Love Wins, whether you see it or not

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Do you ever find yourself discouraged when all you seem to see are hurt and broken people, everywhere you look? It’s hard and sad at the same time. And sadly, the church has all too often been to blame for much of this. But in actuality, its people who hurt people, even if it happened in a church setting or in the name of religion it’s still people, sometimes called “flesh” that wounded them. We need to see a bigger picture of what’s going on here. Our battle is not with flesh, by the way. What we are battling are forces of darkness in the spirit realm.

These dark spirits are whispering things into the ears of people who have been hurt and in effect, prodding them into agreement with thoughts of punishment and vindication toward those who hurt them. These thoughts don’t originate in the person but they may very well sound like their own voice. They are not. These are the strongholds that are mentioned in 2 Cor 10: 3-5. We need to pull them down and not come into agreement anymore.

I have found that it’s not always the church that causes these things. Sometimes people are broken and hurt because of bad choices they’ve made along the way and now they don’t even know the truth anymore. And other times WE are the broken ones. I believe that because of this we have an affinity with other broken people. Heck, we are their champions sometimes because it’s validation for our own brokenness.

Often when people are wounded, it wasn’t the intent of the person inflicting the pain to cause harm; no, they’re usually doing things with the best intentions in mind.  Maybe it’s not the way you would have done things, and maybe you would have treated people better, but maybe not. We all fail from time to time and people get hurt, it happens every day.

However the hurting came about, it all stems from one thing; continuation of wrong belief about one’s self and coming into agreement with what has been spoken over them, whether it was intended or otherwise. These wrong beliefs are not who they/we are.

Most people don’t admit to actually believing the curses spoken over them or the sense of worthlessness they feel about themselves, audibly or even on a conscious level, but they are the thoughts that are entertained day in and day out. I imagine that much of the inner thought life of most broken and hurt people are simply tapes of every bad thing that has ever been spoken over them. I know that’s been the case for me in the past; I assumed it must be true.

So how do we help someone who is broken and wounded? We show compassion for what happened but then show them how Jesus sees them.

One of the problems in dealing with wanting to show compassion to those dealing with broken and wounded people is that we aren’t always sure how to do so because we don’t want to cause more pain.  I mean, they are already hurting right? So what ends up happening quite often is that in order to avoid causing more pain, we get down in the hole with them and begin to commiserate with all the pain and suffering they are going through. We begin to agree with the accusations that come about the person who caused the pain to begin with. And then we call it compassion. It’s not.

I sometimes feel that when we spend so much time looking at the problem, i.e. the woundedness and brokenness, that we become accusers and may not even realize it. How often do we find ourselves in a stance of accusation?  There is only one accuser and it’s not us, or at least it’s not supposed to be! That is the identity of a victim. Yes bad things happen to people all the time but it doesn’t change who we are.

When we behave this way, it’s as if we’re saying, or acting as if Jesus has left us all alone, He doesn’t seem to care about us or them and then from that wrong belief, we come into agreement with the lies that started all the brokenness in the first place.  We start to believe they are true.

Simply loving someone where they are is what really needs to happen. But if loving them turns in to agreeing with the victimhood aka that their identity is what has happened to them, well we really aren’t helping at all.

While this can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, did you know that there is another way to see these things, that there are things going on that can’t be seen with our natural eyes?

The answer to all this isn’t to keep speaking about and focusing on how so many people are broken and hurt. Of course I’m not saying that people aren’t hurt, that’s just silly, of course they are. No, the answer lies more in what question we’re asking. Why do we ask why, or why do we feel the need to even ask? Who are we accusing of this really? And what does it say about our relationship with Jesus when all we do is ask why and focus on what we don’t see with our natural eyes? What does it say about us if we need a scapegoat for all that is wrong with people?

The answer lies in knowing that we are loved. When we truly know this and trust Him, we will stop believing those lies that try and define us differently than who we actually are. Then the need for answers to wrong questions will stop. And maybe, just maybe we will begin to ask real questions! Questions like, what can I do to help bring healing to a situation, how can I show ‘them’ that Jesus loves them so much and open their eyes to the fact that those things that have happened to or have been spoken over them don’t define who they are; especially if they stop agreeing with it!

Let’s introduce those who are hurting and wounded to the Jesus who’s so in love with them that He’s already laid down His life for them. All we have to do is love and open our ears, for He will whisper the words they are longing to hear and we get to speak them! How cool is that? He already has a plan for us all and it is good.

For me, the thing to remember is this:  Jesus is still pursuing them. Even now He’s wooing them back to wholeness, even if they don’t know it. No one is exempt from His love. He will have His way; just you wait and see. Keep loving them even when other’s around us don’t and we will see Him win every time, for He’s as close as we will allow. He really is tangibly right here, right now! Let Him have His way. And feel honored to be the one to show this unfailing love to someone else.

                                                                 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me 

                                                                 because God anointed me.

                                                                 He sent me to preach good news to the poor,

                                                                  heal the heartbroken,

                                                                  announce freedom to all captives

                                                                  (and) pardon all prisoners.

Love wins

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Let Dissapointments Go

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Okay, so I’m not going to work after all. Yesterday when I set out to do some ‘fall decoration’ shopping I noticed that the radio and the gauges had stopped working when I started the car. O no. When I removed my foot from the accelerator, they started working again. Again, O no.

I called Paul but he couldn’t come home then because he was in the middle of a landscaping job and he wouldn’t be able to look at the car until later in the evening, probably after dinner. Sigh.

I confess I had a melt-down and a big ole pity party. Nope I didn’t invite anyone else either. I am so done with car problems! I had taken the day off work so I could bake some new items for my Etsy shop in order to photograph them, and then upload everything to promote what I added. All the baking was finished and now I needed to go get some pumpkins and other ‘fall-like’ decorations.

I confess that I let disappointment have its way for about an hour. Then, I decided that if I couldn’t go to the store I would at least spend my time wisely by working online at my shop and get some things reorganized.

While sitting in my office, I started looking around the room, as I tend to do while thinking, and noticed some silk flowers up on the bookshelf by the door. They reminded me of some other things I had around the house that I could use for fall decorations. The next thing you know, I was pulling everything back out of the freezer, where I put it during my pity party, and started planning a layout for my pictures. They weren’t exactly what I had originally envisioned but they did turn out more me, if you know what I mean and I didn’t spend a dime on decorations. DSC02413

But back to the car; I was scheduled to work a double shift on Saturday (today) but didn’t see how that would happen because the car wasn’t working. When Paul did look at it he discovered that the wire thingy that connected the alternator to the power source had broken off, leaving half the bolt in the alternator and the other half in the wire thing, which by the way was melted. Very strange.

I can say is that I am blessed indeed that I didn’t break down at 10:30 at night while on my way home from work! Nope, everything was working fine on Thursday night when I came home. The trouble started as soon as I started it on Friday. It did start for me though, and I even drove it around the block once, not wanting to drive too far but wanting to see what it would do. It didn’t start at all for Paul and when he lifted the hood he noticed that the wire thingy wasn’t even touching the alternator. No wonder it wouldn’t start.

After several phone calls to local auto parts stores to see if we had purchased the alternator there, with no success, we found our receipt; it was still under warranty! This morning Paul took it out, went to the store we purchased it from 2 years ago and picked up another one, at no charge. In the mean time, I had already informed work that I most likely wouldn’t make the morning shift but would try and get there by the evening one.

Paul surprised me by getting everything installed and tested by 10:00 while I was off doing other things. I wasn’t even remotely ready for work! Woops. I called the manager to let her know that I would be in to work in about an hour but she didn’t answer her phone. I figured she would find out I was coming when I walked in the door but instead, she called me when I had only gone a few miles down the interstate. I told her the good news about the car, etc. and she said she was about to call me to say why not just stay home? They had more people scheduled than she realized and I could take some more time off. She said she knew how stressed I’d been lately because I haven’t had time to work in my Etsy shop so she gave me the day off! How wonderful is that??

That’s the story of how I’m not going to work today. Correction, I did end up driving out to go pick up my check and deliver most of the goodies I used in my pictures…..they certainly couldn’t remain here at my house! Win, win I say.

God is good, all the time, every day, and every moment. He is in the midst of everything. He kept me safe on my journey home the other night, we had favor with the parts people, we had favor with the installation of the part and I had favor at work. I am highly favored and extremely blessed. As a matter of FACT, I know you are too. I hope you realize it and see Him in the midst of everything you do and see.

And I almost forgot: I did get to take pictures of everything baked and I need to remember that there’s always a way, even when I don’t see one. It took me a little bit to get over myself and my disappointment but when I did, things turned out even better than I expected. When God meets me right where I am it’s the most wonderful, humbling experience.

I pray we can learn to get over ourselves and get out of our own way and let the King of Glory show us what He can do because it’s always better than we can think or imagine. I ended yesterday still a little bit discouraged because of the car but He is so faithful to take care of us that I should have known better. Oh well, I am human after all (smile) and that’s why we all need His grace. I fell into that grace through this. Who would have thought, certainly not me.

The Stuff of Life

Sitting down at my computer today, I feel compelled to write something. About what, I have no clue yet. But some of the things running through my head are sons and inheritance, prodigals and orphan spirits, abundant life and daily living; just things of that sort. All of these subjects are things that make me come alive. I love talking about this stuff! But even as I think about these things my mind turns to all the other things I do that aren’t always all that exciting.

Yes, the stuff of life, it’s where the rubber hits the road and where character is built. And whether I like it or not, there are more mundane things than exciting things that take up my time every day; which doesn’t necessarily mean they have no value. They absolutely do.

We all have routines and things we do every day that probably have no meaning for someone else but are so normal and a part of our lives that we don’t give them much thought. We all have schedules and family dynamics that determine many of our routines and they’re all different. I couldn’t walk into your house one day and expect you to adopt my morning routines and think it would work, it wouldn’t. I also couldn’t walk into your house and expect to know how you do mornings either. Some of us have pets to walk and others have children to dress for school and many have both. It’s all the stuff that makes our routines. I’ve heard it said that some folks are even morning people, and they get up early just to hang out with each other and drink coffee! Not everyone does that for sure.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about things like this and the other day I was listening to Praying Medic’s podcast about  quitting your day job. (found here How to Quit Your Day Job – Part 1 ) This particular part I was listening to was about writing, either a book or simply a blog. One of the things he said really made sense and resonated with me. He said people really want to get to know you, to have an inside peek into your life and see what you’re all about. And I thought, really? Yes, really. I know that I love discovering things about people and I love their personal stories the best. Teaching and instruction are great but when I learn more about the person, either through conversation or in the course of a blog or post, I kind of lean in more. It’s like a window of insight opens up and I learn more than is actually written on the page. Do you know what I mean?

So, with all these thoughts leading me to the aspect of ‘getting to know’, I thought I’d share what a typical morning looks like at my house. I make no promises you will get any insight or revelation from this but you may learn another aspect about me (and Paul), and maybe not. It’s from these morning routines that everything else in my life flows.

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What makes for a day in the life of a child of the King? Well, it’s probably not nearly as exciting as you would think, looking from the outside. (Smile) So let me share some stuff of life with you and let you decide.

A typical day in our house starts pretty early. Actually, it begins the night before when we make the coffee and set the timer to go off just before the alarm clock in the morning. Most often our alarm goes off around 5 am. Truth be told, it goes off at 4:45 because I hit the snooze 2 or 3 times before actually getting up and heading to the kitchen.

This usually involves stepping over at least 3 hungry cats, all meowing and swarming around our legs. It’s like a school of fish in a pond; they’re all synchronized and flowing as one. You’d think we never fed them!

Once in the kitchen, Paul goes to the back door and lets Pippin in the house and he’s immediately surrounded by and hissed at by the other cats. This diversion gives me opportunity to open the can of cat food, known affectionately as ‘glop’ around here, while Paul finally gets to the business of pouring coffee. Glop is a single, very small can that gets divided into 4 somewhat equal portions. Once it’s all put on the 4 individual plates, Paul takes two and I take two. We make eye contact and then it’s GO! I feed Bella and Marie and he feeds Pippin and Micah, on opposite sides of the room. That is, if everyone minds their P’s and Q’s!

Some mornings it goes like clock-work, other’s not so much. Some mornings, I’m dragging at least one kitty away from someone else’s plate while trying to show them where their food is. Some mornings it works. Sigh

Once everyone is eating and the cacophony of meows has ceased, we turn back to the coffee, each making it exactly like we want it. Paul then climbs back in the bed while I go and check my phone to see if I got any Etsy orders in the night. (It’s amazing how late people on the west coast stay up!) I also refill the water and dry food bowls before finally taking my coffee back to bed too. Once we are all settled in, we sit up in bed and talk, pray and just hang out for the next 45 minutes to an hour.

Oh, the coffee, yes, we drink our coffee too.

This happens every day of our lives, unless the rare occasion we are out of town for some reason. On the one day that we don’t set the alarm, usually Sunday, we end up with a kitten, Micah, coming in to wake us up. Not only is he yelling at us, he’s making biscuits (kneading) all over the place with claws extended! He looks like a furry marching soldier kitty. The others are waiting just inside the doorway, to see if he can rouse us. I’m pretty sure they sent him in there. They certainly expect us to keep up the routines!

We haven’t always had four cats though. When Chelsea and Chris moved in they brought two of their own. And, since we get up way before them, we take care of all the feeding, and tripping and such.

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As crazy as this morning routine may sound, it’s our normal. Our time together sets the day and it’s something we’ve been doing our whole married life. Initially we would take turns bringing coffee to each other but times changed and we now get up at the same time every day. Later, when we both came to know Jesus, (me four years later) we began praying and interceding during our morning time together. We were pretty astounded by the impact it had. These sessions began to move mountains in our lives.

Shortly after we started interceding, God had us begin to organize our intercession, to have a particular focus every day. One day we’d pray for family and friends. The next day we’d pray for our business, the next the healing room ministry we served in. We prayed about kingdom finances and things like that; each day had a different prayer focus. No matter what our focus was though, we always left room for Holy Spirit because He liked to mix things up sometimes.

To this day, no matter the schedule changes, no matter if someone is working first shift or second shift; we always spend the first hour of each day together. It’s only made us stronger in our walk with God and in our marriage. And you know, sometimes this was the only time we would see each other until the next morning because of crazy work schedules.

We all have crazy things we do each and every day. Things that help us move from one step to the other, things that encourage us and things that make us stronger. Not everything we do is glamorous or glorious but everything we do is with Him in mind, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. These are simply the journey notes of a given day. (Smile) I haven’t even begun to tell you what happens after that first cup of coffee and our feet hit the ground, where the real beginning begins. But, that’s a story for another day.

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

I’ve found that things are a little different in the kingdom than they are in the world. For instance, if I need something, I usually have to begin to give something away. If I need kindness, I need to be kind. It’s a kingdom of opposites in some ways.

What seems right to a man is death, (Prov. 16:25) Hmmm. I think this scripture may have something to do with the ‘kingdom-way’ of doing things. If I keep doing things only for me, me, me, all it will do is bring death. If I am so full of things or information and never give back or pour back out to others, I’m a virtual dead sea with no outlet. I’m dead.

So, when I need encouragement, I encourage. When I need wisdom, I first of all ask, but then I give the wisdom He’s given to me, to others seeking it too. God will always be faithful in giving to us what other’s need.

Encouragement is often like an affirmation. It’s the turbo boost we sometimes need at the very end of a project or season. When things seem like they couldn’t get any harder but still do, encouragement is the juice that will keep us contending for the breakthrough we know is just around the corner. It will cause us to stand up straighter and know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

So, am I right; don’t we all need encouragement? I would challenge you to purpose your day to go out and find someone who needs exactly what you need and encourage them to not give up, to keep pressing until breakthrough comes. Tell them exactly what you need to hear, use the same exact words you are longing to hear yourself. You will be amazed how refreshed you will feel. Holy Spirit may even now be whispering to you some of the things you need to do or say to bring about this refreshing to others and vicariously for yourself.

I’ve done this before with great success. This is not a formula of course because we all need different things. But it can be a tool. One day when I was feeling pretty discouraged I went into the grocery store to pick up a few things. All I wanted to do was get what I needed as quickly as possible and then go home. When I got my things and approached one of the checkout lanes, I noticed that one of the cashiers was really looking down and discouraged. I knew that if spoke some encouragement to her and simply spoke blessings over her, she would be lifted up and maybe even begin to smile; she would be encouraged.

Of course that’s exactly what I did. I began by telling her what an awesome job she was doing and that immediately brought a smile to her face. I spoke other encouraging words over her and not only did her countenance change but so did everyone else who was standing in line behind me. By the time I left the store, which was really only a matter of ten minutes, I was encouraged myself! Win, win.

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The kingdom of God is here, living inside of each and every one of us. It’s not supposed to remain there. It’s supposed to be shared, transplanted in dark places or even in people who have no hope left. We have the answers to all they need. When we encourage others we are bringing light into their current darkness and isn’t that where light belongs, in the dark places? Aren’t we to be messengers of hope? I believe encouragement can be (and is) a great big doorway into bringing the kingdom to earth and transforming our neighborhoods and cities; one kind encouraging word at a time.

Let’s purpose to do this and if you do, come back and tell me about it; I will be greatly encouraged too!

So go! Get out there and encourage someone, right now, today!