Monthly Archives: October 2019

I Won’t Hide From Evil and Neither Will God

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There’s a lot of beauty and good in the world, but there’s also a whole lot of evil. And while I think it’s good to focus on the good and the positive so that God is glorified, I also believe that to ignore or deny the evil that’s in the world would be foolish, and would actually glorify the devil more than if we worshiped him outright. A quote from C.S. Lewis might explain this better than I can,

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. ~ from the Preface of The Screwtape Letters*

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: The Bible says in the Book of Psalms that God has numbered our days,

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. ~ Psalms 139:16, NLT.

I understand that to mean that God knows what will happen every day of my life, from the day of my birth clear through ’til the day of my death. What I’ve been thinking about is the day of my death, or more generically, the day of every person’s death. What I’m curious about is, does God ordain how a person dies, or just that he dies on a particular day? I mean, there are an almost infinite number of ways someone can die.

The reason I’m asking this is because when someone is murdered, (unless they’re killed in their sleep so they aren’t aware and wake up dead), they must experience extreme terror and horror right up to the moment of dying. I’m trying to understand what might be going through their mind during those hours and moments of extremity leading up to the moment of their death.

I’m also trying to understand how God fits into the picture. If someone is killed in a way that makes their last hours and moments full of mind-numbing, heart-stopping, hope-stealing and screaming terror that was caused by the person who murdered them, was that method of death ordained by God? I find it difficult to understand how God would want someone to experience that kind of negativity right before they die. If they’re already saved and they die like that, at least they have the hope of heaven. But if they’re not, in the minutes and hours, and sometimes even days, of terror and horror and fear before they’re murdered, how can they be expected to think clearly enough during that time to be able to call out to God for salvation?

Scripture says that God is both a just God and a merciful God. I’ve heard it said that since He’s both just and merciful, if someone dies in an unsaved state, He will take them where they’re at spiritually, and judge them based on their works. I don’t know how true this is, or if it’s true at all, but that’s what I’ve heard. A scriptural basis for this might be found in the Book of James,

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~ James 2:13, NKJV.

Given the scenario I’ve described above, where someone’s ability to seek God is severely compromised, and the best he or she can do is cry out for help, God’s mercy is what is most desperately needed, not His judgment.

I could be wrong on that, but I hope I’m not.

 

*C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters, HarperSanFrancisco, ©1942, Harper edition 2001, p. ix.

It’s All About Gratitude, Difficulties Notwithstanding

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I did it. I finally took a shower.

I’m very grateful to God for helping me to finally get it done. I played worship music the whole time, and doing that made it so much easier.

I find that an attitude of gratitude makes things so much easier, especially the really hard things. Over the years, being grateful to God for all that He’s done for me has helped me to put my life into perspective in so many ways.

Anything bad that happens to me now, regardless of how bad it is, doesn’t hold a candle to the bad stuff that I had to endure when I was little, because now I’m old enough and strong enough to be able to handle it. When I was a child I didn’t have the resources, physically or emotionally, to be able to deal with the onslaught of terror and horror that constantly overwhelmed me. Sometimes I feel like I can’t handle it now, but if I think about it logically, I know I can, especially if I keep my eyes on the LORD, my God, my Jesus.

As long as I don’t take my eyes off Jesus, and keep on listening to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Kings 19:12), and keep on trusting in God and leaning on His strength and not my own, I know I’ll be alright.

And most of all, I thank God for the Cross!

My Head Is an Oven and Words Are Boiling Over

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This evening, frustration has been building up to the point that I want to break something or hit myself, and since neither one of those options is available to me, I decided to see if writing about it would help. Writing is a better outlet for my feelings anyway, especially negative feelings.

Stuff gets pent up inside with no outlet, and I don’t know what to do with it. I certainly can’t hit myself, neither can I break stuff. It feels like I’m flying apart at the seams, like I’m dropping pieces of myself all around me as I get more and more vexed and aggravated.

So I decided to try an experiment. Instead of allowing entropy to take effect in my mind as a result of the frustration, I would try writing. I tried it a few days ago and it seemed to work rather well, so I thought I’d try it again.

This could be a whole new era of healing for me, because, as I said in my last post, Not So Bad After All, the fact that I’m writing about it instead of doing the other, not so functional things, is a definite step of growth and progress. And I love knowing that I’m growing and healing with God’s help. That’s very exciting to me, and it’s the whole purpose of this blog, and part of my reason for being, the other part being to love God and enjoy Him forever.

I think part of the stress that’s been building inside has to do with what I’m talking about in therapy with McT. Awhile ago I told him that I was giving him permission to confront me if he thought I was avoiding talking about the issues that are most difficult for me to deal with ~ the sexual stuff. So together we nicknamed those topics “the hard stuff,” and now he regularly asks me if there’s any “hard stuff” I need to talk about.

I so appreciate him for that! It helps to keep me focused, and it keeps me from wandering off into denial and foolishness, and meandering around on topics I don’t need to talk about. It also helps me to build trust in McT, because I have to trust that he’s a safe person for me to talk with about the hard stuff. I’ve never had a therapist who I felt was safe enough to talk with about the hard stuff, so I wasted a whole lot of time and money resisting therapy, and resisting the process over the years.

Fortunately, I’ve grown enough, and healed enough with God’s help, that I feel less and less like I need to avoid talking about the hard stuff, and I’m feeling like I can trust McT more all the time. So now, when I go to therapy, I can realistically pray for a productive session, and know that God will be there, helping me to talk about what needs to be talked about, regardless of how difficult it is. I’ve always prayed before my therapy sessions, but because I was only rarely fully in the game and not resisting, the answers were inconsistent at best ~ not from God’s perspective, but because of me.

Now that I’ve pretty much finished what I have to say here, I’m feeling much better. My head no longer feels like a boiling pot overflowing with words, thankfully. So I guess my little experiment worked.

Way cool and praise God!

Not So Bad After All

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Well, here I am again, writing about everything and nothing at the same time ~ but at least I’m writing. It’s early on a Sunday morning, and I wonder if I’m trying to waste time so I won’t be able to make it to church. God forgive me, I don’t know why I’m doing it, but I’m not sleepy so I haven’t gone to bed yet, and it’s 7 a.m.

I don’t want to go to bed after the sun comes up!

I wish I could break out of this frustrating place! I’m stuck, and I don’t know why I’m stuck, or what I’m stuck on. I just know that I’m stuck. I can’t seem to be consistent or disciplined with anything. Or maybe I’m disciplined at not being disciplined, to wit, I’m being consistently inconsistent.

I seem to be really good at sabotaging myself, and not much more at the moment, though at least I’m writing about it, which is new and different. I never used to do that. I used to just sit and stew about it ~ or hit myself ~ if I was stuck, so I suppose this is an improvement, albeit a small one. Though maybe it’s not so small, because I’m not only writing about it, but I’m also not hitting myself, and that right there ~ not hitting myself ~ is a huge accomplishment.

So, while there are some negatives, there are also some positives. But as I was sitting here earlier in the evening, goofing around, I had the feeling that I should just be patient with myself, and cut myself some slack.

Even though it feels like I’m not making any progress at all, that’s simply not true. Even though it feels like I’m just sitting around all the time being incredibly lazy, that also is not true, though I can’t see how. And even though I’m not doing any regular Bible reading, it’s okay. And the reason it’s okay is because it’s all temporary.

Each of these “Even though…” problems I just listed is temporary, and God wants me to stop worrying about them. In other words, I’m doing better than I think I am.

I’ve always been my own worst critic.

I can sort of see why the one about Bible reading might be okay, because even if I’m not actually sitting down and reading a chapter everyday, I’m interacting with Scripture on a regular basis in one form or another.

So, God, please help me to show myself the same kind of grace that you’ve given me! Help me to not be so hard on myself! And thank you for setting me free from self-abuse! I praise you that I’m no longer hitting myself!

I love You and I praise You!!

1 2 3 4 5 6

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It doesn’t take much to entertain me. Almost nothing, in fact. My stepdad used to tell me that he could make me laugh just by saying, “Pass the mustard.” And of course, because he’d said that, I’d laugh, so he’d say, “See? I told you so!” It used to make me mad, but then I realized that it was probably a good thing, because laughter is good for the soul. So if I laugh easily, then maybe I have a healthy soul. Proverbs says,

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. ~ Proverbs 17:22, NLT.

The Bible also says that God laughs (for example, Psalm 59:8, where God laughs at His enemies), and if God laughs, then it must be okay for me to do so.

All of that is to say that God cares about the little things in our lives as well as the big and important things, things that don’t make a difference or mean anything to anyone at all. For example, I love numbers, at least partly because God created them. Also, I drive a 2012 Toyota Matrix. As I was driving down the freeway the other day, the odometer turned over so the numbers read, 1 2 3 4 5 6.

Now, I realize that event doesn’t mean anything to anyone, and is of absolutely no importance to anyone, but I had been hoping to notice when the numbers on my odometer read that. It was exciting to me. And if I keep this car long enough so the odometer reads 3 1 4 1 5 9 (the first six numbers of Pi), that will be an exciting event for me as well.

I also love it when palindromes show up on my odometer. A palindrome is a number or word, or even a sentence, that reads the same forwards and backwards. An example of a numeric palindrome would 123321, or 24566542. Radar is an example of a palindromic word, and an example of a palindromic sentence is “Madam, I’m Adam”.

I think palindromes are, dare I say it, beautiful. That might sound kind of silly, but I do, because they’re so wonderfully ordered, and God is a God of order.

The reason I’m writing about this is because, as I said above, God cares about what we care about. As silly as it sounds, I had asked God to let me see it when my odometer turned over to read that number, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. That number, 1 2 3 4 5 6, will only happen once in this car, and it felt like a special thing for me. And God allowed me to see it. I’m very grateful to Him for that. It might not mean anything to anyone else, but it meant a lot to me, at least partly because it was a small indication of just how much He loves me.

1 2 3 4 5 6. How cool is that!! Jesus loves me!!

The Gospel Without Jargon

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Jargon is defined as special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group that are difficult for others to understand. This phenomenon is common in Christian circles, and is known as Christianese (in legal circles it’s called legalese, for example).

One of the common Christianese phrases I’ve heard, but never understood, is, “more of Him, and less of me.” What does that mean? The picture that comes to mind when I think about it is one of me turning into a round mass of jello on the floor when I become less and Jesus becomes more, kind of like someone who has no muscles, so they turn into a ball of flesh and become completely ineffectual.

I can’t figure out if it means I’m supposed to become invisible, or just what it means. If I’m invisible, then how can I, or God for that matter, anything get done ~ like witnessing, for example? Jesus isn’t going to come and do it Himself. He told us to do it. It’s called the Great Commission,

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20, NLT.

It doesn’t say that Jesus will go out and make disciples, and take us with Him as He does it. It says that we are to go out and make disciples, and He will go with us. And if I’m invisible, I doubt that anyone will want to listen to anything I have to say, because they’ll be too busy running from me in terror because they’ll think I’m a ghost.

Then recently, one of my favorite Christian artists, Casting Crowns, came out with a new song, called Only Jesus, that showed me the answer to my problem. Below is one of the verses from the song that sorts it out for me:

Did I live the truth to the ones I love? // Was my life the proof that there is only one? // Whose name will last forever // Only Jesus.

And the chorus from the song reminds me of what’s most important:

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy // I don’t care if they remember me // Only Jesus.

In other words, and this is where less of me and more of Him comes in, I want people to remember Jesus when they think of me now, and after I’m gone, as well. I can’t save anyone, or heal anyone, but Jesus can, and His name will last forever, while nothing I say or do will last beyond the minute I’ve said or done it. Jesus is the One to remember, not me.

ONLY JESUS!!