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Archive for September, 2013

I made a purchase last night that I was using gift cards for;  TWO freaky issues arose.  One card had a redemption problem, and with the other one either I’d copied the # into my records twice because I wasn’t keeping track of what I’d done, or I’d failed to record one of the cards received at that time because I’d copied the 1st one twice instead…  I naturally feared it was the 2nd option.   The website that had sent it to me no longer had records of past cards so I had no way to figure out which it was.

The company that had given me the first card is one of those types that is usually a short-term thing;  I had very little hope that they were still around, much less that the one person I had an email addy for was still there, much less that they’d be in any hurry to assist someone who was no longer a member with a 2.5 year old card they’d given me.  With the 2nd card, the company has a long history of taking weeks to reply even to current issues, often requiring multiple emails to get them to respond, and I didn’t know if they even had the info I wanted available anymore, much less were willing to take the time digging it up, much less to do so any time soon.

So what happened?  First thing in the morning, they BOTH emailed me to handle their issues, and the 2nd company included the records I’d asked for!!!!!!!!!!!!  There’s no way THAT happened without God’s intervention.

And here’s more proof that He sends signs in dreams:  I had a dream that I was trying to sign a card for a friend that had not responded to the email I sent 5 weeks ago.  When I got up and went to my inbox I discovered, you guessed it, an email from him. AND;  the email had just come, meaning that it showed up within less than 10 minutes of when I was dreaming his name…  the TIMING!!  God is truly extraordinary.

PS:  This is my 500th post!!  🙂

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Staying in peace

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have opportunities to get worried, go around upset, frustrated, offended;  somebody’s not treating us right, we’re dealing with a health issue, the project’s taking a lot longer than we thought.  life happens.  God never promised that we wouldn’t have challenges, and everything will always go smoothly;  no, the storms of life come to every person.  but God did promise that we can have peace in the midst of  the storm.  just because we’re in a stressful situation doesn’t mean that we have to get stressed out.  just because the medical report wasn’t good, or your plans didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that you have to be frustrated.  you may be in the storm, but don’t let the storm get in you.  a boat can be surrounded by water;  it’s not any problem unless the boat starts taking on the water.  if the boat starts allowing the ocean on the inside, before long it will sink.  it’s the same principle in life;  you can have trouble all around you:  at the office, people gossiping, playing politics, at school, somebody trying to make you look bad, at home, raising a difficult child.  stress, frustration, worry, it’s all around you.  but the good news is, just like the boat, you don’t have to allow what’s on the outside to get on the inside.

just because you’re surrounded by a situation that should be frustrating, “they’re talking about me, I should be offended.  traffic’s taking twice as long as normal, I should be upset,” no, don’t let the storm get in you;  don’t start taking on the water.  if you’re controlled by your circumstances, up when things are up, down when things don’t go your way, life is going to be a rollercoaster.  God wants you be stable, consistent, not moved by any of these things.  and when you face an adversity, hit a tough time, one of the best things you can do is simply stay calm, keep your peace.  when you’re in peace, that’s a position of power.  you’re saying with your actions, “God, I trust You.  I know You’re still on the throne.  this may be difficult, but I know You are fighting my battles.”  when you’re in peace, you’re showing God by your actions that you’re trusting Him.

Hebrews 4:3 (NKJV)

For we who have believed do enter that rest

notice, when you’re really believing, there’s a rest. “you didn’t get the promotion, aren’t you upset, you were the most qualified?”  “no, I’m at peace.  I know God has something better.  promotion doesn’t come from people, it comes from the Lord.  when it’s my time to be promoted I will be promoted.”  that’s what it means to stay at rest.  some of you have been on that rollercoaster for a long time, allowing your circumstances to determine whether or not you’re going to be happy.  you need to put your foot down and say, “that’s it.  from now on I’m keeping my peace.  I’m not going to allow what’s on the outside to get on the inside.   I’m not going to keep letting the same people frustrate me, the same circumstances upset me.  I’m going to enter into that place of rest.”  that not only allows God to work in your life, but it’s better for your health;  we were never created to live uptight, worried, stressed out.  that weakens our immune system;  it won’t fight off diseases like it should.  the reason some people can’t overcome an illness, they’re always tired, run down, they don’t have any energy, is because they worry all the time.  on the inside they’re constantly wrought up, even when they go to bed at night their mind is still going 90 to nothing, thinking about that problem;  “what if I can’t make that payment?”  all that time you spend worrying, you are draining your energy.  it’s making you weaker, taking your creativity;  you don’t do your best work when you’re worried.  you don’t make good decisions when you’re stressed out.

Luke 12:25 (HCSB)

25 Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying?

if we could, some of us would be 20 feet tall, we’ve worried so long.  worry is like a rocking chair;  you’re always moving but you’re never going anywhere.  when God created Adam, He put him in the garden of Eden, a very quiet, peaceful, tranquil place;  that’s where God met him and spoke with him, at a place of peace.  in life, it can be very noisy.  if we allow it, all of us can live stressed, uptight, in a hurry, on edge.  but in all the busyness, bills to pay, deadlines at the office, the problems we’re concerned about, in the midst of the hectic society, we’ve got to learn to not let the busyness, frustration, stress get on the inside.  it may be very hectic on the outside, but deep down in your spirit person there needs to be a calmness, a rest, to where you know God has you in the palm of His hand.  you know no weapon formed against you will ever prosper.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…

some of you have been worried for a long time;  stressed because a dream hasn’t come to pass, upset over a challenge you’re dealing with.  you can’t sleep at night, it’s taken your joy.  but just like God met Adam at a place of peace, God is saying, “there may be trouble, turmoil, all around on the outside, but if you’ll come back to that place of peace on the inside, I will meet you there. I will give you wisdom, strength.  I will turn that situation around.”  God meets us when we’re in peace.  in the center of a hurricane there’s something called the eye of the storm, where it’s very calm and peaceful.  all around, there’s chaos;  winds blowing 100 miles an hour, debris flying left and right, danger everywhere.  but as long as you’re in the eye, it’s as calm and peaceful as can be.   in life, there will be times where it seems like everything is out of control;  “my child is acting up, my company is talking about laying people off, my loved one is about to pass.”  challenges, adversities, stress will come. but just like with the eye of the storm, in the midst of that difficulty there’s a place of peace that you can go to:

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

that means you’ll have peace when you should be upset, stressed out.  when you stay calm in the midst of the storm, you will feel a peace that passes all understanding, that doesn’t even make sense.

Mark 4:37-39 (NIV)

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

the reason Jesus could bring peace to that situation was because he had peace on the inside;  he was in the storm, but he didn’t let the storm get in him.  if you get upset, bent out of shape, every time things don’t go your way, you can’t bring peace to that situation.  peace is not the absence of trouble, getting rid of all your enemies, overcoming all your challenges, paying off all your bills;  no, there can be trouble, conflict, challenges all around you on the outside, but real peace is not allowing it on the inside.  peace is not the absence of trouble, it’s knowing God is right there with you in the midst of the trouble.

Psalm 91:4 (NIV)

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge

don’t wait for all your problems to resolve, and then you’ll decide to quit worrying;  “as soon as the traffic gets better, my boss retires, husband straightens up.”  if you have that attitude, there will always be something to keep you upset, frustrated, offended, discouraged.  no, make up your mind you’re going to have peace right in the midst of the storm.  in the ocean, on the surface, the water is always changing, depending on the wind, tide, what time of year or day.  if you go down about 30 feet deep, the water never changes;  it’s as calm and still as can be.  that’s the way we need to be.  in life, on the surface, things will always be going  on.  you can’t get away from all the traffic, or a person that irritates you, a challenge in your relationship, in your health, that’s just life.  that will create waves up on the surface, but deep down in that spirit person you’ve gotta have a calmness, a peace in your spirit.

Isaiah 30:15 (AMP)

15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength…

but when you’re worried, moved by every circumstance, upset because you’re not getting your way, offended at what a neighbor said, then you’re living a very shallow life;  you’re focused on the surface.  the problem is, you don’t control the wind, tide, what other people do, what your neighbor says, or even what battles you fight.  the only thing we can control is our own attitude.  life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you respond.  if you worry all the time, get upset every time the traffic is bad, frustrated because you have an unexpected bill, go deeper.  the surface is always going to be changing.  you’ll never get away from the tests, challenges, adversities;  as long as you’re alive, there will be something to deal with.  but when you learn to go down to the deep waters, you have this calmness, rest;  you know what’s on the surface is only temporary.  a big wave hits you, in your marriage, finances;  in the natural, you should be upset.  on the surface, it looks big, insurmountable;  but deep down you’ve got a peace, a calmness, you know this too shall pass.

Daniel 3:14-15 (NIV)

14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

you’d think they’d be upset, discouraged, all devastated.  no, they were in the storm, but they didn’t let the storm get in them.  they knew God had them in the palm of His hand.  the enemy cannot stop God’s destiny for your life;  he’s not in control, God is in control.  Satan had to ask permission to even test Job.  God has a hedge of protection around you, nothing can happen without God’s permission, and God will not allow a difficulty unless He has a divine purpose for it.  if you will keep your peace, you’ll pass the test, and God will bring you out better than you were before.  the Israelites were facing an impossible situation:

Exodus 14:14 (AMP)

14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.

notice, there was a condition, something we have to do;  hold your peace.  that indicates something is trying to take it away;  thoughts of worry,  fear, anxiety.  “what if it doesn’t happen?  what am I going to do?”  if you can just stay in peace, the Creator of the universe, the most high God, will go to work in your behalf.  nothing can stand against our God;  He has all power.  He stopped the sun for Joshua.  He closed the mouths of hungry lions for Daniel.  whatever you face in life, if you will just hold your peace, remain at rest, God promises He will fight your battles.  He will make a way even when you don’t see a way.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego should have been afraid, distraught, but they understood this principle:

Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

they were saying, “if it happens our way, great, but if it doesn’t work out the way we wanted we’re still going to stay in peace.” “I’m believing to get healed, but even if I don’t I’m still in peace.  I know when I die I’m going to go to heaven and be with the Lord;  that’s no too bad.”  “that person at the office that gets on my nerves, if God removes them, fine, if God chooses to leave them, fine.  I’m still going to stay in peace.”  when you have a made-up mind that no matter what life deals your way you’re going to stay calm and in peace, all the forces of darkness cannot keep you from your destiny.

this is what the apostle Paul did.  he was shipwrecked, went days without food or water, he was beaten with rods, falsely accused, put into prison, yet he said:

Acts 20:24 (KJV)

24 But none of these things move me

Paul wasn’t living on the surface, he was stable, consistent, living in the deep waters.  that’s the attitude we need to have;  “none of these things move me.”  “business is a little slow, I’m not moved by it.  I’m not losing any sleep.  I know Jehova-Jireh, the Lord my provider, He is supplying all of my needs.”  “somebody’s talking about me?  not moved by it.  that’s a small wave.  that’s on the surface;  I’m in the deep waters.”  some of you today would go to a new level if you would quit letting so many things move you.  life is too short to live it offended, upset, stressed out, discouraged.  every day is a gift from God.  before you leave the house, you need to make up your mind;  “nothing is going to move me today.  nothing is going to upset me:  traffic, weather, what somebody says, delay, disappointment.  my plans may not work out, but my God is still on throne and if He be for me who dare be against me?”

Ephesians 6:13-17 (NLT)

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

when you get up in the morning, you need to make sure to put your shoes of peace on.  you’ve gotta prepare ahead of time that nothing is going to frustrate you.  your child forgets his lunch, you’ve gotta run back to the school, and it stresses you out;  what’s the problem?  you’re barefoot;  you forgot to put your shoes on.  at the grocery store, somebody is rude to you, you’re about to be rude back to them;  no, quit leaving the house barefoot.  make sure you put your shoes of peace on every morning.  when you live right, God will protect you.

2 Timothy 4:5 (AMP)

As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship

I like that word “unflinchingly”;  somebody says something derogatory about you, don’t even flinch, blink, don’t let it phase you.  “I’ve got my shoes of peace on.”  you didn’t get a good report about your health;  don’t fall apart, “I’ve been praying, eating right, I don’t understand, I’m so upset.”  don’t flinch.  tap into the deep waters. be calm, cool and steady;  that’s not just being tough, that’s showing God that you’re trusting Him.  you had big plans, they got canceled;  don’t flinch, it’s only a test.  you thought that person you were dating was the right one;  it didn’t work out.  don’t flinch;  God has somebody better in store.  it’s one thing to go through a difficulty and everybody knows about it;  your family’s praying, friends are cheering you on, your coworkers are standing with you, there’s nothing wrong with that, we certainly need each other.  but when you go through a difficulty and nobody knows anything about it, you’ve still got a smile on your face, you’re still being good to people, giving it your all at the office;  the enemy did his best, but you didn’t flinch, have a nervous breakdown, get bitter, give up on your marriage, drop out of church, quit dreaming, you kept being your best.  God is saying, “because you have endured unflinchingly, I’m about to turn that situation around, restore what’s been stolen, show you healing, favor, promotion, breakthroughs, like you’ve never seen.  when you endure unflinchingly, the Creator of the universe goes to work.  some of you have been in a difficulty for a long time.  you’re wondering if it’s ever gonna change, is it ever going to get better? God made a promise:

Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

14 …  I will give you rest

“everything will be fine for you.”  let those words sink down into your spirit.  everything will be fine.  your marriage may be a little rocky right now, don’t worry about it;  everything will turn out fine.  your child may be off course;  keep your peace, God is working behind the scenes.  everything will be fine.  maybe you went through a loss, disappointment;  the future doesn’t look very bright.  stay at rest;  a new beginning is coming.  everything will be fine.  we don’t really know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future.  God has you in the palm of His hand;  nothing can snatch you away.  the storms of life come to every person;  don’t let the storm get in you.  hold your peace.  remain at rest.  that’s your position of power.  when you’re at peace, the Creator of the universe goes to work.  before you leave the house each day, make up your mind, “nothing is going to move me today.  nothing is going to upset me.”  if you do this, you’ll not only live healthier, but God promises He will show up, fight your battles, turn situations around;  you will live the life of victory He has in store.

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From JP’s latest newsletter:

“God Wants His Children Well And Joyful

John 14:9
9 Jesus said to him, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…

… there are many Christians who believe that our heavenly Father…  gives people sicknesses, accidents, earthquakes and death to teach them lessons.

But Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus is the nature of God in action. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus or God going about healing the sick. If God wants some people sick, then there should be at least one incident in the Gospels where you see Jesus saying, “Behold, your complexion is too lovely, receive leprosy,” or “Blindness is good for you. Remain blind.” But no, never once! In fact, Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil”. (Acts 10:38) That’s the heart of God.

As a father, if your child is sick and in pain, your heart just wants him well. How much more your heavenly Father! My friend, God does not give your child a sickness to teach both of you some lesson or to glorify Himself. To think so is to talk out of a warped mind bound by religion! And Christianity is not a religion. It is a loving relationship with your Father in heaven.

Beloved, hear God speaking this to your heart today: “I will never punish you for your sins because they have been punished in My Son’s body. I do not wish you ill. I will not take away your child or give you a car wreck to teach you some lesson. My heart always wants My children well and joyful!””

Seems obvious once you read it, doesn’t it? That’s a sign of a brilliant truth, in my book.

Why does this need to be said?  Because to some people the idea that bad things can happen without rhyme or reason is so terrifying that they prefer to believe that God is a cruel creature causing a tiny % of wrongdoers enormous harm for trivial offenses rather than accept that some things are RANDOM.

YES, of course He sees all, knows all.  YES, He can unleash His power at any time and in any situation of His choosing…  but for many kinds of situations He does not usually intervene.  These situations typically involve the “flaws” that He built into the “system”:

He created the Earth such that it has dangerous events like earthquakes and tsunami.

He created creatures, from bees to bears, that can harm us.

He gave us bodies that are not indestructible or immune to sickness.

He gave us minds that are capable of stupidity, carelessness, cruelty and mental illness.

He gave us the intelligence to create things meant to do harm, such as bombs and guns, and things that can “go wrong” and cause harm, such as cars and planes.

He gave us varying levels and kinds of abilities, so that people would have different levels of capability to create benefits (such as wealth) for themselves and/or others.

We can speculate endlessly as to WHY He did these things rather than make everything equal and safe and perfect for everyone. My own analysis is that He wants us to value what we have, make an effort on our own behalf, help others, grow and improve, and have faith, none of which would happen if we were happy little robots rolling along in a perfect world.  But the why doesn’t matter for the purpose of JP’s topic.  The point is that since our “system” was created with these “flaws,” bad things are guaranteed to happen in every area that they CAN happen, and this is why they DO happen, not because God is angry at you.  Bad things by definition happen even to good people, and no one is immune:

Matthew 5:45 (AMP)

45 …  He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].

If something bad happens in your life, don’t start asking why God has done this to you, or what He is punishing you for;  not only is no such thing happening, but you are essentially accusing the author of all your blessings of mistreating you!!  Not really the level of gratitude and trust that He deserves.

God isn’t hovering over you waiting to unleash disaster as a penalty for lying on your taxes;  He is waiting to open up the windows of heaven to pour blessings down on you:

Malachi 3:10 (NLT)

10 … I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

Don’t live in fear that He will hurt you;  live in joyous expectation that He will bless you.

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JO’s sermon this week is a repeat, as it usually is on holiday weekends.  You can find it here:

https://formerheathen.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/having-an-excellent-spirit/

God gave me the opportunity to offer advice in my comments to someone who has endured the experience described in the title, and because I flatter myself that I came up with a decent answer I thought I’d toss it out as a post:

  1. LJ

    Someone used me then rejected me…..i am so angry and hurt……i want revenge but i know I have to leave it to God. How do i let go and move on?

  2. I understand what you’re going through, LJ; I’ve had several people do similar things to me in the past year or so. The best answer I can give is; at first, it’s not really possible to let go and move on, because you have to feel all the emotions that accompany these events. Allow yourself to be angry, hurt, sad, etc, and to do whatever you need to to get through those feelings, as long as you’re still going to work, fulfilling all your other responsibilities, and trying to live a healthy life both physically and spiritually… and of course not doing any kind of harm, because you know that God wants us to be better than the people that have sinned against us:

    Luke 6:32-36 (NIV)

    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    Of course, you’re not ready to love this enemy yet!! First, process your emotions. Then, work on forgiving them, not to benefit THEM, but because unforgiveness is poisonous to your spirit. And then, come to feel sorry for them because they are so poor in spirit that this is how they have to behave, and because they do not have the closeness to God that YOU have. Think of them the way you would a starving person who stole your food… because that’s just what they are, a spiritually starving person who stole the love and joy from you because they had no other way to get it.

    God will deal with that person, and He will help you through your pain and back to peace. Talk to Him all throughout the day, and sooner than you think you’ll be through the pain and back to the good life you deserve!!

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