Tag Archive: peace


Staying Free of Fear

Having managed to move past what for some is the most fearful time of year, Halloween, it begs the question “How can we stay free from fear?”

MaskWhen I was four years old and staying for a couple of weeks at the end of October with my grandma in St. Charles, MN, the doorbell rang.  I made the unwise choice of answering the door before she could get to it and there, under the porch light stood two individuals, not much taller than I, in the most grotesque rubber masks (at least I hoped they were masks) shouting “Trick or Treat!!!” at the tops of their lungs.  To say I was frightened, was an understatement, but I don’t think I went all hysterical or anything.  But that incident did, apparently, leave a lasting impression on me.

To this day, even as an adult, I prefer to walk on the other side of the block or shopping mall away from anyone wearing a mask. I never sat on Santa’s lap, or came anywhere close to an Easter Bunny, and when I had to work at McDonald’s in the ’80’s helping with Ronald McDonald shows, I was good around the actor who became Ronald, but when he was in costume, I was nowhere to be seen!  To say that I’m not a huge fan of clowns of any kind, nice or villainous, would be an accurate statement.

As a child, I certainly never thought in these terms, but as I grew and became more aware of my own emotions and thoughts, I realized that seeing someone in a mask was all about lies. I wanted to see truth, the real person, not a fake, not an act, not a lie. I want to know what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s truth, what is a lie, so I can make an educated decision about it and make the right choices for me.

That being said, we live in a world of lies and deception, fakery, and illusion.  Our movies and TV programs are filled with it and often they only seek to instill fear.  We honor and adore actors who portray heroes and villains for their acting capabilities to make us believe the lies and enjoy the fear — at least for the moment.

But in the real world, there are plenty of fearful things going on and the media plays to that and makes things seem so much worse than  reality would dictate.  Racial issues, diseases from only God knows where, strife, tensions, financial woes, power struggles — personal and world wide, murders, suicides, kids on drugs, unspeakable evil seems to be rampant.  Fear of the future, Fear of lack, Fear of sickness and disease, Fear of loss.  As the Apostle John says in one of his letters to the church, fear has torment.  Where does it stop, and when?

Well, as with everything, it stops — or at least the hold that fear has on us stops — when we choose to believe what God says, rather than what the world, the flesh (us, our mindsets), and the devil says.  Why live in fear when there is a better way?  We were created for God’s pleasure and as a way for Him to show us His love and mercy.  He is the God of peace, not fear. The reason we get into the messes we do is because we are searching for peace, love and joy in all the wrong places.

dove

Let me share some of God’s words that may help you if you feel fear today (or any time):

“7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”  2Timothy 1:7  Amplified Version

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“10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”  Isaiah 41:10  Amplified Version

 

Memorizing Scripture, rehearsing them in your mind, quoting them, putting them in first person — all are great ways of getting the Word of God down in your spirit so that when those times of fear come, you can recall them and remind yourself that God is bigger than any fearful thing you might encounter.  He is in control, not your fears.peace

One of the coolest Scriptures in the Old Testament, and applicable to us all today, in my opinion, is Joshua 1:8, 9.  If we would take it to heart, I believe God will keep us safe from the fearful things in this world, and cause us to prosper in every area of our lives.

“8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good [a]success.

Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Amplified Version

Don’t be afraid….Be courageous and confident in God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rain dropsAs with all things in this world, disappointments happen.  I refer, in part, to my aforementioned VACATION!  It was somewhat restful in that I got to stay home, but for 3 days I spent stressing over the phone and computer, trying to rectify with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that my mother does in fact deserve her benefits, which have been temporarily suspended.  It’s a long story, and I will spare you all the gory details, but it was nonetheless a bit stressful.  I have copied blank and completed forms to my computer for future reference, made hard copies to send to the care home for their consideration, filled out forms I’d never filled out before, and had a hard time keeping track of all the papers on top of my desk.  A nightmare to be sure, but I suppose it could have been worse.  Fortunately, I discovered during my hours on the phone, waiting for a human to answer, that I have a few contacts in the city where my mom lives that have experience with this and can assist, should the need arise.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

Prompted to reread the previous post, perhaps to remember why I was on vacation, I was struck by how applicable the last part was, the Scripture.  It has amazed me throughout my years as a Christian that the whole world can be a jumble, full of chaos and fear, and yet when God’s Word enters the picture, all the turmoil fades away and my peace returns.  It really is true that when Jesus enters the room, the devil, fear, anxiety, confusion, and everything else negative has to flee.  He is Peace personified.  He brings with Him comfort, solace and a sense of well-being to any environment that is fraught with negative or contentious emotion.

Speaking of contention, recently, in fact at the beginning of my vacation, I managed to get myself into the middle of a conversation on a social media site with a friend, someone who shares in loving Jesus as I do, but politically has diametrically opposing viewpoints.  Now, I usually know better than to get into these conversations, but what I shared was at the beginning of the thread and not such a big deal, until…..all of her friends with her same view point jumped in to give their two cents worth of advice and negative input.  Needless to say, my blood began to boil and it was all I could do to keep my fingers from writing what my tongue wanted to say.  My friend jumped in at the last and saved the day by calling truce and the friends all went away thinking “Boy, we sure told her!!!!  Boy, oh boy!!

It was a few days later that I read a conservative site’s conversation thread where I saw that my friend had made a comment, seemingly simple and straightforward, and she was “attacked” by those folks whose view points are similar to mine.  It was an interesting comment as to the division we have been seeing in our nation and how our very peace is coming under attack.  And WE LET IT HAPPEN by giving the enemy a foothold when we get into discussions/arguments that will never go anywhere but to divide us further.  We play right into the enemy’s hands.  In an effort to “educate” the readers, we just end up confirming to them they are right because we’re so stupid, calling names, and no one is benefitting except the enemy of our souls who walks off laughing at our stupidity for getting involved in the conversation to begin with!

I know, I know.  It is very frustrating to let things go when you know you are right and they need to know they are wrong so they can start thinking right again after you tell them what you know.  But, trust me.  If we don’t proceed with love and a lot of prayer, nobody is going to change their mind to your way of thinking!  Oftentimes we speak before we pray but we must approach the Throne first, in my opinion, before entering into these social media forums, if we should even do it at all.

Keep your peace

Keep your peace

I have gotten into enough of those conversations, with friends and with strangers, to know that it is not worth the peace I lose to take that risk.  It’s not Christ like.  Arguing my point of view is not what Jesus has called me to do, even though it makes my “flesh” feel good to knock somebody out on social media sometimes.  And I have to say, I’m usually the first one to back out of the conversation because I feel convicted and know I shouldn’t have been in it to begin with.  That really is frustrating!!!!  But is it truly pleasing to the Lord?  Am I sowing seeds of love, hope, joy?  Am I furthering the cause of Christ?  Will souls be won into the Kingdom of Heaven because of my part in the conversation? I don’t think so.  And maybe those are questions we should ask BEFORE we enter these threads of conversation.  How can I uplift the Name of Jesus and His Love to those I may speak to on this site?

Based on my experiences with these things over the years, I can’t say I won’t ever get involved in them again, but maybe I’ll have a little more insight, and hopefully go into them more prayerfully next time.  They can be treacherous depending on the subject matter, but if we keep Jesus at the forefront, waiting on Him to give us the words to say, or be obedient if He tells us to not get involved at all, we will go a long way towards keeping our peace.  And that, keeping my peace in this crazy world, is worth just about everything!

 

 

 

 

I Declare

 

I’ve had on my heart the last few days to take a stand, to declare what I believe, to proclaim what is important and right and good, for me, and something to leave for posterity, if you will, that will show that I stood for something and wasn’t just a hunk of human flesh taking up space on this spinning blue ball of rock.

 

Perhaps no one cares but me, but that’s ok.  If no one reads this but God alone, it is sufficient to have done it at all for His eyes, if for no one else’s.  But, if someone does happen to read this someday, perhaps it will spur them on to make a declaration of their own, to draw a line in the sand so to speak, for that is really what this is about I suppose.

 

I see so much conservative and liberal lines in the sand being drawn via social networking and in the news, and it reminds me of the Scriptures that teach us that this divisiveness will happen in the end times.  Parents against children, children against parents, siblings against siblings.  I always wondered how this would come to pass as it didn’t seem possible on a grand scale all those many years ago when I thought about it.  But now, that prophetic word becomes much clearer.  God is separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad, the just from the unjust, and He’s making it crystal clear that we have a choice and the time has come to choose whom we will serve.

 

Drawing a line in the SandThere is so much more to it than choosing a political party, or philosophy, or clinging to a particular belief system you’ve known all your life.  It’s really more about choosing a destiny for yourself, and potentially all of those lives with whom yours has been entwined.  For you are not alone on this planet.  Your choices, your lifestyle, your belief systems affect everyone around you, everyone you care about and even those you do not.  The thoughts you think, the words you speak, the actions you take all play a part in defining who you are, at least to the outside world.  If you feel you are someone else, perhaps a change needs to take place in your thoughts, words and actions?

 

Long years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus, to ask Him into my heart to change me from the inside out, to be my Lord and Savior for all eternity.  I can truthfully say it was the best decision of my life, although walking out that decision over the last 45 years or more has not always been a piece of cake.  But, as He has worked on me, changed my heart, reigned in my desire to rebel and walk contrary to His Word at times, it still is my contention that serving the Lord is the ONLY way to know fulfillment, peace,  and satisfaction in life.  Therefore, I declare:

 

That I am, first and foremost, a child of the Most High God and Heavenly Father, and that Jesus is my Savior and Lord forever and ever.   He is above all gods, both religious and material and deserves my utmost attention and love.  He is worthy of my praise, confidence, and trust.

 

That I choose to follow His Word, to obey it as He gives me strength, grace, understanding and knowledge, and with His help and that of the Holy Spirit, I choose to walk in His abundance and life.

 

That I know I am one of billions of God’s human creations and that He loves each of us individually with an everlasting love.  I am no better than they, nor are they better than me.  I can love them, because He first loved me.   There is no room in God’s heart for hatred or racism or anything of the sort because God loves us each and every one equally.

 

That I recognize that with so many differing opinions—religious, political and otherwise–, insights, ideas, and philosophies in the world there are bound to be disagreements, but because I carry Jesus in my heart, there is no room for dissension, rivalries, strife, anger, malice and the like.  I choose to be a purveyor of peace whenever the opportunity arises.  I also recognize that I don’t know everything and am not right about everything and should not judge anyone.  That right belongs to God and God alone.

 

That because I believe God’s Word is true and right for all human life and experience, I will not shirk my responsibility to share His Truth as He gives me understanding and directs me to, but will endeavor to lean on Him for the words and right attitude in which to do so.  Just because I speak Truth, the hearer can only receive it when I speak it in love with a right attitude.  I choose to share Jesus’ love and compassion as often as I can as He works in my heart and gives me opportunities.

 

That I will stand for life, human life.  Although God has created much life in our world which should be enjoyed, cared for and protected, the most important, above all else, is the life of the humans he has formed and knit together in the womb.  We are made in His image and it is not my place to determine who lives and who dies.  That too is up to God alone.  Having been a recipient of life through adoption, I feel I have a contribution to make, a stand to take in this arena of our society.

 

Although I believe and try to walk in a whole lot more than has been stated here, I will stop at this point, because I know God knows the rest and is working on all of it to bring out at a later time perhaps.  But, I do encourage all of you, or one of you, or however many might read my little treatise, to make a stand.   Determine what you believe, what you really do stand for.  It’s important.  And it is indeed time to make a choice.

 

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.”  Proverbs 21:2  The Amplified Version

Have you ever felt a “ping” in your heart or stomach when you say or do, or even think, something with a motive or intent of heart that might not be quite right?  For example, you might answer back on a Facebook page something that, if you were face to face with that person you’d never say what you just wrote.  At the time you wrote it, you got your point across, shut down the opposition, (so there!!!), said what you felt needed to be said at that moment.  But now you realize, after pressing the Post or Share button, that the cat’s out of the proverbial bag and it’s too late to take it back, it might not have been the wisest thing to say.  Especially since you’re trying to be a better person, or you’re a Christian and you’re wanting to represent Jesus the best way you can, expressing your views might not have even come close to representing Him at all.

Or, maybe someone came to your door or place of business and tried to sell you something or talk about their religion and you blew them off as quickly as possibly, even going so far as lying if necessary, just to get them out of your face?  Maybe someone interrupted you with a phone call you really wished hadn’t bothered you and you were less than kind on the phone to that person. (After all, you were busy, right?  Watching TV–your favorite show for goodness sake, and they have the nerve to call you in the middle of the best part!!)  Is it ok to be rude to others, no matter what the reason?

Do we ever act this way?

Do we ever act this way?

Well, I’m hoping that most all of us would say “No, it’s never ok to be rude, even if they are rude to us.”  But all too often, I’ve been guilty of all of the above, more than once I’m afraid, and I have a sneaky feeling I’m probably not alone.  Are you courageous enough to stand up with me and agree that at least once in your life you have had wrong motives for your behavior? C’mon, I know you’re out there.  I’ll stand with you, does that help?

For those of us who are Christians and consider Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, Soon-coming King, Creator of the Universe, Prince of Peace, and so on,  it is imperative that we pay attention to our behavior, our thoughts and words.  Some serious soul searching would be good here.  We are His representatives in this earth and no one will ever see Him for the awesome and loving God He is, unless we, His children, allow Him to be revealed through our lives every day, through good times and bad.  If we are behaving badly, how does that reflect on Jesus?

For those of us reading this post that have not yet made a decision to follow Christ, may I take this opportunity to sincerely and humbly apologize on behalf of those in the Christian community who have hurt you, offended and caused you to think less of Jesus because of their (my) behavior.  It is not His fault that we acted like Neanderthals or worse!  Our actions, or lack thereof, are attributable to a lack of total commitment to Him and refusal to give up doing things our way in certain areas of our lives.  (Basically, it’s sin, but most of us don’t want to think about that word.)

So, with that said, perhaps it would be good to take stock and seriously review our motives, intentions, and ask ourselves some questions:  “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” “Who benefits the most from the actions I’m taking or about to take–me or others–and is that a right thing to occur?”  “When I finish doing what I’m doing or wanting to do, what are the long term results likely to be?”  “Are those results benefitting more than just myself and/or the futures of my family and friends?”  If the answers you get, providing you were serious when you asked them, are not leaving you peaceful, perhaps you might want to stop… maybe pray about it first, until you do feel peace.

Motives, intentions of the heart, can make or break relationships and futures, let alone “presents”, for good or ill.

If you [profess ignorance and] say, Behold, we did not know this, does not He Who weighs and ponders the heart perceive and consider it? And He Who guards your life, does not He know it? And shall not He render to [you and] every man according to his works?”  Proverbs 24:12  The Amplified Version

The actions you take based on the intentions of your heart may have a profound effect on the lives of many people you didn’t even think about, so check your motives and if they aren’t good ones, the good news is you can change!

I Got Nothin’…

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to sit at my computer and write.  Too busy heading to work on the bus, working, returning from work on the bus, plopping into my comfy chair 12+ hours later when I finally arrive home, and eventually going to get a bite to eat in the kitchen before returning to said chair for the rest of the evening!

Weekends have been a little less torturous but I have spent some time monitoring the movements of the remodelers when they actually do show up for a few hours work, and purchasing various and sundry items for my newly updated bathrooms and kitchen.

All this to say I’m sorry I haven’t been as prolific in the writing department as I would like to be but sometimes, well, let’s just say… I got nothin’!

Now, that’s not to imply I am totally empty and devoid of things to say, it’s just that I haven’t felt that the Lord has had anything lately to say to you through me.  There is a difference, you know.  Some folks just write just to be writing.  And that’s ok but I usually prefer to write when I sense the Lord wants to say something.  In the beginning, it might start out with me just writing just to write, but somehow it turns into something amazing!  Definitely not because I’m writing it, but because He’s giving me a new twist on what I start out with and He’s amazing!  Many times I’ll go back weeks later and read a post and think, “Wow, that’s really cool…did I write that?”  Obviously, I had some Heavenly help..

Ok, so with two blogs going now, Ivegotconfidence,  Have Confidence In God and IvegotconfidenceTwo, Growing Up In God, my brain is starting to melt.  I’m considering just going with the second blog as I love how it looks, but the first one is my “baby”.  So far, the last three posts on the first blog are the first three on the second, just so I could see how they both looked and to see if there would be any traffic on the second at all.  I would love your opinions and comments, if you would like to participate, and let me know what you all think.

Growing up is having confidence in God - Copy

Obviously, if I get no response, I’ll know that nobody is listening, reading, or even out there even though the stats indicate folks are at least looking at some of the pictures.  So, I’d love your help to decide.  Should I continue with both, or switch to the ITGUIG, or stay with IHCIG..eeny, meeny, miney, moe!

Well, that’s my silly decision making dilemma for the day, but I know many of you have many more very serious decisions to make daily, and you don’t have many, many readers to help you decide what to do.  I’ve been there too, several times, and I know it’s not a fun place to be.  It’s scary, often terrifying, especially if the decisions you must make are life or death, or life changing, such as moving, going through a divorce or separation, adoption, and so on.

There is Someone Who is always there to help you through any decision-making you might have to make, and that Someone is Jesus, God’s precious Son.  If you don’t have a clue Who He is or haven’t met Him yet, I’d love to share Him with you.  A relationship with Jesus will demand all you are and all you have but the benefits are Eternal and abundant.  When you give your all to Him, He gives you His all–you have access to everything He is–Healer, Redeemer, Savior, Provider, Comforter, Peace, Love, Joy, Mercy, the giver of unmerited or undeserved favor and grace.  He is Wisdom, Understanding, and gives us Knowledge beyond our human capabilities.

So, you wonder how He can help you out of your situation?  Yeah, I have wondered that myself on several occasions.  But, because I accepted Jesus into my heart several years ago, confidence in Him has grown so that even if I don’t understand, I can trust that He has my best interest at heart and will do just what will be the most beneficial for me at any given time.  I know He’ll do the same for you too.

But, you gotta ask!  He won’t force you and He usually doesn’t intervene without permission.  The decision is yours…what will you do with Him?

(Check out the page “Where Does Confidence In God Come From?” on Ivegotconfidence, Have Confidence in God for more assistance.)

This question will probably find its way to my roommate’s tombstone one day — per his request, comedian that he is — but in the meantime it serves to ask you, my readers, if you’ve ever felt like you’ve had the weight of the world on your head and shoulders? If so, how did it get there and why do you let it stay?

Do your problems feel like a pile of rocks on your head?

Oftentimes we don’t even realize that we have this heavy burden on us until we are so weighed down with guilt, feelings of responsibility, concern, emotional involvement, etc. that our health and mental stability are in jeopardy. By the time we become aware our health is suffering, we are so involved in the problem and so sure there is no way out, that the weight becomes heavier and heavier till we snap and experience a nervous breakdown of sorts.  All too often, this scenario is where self-medicating with drugs, legal or illegal, and alcohol comes into play for some people.  Or, if we are truly fortunate, we finally realize we cannot handle the situation all on our own and we courageously seek help, either thru counseling, prayer, or other resources.

How did the problem get this bad? For me, it started innocently enough. I was trying to help my daughter and her family start over. Without involving too many specifics, let’s just say that for the first few years, life in my chaotic world wasn’t too bad and we all got along pretty well. By all, I mean all nineof us…in my small three bedroom house. But that aside, within a reasonably short period of time, it became obvious that the kids were getting bigger, needing more space and freedom to have friends over, etc. and personalities were not as willing to work together as in the beginning. Mine included.  I must admit that I bare part of the responsibility for the strife and tension during those years.

Tension and strife take a toll on your health!

We all began to feel the tension too, but I was holding on hoping things would work out so that we’d all be one happy family. As time and circumstances drug on, I felt more and more taken advantage of, but still could not open my mouth to calmly state my position without getting hostility from them. The older the kids got, the less respect they had for me and, to be quite honest, the feeling was mutual.

I dearly love all of them, but for a period of time, I really didn’t like any of them at all. The guilt I felt was enormous, and the anger (it’s not like me to be angry) that I felt inside was absolutely amazing to me. I was thinking things, well, you don’t want to know what I was thinking and it’s not uplifting to repeat those things!! But, let’s just say I was not myself.

I finally realized I was becoming emotionally compromised and I needed help to cope with this situation. In the nick of time, a dear friend of mine called me, out of the blue.  Although we have not talked since this time, her phone call saved my emotional life!  She sensed that my family was “sucking” the life out of me and I needed to make some changes in order to find myself again. Well, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I needed to hear it!

It still took several months to really feel confident in my decision to make those changes, which involved my family finally moving out on their own, but once those changes were made, I began to come back to myself. The weight began to lift, the guilt, sense of responsibility for the success of my family, all of that slowly was removed from me. And, the best part, my peace returned. There is nothing in this world that can compare to God’s peace. Once you know it, you don’t ever want to lose it!  Believe me.

Although I am really sorry things within my family turned into a “black hole” for awhile, God has a way of turning even the worst looking scenarios into something that will give Him the Glory!  As I continue to submit to His Word and His Will, I know that He’ll bring us all into that “due time” where He can exalt us.

1 Peter 5 has a lot of good info about how we’re supposed to act, but in verses 6 and 7 it says:  “Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”   The Amplified Version  (underlining mine, for emphasis)

How peaceful is this?

I would encourage you to read the whole chapter, but this gets across the idea that you can have confidence in the Lord with all of life’s issues because He’s your loving Daddy and He has your best interest at heart.  He will take care of you!

So, if you’ve got a rock, or a pile of rocks, sitting on your head,  and you think there’s no way out of your mess, trust Him and determine to make some changes in your life.  Recognize your part in the problem, repent (or turn around and go the other direction), and trust God to see you through till the end!  You’ll be surprised how peaceful you’ll feel!

 

As far back as I can remember, I felt such guilt for not having the loving feelings for my adoptive dad that I always thought a daughter should have for her father.  He annoyed me in so many little ways that I tended to reject him without fully understanding what I was doing.  And, yet, he was such a wonderful man in all the ways that really mattered.  To say I was, and still am, conflicted about these emotions is an understatement!

I can remember at the age of seven or eight, in Pocatello, Idaho,  listening to a song on the radio called Daddy’s Little Girl by the Mills Brothers, a ’40’s and ’50’s singing group.  I cried all the way through it because I knew my dad felt the emotions expressed by the song and somehow I just didn’t, or couldn’t, feel towards him what I thought I should feel in response to those beautiful words of love.  I literally grew up feeling very little for him, bad or good,  except guilt that I didn’t feel more fondness for him.  Today, those same emotions and tears come to the surface when I hear that song.

My parents’ relationship always amazed me.  Mom will tell you to this day at the age of 95, that he was the most wonderful man, so good to her and they were so much in love.  To her, he was the perfect husband, they had the perfect marriage and after he passed away at 75, she would never consider dating, much less marry another man, because she had had such a perfect and fulfilled life that she didn’t want to risk messing it up.  After 41 years of marriage, that says a lot about Dad’s character, and hers too for that matter!

My Parents

They could sit and visit by the hour, or read or play cards, word games, etc. on their own and never say a word to each other for hours at a time.  They were best friends, partners in business and in life, and lovers all in one.

And, I have to say, in all the 22 years I lived with them, I NEVER heard either of them say a cross or insulting word to each other–ever!  If there were disagreements, they never discussed them in front of or in earshot of me, and by the time I got home from school, things were always back to normal.  A couple of times, I remember thinking that breakfast was a little quiet, but other than that, they really knew how to resolve any issues they had as adults and not involve “the kid” in their problems, if there were any.  What an awesome example they set for me of what a good marriage should be!

Dad was a friend to many, a counselor to even more, a moral man, and a man of integrity, and he counted it his joy to help people get healthy and stay healthy, body, soul and spirit.  The last  15 to 20 years of his life were spent working in the nutrition industry, among other customer service type jobs,  where he seemed to really find the most fulfillment.

After leaving our ranch in the latter part of the 50’s, Dad never was able to latch on to any one career for many years at a time.  Each position he held he performed to the best of his ability and was reasonably successful, if not so much in monetary terms.  I think he deeply regretted that he had been unable to make a mountain of money to take care of the three of us for the rest of our lives and he did suffer from depression over this from time to time.  But Mom, the eternal optimist, would always remind him that she was happy as a clam as long as they were together and the money was not important to her.  (It didn’t help tho’ that a business partner had taken off with $100, 000 of their company’s money and left him holding the bag in the very early ’60’s and I don’t think he was ever able to fully overcome that betrayal.)

My purpose in sharing my dad with you is not only to tell you how very proud I am of him for his hard work, ethics and solid faith in God, but, of course, his willingness to take on the raising of a child that was not his own, a feat not many men are able to do.  In addition, I also wanted to share my own conflicts in the hopes of helping someone out there in “blogland” come to grips with their own “father” issues.  He was, in my estimation, more than worthy of my love and adoration.  So, why the conflict?  I don’t fully know the answer to this question as yet as

Daddy and Me

I’m still learning and growing in this area, but having confidence in God to bring a positive resolution certainly helps. Be encouraged to have confidence in the God of Peace and Love to resolve any such issues you may have as well.  If you struggle to believe in God as Father as I sometimes do, it is logical to assume that many of our conflicts stem from issues with our earthly fathers. When we choose to forgive them for not being able to meet our needs adequately, and then in return ask them for their forgiveness for not treating them as we should have, we will be better able to trust our Daddy God and receive all the wonderful blessings He has for us.

On a more personal level, while writing a recent blog post on forgiveness, I was struck with the tho’t that to overcome this guilt for the lack of feelings for my dad, I needed to pray and ask the Lord to help me forgive my dad for not being all that I needed as a child.  As an example, I must forgive him for not loving me in a way I could receive and for thinking that tickling me would suffice as his way of showing affection.  (I HATED being tickled and repeatedly told him to stop.)  And, in turn, I need to ask God’s forgiveness for mistreating him and punishing him by pushing him out of my life as much as I did.  I basically just ignored him a lot of the time.

I don’t know how God is going to heal the hole in my heart, but I do know that I can have confidence in my God to bring about a good ending.  Dad’s been gone 26 years and 2 weeks now, but his memory is still with me and I can trust the Lord to relay my message to him.  I’ll see him again one day, and I’m sure I won’t have any trouble at all throwing my arms around his neck and telling him I love him and thanking him for raising me up to be a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Until then, I can say by faith, “I love you Daddy!  Happy Father’s Day!!!”

Dad and Mom

Today I read yet another blog post about forgiveness, and given the propensity for us as human beings to offend others and to be offended by others, it seems a pretty good subject to discuss.

Although I can already guess what your response will be, how many of you have endured one or more mildly annoying on up to gut wrenching offenses that you just can’t seem to get over, or put past you so you can move on with your life?  Making things worse is the fact that that person, persons, or situations may have seemingly sailed on in their lives to bigger and better things–promotions, relationships, success, etc., but you are stuck in the past, remembering every last gory detail of the offense in living color and dolby surround sound!! Where is the justice??

I too have had people in my life that seemed to “suck” the life out of me as I headed for what now might have been considered a “mini” nervous breakdown.  I knew I needed to forgive them, because that is the right thing to do, but they were so….difficult to deal with and impossible to reason with that I had a hard time doing what I knew I had to, in order for me to remain “sane”.

Fortunately, God has helped me to understand that forgiveness is NOT forgetting and letting by-gones be by-gones as we often think it is, but rather a purposeful choice to “let the other guy go”.  I had to make a concious choice to not hold them in bondage in my heart and mind, but release the pain and resulting memories to the Lord.  As long as I continued to hold that person and event close to me, thinking about it often, verbalizing it to myself and others, building upon it, and making it bigger that it really was initially, I would forever be bound to them.

God showed me that this negativity produced toxins emotionally and spiritually which would eventually infect every area of my life like a venemous poison.  I would become increasingly more bitter, resentful and hateful.  Every relationship would suffer, in one way or another, and my body would suffer consequences as well.  I submit to you that many of our illnesses today are a direct or indirect result of the unforgiveness we harbor in our hearts!

Obviously, it seems that walking in forgiveness is the best way to go, but how do you get to where you can do that consistently?  Realistically, I don’t think you can, in and of yourself.  Forgiveness is not a “natural” human endeavor, since we are sinful by nature and pretty self-centered. I believe you need a little Heavenly assistance in order to achieve complete forgiveness, especially for some of the more intense atrocities that have been committed against individuals in our insensitive and hostile world nowadays.  I’m speaking of rape, murder, incest, etc. in particular.

However, it is not impossible.  A determination to have peace at all costs is a prerequisite.  A willingness to give up the pride is another. (I think PRIDE keeps us from doing a lot of the things God wants us to do in order to live free, and forgiving is just one of those areas that hangs us up.)  Another requirement is the willingness to allow your “prisoner” to leave, to be free.  Even free enough to let God deal with him/her however He chooses to.  (Of course, your “prisoner” has no idea they are in your jail because they are out there livin’ large! Unknown to them is how much you hate them and how many hours and days, weeks and months you think about what they’ve done to you!)

So, basically, forgiveness is not about them at all!  It’s about doing what’s right and doing what is ultimately in your best interest.  It’s not really even a selfish thing either.  Forgiveness makes you a better person, saves relationships (even if you never see or talk to that person again) because you have a healed heart, and helps to keep you physically healthy all the way around.

But, the most important aspect of forgiveness, one that I cannot emphasize strongly enough, is that it pleases God.  After all, He sent His only Son to take on mortal flesh so that He could show us how to live–pure and free.  Then, He laid down His life, on purpose, to die in our place and thereby ensure that we could receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, which are so much more abhorrent than any offense that we could possibly endure in our lifetime!!  If God can forgive us, through Jesus, we can and must forgive other sinful beings that offend us in some way.  It’s not an option really, it’s a command–one that holds great freedom and peace for those who will obey.  Jesus is our Ever Living example of Forgiveness.  He will show you the way, if you are willing.

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