There Is But One!

There is but one who desires to discourage me, defeat me and leave me in despair. There is but one who desires that I doubt God, doubt that He loves me and has my best interest in mind at all times. There is but one who seeks to keep me from reading the Word of God, knowing it, understanding it and have it wash me from the inside out. That person is the enemy, the defeated foe, the one that will be bound and thrown into the lake of fire forever and ever, amen. Praise God!

Satan is the one and only person whom we can tell, “Go to hell” and have it be alright.

After a round of attacks that have seemed relentless in the recent past, despite the fact I knew full well…they were attacks of the enemy…I’ve been feeling discouraged and overwhelmed…down and out. At times the attacks are blatantly obvious…so much so I find myself laughing.

I don’t understand all the whys and wherefores on why God has permitted these attacks and has continued to leave situations unchanged despite much prayer. At this point my desire is that God will reveal what He would have me to learn. That I will have an ear to hear and an open and teachable spirit and learn whatever lessons God would have me to learn.

One of the ongoing themes of my life has been forgiveness. Forgiveness for those who have hurt me…both intentionally and unintentionally. Hurt is part of the human experience…it is certainly not exclusive to me. While personal…my experiences are not unique. I make progress and think I’ve forgiven…and then something comes up which brings up the hurt all over again. I think I need to adopt Corrie Ten Boom’s words. When she was reminded of an offense she responded, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Yesterday when pondering hurt and forgiveness…God impressed upon me in no uncertain terms, “Susan you need to forgive this person.” When I think about the offense or replay the hurt in my mind…I can feel the stress in my body. I realize it’s not worth it. I’m the one suffering and feeling bad by not forgiving. They don’t care, they’ve moved on. Isn’t it about time I do the same? Continually replaying an offensive in an ongoing loop…does no good whatsoever.

I need to forgive…because it is the will and command of God that I do so.

I think we are all familiar how God uses tests to help us learn and grow. We pass a test, we grow and God uses it to help prepare us for the next test. To help grow us more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. This side of heaven…I’m a long way off…but that doesn’t stop God from using the buffeting process that He is so fond of.

When pondering this forgiveness thing…the thought came to mind, “Oh crimoneny…all this may just be a test and practice so that I will be able to easily forgive a bigger offense that is coming down the road!”

If that’s the case…then I guess I’d better get in practice…quickly. Forgive and forget…move on.

Part of that means not replaying a hurt over and over in my mind. All that does is serve to feed hurt feelings and justifies feelings of unforgiveness.

It also means that I must entrust any and all offenses and wrong doing into the hand of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…Who is just, righteous and perfect. If He deems it just and right at the appropriate time for consequences or punishment…then so be it. If He deems it His will…good, right and just to forgive their sins…then so be it. It needs to lie in His hands, not mine.

Those same hands…that bore nails on the cross putting to death my sins…also paid the price for the sins of those who have offended me. Can I not forgive those whom God Himself has forgiven? Should I stand in the place of God? May it never be.

There is but one who desires me to remain in unforgiveness. That defeated foe…the one who wants me to walk around and live a miserable life. Doubting God and His love for me. Doubting His ability to protect and defend me. Doubting His will for me and my life. Doubting His goodness, righteousness and justice.

Satan is going to hell…and while he may not be able to take me there since I am sealed for the day of redemption…Satan desires to make my life hell here on earth for as long as he can. The question is…will I choose to let him do so? May it never be.

2/16/07 At the End of the Day…Random Thoughts

When you don’t feel good physically…it can be hard to think…or at least think clearly. It’s hard to focus and follow through. It’s hard to put two coherent thoughts together…thus some random thoughts. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had so many ideas I’ve wanted to write down this week…but haven’t done so.

You can tell it’s been a slow news cycle the last few weeks…with all the news channels focusing the bulk of each hour on the Anna Nicole Smith story and before that on the astronaut that went crazy. Disasters of a personal nature…but not something effecting the nation or the world.

Yet…I can’t help but think with all the voyeuristic coverage of Ms. Smith…what does this obsession reflect about our nation…our values? What does it say about what we esteem? It’s not good. It reminds me of Romans 1 where Paul warns us that God has given sinful man over to their degrading sinful desires.

More than seeing Anna Nicole as a victim…or her death as a tragedy I see it as someone who wasted their entire life and whose death has become nothing more than nightly entertainment until the next big new story bumps this circus off the TV screens of American. She spent her life in pursuit of that which was base, degrading and that which leads people further into sin and it continues to be inflicted upon our society even after her death. She did not seek after that which is good, holy, righteous, pure and of eternal value. Precisely because she wasted her life…spent it on nothing of eternal value that her life and death were a tragedy.

I should examine myself and ask in what areas do I waste my life, my thoughts, my time, my resources, pursing that which is frivolous instead of that which is of eternal value?

I can only pray for God’s mercy upon her child. That He will intervene and place her in the arms of a loving mother and father who know God and will raise her in a godly environment.

That’s not to say that Anna Nicole was beyond redemption. Because God desires that none of us perish, but all come to repentance. The problem is…we don’t know when our end will be. Will it be at the ripe of age of 89 after living it up…but repenting in the end? Or will it be at the age of 39 with no warning of impending death…and no time to repent?

Her death story is kind of being played out like she lived her life.

The one thing this story has done…it’s made me turn off the news. Normally I have Fox News on in the evening. But with this non-stop coverage of an irrelevant story…I escape by turning off the TV and doing anything but watch TV. There is not a lot on TV these days that will not offend. So the better option is the off button.

When driving in my car…I’m normally playing a CD from one of my beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski’s teaching series. Right now…it’s 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Even though he’s been gone for soon to be eighteen months…in some respects it feels like he’s quite near since I hear him preach every day. It’s wonderful, wonderful teaching. Not something that tickles my ears or builds up my self esteem. In fact there is many a time that I feel the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit when the Word of God is presented in a bold, non negotiable manner. It doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room…and when I measure my thoughts, words and actions against God’s Word…I realize I have ever so far to go. I’m even more grateful that I have the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ sacrificial death and resurrection resting upon me.

Through the study of God’s Holy Word and through the teaching of His humble servants, Bible Study Fellowship, Chuck Obremski, Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore…God continues to work on my heart…and sanctifying me this side of heaven.

Some insights this week as I have a listening ear towards God. Now this will sound terrible coming from a Christian. But I struggle with comprehending or believing that God loves me. Loves me personally. I know what the Word of God says. Intellectually believe it…but it hasn’t worked its way into my heart. I know that “God so loved the world”…but have a hard time making the transition to “God so loved Susan”.

Having a hard time believing that God loves me personally makes it hard to trust God. I’m getting better…I’ve improved. But still have a ways to go…it’s a learning game. It’s also faith…and I just need to make that leap and believe. Will I?

Also part of this week’s lesson was the realization that I work too hard because I substitute work for relationships. I wonder how much of that is out of insecurity. Feeling like I need to earn or prove my worth…by turning in a good performance. Without doing so…I’m not worthy or lovable. Not loveable to people or to God. So what has all that effort got me? Not a lot in the end.

Does that mean that starting tomorrow…I’ll become a slacker? No…that’s not going to happen. It’s not in my nature. However…I do hope that it will translate into a more balanced life. Work more on the personal side of life…and keep work in perspective.

I’ve got a long way to go…but thankfully God is not through with me just yet.

Tonight’s Friday night…and that means it’s time for “What Not to Wear”. Love that show. I watch it…and wonder “Now what would Stacy and Clinton have to say about what I’m wearing? What would Nick do with my hair?” Sometimes I think of folks I’d like to nominate for the show…but gee wiz…wouldn’t that be an insult if your friends nominated you? Yeah…that would be a bit awkward now, wouldn’t it?

Well…it’s getting late and going to be a busy weekend. I do believe…it’s off to bed I go. So nighty night…see you in the morning light.

2/13/07 At the End of the Day…Providential Dear Watson

I both hate and love it…all at the same time when I come to the end of a book that I’ve enjoyed reading. I hate it, in part, because I miss the interaction and rapport that I develop with an author that I connect with while reading their book.

The other reason I hate coming to the end of a good book…is because I then have to decide which will be my next book on deck. It’s not for lack of materials…but because I have a plethora of reading materials vying for my attention.

Recently I came to the end of “I’m Not Wonder Woman, But God Made Me Wonderful!” by Sheila Walsh. I discovered this wonderful woman and writer following the Women of Faith conference in September of 2006. I felt God had arranged an appointment for me to attend that conference. When Sheila spoke…God touched my heart, my very tender and hurting heart with His healing touch. He continued to use Sheila’s words to minister to me and heal some broken emotions. So I was saddened to have that book end…I felt like I was leaving a friend.

Then choosing day was upon me. Decision, decisions…which book shall I read next. I had a couple in mind, “Living the Extraordinary Life” by Charles Stanley or “Get Out of That Pit” by Beth Moore.

Part of me thought I should select “Living the Extraordinary Life”. I had listened to Dr. Stanley’s message on the Extraordinary Life while speaking at a rally in Washington D.C. It was one of his best sermons…and I know I will love the book.

But for some reason…I was drawn to “Get Out of That Pit” by Beth Moore. It didn’t take long to discover why. After just a couple of pages…God reached out to me through this woman of God to help me see my need for a supernatural help in my circumstances…which at times have left me feeling quite desperate or in despair.

Not only did I start the book…but I wanted to “turbo” my intake and application of this book…so I got the book on CD too. Still in the middle of both…and soon hope to write a bit about the book.

When looking up some info on Beth Moore I discovered from her website of Living Proof Ministries that Beth and her daughter Amanda have jumped into the world of blogging.

Kind of like Miss Teresa at Canadian Blogger…these women have a great love and passion for Jesus Christ and a love for His children. I will be marking it as a favorite…and visit regularly. Check out Beth’s website and blog. I give a big thumbs up to reading “Get Out of That Pit”. Especially if you find your own feet are stuck in the miry clay of some deep, dark, dank, dreary pit that you can’t seem to get out of.

Welcome to the bloggesphere Beth and Amanda! Blog on!

Facing the Giants

Feeling defeated, discouraged, or downcast? Has life chewed you up and spit you out? Kicked you when you’re down? You crawl back up…only to get kicked down again? Need a little inspiration? Need to have your spirit strengthened? Have your spirit renewed?

I recommend purchasing the movie “Facing the Giants”. It is exceptional in every way. I can promise you…your heart, mind, soul and spirit will be energized and renewed.

Below is a sample of some of the lines in the movie. It’s just chock full of great stuff. Do yourself a favor…get this movie and watch it, now and in the future. You won’t be sorry.

Your actions will always follow your beliefs.

If you always expect defeat…then that’s what you will always get.

I’ve resolved to give God everything I’ve got…and leave everything else to him.

Don’t quit until you’ve got nothing left.

Promise me you’ll give me your very best. Good effort, keep coming, there you go, it’s a good start, there you go Brock, good strength, that’s it, that’s it, forget the 20 you give me your very best, come on Brock you’ve got more in you than that, you’ve got to keep moving, lets get moving, lets go, don’t quit until you’ve got nothing left, there you go, keep moving, keep moving, keep driving, keep your knees off the ground, your very best, your very best, don’t quit on me, keep driving, there you go, keep driving, don’t quit until you’ve got nothing left, your very best, it’s all heart from here, keep driving, don’t quit, don’t give up on me, I know it hurts keep going, let it burn, you can do it, it’s not too hard, you keep going, don’t quit, don’t quit, don’t quit, you don’t quit on me, ten more steps, give me your heart, you can look up Brock you are in the end zone.

If you walk around defeated so will they.

God’s gifted you with the ability of leadership, don’t waste it.

You may not want to accept Jesus Christ because he’ll change your life. You will never be the same.

Stay humble but confident.

If we win we’ll praise You, if we loose we’ll praise You.

Your fear is about to collide with your faith.

Coach I’m done someone else is going to have to lead. This is when it matters most. It’s easy to lead when you’re strong, but now is when you lead.

Don’t you ever let anyone tell you, you are under par, second rate or inferior. I just watched God do a miracle through you. I just saw a field of Giants, 85 in fact, fall in defeat. Now you tell me what’s impossible with God? Nothing Coach!

He Is Able

One of the things that made this past year particularly difficult to accept was the fact that the job that I had sought and desired remained open. On occasion the job posting would come down…and I would hear through the grapevine that internal or outside candidates had applied for what I had hoped would be my job. This went on and on and on.

What I found positively absurd was that if our company’s vice president had left the company…they would have filled that position lickety split. There would be no waffling or indecision for months on end. I’d be willing to bet they would have the job filled within the week. So as this drug on and on…it seemed even more and more ridiculous. That’s why every time the job posted again…I’d apply again. Every time…but to no avail. I’m talking…over nine months from when I first interviewed for the job. No one ever officially sent me a “no thanks” letter, nor did they call. That’s part of why I had such a hard time letting go of my dream.

I found it challenging to let go because it was hard to understand how years and years of good work and diligent effort amounted to nothing when it came to helping me earn the right to be given a shot. I had no doubt that I could do it and do it well. I know how I approach things…how I love to learn and master new challenges. But at the end of the day…my pleas fell on deaf ears, my track record was presented to eyes that failed to see and mouths were unwilling to speak.

I found it impossible to believe that it didn’t work out like I had hoped and dreamed. After all God had given me a promise…actually two scripture verses to cling on to. And cling I did. In the stormy seas of emotions…and in the dark of night…when the only support I felt was that of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. At times…even He felt very far away.

The first and primary scripture verse came from 2 Chronicles 20:17 –“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “

I clung to the verse…it graced the walls of my home and was ever present in my sight with a note taped to my computer. I have it as part of my e-mail signatures…and even made a bracelet with the words “Stand Firm See Lord’s Deliverance”.

Now I had no idea how God might answer that prayer…or exactly when. But God gave me the assurance that He indeed would be my deliverer. That I needed to stand firm and trust Him to work in my situation. There was many a day…that my stand was very wobbly. But when push came to shove…I stood. Looking expectantly to God and for what He alone would do.

As this New Year began…Pastor Bob Kraning preached a message in which he focused on the scripture verse from Joshua 3:5 – “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”

I believed that God had given me this verse to encourage my heart…and remind me that He was at work in my life…and I was to look to Him to be my Hope and my Deliverer.

I felt as if I was on my tippy toes, looking expectantly for what God would do and how He would answer my prayers and fulfill His promises to me.

In the intervening time…I embarked upon that which I had neglected for far too long…a lot of dental work…that took months to complete. God helped me to conquer a great fear in my life.

God also made clear to me…that for far too long I had put Him second place…as I had spent far too much time and effort at work. Instead I should have been investing my time elsewhere or at least in a more balance manner. During this time…I committed to responsibilities at my church and was grateful when Bible Study Fellowship started up again in the fall.

All this time…I was hopeful and expectantly looking for how God would answer my prayer. I could hardly wait. But wait was the order of the day.

My emotions were all over the board…sometimes strong…and at time I was struggling to trust God.

One of my biggest disappointments and what felt like a slap in the face was when the folks I had worked with for many, many years had their Christmas party…and I wasn’t invited. Ouch…now that hurt.

Since I’m a straight shooter…I had to ask why. While I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer…I would rather risk being hurt than not know the truth. When a straw poll had been taken the feedback from my former co-workers…the response was not receptive to having me at their party. That one hurt! Then on the heals of that…Christmas came…and I didn’t get a Christmas card or a Merry Christmas e-mail from one who had done so over the years. It kind of made me doubt the sincerity of everything that had gone before.

Was all that had happened before was done out of obligation…instead of what was genuine and heartfelt? Being that whatever I do…I put my heart into it…I was surprised.

When it became apparent that I wasn’t going to remain in loss prevention…but instead go into a job not of my own choosing…I had to cut those emotional ties. In order for me to focus on the new work and connect with the new people…I had to let go of the old. I guess I did so quite effectively…perhaps too much so.

So why am I going into all this, sharing and bearing my soul on something in which doesn’t shine a very good light on me? Share that I failed and share about rejection? Well I love the truth. God has given me words…that have become part of my healing process through the ups and downs of life.

Also…I finally got the news that they finally hired someone for the job I had wanted. Over nine months later…I got a courtesy call to let me know. In some respects I was relived. I could now say that chapter of my life was closed for good…once and for all it was dead. When God closes a door…it can not be opened.

But more important than that I want to answer those critics who might be sitting back and thinking or saying, “See your God let you down. He was not faithful to keep His promises to you Susan.”

To those persons…and even to myself…I answer most assuredly…that my God, my Lord and Savior has not deserted me, nor failed me. Indeed my God is faithful. He is not slow in keeping His promises…He accomplishes everything in His perfect timing.

When and how exactly God will finally bring me the deliverance that I still seek…I don’t know. But I do know…even as I sit here and failed to achieve that which I wanted, even if some think of me as a failure…I am standing firm and choosing to trust God. Even if my circumstances currently don’t give evidence to God’s faithfulness.

He has given me Himself during this time. He has been my Rock, my Fortress, and my Sustainer…my Ever Present Help in times of trouble.

And yes…I still stand on my tippy toes…and look expectantly for what God is going to do in my circumstances. I know and have every assurance that He will.

I am most grateful that God has provided me with a good job in the mean time. I am grateful that He has helped me during this difficult time and to know Him better. I am grateful that He knows my heart’s desire. I do desire to move into another job…but will trust God’s timing and plan. I deeply desire to be married…and try ever so to trust God with my desire. Albeit not so firmly at times…due to wobbly faith. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled makes a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

So it’s been a painful time…and hard time. But God has been able to use the pain for good. When people share with me their pain in their present circumstances…I know first hand how it feels to feel forsaken and alone. But I also know…how God remains ever faithful…and sustained me during that season.

Just like I know how unbearable physical pain can be following an episode of unrelenting pain from my wisdom teeth for over a month…I know what unrelenting emotional pain feels like. So now when people…share their hurts…I can honestly say I understand but offer the hope of standing firm and trusting God when circumstances and the ground around you crumbles to the sea.

That brings me to my life verse, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28.

So for those of you who think my hopes and dreams are dead…you are wrong. I am not discouraged…but ever hopeful in my God…my Lord…my Savior…my Deliverer.

Just as Lazarus was sick, died and lay three days in the tomb…the mourners did not know what Jesus would do. They didn’t foresee that He would come along as Lazarus body started to stink…and raise him from the dead. But Jesus is God…He is all powerful, all knowing and works everything for good and for His glory.

I remain standing firm…and look expectantly for my Lord’s deliverance. I will consecrate myself…and see that tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow…and I’m awaiting my promised and amazing deliverance.

2/6/07 – At the End of the Day…Exhausted Reflections

Being that this girl is exhausted…and quite ready to drop at the end of two exceptionally busy days…I’d better keep this short and sweet and pray that it is somewhat comprehensible.

The last couple of days have been an intense crunch time…a time where we had to hit the mark and get it right the first time. I came away from this experience with the insight that crunch time reveals a person’s true character.

When you see a person that needs help…will you pause and lend a hand…or walk on by? Will stand behind that which you committed to…or go fishing for an excuse? Will you strive for excellence…or settle for a passing grade? Or worse yet…hope that they just don’t look under the rug? Do the words thank you come easily off your lips to praise and encourage another’s efforts…or do you turn a blind eye?

My dear beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski…use to say that as a Christian…you’ll know what kind of fruit you are bearing when you are squeezed. What comes out when you are squeezed? While the impetuses may be different for a Christian…non believers also bear fruit.

It’s vitally important for Christians to be ever mindful that their actions will be held under the microscope by atheists and agnostics. They want to see if your life…actions, thoughts, words and deeds line up with that which you purport to believe.

It’s critically important that we be aware of that. May that truth motivate us to work with excellence. Our work and our lives are reflection not only of being a Christian…but of Christ Himself. And when we fail and fall as Christians…the non believer has another reason to note why living the Christian life makes no difference compared to the rest of the world.

When I see a fellow Christian…someone who has a genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ behave in a manner towards others that is blatantly un-Biblical…it pains me. Something that is none of my business…but I see and hear of the lasting impression that is being made.

Dear Christians… It’s vital that we as Christians regularly ask ourselves…do my actions, thoughts, words and deeds reflect Christ? Do I draw people to Christ or repeal them?

In some respects…we Christian’s have it easy. We have the pattern to hold ourselves up to. And when we fall short…it will be readily apparent. Whereas unbelievers…act according to their feelings or heart. The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. I don’t want my heart being the final arbiter of what’s right or wrong. I want a set standard and not one of my own making.

Anyway…I’d better draw this to a close…as my eyes are growing sleepy. Please pardon any spelling errors…or major gaffs…I’ll have to correct them on the flip side.

See you in the morning light!

God Stop…By Golly, I Think I’ve Got It

So lately…between being way too busy…and having a “dry spell”…my writing has been few and far between. Before I get gun shy…I thought I’d better jump right in.

This last week I had an “ah ha” moment. Previously I’d written about how challenging it can be to be around folks who are negative or complaining a great deal of the time. It can be draining…and makes it hard for me to keep my focus on the positive side of life.

But when I had a recent encounter…I came away with two lessons for me to take away.

When someone is constantly complaining about their life…they must be very unhappy. Unhappy with their lives, their circumstances and even themselves. Now I can listen and try to be an encourager when someone is downcast. But when it’s more than a season of difficulty in a person’s life…that is more challenging to be around or listen to. It may be their personality or the way they view life…rather than a difficult season.

This time I had ears to listen…and what God impressed up me is that I truly need to be in prayer for them. Prayer about the difficulties and challenges that they are facing…and also that God would move in their heart and that peace and joy would prevail in their life. Of prime importance is prayer for their salvation if they don’t yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

So when all I hear are complaints….and it’s difficult to hear it another moment longer that’s my reminder that I need to pray for them. It can be a quick moment of prayer right then and there…or daily prayers for them.

Secondly…hearing a person with a negative critical spirit serves as a reminder to me that I need to be thankful and express my gratitude to God for the many gifts He has given me in my life. Things as ordinary as a job or an apartment…often get overlooked because they are so ordinary and everyday. It’s easy to give thanks for the big things in my life. But it’s the little things that make up my everyday life that are so easy to take for granted. When they are absent…then by golly I quickly become aware how important the ordinary, everyday, practical gifts of life are.

So thank You God…thank You for giving me ears to hear. Please give me an obedient heart so that I might act upon that which You have revealed. And God…please help me to take time each day…to look, reflect and record those insights that You have given me. If for no other reason…so that I will remember and grow.