"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Posts tagged ‘God’

The Gift of God’s Love

A little over a year ago, I made the gut wrenching decision to place my dear husband, of almost 35 years, in a nursing home.  My friend, Lisa, had spent every spare moment helping me care for him, but he had failed to the point that he took more time and strength that we had.  It was a difficult year.

Joe had pretty well lost the ability to speak clearly and was totally bound to his wheel chair.  My birthday is November 11 and I knew that the he would not be surprising me this year.  He had always made a big deal out of my special day.  His love made me feel like a princess.

Birthday morning came, and I went to spend time with Joe and feed him lunch.  When I walked in, he was in the middle of the room in his wheel chair, holding the most beautiful bouquet of red roses I have ever seen.  He held them up to me with a lively sparkle in his twinkling blue eyes.  He smiled as I reached for them.  I leaned down and lovingly kissed him.  I was surprised and so thankful. roses I looked up at Lisa and knew she was the source of my blessing.

Joe then handed me a card.  Due to the ravages of the Parkinson’s disease, he had scrawled the smallest signature ever on the bottom of a lovely verse.  With tears in my eyes, I kissed him again and reached out and squeezed Lisa’s hand.  Friends such as Lisa fill the world with God’s amazing love.  I will never forget.

Lisa loved Joe.  Once she asked him to marry her and he said yes.  I asked them what they were going to do about me.  They assured me I could stay. It was our special joke.  When we would introduce ourselves to people, I would say this is Joe and I am his wife and Lisa is his girl friend.  Some people were scandalized, but I knew it was just God’s love that we shared.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Joe left for heaven in January.  As my birthday arrives this year, I think back to the best gift I have ever received.  The memories are filled with a tinge of sadness and abundant joy as I recall how proud Joe was to be able to bless me with the beautiful flowers.  For Joe the blessing didn’t need to be understood, only deeply felt.

I love you Lisa.  Thanks for my best birthday ever.Thanks

One Way – Revisited

After my last post, I got some very good advice from a friend of mine.  She said that instead of creating vignettes of teaching parables that I should use incidents from own life. At first I objected, but I could see her point.  In truth, this blog is called “Old Lady Brady’s Joy Journey” and I need to tell of all the joys and heartaches that I have experienced and the lessons that I have learned.  So here goes:

This is a rewrite of One Way – the Only Way.

In my ‘wild childNYC‘ and ‘free spirit’ years, I met a handsome man with sparkling blue eyes and white hair.  I was 38 years old and I had been divorced for 7 years. He too was divorced and we were both looking for answers to life.  We met at a ‘New Age’ meditation workshop in New York City.

I saw him across the room and watched as he took a seat on the aisle.  So as not to be obvious, I sat on the aisle across from him.  That was in January, 1980, and we were married by the end of March.  We moved back to my home in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska.  Needless to say, the New Age movement in Omaha was not nearly as appealing as it was in New York City.

Much to my chagrin, Joe wasn’t satisfied and began listening to Christian radio.  I liked being able to chart my own course and felt that God just had many different ways to reach people all over the world – like Buddhism, Islam, Shinto and so much more.  I was content to embrace them all or to embrace none of them.  Joe was not.

He began to take me to meetings by a young man named Andrew Wommack. We would pretend to be Christians because he gave away his cassette teaching tapes.  Joe loved free stuff!  We would sing along, raise our hands and listen to the preacher.  As soon as the meeting was over, Joe would take his grocery sack and fill it with one tape from each pile.

He would then listen to the teachings and tell me what they said.  He would convince me to listen to some of them and I told him that they were nice and if I just substituted a word here and there, it would fit into my New Age philosophy.

One night we were debating the merits of Christianity and New Age.  We had been up most of the night in deep discussion.  Joe had gotten out of bed and was standing by the door when a realization hit me!  ‘You are taking this Jesus thing all together too seriously!’  ‘That’s right, I am!! And  I don’t care if you do or not!” his frustration showed.

I was shocked.  I talked to all my friends and one in particular who said, ‘Go ahead, it doesn’t matter.  All religion is the same.”  But somehow I just knew that wasn’t true.

One night, on my way home, I listened on the radio and heard an old-time tent evangelist named Schambach address the difference between the Muslim faith and Christianity.  He said that the Muslims go to Mecca to see the remains of Mohammed, but Christians go to Jerusalem to see an empty tomb, ‘because Jesus is Alive!!’  He then demonstrated that there is power in the name of Jesus by healing a blind man and a deaf-mute in the name of Jesus.  But when he turned to the man who couldn’t walk and commanded him to rise and walk in the name of Mohammad, nothing happened.  But then he turned and said, “In Jesus name, Arise!” and he did.

In the process of his presentation, the evangelist’s voice was replaced with the sweet voice of God.  I knew it was Him and I began to weep.  I said over and over again, “I’m sorry Jesus, I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know!”

This isn't us - but you get the idea.

This isn’t us – but you get the idea.

When I got home, Joe wanted to know if I had heard the program and with tears streaming down my face, I said that I had.  His face was filled with joy as he embraced me and welcomed me home.  I was not only in my earthly home, but now I had a heavenly home as well.

There is only one way – Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 

One Way – the Only Way

Patrick was suddenly aware of the beautiful woman with crystal blue eyes and chestnut-brown hair.  She was stunning.  She was gracious and approachable.  People seemed to enjoy her presence.  He wanted to win her but had no idea how to do it.  He decided to go out and win the hearts of other women.  He felt that somehow, in this manner, he would learn to win the heart of his loved one.  He became a man of some reputation leaving a trail of broken hearts across the city.  Finally, he felt he was ready.

He had studied about her and knew where she would be.  He arranged to be there and to meet her.  He used all of the methods he had used in winning the affections of the other women.  She looked at him with tears brimming in those crystal-clear blue eyes and said, “Patrick, I saw you long ago and loved you.  I have watched as you have pursued other women and it broke my heart.  Now you come to me with all your experience and it means nothing to me.  All I ever wanted was you.  The way to my heart was clear.  You had only to come to me and I would have received you and loved you.”

Patrick’s face showed his dismay.  “Do you mean that you have wanted me all this time?”  “Yes, I have longed for you.”  Patrick asked, “Is it too late?”  “Dear Patrick, since you have found that there is only one way to my heart and that is to come to me and accept my love, I freely give it and forgive you all your previous efforts. ”

Today’s Lesson:

This is the way of our great God. He has provided one way – only one way – into His Presence.  He sees us pursuing false gods and his heart breaks. He knows that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that there is more than one way to Him.

There is only one way and it is through the shed blood of Jesus.  He is the Doorway to Father God.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to God, except through Jesus.

All we have to do is stop our self-effort and our self-focus and turn to Him.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for all of our sin.  He made it possible for any one of us, regardless of our past choices or beliefs, to come to Him.  The only qualification is that we accept what Jesus has done for us.  As we turn to Jesus, He provides us everything we need for life and godliness.  He loves us and wants to spend time with us.  He wants us to fall in love with Him and fulfill our destiny.

He knew that we needed Him and so He didn’t make it complicated.  He didn’t give a different way to one group of people and another way to another group.  He knew it needed to be simple and so He provided only one way.

The enemy likes to bring doubt and confusion.  He wants us to question everything.  Satan’s desire is to keep us off-balance and away from the One Way, Jesus.  He wants you to think Jesus is just an enlightened teacher or a prophet, but He doesn’t want you to know Him and the power of His blood.  But Jesus is not enlightened – He is the Light!  Jesus is not just a prophet – He is King of Kings and the Lord of lords!  Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He is God!!!

Today, He is inviting you to come to Him.  He is waiting.  Just tell Him that you want to know Him and ask Him to make Himself real to you.  I assure you that He will.

Aside

Feelings

coasterWhy do we think that we have to feel something or it isn’t real?  Feelings are fickle and we even buy them by riding on roller coasters or going to scary movies.

Morris Albert wrote:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Teardrops rolling down on my face,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

You know that within the year he met another woman that caused him to forget the feelings that he had for her in the first place.

We do this with God too.  I didn’t feel anything so it must not be real.  Or I can’t see Him and I only believe what I see.  You can’t see the wind but you can feel it – does that mess with you?

We can’t see God and so some dismiss Him out of hand.  But He is more real than anything that we see or feel orHoly Spirit understand.  He witnesses to us in the Autumn colors, the Spring flower, the majestic mountains and the snow flakes.  It is beyond random chance that these miracles could happen.

Open your heart and allow the Spirit of God to bring change and I promise that in time, the feeling will follow!

Wounded by God’s People – Anne Graham Lotz (from Fox News)

Anne Graham Lotz new book, Wounded by God’s

We have all been wounded in church.  It is a proving ground to see if we can love with the love of God in spite of how we feel.  This post by Fox News about  Anne Graham Lotz is worth our time and consideration.  Can we love God and love His people no matter what our   emotions say?

Matthew 22:36-39 – 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Note by Joyous Bells

===================================================================================================================

Did you used to go to ?

  Why aren’t you going to church now?

Without implying you are a statistic, research indicates that 83% of all American adults    consider themselves to be Christian, but the majority of them are unchurched.

  Why?

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider    themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

Has that been your experience? Is that why you are hanging out on the periphery of God’s people?

I understand. I, too, have been driven from church fellowship by wounds that were inflicted on me by other church members.

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

I have found myself living as a “believer in exile,” not running from God, but tired of putting up with those who call themselves by His name, yet behave in an ungodly manner.

Jesus understands, too. It never ceases to amaze me that the most vicious lies, the most violent attacks, the ultimate rejection of Jesus, came not from the Romans or the Greeks or the pagans or the secularists, but from Israelites who were considered, by themselves and others, the children of God. God’s people.

One primary reason I have not forsaken my own Christian faith is that I know Jesus “gets it.” He was literally wounded…crucified…by very religious people who considered themselves God’s representatives on earth, but were nothing of the sort. They were wicked, sinful pretenders.

So I refuse to let religious phonies destroy my heart for the One who loves me, who understands and feels my pain, and who draws close http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5009066883744508&pid=1.7&w=129&h=186&c=7&rs=1to me when I am wounded. I refuse to be robbed of life’s greatest treasure—a personal, permanent, passionate relationship with God through faith in Jesus, and the healing of wounds that He offers.

As painful and devastating as wounds inflicted by God’s people can be, they have made me more determined to authentically live out what I believe.

I am deeply motivated to know God. I want to know Him as He truly is, not through the distorted reflection of those who call themselves by His name. And I want to make Him known to others as accurately, winsomely, clearly, and compellingly as I can.

And God is knowable. He has declared that He is light. (1 John 1:5) Since one of the primary characteristics of light is that it makes itself visible, God is saying He has made Himself visible.

He can be clearly seen in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. And He can be seen in the pages of the unique revelation of Himself, which we call the Bible.

If your focus in on the people of God, the Light can seem dim or even dark. So don’t look at them. Look at Him.

Try God…again.

Anne Graham Lotz, is author of ten books. Her latest is “Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts.” She is president and CEO of AnGel Ministries, a non-profit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through his World. Lotz is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/08/are-believer-in-exile-invite-to-try-god-again/?fb_action_ids=641477249210106&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A370866879709859%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D#ixzz2ePSOJCQY

Aside

Religion is ugly . . .

church lady What time is it?

It is Sunday – time to go to church again, time to put on the fake smile and the nice clothes and pretend that  everything is all right.

It is time to watch Miss Anna walk around like she owns the church, greeting people and being pulled into her  little clique of insiders as she moves through the congregation.  She belongs and wants you to know it.

Time to dodge Miss Anna as she comes up with the beaming smile and asks, “How are you doing with Jesus?”   I never know what to say and I wonder if she is talking about my Jesus.  I never feel like I belong.  I feel like an  outsider even though I asked Jesus into my life ten years ago.

It is time to listen to another sermon about what is wrong with me.  Pastor seldom talks about Jesus.  I ask  myself, “Is this why Jesus died in such agony?  Is this why He descended into hell?  Is this why He rose again  from the dead – so He could provide us the freedom of resurrection life?

The only time I hear about the resurrection is Easter.

I don’t see anyone at church who is free.

Today’s Joy Message:

It is time to know that religion is ugly and cuts you off from the glory of God.  It is stupid and ignorant.  So how did we become religious?

Once upon a time, long ago, Adam committed treason and we were trapped in his Fall.  The enemy took the truth of God’s Word and twisted it forming a system in us called religion.  It teaches us how to kill God and failing that – how God wants to kill us.  Religion teaches that we earn a right standing with God through legalistic rules and regulations that are man-made.

In the beginning of time, God knew that we would need to be free from this deception of religion.  He provided the Way through Jesus Christ who spoke of the Kingdom of God and our Father God’s love for us.  He told us that God is good and only does good.  His Spirit still speaks to us today and fills us with His love.

God hates religion because it thinks it speaks for Him, but it doesn’t.

The  time will come when the self-appointed ‘holy’ people will want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they cast out demons and healed the sick, but He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If God can use a donkey, He can use a religious person to get a blessing to someone through the spoken Word about the God he doesn’t even know.  God always looks after His Word to perform it.

The traditional church is not the same as the true church which is the body of Christ.  They love each other and minister to one another and the world.

Time for today’s challenge.  Examine your church life – is it alive and active or is it man’s traditions void of life and love.

  • Are you a ‘church lady’ or ‘holy man’ who is really impressed with your own self?
  • Do you truly know God?
  •  Have you allowed the Lord to take over and help you really be the church yourself?
  • Are you free to listen to the voice of the Lord and then do what He says

The Resurrection of Christ – King Jesus Ministries.  An amazing teaching.

Rest? Who Has Time to Rest?

Every day is full.  It is Springtime after all.  I feed the hummingbirds and are they ever hungry!  I have gardening to do including opening the fountains and cleaning the outdoor living spaces.  The house needs to be power-washed and the deck must be painted.

I am busy with church.  Friday night, I will be making food for a special dinner.  The annual church tent sale will require some time, as well.

I have started a new business and try to spend about four hours on the phone each day getting it up and running.     This has nothing to do with the day-to-day household chores.

I love to blog and it has been totally neglected by my “busy-ness.”

I can always find something that needs to be done and I know that I am not alone in this.  “Martha, Martha” is not a quote that I want to hear from Jesus.

When I read Ransomed Heart’s blog,  I was convicted that I had things out-of-order.  Here is a quick quote from that post.

All you athletes out there know that runners need rest days to recover and repair muscles in order to get stronger. Runner’s World says, “It is important to realize rest days are when improvements are actually made as opposed to during the days when the runner is training.”  Who knew?

Intentionally resting is vital for all of us.”

She ends the post with the quote our church has on our tee shirts.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

So, the question is, “Why, when I know resting in His Presence is my necessary food, do I put it at the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list?”

Today, I am laying aside all that creates pressure in my life and going into the throne room to rest in my Daddy’s everlasting arms.  I will trust Him that all will wait until I get re-acquainted with the One who loves me.

Will you?

%d bloggers like this: