January 04, 2005

It Is So Hard Sometimes

I find it so difficult sometimes to keep a sweet Christian spirit when people are being ugly to me. Especially when they are accusing me of things that I do not do or hurting my children...or just neglecting them in some way. It's even more difficult when someone that is supposed to be your friend takes advantage of you or makes a mistake then blames it on you. I try to remember that God knows the truth and I still have plenty to be thankful for. THAT is the easy part. THEN I remember that I am supposed to be sweet to these people anyway and pray for them....and that is hard. But then there is more. A friend reminded me that we are to do this without complaining....and that is EXTREMELY hard when you feel like you or your children have been dumped on.

Today I decided to pray and seek God's help in this matter and see what kind of scripture references I could come up with that would help me. The verse that popped up on my calendar was, "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness." PROVERBS 11:5 I'd better work on seeking God to perfect me and direct my way and let the wicked take care of themselves........and we'd better pray for them because their end will be an unpleasant one. Other verses that helped follow....

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you MATTHEW 5:44

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. PROVERBS 25:21-22

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. LUKE 6:35

My friend also reminded me that our troubles are only for a season and that we needed to go through these seasons to learn and grow and for God to teach and use us in the way that He needs to. I have found this to be true so many times in the past but hindsight is so much better.... :o) Anyway, while pondering this, I think about God's grace. Grace means 'forgiving mercy, favour, kindness, and friendship.' If God can forgive me and show me grace as great as He is, then who am I not to do it for others like He wants me to? Even if I have to do it daily.

Posted by Barbara at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2004

Missing Church?

When you miss church, do you really MISS church?

I am the type of person that likes to be at church every time the doors are open. I don't want to miss a service, a message, a blessing...etc. I want to go more, but my husband gets upset if I go to all of the ones I usually attend now and stay if they hold over. I'd like to sing in the choir, but he'd really croak if I went to choir practice, etc.

Anyway, I love our church. I have had to miss a few services lately due to my health problems and was unable to go this morning. I am truly missing church. I am trying to figure out how I can go tonight without causing myself too much pain. If I can't get myself to feel like going, I'm going to take time out to read some special devotionals or something and read my Bible and still dedicate my time like it should be spent. I realize though how fortunate that I am to have a special church like I have.

While I am counting my blessings, I'd like to say that I am also fortunate to have so many people to care about me. I have had so many phone calls, e-mails, and visitors from friends and family checking on me. Some even came and cleaned house and did laundry! My room...pre and post op was full too. :o) See? The Lord truly is good to me!

Posted by Barbara at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

Alabaster Box

Today I wanted to share my daily devotional. It is about one of my favorite stories in the Bible....Mary and her alabaster box. It doesn't matter how many times I hear this story or hear the song, it makes me cry. She realized she had encountered the Lord and worshipped him with everything she had. She didn't care who was looking at her or what they were saying about her. She didn't worry about what it might look like to those that didn't understand. She knew and the Lord knew and that was all that mattered. THAT is all that matters. If your heart is right with God and you have that personal relationship with Him, then don't worry if people talk about how you worship or what kind of church you attend, just keep doing what you are doing to keep that personal closeness with the Lord always. What is right for you may not be right for others and what is right for others may not be right for you. It is up to each of us to work out our own salvation.

Also, if any of you are into buying music downloads for your computer, then be sure that you purchase 'Alabaster Box' by Cece Winans. It is awesome and I guarantee that it will touch you if you enjoy the story.

I Will Not Offer Him a Sacrifice That
That Does Not Cost Me Personal Sacrifice

Mary sacrificed her future for His present presence. What would you give to be saturated in His presence for just thirty seconds? It's time to break your alabaster box.

When Mary went home the night after she broke her alabaster box of brokenness over Jesus, she still smelled like Him. When she lay down to sleep, she still smelled like Him. When she got up the next morning, she still smelled like Him.

Mary invested all that she had for one encounter with Jesus. She embodies the passion that drives God Chasers around the world. We all want to see Him, to sense His presence and draw near in worship and adoration. The more of Him we get, the more of Him we must have. We find ourselves unable to find satisfaction in passionless church protocols-there is a fire in our bones that launches us in a desperate search for His manifest presence.

Are you desperate for the kind of God encounter that goes with you? This is the key: You must break your own alabaster box.

Will you be a Mary, a passionate box-breaker bearing the fragrance of brokenness? First, you must abandon the crowd of voices trying to steal or withhold worship from God in the name of preserving man's program. … The Father is bending over the ramparts of heaven. He hears the irresistible crackle and the tinkle of breaking alabaster boxes… Is that the sound of your heart breaking? An incredible fragrance is filling the atmosphere, and I hear the rumors of His sudden approach.

Posted by Barbara at 06:52 AM | Comments (2)

September 30, 2004

Amazing To Me

What do we mean when we tell someone that we will pray for them? What do we expect when we ask someone to pray for us? Are the answers to those questions totally different? I think that they are for most of us if we are honest with ourselves and each other.

Beginning to live a Christian life is a huge change for most everyone that makes that change. As I have discussed before, how to pray, how much to pray, when to pray, etc...was a problem that I had to work on. Now, I have had to think really hard on this one. I'm learning as I go along that I need to do things differently. I need to spend more time praying for other people besides me and mine...and not just mentioning them before I say 'amen.'

I have found out that people are doing great amounts of prayer and fasting for my family and especially my husband. My cell leader (and friend), her husband, family members, church friends, and even people from the church that hardly know us. These people are losing hours of sleep to stay up to pray for his salvation and fasting for days. It is just so amazing to me still that the Lord gives us the gift of love and we love people that we don't know enough to cry for, give up food and sleep for, and give up time for to pray for them. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people that the Lord has blessed me with. I only hope that I can be as supportive to them when they need me to be.

Posted by Barbara at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

On a Personal Note

I have been really enjoying a song from my new 'Mary Mary' CD called 'Can't Give Up Now.' It talks about the battles and mountains to climb and the chorus says, "I just can't give up now...I've come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy...and I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me."

I believe that and I was just thinking that I am very fortunate to have so many people supporting me emotionally and set in my path. Of course there is my Mom and Patty that are family that I can always call, but besides family and ones that have always been there, I have great friends. I have Christie who is a friend and my cell leader always available and ready to offer advice. I think that God placed me and Yolanda at school for each other. I know that she is a great comfort to me and I feel so much better just knowing that she is there to pray with me before tests and otherwise. She is wonderful to talk to and fellowship with. Even though my husband is a source of some of my problems, he really has my best interests at heart even if I think he is screwed up about what they are. :o) He is so good to me about most things and I am very fotunate. I have great in-laws and a great family for the most part.

I guess I am counting my blessings. Most of us get so caught up in our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. The Lord really does supply our needs when we call on Him and trust Him to take care of us. No, I can't explain it to a non-believer, but any believer knows exactly what I mean. No, I can't offer iron-clad proof, but any believer knows that they have all the proof they need just like I do. It's awesome and amazing and a shame that everyone won't open themselves up to experience it.

Posted by Barbara at 09:04 PM | Comments (2)

September 12, 2004

Blogging Again

I had thought that I would not blog again due to the controversy that it causes in certain aspects of my life. I have decided to go ahead and do it anyway. Keep on looking and reading. I'm going to continue.I guess I am supposed to expect persecution if I am going to live for God. My prayer is that I can touch, at least, some people with what I say.

I am still very excited about living for the Lord and can't see living any other way as much as someone would like me to denounce it and walk in the opposite direction. We each feel that the other is misled and pitifully mistaken about what we perceive to be the truth. I'm convinced of the truth as I see it and will continue to walk in that truth until I have reason to believe otherwise. Of course, that will never happen, because the Lord is real to me now. That would be like someone trying to convince me that my mom and my husband didn't exist.

I'm going totry to prepare a good post tomorrow so check in. :o)

Posted by Barbara at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Encounter Weekend

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. I have been on a weekend trip with ladies from our church, South Georgia, Arizona, Alabama, and Israel. Isn't that an interesting group of people to bring together? It's amazing how we can all come together as sisters in the name of Christ no matter what our skin color or our background and love each other. That is the way that it should be all of the time everywhere.

It was a weekend that I will never forget. Though I did not spend the weekend very emotional at all (which is highly unusual for me), or have any fireworks go off like I had hoped for (and was beginning to think that I had wasted my time) I ended up knowing why the Lord pushed me to go.

Before I left, I knew that I knew that there was a God and there was no turning back on that. I was at a point with my walk that I was content to be where I was for the most part. I wanted a closer walk with the Lord, but I was completely content to sit back and watch everyone else speak in tongues and the other things. I wanted to dance and get excited more often, excited about what the Lord has done for me but always afraid to get caught up in the emotionalism and hype (as my husband calls it.) Maybe that is why I could not be emotionally moved...because I was set to learn the truth.

It took a while and several people praying for me before I spoke in tongues. When I did, it happened, but it wasn't an emotional thing. I was told that it isn't sometimes and was normal. (This made me feel much better because I had been some before and thought that I must be doing it wrong so I stopped.) by the last session, I was thinking that the leaders must think that I am a dead fish. :o)

We came to the last session which was "The Vision" and we were all supposed to come up and get prayed for to have the vision imparted to us. I went too. Mom came in after it started and said, "What is going on?" I said, "They are making everyone fall down" and I frowned. She laughed and said, "You'd better not...he told you not to fall down." My husband told me not to fall down. I promised that I wouldn't if I could help it at all.

You see, my husband doesn't believe that the Holy Spirit can make you fall. He, being atheist, doesn't believe in the Holy Spirit at all. If you fall down, it is because you have let 'those people at that church' brainwash you and have control of your brain so much that they can manipulate your actions enough to make you fall. I had started believing this because I know how powerful the mind can be. I was going to resist just to prove that I could....I mean, I knew that I could...I hadn't fallen down any of the other times I'd ever been prayed for in the church or there, right?

Mom had said that she was going to sit down because she didn't want to get hurt.Then a few minutes later, she came back and said that she had changed her mind. I didn't question her. Mary came around touching everyone and praying. Most everyone fell at her touch. She got to mom and she fell! She fell! I couldn't believe it! I was thinking that she had sure gotten weak minded in her old age when it felt like I had gotten hit with a bolt of lightening.....I gasped and fell to the floor. I concentrated on the feeling. I wanted to remember what the feeling was like. Then, I tried to get up and I couldn't. I just laid there and wept. My cousin helped me up and it took me a minute to get my balance. I know now what the scripture means when it says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" and "And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I [am] a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD."

Mom confessed to me on the bus going home that she came back up there because she was upset. She thought that she was pushing people down and she was not going to be satisfied until she saw for herself. I admitted that I thought that I could resist with my mind and we got a good laugh at being taught a lesson over our skepticism by the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Barbara at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Being Spiritual

"Being soulish is antagnostic to being spiritual. The spirit, that noblest part of us, the part which may be united to God and ought to regulate the soul and body, is now under the dominion of the soul, that part of us which is earthly in both its motive and aim. The spirit has been stripped of its original position. Man's present condition is abnormal. Wherefore he is pictured as not having spirit. The result of being soulish is that he becomes a mocker, pursuing ungodly passions and creating divisions."

"1 Corinthians 2:14 speaks of such unregenerated persons in this fashion:'The natural (soulish) man does not receive the gifts of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.' Such men as are under the control of their souls with their spirits suppressed are in direct contrast to spiritual people. They may be exceedingly intelligent, able to present masterful ideas or theories, yet they do not consent to the things of the Spirit of God. They are unfit to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. Such revelation is vastly different from human ideas. Man may think human intellect and reasoning are almighty, that the brain is able to comprehend all truths of the world; but the verdict of God's word is, 'vanity of all vanities'."

From "The Spiritual Man" by Watchman Nee page.... 53

Posted by Barbara at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2004

Spiritual Gifts?

Are the spiritual gifts for today? Were they only meant for the prophets in Acts? Many people that do not believe in the practicing of spritual gifts believe that they were only meant for the times that Acts was written about. Many believe that they were meant as a source of comfort from 'The Comforter' for all times.

This is something that I have personally struggled with. My early years were spent in the Church Of God and now that I have gone back to church nearly twenty years later, my atheist husband challenges everything that I have ever been taught. Even this, he says, if you are going to believe.....you have to believe that it was for then and had a purpose. He bases this on the fact that there were many people around that spoke different languages and that they spoke in different tongues so that all that was there could understand what was being said. Of course, if that was the case, why did they need an interpreter then? What would be the difference in the Spirit causing one to prophesy then and now? Do we not still believe in the other gifts of the Spirit with the greatest being love? And if we believe that God wants us to have part of the gifts, then why not all? If he only wanted us to have part of them, why wouldn't he specify that part were for the prophets and part for everyone? Also, if speaking in tongues, casting out of demons, prophesying, etc....were just for those times, then why does Matthew 7:22 say this? "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" And for those that oppose speaking in tongues, why does the Bible say this in 1 Chorinthians 14:39 "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues"?

Of course, I am the type of believer that doesn't think that one denomination has it all figured out and knows all of the answers. I think that all of the denominations have some good ideas. I don't think that just one denomination is going to go to heaven and the rest will be left behind in hell to burn forever. I believe that each individual person has to work out their own salvation. That is between them and God. My salvation is between me and God.

Posted by Barbara at 06:22 AM | Comments (20)

August 09, 2004

To Believe or Not to Believe?

Living with an atheist challenges your faith everyday. You think and rethink everything that you do or say. You second guess yourself, your thoughts, your actions. You constantly ask yourself why you are doing something. Is it because the church tells you that you should? A church elder? The pastor? The Bible? Your parents? Was that God REALLY speaking to me or just my imagination? Just when you feel comfortable, you are challenged again.

I used to resent the fact and still really get my feelings hurt when I feel that I'm looked at as a weak person because of my beliefs and faith, but am beginning to see things from a new perspective. This constant challenge has caused me to to go on a search that I think will ultimately bring us together in the end. Of course, I think that in the end, he will see the truth and come to realize that there is a very real God. He thinks that I will end up seeing the truth and see that I have been brainwashed my entire life.

Does faith delude us into seeing a world that doesn't exist, or does it reveal the existence of a world we cannot see without it?

Doubters want ironclad proof. There is none. 'You need eyes to see and ears to hear', Jesus said to those who doubted him. It takes the mystery of faith, always, to believe. The ordinary, natural world contains the supernatural,a necessary step since we don't have the capacity to apprehend God directly. We see God best in the same way we see a solar eclipse: not by staring at the sun, which would cause blindness, but through something on which the sun is projected.

Posted by Barbara at 09:34 PM | Comments (3)

August 07, 2004

Learning to Pray

This week I am concentrating on how to pray. That almost seems too ignorant to put in my blog, because we all assume that everyone can pray....and we can. I am talking about REALLY praying. I have found myself thinking many times that I really do not know how to pray. Since I began feeling this way, I have heard others state the same thing. The disciples even said, "Lord, teach us to pray."

I grew up influenced by Christian people, taught to believe in God, and went to church much of my life. I knew a lot of Bible scriptures, the books of the Bible, the ten commandments, the favorite children's stories, and most of the basics. I heard a lot of stories of miracles and answered prayers and how good God was and witnessed much of it myself. I was thrown little peices of advice like, "Always pray for God's will because His will is what is best." However, I don't think anyone told me how to really pray other than to talk to God like I would talk to my mom or dad.

When the disciples asked the Lord how to pray, he gave them the Lord's Prayer. According to Kay Arthur's book "Lord Teach Me To Pray," He did not give this to them to mindlessly repeat over and over, He gave it to them (and us) as an example of what should be included in our prayers. She breaks down the prayer and shows how it teaches us to worship, show allegience to God's sovereignty, show submission to His will, ask for His provision, confess and ask forgiveness of our sins, and to ask Him to watch us and deliver us from evil. She also points out other scriptural references to prayer such as 2 Timothy 2:15. John 14:13, John 16:23, Matthew 21:22, James 4:1-3,Isaiah 31:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Isaiah 59:1-2, Psalm 66:18, 1 John 1:9, James 5:16, and more. The Bible is ultimately our guide to effective prayer.

Throughout my post I have dreaded clicking the 'post' button because I know the comments from "you-know-who" will begin so I decided to end this post with a quote. :o)

"If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully-the life you save may be your own-and Jesus says, Whoever would save his lifewill lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world's sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under the cross than under a delusion. "We are fools for Christ's sake," Paul says, faith says-the faith that ultimately the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men, the lunacy of Jesus saner than the grim sanity of the world.
Frederick Buechner

Posted by Barbara at 09:17 AM | Comments (1)