Jesus Heals!

Reading from the Gospels this morning, God led me to Scriptures on healing.

I have been praying for Charlie who has received an incredible healing recently. The past couple of weeks have been so hard for him and his family. Charlie has heart problems. After having an angioplasty, he suffered a stroke. Somehow he drove himself to the hospital (I am sure there were angels surrounding that car!). The doctors did not give the family hope. He was on blood thinners because of the critical condition of his arteries. The doctors said he had to be taken off of them immediately or he would suffer another stroke. The heart doctor said if they took him off the blood thinners, he would suffer a heart attack, probably killing him. The family had to make the decision of what to do. We began praying! These were prayers that resembled childbirth- crying out for a life. (Thank you all who were praying!) We knew despite what the doctors were saying, "With God, all things are possible!" Thankfully, Charlie survived being taken off of the blood thinners and we were praising God for sparing his life. Then, the next test came as Charlie's insurance was ending. Being self-employed, he was on Cobra which was going to end within days. Here he was, not able to walk, blind in one eye, facing the possibility of having to go home without any care. Again, we hit our knees, crying out for God's mercy and favor and help. Again, when doctors said it was impossible, and all "looked" hopeless, God did the impossible, (and hours of paperwork later), Charlie was able to stay in the hospital. He is recovering when doctors did not give hope that he would live!

But, the enemy is right there trying to turn victory into defeat. Charlie is suffering from depression, especially about the medical bills beginning to mount up and the possibility of paying them, feeling desperate. In a short week, praise has turned to fear. The devil is right there to steal our victory. He wants us to question and doubt and ultimately give up. He wants to steal our joy and our faith. He wants to turn our gladness to mourning........ He tries to make us doubt our miracles, question God, question our faith........ Charlie, please don't give up! Please keep your eyes on Jesus! Please continue to believe.

So many times when we see God work, when we have experienced His presence, when we experience His miracles, we walk through a trial of faith. Will we believe what we have just seen of God? We will continue to be steadfast in our faith? I am reminded of the "Transfiguration" when Peter, James, and John had their "mountain top experience." They saw Jesus in His glory! We would think their faith would be soaring! But, it is in the next chapter that they are not able drive out a demon from a boy and Jesus rebukes them for having "little faith." We don't live on the mountain top. And, we walk through the valleys. Please pray for Charlie as he continues to heal and recover. Pray especially for his faith and trust in the Great Physician. Pray that he is filled with joy, despite his circumstances. Pray that in this time as he recovers, he will fall head over heals in love with Jesus Christ.

So, as I was reading about Jesus' healings, asking God to really teach me and show me about this, He led me to the healing of Bartimaeus. This story can be found in Matthew 20, Luke 18, and Mark 10. I figured this story has to be pretty important if it is in the Gospels three times. Father, give us deep insight into Your Word today. Open our eyes to see what You want to reveal to us. Give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who sat outside of Jericho. Jericho- where his ancestors had experienced great miracles! Jericho- where the walls came crumbling down by the power of God's hands and the Israelites were able to defeat their enemies. Growing up, I am sure Bartimaeus had heard these stories of Jericho's walls crashing down and how great his God was and is. He knew God was powerful and able. So, when he hears Jesus is coming through town, he knows he has his chance to be healed.

As I was studying these passages, and other ones on people being healed, a few things jumped out at me about this one. First, the people following Jesus are telling Bart to be quiet when he calls out for Jesus. They don't seem to care about him being healed. This is so different from several others where FRIENDS bring someone in need of healing to Jesus. In Mark 8 another man receives healing from blindness, but his friends bring him to Jesus. But, the people in this passage don't seem to think Jesus will heal Bart. Maybe they had seen Bart so often by the side of the road, they didn't think much about him. (hmmmmmm, how many times do I see someone in need, but just pass by because I've seen him/her so often?) Maybe they didn't think Bart was worthy enough to be healed. (am I ever judgemental- questioning if a person should receive God's mercy?????) Anyway, Bart "shouts out all the more," crying for Jesus' mercy. This is why I love reading the Gospels- we get a window into the heart of Jesus. He is so loving, so merciful, so compassionate. He heals the needy, cries with Mary and Martha when Lazarus dies, touches the repulsive......... He is LOVE.

Jesus stops walking. Even though he had somewhere to go (to Jerusalem to die by the way!), he takes the time to stop. In Matthew, it says he has compassion for Bart. In Mark, Jesus, asks, "what do you want me to do?" Think about that for a moment....... You know that Jesus KNOWS what Bart wants him to do. So, why does he have Bart tell him? Because there are power in our words, my friend! Sometimes it is not enough to believe in our hearts, minds, but we need to speak it out in our words! Jesus heals him, and says, "your faith has healed you." Jesus does not always say those words when He heals. So, when He does, I take special note of it. No matter what this man had lived through, no matter the obstacles, no matter the crowds shushing him and rebuking him, he was going to look to Jesus! He was going to call out to Him! Bart had called these words, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Wow! He calls Jesus "Son of David", believing He is the Messiah, and crying out for His mercy. What is Jesus' response? First, He encourages the man's faith by having him speak what he wants Jesus to do, then He heals him!

Now, what I really love about this story is that Bart FOLLOWS Jesus. Not all of the healed do that! Some go back to their homes, to their families, praising God. But, Bart follows Jesus. Jesus is going to Jerusalem to die on the cross. I wonder if the man witnessed all of the incredible events of the next week? In Luke's account, the man follows Jesus, praising Him, and all the people saw it, also praising God. Our miracles can cause others to praise and follow Jesus!

"...I will make you (Jesus) to be a covenant for the people and a light to the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."- Isaiah 42:6-7

Father God, bless Your Name! Praise You! You teach us so much in Your Word! Lord, help me to be compassionate to others needing healing. I don't want to ever rebuke anyone for seeking Your mercy! Lord, forgive me for times I have been judgemental to others. Lord, I want to be filled with faith and belief, crying out for Your healing. Let me always confess with my words Who You are and what You can do! Help me always to remember to praise You and follow You and lead others to You! In Jesus' Name we pray! Amen!

Heart Under Construction

Wow! Has God ever done a major construction project on your heart- ripping out all of the old, "yucky" stuff in order to replace it with more of Him? Has He had to do a major cleaning or purification process in your heart? Well, I have just gone through one! In the two weeks, God has asked me to major work in my heart.

One of my daily prayers is, "Lord, get my heart right. Search me and know me and show me what needs to change!" Like David, I cry out, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." But, boy, oh boy, does it hurt when He gets your heart "right."

Do you ever notice, though, that until you obey completely there is an unrest in your spirit, a lack of peace? That was what I feeling..........

It began when God called me to talk to a dear friend about living in bondage to sin. She was caught up in a very destructive sin that has an impact on her future and her children's future. I did not want to "confront" her. For anyone who knows me- I can not "do" confrontation. I do not like to "debate" as some people do! I do NOT like "lively arguments." I run from confrontations and do anything to keep the peace. But, when God calls you to do something, you can't run from Him (Jonah, case in point!). So, for a couple of days, as my stomach did flip flops when I thought about the possibility of talking to her, I was miserable. (Disobedience is miserable!) But, God is so good! We had a wonderful conversation, God gave me the words to say, full of grace, love, and mercy. He had prepared her heart and she was ready to hear the words. After our conversation, I was praising God! He is glorious! She knew that I truly was an authentic friend who loved her enough to speak up and speak Truth to her.

The next week........God again spoke to my heart with a friendship. I am a stay at home mom who sometimes gets busy with the daily tasks of taking care of a husband, a home and five children that I forget to take time to nourish friendships. Sometimes friends will invite me to do things, like go to the park with the kids or visit their home, but I will decline because of my to do list. Well, God laid a friend on my heart, and I completely cleared my schedule so that I could spend some time with her. When I was with her, she confessed she was caught in a sin- a "biggie". She had an attitude that I couldn't relate because I am "a good Christian." She knew that I had SINFUL past, but didn't think for a moment that I still struggle with it. So, God led me to share my sin with her, baring my soul and confessing all the ugliness I hide! (See "Authenticity" post) It was not to glorify sin, or to laugh it off, but to let her know that I have to have Jesus in my life EVERYDAY!

And, then, a few days ago........ One of the sins I shared with my friend was that I struggled with jealousy. Again, the lack of peace, knowing that He was calling me to confess these feelings to this woman, asking for forgiveness. At first, I thought God was asking me to do something crazy! I knew I had this "problem", and had asked God to help me in this area a few months ago. I continually compared myself to her, felt inadequate to her, and jealous in some areas. The first thing God told me to do was begin praying for her. So, I prayed for her everyday, asking God to bless her- even in the areas I was jealous of her! At first, I didn't "mean" what I was praying, and only prayed out of obedience. I would say, "By faith, God, I am praying!" And, I continued to ask Him to get MY heart right. Pretty soon, I genuinely felt the things I prayed and my heart was filled with an overflowing love for her. God is good! One day I got a card in the mail FROM HER telling me that she appreciated me and what a blessing I am! I felt great about it and thought that was over. I NEVER thought God would ask me to confess it to her!!!!!!!! I knew there was no avoiding it, that I could not ignore God's leading- I had to obey. And, when I began writing to her, I was really surprised at all that poured out from my heart. I was completely honest with her (even though it was very humbling to admit that I could be so "shallow"!) I did NOT want to admit to anyone that I could have these evil feelings in my heart! But, praise God, He works all things together for good and He is sovereign! She wrote back immediately praising God! She had been having a hard time lately and just knowing that someone had been praying for her blessed her tremendously. She was touched by my honesty and forgave me and was thankful that I shared all of it with her. And, now we both feel a wonderful love for one another (as it should be in the Body of Christ!). So, as usual, God knows best!

The "under construction" process can be hard sometimes- a little uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It can be humbling. But, afterwards there is such joy and peace!

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and your weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."- Hebrews 12:11-12

Father God, I love You! I praise You! I thank You for Your wisdom! Thank You that You will not allow any "yucky" stuff to pollute our hearts. I am reminded that You say, "Above all else to guard our hearts because they are the wellspring of life!" Thank You that my heart is so important to You and the condition of it! Thank You that You remove those things that I might not think are very important- but You know. Lord, help me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ with a special love. Help me to be an authentic friend, honest with my shortcomings and failures, but also speaking Truth in love to my Beloved friends in Christ. Help me to recognize sin in my own heart and confess. Help me to confess to others, even when it is hard. I know I can only do these things by Your power and Your grace. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

Spinning.........

OK, my head is officially SPINNING!!!!!!!

Father God, I thank You that You have given us the wonderful Counselor- the Holy Spirit- to guide us and lead us in all Truth. Father, I pray for a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know You better. Lord, open the eyes of my heart and give me deep revelation into Your Word today.

Last week I heard a message that used a bit of the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). The message itself was on WORSHIP, and used this parable to illustrate a principle. The parable Jesus taught was that the wheat and the tares grow together and when the harvesters come, they separate the wheat from the tares. Wheat and tares look exactly the same. So, how will the harvesters know them apart? She taught that when wheat has fruit and is ready for harvest, it BOWS DOWN. Its head is heavy, and it bows low. Thus, the harvesters could tell the difference because the tares stood straight up (proud). The wheat was the ones that were bowing. This really spoke to me! (I don’t know anything about wheat or harvesting, so I am taking that “on faith” to be true!). Lord, I want to be humble before You! I don't want to be full of pride (or an ounce of pride!). I want to have a POSTURE of humble worship!

Soooooo, I had a desire to study this parable in length……..that is why my head is SPINNING!

For the past week I have been “researching” this parable, first by reading my three translations- NIV, NLT, and the Amplified. Then, I decided to go online to see what others had to say. Oh, boy! Information overload! I have been reading and rereading!

There are even several blogs NAMED “wheat and tares.” I have read essays, sermons, articles all pointing out different aspects of the parable, and their opinions. One blog used it to warn the “Religious Right” to stay out of politics, separation of church and state, blah, blah, blah, while another essay came to the conclusion that the “tares” were TV. I came to the conclusion that we can use the Scriptures to support our own “agenda,” even when there are two opposite view points! We can “twist” God’s Word around, trying to make IT support what we want to say, instead of asking God to SPEAK TO US through the Word.

So, Father, I pray that You would forgive us from using Your precious Word to “back up” our own political, social, ideological ideas. I want to come to Your Word, with an open and humble heart, asking You to teach me, God. Forgive me for the times I have used Your Word inappropriately. I want to be filled with Your Word. Your Word is LIFE! It is precious and alive. It is part of who You are! Jesus is named the Word. It is one way You speak to us. How You teach us. It is Your love letter to us. You tell us that “all Scripture is God-breathed”. Continue to teach me in Your Word, Lord! Give me discernment when reading/listening to teachers of the Word. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that leads me and guides me in all learning. Thank You that I live in a country that I can freely go to Your Word and check for myself what You say! I love You, Lord! I love You Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

I think I will stay off the Internet when reading His Word and stay in my prayer closet!

Blessings to you all!

Jill's new blog

Greetings, all!

Grace and peace to you all in abundance! I wanted to let everyone know of mi friend, Jill's new blog. Her address is :

www.findingabalancedlife.blogspot.com

Jill's passion is helping women live a balanced life. Please take a few minutes to stop bi and welcome her to the wonderful world of blogging!!!

Blessings to you all!

I’m thankful for….. (through a child’s eyes)

I recently wrote a post about approaching God with thanksgiving and counting our blessings. Please see http://tracyberta.blogspot.com/2007/11/thanksgiving.html. God is working in my spirit about this attitude of gratitude and entering His gates with thanksgiving.

It is always so interesting to ask our children what they are thankful for. Sometimes you may think they will answer by naming their toys or possessions. Usually, though, the first thing kids name is their family or parents. Aaron, only four years old, named his family, friends, God, trees, his buddy Zach (which is different from his list of friends because Zach is his imaginary friend), and toys only after I prompted him. We were talking about this on the way to preschool, and as I pondered it on the way home, I wondered how we, as adults sometimes get sidetracked about our blessings. How we lose the simplicity of faith. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)

When counting our blessings, would we name our “toys” first? Should there be relationships we are thankful for, but can’t name because we have let that relationship go? Friends or family that we need to forgive or ask forgiveness from to repair that relationship? Or is there someone we need to spend time with more, nurturing that relationship? Would trees even be on our thanksgiving list?

Lord, although I want to grow in my faith, becoming mature (Hebrew, James); I want to remain simple and humble. I don’t want to be so busy that I forget to appreciate your blessings of sunrise, trees, a child’s smile… I don’t want to be sidetracked by things of the world, that distract me from You.


Lord, may we always be thankful first for You, our family and friends, relationships, then all of the wonderful blessings You have given us! I love You, Jesus!

Beautiful............

Last night I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, our whole family is fighting off a “bug.” So, with homework finished early and supper done, we left the dishes in the sink and all got under some blankets to “snuggle buggle” and watch a movie. Lying there next to Ashley, my precious 8yr old, she looked up at me and said, “You are so beautiful, Mama.” She outlined my features and continued, “More beautiful than Miley (aka “Hannaha Montana”) or Mary Jane (Parker from Spiderman).” Now this surprised me, because I had not a stitch of make-up on and my hair was pulled back into a ponytail. (Not exactly “movie star” material!) I hugged her closer and giggled and we continued watching the movie.

But, as I was out walking this morning, God brought back that moment to my memory. What made me so beautiful to my little girl? It wasn’t the make-up or the hair or a gorgeous outfit. One of the verses I purpose in my heart to “live out” is 1Peter 3:3-4. It is my hearts’ cry that “my beauty should not come from outward adornment….Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a GENTLE and QUIET spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Gentle….a fruit of the spirit. How I long that I am gentle. That my talk is gentle (a gentle answer turns away wrath). Other words for gentle are calm, kind, and tender. I always want to be tender to my family. And, “quiet.” I look at quiet as resting in God, trusting Him. A quiet spirit…….a humble spirit…..

How I long to reflect these things. But, I feared that I had “exploded” with my children too many times for them to see me as gentle. I feared that I had said too many unkind words to be this gentle spirit. I have nagged too much… Complained too often… I feared that I had “exasperated” (Ephesians 6:4) my children too many times to be “beautiful” in God’s sight and their sight. I have a vision of what I so long to be……

But, through the sweet, gentle, kind words of my little girl, God reminded me that I am indeed beautiful in His sight. And, what a joy to a mother’s heart that her daughter would look past the physical beauty that the world espouses, traces the features of mama’s face, and calls her “beautiful.”

Father, may this be a gentle reminder to all of us that true beauty comes from a spirit who loves, follows, and trusts You. There is nothing more beautiful than a reflection of Your glorious Light. Help us, as women, Lord, to be secure and comfortable in who You have created us to be. Father, we praise You and love You. Glory to God in the highest! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Indescribable..............

I love the song, "Indescribable" bt Chris Tomlin. It is amazing! One of the verses proclaims God's amazing creation, "from the colors of fall...." We went on a hike a few weeks ago and as I look at the pictures, I can't help but sing this song to an amazing, indescribable God!

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaimingIndescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go?
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow?
Who imagined the sun and gives source to it's light,
Yet conceals it to brings us the coolness of night?
None can fathomIndescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaimYou are amazing God
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by nameYou are amazing God
All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same
You are amazing GodYou are amazing God

He is my Rock!!!!!!!!!!

I love God’s Word! It refreshes my soul! God’s Word is amazing because no matter how many times you reread parts of it, it is never boring! There are a few books that I have loved so much that I have read and reread them. But, most books I would lose interest in if I read them over and over. But, not so with God’s Word! I was reading through some Psalms this morning- psalms I have read several times. But, even though some of the verses have been read so much I have memorized them, I never tire of them. Why???? It is because God’s Word is ALIVE! It speaks to me! I may have read a scripture hundreds of times, but I read it anew and it speaks something new to my soul! It is life. It fills my soul with life.

I was reading Psalm 18 this morning. It is such an encouraging psalm, especially when we are going through tough times. This psalm talks about our “enemies.” It is funny because one time I had been reading this psalm and thought, “Boy, I am so glad I don’t have any enemies.” I had been thinking in human terms. “Everyone likes me. I am nice to everyone around me. I don’t have any enemies.” But, God corrected me immediately!!!!!!!! He reminded me that I have an enemy to my soul that is out to kill, steal, and destroy everything good in my life. I do have an enemy- Satan! And, as I read this psalm this morning, I realized that we have many enemies- fear, doubt, disbelief, depression…. So, as you read this, ask the Holy Spirit what are your enemies and be encouraged that God fights all of our enemies for us!

Psalm 18
Verses 1-3:“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Thank You, God! Thank You that when I call out to You, You are ready to save! Thank You for being my refuge, my shield, my deliverer!

4: “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;” Have you ever felt entangled, overwhelmed? Have the problems of life ever felt like they were suffocating, strangling you? ..…… “the snares of death confronted me.” Ever been confronted by the problems of life?

6: “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. (May I always turn to You, Lord in my distress!) From His temple He heard my voice (God hears our voice, no matter what we think or what the enemy tries to tell us- God hears us!!!!) my cry came before Him, into His ears.” Our voices are in His ears. “He is attentive to our needs.”

Now watch what happens in the next few verses- the earth trembles and quakes. The mountains shake and tremble because of God’s anger. “Smoke rises from His nostrils; consuming fire came from His mouth.” God gets mad when someone is beating us up! Think about this in terms of a parent. If someone were beating up our child, some big bully hurting her, wouldn’t we come running to the rescue with smoke coming from our nostrils???? I love verse 10, “He soared on the wings of the wind.” I can’t help but remember this verse every time the wind blows through my hair! “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.” Whew! He shouts a battle cry on my behalf! “He is mighty to save!”

Verse 16, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.” Have the waters ever felt like they were drowning you? He reaches down from heaven and draws you out! “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.” No matter how big the bully is, how powerful, how strong, God is bigger! They may be too strong for us, but NOT for God! “They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. (“If God be for me, who dare be against me???”) He brought me out into a spacious place (ever felt like the walls were closing in- God brings us into a SPACIOUS place, where we can move, where we can breathe….) He rescued me because He delighted in me.” Nothing that I did- just because the Lord delights in me! “The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you.”

Listen to verse 28, “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Have you ever felt darkness all around you? God turns it into light!

….verse 32, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” I get my strength for the battle from God and God alone! “You armed with strength for battle; You made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, (and listen to this!!) and I destroyed my foes." Whew! God gives US victory!

Let’s finish with praising Him,
“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!”

Father God, thank You for always fighting my battles for me! And, You are so precious, You give the victory to me! I am the over comer, more than a conqueror IN CHRIST! Thank You, God that You are my Rock, my Stronghold, my Redeemer, my Strength, my Savior! Glory to God in the Highest! Hallelujah! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

I'm a Failure!!!!!!!!!

“I am afraid I will fail. I feel like a failure.”

Those words crushed me. I felt so sad when my friend said them. You see, Satan had her trapped, deceiving her. She was afraid to trust God, turn over her life to Him, and walk in obedience. She was afraid that if she did, the outcome of her situation would brand her “FAILURE.” Oh, how I hate the enemy!

But, when we walk in obedience to God, we are NEVER marked a failure. In fact, that is NEVER how God sees us, even when we make mistakes. One time, I had goofed up BIG TIME with our checkbook. I had made a mathematical error and we were overdrawn, like I said, BIG TIME! I just kept writing checks, even though there wasn’t money to cover them (I thought there was). Then, there was a bank fee for every bad check, so the whole kept getting bigger. I was so afraid to go to Brian (my husband) and tell him what I had done. (Like he wasn’t going to find out???) I was scared. I was so afraid of his reaction. And, I was afraid of what we were going to do financially. I felt so stupid. I felt like a failure. My stomach was sick. I cried and cried. But, I had to tell my husband when he returned from work that day. And, I dreaded that!!!!!!!! I spent the day in prayer asking God to help me, to be strong, to be honest…

But, when I told Brian, he wasn’t angry with me. He forgave me immediately. And, I will never forget his reaction. He put his arms around me, told me that everything was going to be OK. He said it was a setback for us, but that we would get through it, and that we just needed to “fix” it. He told me that he wasn’t mad at me and that he loved me. Whew! That was the Holy Spirit working through him! The weight of the world lifted off my shoulders! I felt such a release, such a peace. Now, the circumstances didn’t evaporate- we still had to deal with them! In fact, although Brian was so merciful, he told me we still had to deal with the problem, and that meant that I had to go into the bank, talk with a banker, and get our checkbook straightened out. Uhhhh!!!! Again, I had to deal with the temptation of feeling like a failure, an “idiot” (that was the word in my head!). But, that condemnation was NOT coming from God! Again, I went to the prayer closet, asking God to help me. God reminded me that I had been forgiven, but that I couldn’t just “forget about it.” I had to deal with my situation, walk in obedience. Well, I took a deep breath, and went into the bank. I remember that the banker was so nice. He helped me find the error and even reversed the bank fees!!!! (Mercy!) I felt so much better taking care of it. (There were several meals of hot dogs and mac and cheese, but we got “back on our feet” again in a couple of weeks!)

But, here is the thing, the enemy wants to keep us down- defeated, feeling like a failure, feeling like an idiot. Sometimes, instead of looking to God and walking in obedience, we live in fear, not trusting God that His way is perfect (even though there may be a few meals of mac and cheese, so to speak!). Obedience may not mean “painless,” but there is such joy and PEACE in obedience!

Our God loves us so much. He is NOT standing over our shoulder saying, “You’re an idiot, a failure!” He is not condemning us! (There is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus- Romans 8:1) But, He says, (like Brian did in my situation!) “We need to fix this.” He is not going to allow us to continue going down the wrong path! What if I would have just kept spending money that wasn’t in our account????? He loves us so much. He does not want us to be miserable!!! Jesus came so that we may have ABUNDANT life! (John 10:10) His way is so much better. He’s not going to let us continue to go down that wrong path BECAUSE He loves, because He wants His best for us. It’s not because He thinks I am a failure, but because His heart breaks when my heart breaks. He wants me to live the best life possible- His life. So…….. I need to trust Him. I need to lay aside all of my foolish excuses for not obeying. I need to surrender to His will and to His ways. (Romans 12:1- offer my body as a living sacrifice!) NOT BECAUSE GOD IS A “MEANIE” (as Aaron, 4, will sometimes say!) It is because God is rich in mercy and love, slow to anger and quick to forgive. Praise You, God! Hallelujah!!!!

Father God, I praise You! You are glorious! You are perfect! You are good. Thank You for Your mercy and love. Thank You that You have good plans for me. Thank You that You see the end from the beginning and You know all things. Even when I can’t see the way, You know. Lord, I purpose in my heart to trust You. I purpose to obey You, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Praise You, God! Praise You! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen!