well readers when I started this project I thought that being loving would require acts of sacrifice on a daily base, but as of today that is not the case. Yesterday was the last day I would be seeing a very dear friend for a long time. She’s moving to take care of her mother-in-law (why has that word by made into a dirty word? Most every mother becomes a mother-in-law they can’t all be bad!). Knowing that she was going to a much colder climate than where we live and being I make scarves I made her three. I have also written two short stories one is on this site Lora’s Lesson and the other I don’t believe I have shared with you as of yet.  Anyway, I also gave her both of the two short stories and a testimonial that you can find on this site titled “Jesus Loves Me”.

There is a large group of us that are going to miss her and we were celebrating her yesterday. Showering her with gifts, well wishes, Mimosa, goodies, tears,embraces, and love. Love came so easy, so did the flowing tears from everyone.

Yes it hurts to have her leave and I don’t want her to go but that is self-seeking. I Cor. 13:4-5 “Love…it is not self-seeking,…” I know that this new adventure will be challenging, rewarding, difficult, a blessing and at times be emotionally stressful. So although this feels like goodbye and hurts terribly I’m going to retrain myself to see it as it is so long. She promised she would be visiting once things got settled. 

When we love someone it is difficult to see them go or even to let them go. To not do the “natural thing” be self-seeking is not easy. However when you think of all of the advantages that they we be experiencing more time with a loved one, new opportunities, obeying God or if you prefer being faithful to Him. It is far easier to take yourself out of the equation and be excited for them and with them. Thank you PaPa for this lesson in love. I use the expression PaPa with all the respect of Father or Abba Daddy. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie “The Shack” I got the expression from them. It suits my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He is my PaPa, my Abba Daddy, my Father, my Lord and my God. I would never think of doing anything to disrespect Him! For I love Him dearly! It is because I love Him that I can love anyone else.

I’m learning that when someone leaves the area it is important not to let them drop off the face of the earth! I now know that part of this project will be getting reacquainted with beloved friends that have moved away. I know that I must contact them and let them know that I still love them and think of them although I have been delinquent in keeping in touch with them.

I hope this encourages you.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

 

Project Imitate Christ – Project Love

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Do You ever have a time when God tells you to do one thing and you do another? Well that happened to me yesterday. I had initially decided to calls this Project Love, however someone I care about influenced me and I changed what I had felt led to originally do. So from now on this project is and forever will be the PROJECT LOVE, #projectlove.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to display love.

First I must tell you a little about myself so you can understand. I have been dealing with breathing problems. These seem to be exasperated with heat and humidity. Being that I have had a problem with a thing called conversion disorder, which is when your body creates physical symptoms to force you to deal with psychiatric issues, this is what my psychiatrist thought I had when I mentioned the problems to him. However, even if it was conversion disorder the first thing you do is rule out actual physical issues. My primary doctor first thought that it might be a cardiac problem. I have been to the cardiologist and he has cleared my heart, for which I am eternally grateful, especially since my father died of heart disease. So my doctor sent me to the pulmonary doctor for a pulmonary function test better know as a PFT. I finally found out that from my doctor not the pulmonary doctor (his office sent me to my doctor) that I have moderate restriction of the lungs. This is actually a relief I’m not not dealing with issues. I’m not sure if you can follow that but there is something very comforting about knowing you are working through your issues. Anyway my doctor sent me back to the pulmonary doctor since there is nothing my internist can do for me other than ask me if I was on oxygen.

I tell you all of the this because, back to yesterday I walked in from a hot humid day into the lobby of an office, greeted by the blessed crisp of the air of an air conditioned lobby! Something I love! I sat down (at a proper distance) and to my left there was a man with a woman sitting on either side of him. At a glance it now looking back on it as though there were having a meeting own the lobby. However, when they ask me to “Do them a favor” I moved beside them, he gentleman quickly corrected me and said, “”No we were wanting you to go outside.” I said, “Oh, okay.” Despite the heat and the lack of shade or breeze I was not self-seeking and although it was difficult I praised God because I had prayed about just this! An opportunity to display love! God also spared me it wasn’t all that long before the gentleman came out saying that they had decided it was easier for them to move them send me out. Thank you Lord!

If your wondering why I moved towards them when they asked me to help them I was wondering the same thing. Then God brought to mind that the last time I had heard that sentence was at Disneyland (of which I’m at regularly) wanting me to do a survey. So, my only excuse for my behavior is that I thought they wanted me fill out some sort of survey for the office. Although now that I think of it I can’t imagine what for!

I’m not sure how God is going to use this love project in my life or in the lives of others, but honestly I think I’m going to be the one that is blessed the most!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

Project Imitator Of Christ

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We all know and have seen the signs of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” but how many of us actually live as though we are His beloved? I know this has been a lifelong challenge both loving myself and truly loving others as Christ would, so often I have felt like a fraud. So I’m going to share with you a project that I’m taking on of self improvement. I will be looking for ways to show my love of God to God and others. I imagine that this will make a change in me.

I will be living out to the best of my ability the love of God and Ephesians 5:3-6, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person or – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance ian the kingdom of God.”  These things of the world are accepted by the world but not by God. He is the only constant in life. Whatever He says today or yesterday remains because He is consistent. As I work on these goals, to love and be loving, and to rid myself of greed, impurity, obscenity, foolish talking and coarse joking  (for these things cannot remain in one who is loving God) I will be keeping you posted on my progress. 

Joy  – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

A Fellow Sojourner In Christ! 

 

 

God Supplies

Sometimes you don’t know what is it that you need or should be doing until it is thrust upon you. That is my story. I was content living in the Assisted Living even though I was 45 at the time. Rather young to be living among those not in control of their bodily fluids or very confused. I was none of these. To be truthful I was in a wheelchair commuting for an hour or more to college to get my degree in Psychology.

I had been doing the commute for about 2 years when a girlfriend from church told me that I didn’t belong in an assisted living and that I should be living on my own. I explained to her that I couldn’t afford to live on my own, that’s when she told me about her company Donahue and their affordable apartment in a very urban Southern California city closer to the college I was going to. She brought me an application to church the next Sunday. When I saw where it was located in the heart of city (the business district) I was not interested. I had sent in the application and l had been told it would be told it would be a 1 to 2 year wait, I was fine with that. She later called saying that she just found out that Donahue had a property in another city in So Cal and I should apply to that one as well. I made the appointment filled out the application and was told that this one would be a wait of 3 to 4 years. It was out in the middle of nowhere, with one bus stop in-front of it. Since this one was even more undesirable than the first I prayed that there would be another option.

I typed in Donahue on to my computer hit return and there I found it a complex in the same city as my college. I made an appointment to get the application and talk with management. When the Access bus dropped me off at the site I was thrilled! I was literally two blocks from the university. No more buses for me I could roll there. The apartment was on a prime intersection that consisted of on the north east side are Panera, Office Depot, Burger King, Dollar Tree and Smart & Final…, on the south east is (my bank) B of A, .99 Store, Goodwill, Subway,… on the north western corner is Starbucks, Yogurtland, Papa John’s, Chipotle,…on the south western corner is CVS, Mongolian BBQ, Donut Shop, Barber Shop…On top of all of these amenities (as if that wasn’t enough) the complex was beautiful and there is a bus stop in front of the complex. I immediately knew that I wanted to live here. This is where I belonged. I had an overwhelming peace about it.

I completed filling out of the application while I was still there and when I handed it in I was told that it would be a 6 month to an one year wait. Once I heard that I started praying, telling God I don’t care how long I have to wait if it is 7 yrs I’ll wait it. I told him I didn’t want to live anywhere else and all I asked is that when he made it possible for me to move in there could he allow it to happen during summer or winter break so I had enough time to get used to living on my own and doing for myself. At the assisted living they were doing my medications, my meals, cleaning and even making my bed. On the ride home I took a step of faith and called the other complexes and told them that I no longer needed to be on there list. This gave my friend the impression that I had an apartment. I didn’t but by faith I knew that in time my apartment would be in that complex, of that I had no doubts.

Not even one month later I got the message to put in my 1 month’s notice. God had answered my prayers far faster than I ever imaged!

God supplied what I didn’t even know that I needed! He is that good!!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!