photo credit: librisnotes.blogspot.com

A Lesson in Waiting

Recently I watched a movie called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. I’ve decided I have a lot to learn from Hachi! The movie is about a dog and his owner. Hachi followed his owner to the train station every day. And every evening at 5 pm Hachi was outside the train station waiting for his owner to get off the train. This went on for years. Then one night Hachi’s owner didn’t come home. And he never came home again. (He’d had a heart attack while at work.) For nine years Hachi was at the train station
at 5 pm waiting for his owner to come home.
Nine years of waiting…Hachi never gave up…he always waited expectantly.

photo credit: librisnotes.blogspot.com
photo credit: librisnotes.blogspot.com

Well, I have a confession…I tend to be into instant gratification. Our society inherently predisposes us to want things, “better, faster, stronger1.” The internet, fast food restaurants, self-check outs, etc., all enable us to maintain this instant gratification lifestyle we seem to crave.

When I became a Christian I brought my societal “instant gratification” expectation into my walk with God. When I came back to the Lord I was about 110 lbs over weight. The doctors told me I had to lose all of that weight or I was at risk for another stroke. So, I was determined to lose that weight instantly…well as quickly as possible. After two months I was discouraged, frustrated, and angry. I was only losing about a ½ pound a week. In my mind, I felt like that meant it was going to take me the rest of my life to lose the 110 pounds. My friends were praying for me and I was praying for me…so why wasn’t God answering?

During this time of waiting for God to take action (from my viewpoint that is) I almost gave up more times than I’d like to admit! I figured what was the point…I was never going to lose that 110 pounds at this rate! I might as well throw in the towel! Losing weight was taking too long…I wanted the weight gone and I wanted it gone instantly!

I didn’t give up…and eventually the weight started coming off at a faster pace. I found out later from the Doctors that if I’d lost the weight as quickly as I desired that I could have done damage to my already over-stressed body. I would have also had huge amounts of extra skin which could have required surgery.

Looking back, I realize that God began working in me the minute my friends and I started praying. Although, not in the way I expected. He gave me the strength not to throw in the towel. He knew that “my way” of losing weight was dangerous for my health…so I lost the weight in His perfect timing.

So, what lesson did I learn from Hachi the dog? That I should never give up on waiting for the Lord. I should wait expectantly as He works in my life. That no matter how long my healing seems to be taking…God knows the outcome…and He’s always at work in my healing and in my life.

My friend…don’t give up if it doesn’t seem like God is answering your prayer for healing. Keep waiting expectantly for His work to become visible to you. God is at work in your life right now. Unlike Hachi, whose owner didn’t show up…Jesus always does, although we might not be aware of His presence at the time.

We ask, He hears, we have.
Canon Jim Holbeck

1 An excerpt from the opening scenes of the Six Million Dollar Man circa 1974 – 1978

Help-me-please-1612

Three Little Words

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NLT)

What three words are the hardest to say? It’s not “I Love You”. Contrary to popular belief, with the exceptions of several of my ex-boyfriends and a recent contestant on ‘The Bachelor’, saying “I love you” is easy-peasy. Romance stories are the most popular books on the planet. Movies trumpet the benefit of saying these words to spouses, children, pets and cute people you’ve only known for a day. “I Love You” even has its own holiday!

It’s also not “I Forgive You”. As hard as these words are to say, they imply that we still have something left to give. But what about when we have nothing left? What words come out when we are totally gutted by disaster: when we’ve been fired, or told the unthinkable diagnosis, or learned our darkest shame has been publicly exposed, or when we’ve been betrayed, broken, evicted or abandoned? When we are, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.”

Help-me-please-1612When things are beyond hope, we blurt out the three words we would never say under any other circumstances. “Please, help me.”

People in general like being in a position to give help rather than get it. This isn’t a bad thing: we’re a giving bunch in this country, so much so that we gave over three hundred billion dollars to charity in 2012. Being self-sufficient and generous are glorious, God-blessed qualities. In fact, Paul quotes Jesus as saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It’s a blessing to give to others, but I think there is also another, darker side to not wanting to be in a position to ask for help.

We’re afraid no one will answer.

Paul continues to tell the Corinthians how his impossible trials helped him to rely on God, who raises the dead”. He goes on to document how God saved him from mortal danger, and to proclaim that He would rescue him again. The apostle placed his confidence in God, and the Lord answered and continued to answer. It wasn’t what he asked, it was who he asked it to that mattered.

For Paul and for us, “Please, help me” isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

 

Cross-FS

Reference Points

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to realize yet again that the Lord is my Healer.

Someone asked me this question the other day, “Are you so tired during the week because you are drinking or doing drugs on the weekend.” (paraphrased)

My response was to chuckle and tell them that no I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs on the weekend.

I found the question humorous because I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in over fifteen years and I haven’t done drugs in twenty plus years. I realized later on that maybe I should have been offended that the question had been asked. Yet, I wasn’t at all! It was a valid question. I was an alcoholic and drug addict for many years.

I wondered why I hadn’t gotten offended. That’s when I had an epiphany. I wasn’t offended because the Lord has truly healed those areas in my life. The Lord showed me that this incident is a great baseline to use for revealing where I might still need healing in my life.

Cross-FS
photo credit: adcrucem.org

I don’t know about you, but there are still some areas in my life that need healing. Granted a majority of the “big things” that needed healing have already been done by the Lord. There are still some smaller areas that the Lord is continuing to work on with me. I now have a sort of reference point for discovering those areas.

If an area is unhealed, I tend to have a negative emotional reaction when someone questions me. I might get hurt, angry, or frustrated when they ask me about that area. Instead of simply being able to answer their question calmly. In other words, if my buttons can still be pushed God probably wants to do more healing in that area. My job is to recognize that I need healing and then seek it.

As we say at the Glennon House, “Sometimes healing is a process.”

Not everyone is healed or cured instantaneously. God has perfect timing. He knows how much we can handle and when we are ready to handle it. He also helps us to recognize the areas that need the healing He wants to give us. The incident I just experienced is a perfect example of that. He showed me a tool I can use to know when I need to seek Him for more healing. And that my friends is a true gift!

Organic-Soaps

Soap

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NLT)

A friend of mine has created a line of organic soaps. Nowadays she ships all over the country, but in the beginning she handed me a misshapen soap bar she’d mixed up on her kitchen stove. “I had to be very careful to cook it long enough to burn off the lye,” she said cheerfully, “or it would have burned your skin off.”

Needless to say, I was not enthused about using that first bar.

It also got me thinking about soap. We take it for granted, but thisOrganic-Soaps lowly household product is actually created by a sophisticated chemical process involving fatty acids and high heat, yielding a product which makes insoluble particles soluble in water. Basically, it destroys the molecular structure of dirt and grease so that they can be easily washed away.

Note the process: Soap destroys dirt in order to wash it away. First destruction, then cleanliness. You cannot have one without the other.

Spiritually, God’s Holy Spirit works in much the same way. Before I came to know Jesus I was absolutely caked with dirt—the residual sludge of brokenness, disappointment, spotty doctrine and rationalization. Sadly, there was even a part of me that was proud of my dirt, because it was MY DIRT, darn it. It wasn’t easy to watch it wash away.

But as Christ’s love gently dissolved the gunk surrounding my heart, I realized three things. The first was that clean was better than dirty. Seems obvious, but this was a huge revelation for me. The second was that getting clean made me realize just how yucky and smelly I’d become. My spiritual nose had become used to the stench of my sin. As Jesus washed me clean, I had to face my spiritual stinkiness, and had to confess it to God.

The third thing was heartbreaking. I had friends—good friends—who did not support my cleansing process.   As Paul wrote to the church of Corinth two millennia ago, ‘to those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom’. My conversion appalled them. They knew and loved my dirt-caked self. They could not relate to me as a heaven-smelling person. We walked away from each other, and I still miss them.

Soap destroys as it cleanses. So does the blood of the Lamb. Still, I highly recommend it.   Anyone who has caught a whiff of ‘Christ-like fragrance’ knows there’s no sweeter smell. Clean is better than dirty. I guarantee it.

 

Bones_TV_Show_Facebook_Cover

Healing Equation

The other evening, I was catching up on some Bones episodes. One of the shows was about a young gymnast who had been murdered. Booth and Bones went to ask her father some questions. Her father, a Physicist, continued to work on equations on the whiteboard. Booth became agitated at his apparent disinterest in the conversation. In fact, he began to be convinced that the father had murdered his own daughter.

Bones_TV_Show_Facebook_CoverBones on the other hand argued that working on the equations was the father’s way of coping with his daughter’s death. She went back to visit the father after he’d been cleared of any charges. The father was once again working on equations in his office. That’s when Bones discovered that he’d written an equation for his daughter’s life from inception to death. The equation showed her movement from crawling, doing sommersaults, and all the way to her death on the beam.

The equation was his way of working through his daughter’s death to a place of acceptance. It was mathematical healing.

This scene really gives a great example of how each of us are unique individuals who cope and heal in very different ways. What works for you, might not work for me. God doesn’t use a healing formula or method. He individually tailors our healing to each of us.

Healing is an intimate relationship between God and the individual. He created us to be one of a kind human beings. He knows our emotions, minds and hearts. God knows our psyches have been formed by experiential memories. This gives Him the distinctive ability to touch us with healing that is uniquely our own.

If you are coping with a difficult circumstance, I encourage you to seek a healing relationship with God. His greatest desire is for you to be whole in mind, body, and spirit. He has a healing that is created specifically for you. All you have to do is look to Him to find it.
At the Glennon House, we have the privilege of being part of the healing equation in people’s lives. God utilizes the Prayer Ministers as a tool to aid in the healing process. It doesn’t matter which Prayer Minister prays with you because God can work through anyone. Please stop by or give us a call to set up an appointment. This can be the first step to entering into your healing relationship with the Lord.

rogerrabbitandjessicarabbit

I’m Just Drawn That Way

“No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
Romans 3:11-12 (NLT)

In his wonderful blog ‘Preventing Grace’ (which does not mean what you think it does) Matt Kennedy writes, “When it comes to God, we human beings . . . do everything in our power to keep God at bay.  As [the Apostle] Paul writes, ‘No one is seeking God.’ (Romans 3:11)” *

As sinners, our ‘go to position’ is to walk away from God.  We look for loopholes in the Bible rather than being obedient to the Lord’s commandments.  We can’t help it.  It’s our nature.  To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit in the movie ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, “I’m not a sinner; I’m just drawn that way.”

rogerrabbitandjessicarabbit
photo credit: toutlecine.com

 

Being ‘drawn that way’ is a marvelous excuse to avoid God’s word.  It really is.  We’re being true to ourselves.  We’re being authentic.  The Lord wants us to be honest, doesn’t He?  What could be more noble?

Have you ever read a scripture verse and thought “Oh, the Lord couldn’t possibly have meant that.  I’ll just ignore that bit.”   Or you ‘feel’ something so strongly that you’re sure God wants it for you, even though mature Christian friends are throwing down caution flags.  Or your prayers have gone unanswered for so long that you’re convinced Jesus either 1) isn’t listening or 2) doesn’t care or 3) isn’t real, so you give up praying.

I’ve been in all these situations, and sadly I often made the ‘Jessica Rabbit’ choice to stop seeking God.  At first it felt good, even courageous, but it always turned out badly.  Fortunately, the Lord gave me the Apostle John’s first letter.  If John were writing his letter to me, he’d write: “Ruth, if you confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). Thanks be to God!

I’ll always be a Jessica Rabbit.  Though I’ve been redeemed by my Savior’s blood, I’m a recovering sinner and will be until the day I die.  It’s my nature to slip my hand out of Jesus’ grasp, and dash after some shiny worldly bauble.  I’m just drawn that way. But when I do wander, I know that my loving Good Shepard will come after me, searching for me like the lost sheep/rabbit that I am. Even when I am not seeking Christ, He is always seeking me.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?”
Luke 15:4 (NLT)

* You can check out Matt Kennedy’s blog at http://www.preventingrace.com.

Shackles

Enslaved

My roommate told me this morning that 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar.  I saw the movie about a month ago.  It was a difficult movie to watch on many levels, but it was a story that touched the heart.

There was one specific part of the movie that I continued to replay over and over again in my mind.  I wasn’t sure why this part of the story had caught my attention.  Then, I began to see why it was important to me.  It revealed the way the enemy often enslaves us.

The main character, Solomon- a free man, had been taking a walk in the park.  He was called over, by an acquaintance, to meet two men.  The two men were looking for a skilled fiddler to join them at a circus in Washington, DC.  The two men enticed Solomon with a good salary and playing the fiddle which gave him great pleasure.  In the beginning, everything seemed wonderful.  Then one night at dinner his two companions spiked his drink with a drug.  The next day when Solomon woke up he was in chains – his freedom stolen from him.

I can’t even begin to fathom the pain, anger, or fear that Solomon must have been feeling when he realized that his days as a free man had been stolen from him. He’d done nothing wrong to deserve his plight.

The part of his story that I can relate to is that part that happened right before he was enslaved.  I can think of quite a few times that I started out on adventure that seemed wonderful, but in the end led me to be enslaved.  I became an alcoholic after giving in to peer pressure to have my first alcoholic drink.  I was promised that it would be a fun time.  I figured one drink wouldn’t hurt.  Well, unfortunately for me who has a long genetic line of alcoholics on both sides of my family, having one drink did hurt me.  In fact, I became a slave to alcohol for years.

I had the same thing happen when it came to binge eating.  I was going through a time of my life when I was really struggling with depression.  One day, I decided to indulge in a whole bag of chocolate cookies.  The sugar rush seemed to chase away my depression…for a little while at least.  So, the next time I was feeling the hint of deep depression coming I indulged in food.  Once again I had a sense of feeling wonderful for a brief time.  This eating pattern led to my being caught in a vicious cycle of binge eating for a number of years.  I kept trying to self-medicate by using food to take away the pain in my heart.

Shackles
Photo Credit: literaryhype.blogspot.com

The enemy likes to entice us into bondage with the sense that what we are being offered is wonderful.  Just like the two men did with their invitation to Solomon to join them at the circus.  The good news is that God can give us the wisdom whether what is offered is truly wonderful or not.  God can also set us free from any bondage that the enemy has used to enslave us.

The more healing I received at the Glennon House the better prepared I was to know whether the wonderful was a lie from the enemy or a gift from God.  It is up to us to pray about the opportunities that are placed before us.  The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) so it makes perfect sense that our joy is what the enemy likes to steal.  Jesus came to set us free.  That means that He wants us free to delight in every second of the joy He gives us.

If you are struggling with embracing God’s joy please stop by the Glennon House for some prayer.  One of our trained Prayer Ministers will pray with you to be set free so that you can truly embrace the joy of the Lord.

Listen, Love, and Pray

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