Best Day Ever

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
 Psalm 118:24
The other evening during the Testimony time at the Healing Service, a woman stood up telling us her testimony.  During this time, she offered up praise for her time with her grandchildren.  She then mentioned what one of her granddaughters says to her each day,
“This is the best day ever!”
I think that is a fabulous way to approach each day of our lives.  And I would love to be able to tell you that I’ve said the same thing every day, but that would be a lie.  Frankly, there are some days that I was much more likely to be heard saying, “This is the worst day ever!”
I remember reading the story in the Bible that told about the time when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison.  About midnight, they were heard praying and singing to the Lord.  The other prisoners were in their cells listening to them when suddenly there was a violent earthquake that caused the prison doors to fly open and everyone’s chains to break loose. (Acts 16:25&26)
My initial thought upon reading that story for the first time was, “Are they crazy? Why on earth would they even feel like singing when they were just beaten and in prison?” But then, I realized that it was after they were praising and singing that not only were they set free, but so was everyone else who could hear them!  I am pretty sure that all the prisoners in the jail that night were saying, “Best day ever!”
While I have never been in an actual prison, I have been a prisoner to a multitude of situations, addictions, and relationships in my life.  Before coming to know Jesus, it never even entered my mind that I should (or could) do something other than grumble and complain about those things.
I don’t believe that Paul and Silas were singing praises to the Lord for being beaten and imprisoned.  I think that they were singing praises, in the midst of their pain, because they knew that worshipping Him would set them free from their prison in some way or another. In this instance, they were physically set free, but at other times Paul was set free spiritually or emotionally from his prison instead.
Paul and Silas chose to praise the Lord while they were still prisoners.  It might not have been an easy choice, but they decided they would praise in the midst of pain.  That is a choice each of us has before us when we are in pain.
I can tell you from experience that it is sometimes the hardest choice I’ve had to make.  And sometimes, I don’t do such a great job at choosing to praise Him when I’m in the midst of turmoil.  What I have found is that if I will choose to find something, no matter how tiny it may seem, to be thankful for in the midst of pain it helps to redirect my focus onto God instead of my problem.
One of the simplest praises I’ve ever uttered is, “Thank you Lord for this moment.”  It’s nothing deep or eloquent, but God knows my heart.  He knows that at that exact moment it is the only thing I can say and He is there with me as I take the first step towards being able to greet each day saying,
“This is the best day ever!”

The Hurt Closet

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Awhile back, I watched a movie called 27 dresses.  It is about a young woman who is always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  She has been the bridesmaid in over twenty-seven weddings.  In her apartment, she has a closet that is literally stuffed to overflowing with these dresses.  She refuses to throw a single dress out.  Every time she looks at the closet, she is reminded that she has never been the bride.  When she has this thought, she becomes sad and depressed.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a closet that caused me sadness too.  It was an emotional hurt closet.  In this closet, I stored up all the times someone hurt me emotionally.  I piled one hurt on top of another in that closet of mine.  My closet overflowed with all the hurts.  I would try to keep the door shut, so that I wouldn’t see the hurts, but when someone else did something hurtful the doors would swing open.  Not only did I feel the pain from the current hurt, but all the past hurts would tumble out of the closet.  This doubled the pain I was feeling.  It never even crossed my mind to clean out my hurt closet.  I just simply kept tossing more and more hurts in there.  Until one day, the doors of my bulging closet wouldn’t close at all.
I couldn’t put it off any longer; I had to clean out my closet.
The pivotal moment came when a friend of mine hurt me one time too many.  She was going through a really rough time.  I became collateral damage in the war zone of her life.  I had stopped all communication with her because I didn’t want to keep being hurt over and over again.  Our lack of communication caused a ripple effect in our family and friend’s lives.  No one knew how to handle the situation and it was causing stress for everyone.  I was praying desperately for the Lord to tell me what I should do about the situation.  I knew that He didn’t want me to bear the brunt of her pain that was causing her to behave in hurtful ways.  I also knew that I had to set up healthy boundaries in the relationship.
I kept adding the continued hurts that she tossed my way into my closet.  Every time I tossed a new one in there, I saw all the old hurts that were already hanging up.  This amplified the new hurt.  It was beginning to get harder and harder to close the doors of my closet.  It often seemed that I stayed in a perpetual state of hurt during that time of my life.  Pretty soon, I felt like everything everybody was doing or saying was hurtful.  It was no longer just my friend that was doing hurtful things…everybody was.
When I was at my lowest, God answered my prayers.  There was only one thing to do.  I had to forgive my friend – completely.
The only way this could be accomplished was for me to do some Spring Cleaning in my hurt closet.  With God by my side, I waded into that overflowing closet of mine to begin throwing away all the old hurts that were hanging up in there.  The more I forgave her, the easier it began to toss out those hurts.  He also showed me that my expectations of my friend were unrealistic.  She was not in a place where she could be there for anyone.  She was in survival mode.  I had to accept her where she was in order to remain in relationship with her.
My responsibility in all of this was to not collect hurts in a closet again – not to keep a record of the hurt.  Instead, when I feel hurt by someone, I need to immediately take my hurt to the Lord.  He wants to take this burden from me.
God has transformed my hurt closet into a forgiven closet.

Flaming Heart

In my devotional the other day, there was a great quote from Mary Lou Retton:
“Heat is required to forge anything.  Every great accomplishment is the story of a flaming heart.”
I grew up spending my summers in the woods.  I know all about the logistics of starting a fire and keeping the flame burning.  I can even start one without matches.  (Well, technically, I haven’t done that in years, but I’m sure it would come back to me.)
To start a fire, without matches, you must apply enough twisting pressure to a piece of wood to create a small spark.  Once you get that faint smoking, you have to add more fuel (wood shavings, moss, etc) to get a burn going.  Soft breaths will fan the flame causing it to grow.  Once you’ve got the “starter” burning, you then place it on a pile of kindling.
The kindling is essential.  It is these small pieces of wood that allow the larger wood to catch flame.  In order to keep a fire burning, you need to have a steady supply of wood.  This wood supply is what you will use to feed the fire to keep it flaming.  If you starve your fire, you will end up with a small burning ember – a fire barely left alive.
I must admit that there have been times in my walk with the Lord where my heart was just a burning ember.  These were the times when I was just “too busy” to spend daily time with the Lord.  I had so many things demanding my attention each day that I let my time with God slide away.  I’d spend an hour or so with Him once a week at Church and then basically ignore Him the rest of the week.
I’ve come to realize that there is a correlation between the amount of time I spend in relationship with the Lord and the size of my heart fire.  I don’t want just a burning ember in my heart for the Lord.  I want a flaming heart!  Yes, this takes some effort on my part, but it is well worth it!
In order to create a fire and keep my heart flaming, I have to add fuel to the spark that the Holy Spirit has placed there.  Reading God’s Word, going to Church, doing Bible Studies, and being in fellowship with other believers are all “kindling” to start that burn going in my heart.  I need to stay in relationship with the Lord so that I have a surplus of kindling and wood available to feed my heart fire.
If you want to get your heart flaming for the Lord, I encourage you to come to one of our Tuesday Evening Healing Services or join us for some of our weekly activities at the Glennon House.

Powerless

The other day the power went out at the Church.  Thankfully, the Glennon House power stayed on.  The only problem is that our internet access comes from a server that is located over at the Church.  This means that we didn’t have access to any of our files.
In essence, I was powerless to do any work that depended on the computer.
This made me think about how most of my life I had gone through life depending on my own strength.  As you can imagine, I often ran out of steam or didn’t even have enough power to get started.  That’s because I wasn’t created to run under my own power.  I was created to receive my strength (power) from the Lord.
When I didn’t know the Lord, I was a lot like my work computer that couldn’t connect to the internet without the Church’s power.  I could function, to an extent, but I couldn’t function to my full capability.
I tried for years to get my life together both mentally and emotionally.  Under my own strength, the “togetherness” never stuck.  It wasn’t until I turned to the Lord, asking for His strength, that I was able to live a life that even resembled togetherness.  It was His healing power at work in me that gave me the strength to make the needed changes in my life.
The same was true when I tried to beat my addictions.  As an alcoholic, I quit drinking on numerous occasions.  I was hospitalized for alcoholism as a teenager.  I attended more AA meetings then I can count.  I did everything humanly possible to stop drinking.  Sometimes I was successful, even for years at a time, but then something would trigger the underlying wound that drove me toward alcohol and I would fall off the wagon.  This cycle went on from the time I was sixteen years old until I was in my thirties.
Then at the age of thirty-three, I turned to Jesus.
For the first time in my life, I was able to begin to experience true freedom in the area of addictions.  The lesson I learned about relying on God’s strength began to bleed over into other areas of my life.  I soon realized that the times when I felt most drained were times when I was trying to do things under my own strength.  I was not created to go through my life under my own steam.  I was created to draw my strength from God’s power.  He will supply the power I need to walk through life.
So the angel explained that it was the following message of the Lord to Zerubbabel:  I am the Lord All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit.
Zechariah 4:6 (CEV)

The Gospel of Downton Abbey

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12 (NLT)
Downton Abbey, I miss you!
For those of you who don’t know, Downton Abbey was a British mini series about a great manor house at the start of the 20th century.  Thousands howled in despair when it ended last January. I was one of them.  I’ll miss the great costumes, the ridiculous manners, the food, the wealth, the scene-chewing drama, the wonderful Christian theology—
Wait, what was that last part?
Yes, believe it or not, Downton Abbey, provided one of the best examples of theology on TV.  Here’s why.
The show started when the expected heir to the Downton Abbey estate died suddenly (on that pesky Titanic, no less).  Because of English inheritance laws, the title and wealth of the estate passed to a very ordinary young lawyer who actually worked for a living.  Oh, the scandal!
Instantly, this very ordinary young man became the Earl of Grantham.  He did nothing to earn his way into the powerful British Aristocracy.  Certain people didn’t think was good enough to be a proper Earl—he even used the wrong fork!  But that made no difference.  By law he was the Earl of Grantham, heir to all the rights, wealth and power of that the position.  Nothing on earth could change that fact.
Becoming a Christian is just like that.  When we are found by Jesus’ love, we instantly become the heirs of God’s kingdom.  We don’t earn our way into Christ’s family.  And, though certain people might not think we are good enough to be proper heirs, it doesn’t matter.  By the law of the new covenant, we are the adopted sons and daughters of God.
When I face discouraging days, when the black just gets blacker and I know that even Jesus can’t bear to look at a complete screw-up like me, I remember that very ordinary man who became the owner of Downton Abbey.  Whatever I feel, the truth is that I’m God’s child. I’m accepted, adored, redeemed and loved by the Creator of the Universe, and nothing on earth can change that fact.  Even if I use the wrong fork.

Spiritual “Do Over”

The other weekend, I was looking for a movie to watch on Netflix.  As I scrolled through the selections, I saw quite a few movies about adults who went back in time.
The common theme of all these movies was that adults had an opportunity for a “do over.”  They still had the mind of an adult, but they now had a body of a teenager.  Most of the movies were about the adult making better choices.  Once they made that better choice they were able to return to being an adult.
The concept of a “do over” is obviously popular since there are quite a few movies with that theme in them.  This made me start wondering if I too would like to be able to go back and make better choices in my life.  I can honestly say that at one point, I probably would have jumped at that opportunity.  Today, not so much.
I realized that through inner healing at the Glennon House, God has already given me a spiritual “do over.”  While I didn’t physically go back in time, my memories from my younger years have been healed.  This healing has allowed me to reconcile with my past.
When I first came to the Glennon House, I thought that I would be burdened with my poor choices my entire life.  I had the incorrect assumption that I would have to pay for my mistakes the rest of my life.  In fact, a part of me believed that I deserved to be punished, for as long as I needed to be punished, to atone for my mistakes.
Thank goodness, that’s not how God works!
God didn’t want to punish me for my mistakes.  He wanted to heal me mind, body, and spirit.  In essence, He wanted to give me a spiritual “do over” so that I could be set free from my past.  Working with a trained Prayer Minister, I asked Jesus to help me forgive myself and others for those times in my life that had caused me such pain.
Those areas in my life, where I received inner healing, were the times that I had wished I could go back and relive over again.  If I had been the movie character,
suddenly becoming a teenager, those areas would have been what I fixed.  Thankfully, I do not have to become a teenager again to have those times in my life healed!  I just have to ask God for His healing.
If there are areas in your life where you would like to have a “do over,” I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for inner healing.  Let God give you a spiritual “do over” so that you can be set free and be made whole.
I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert.
I will make rivers on dry land.

Isaiah 43:19 (GWT)

Reference Point

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 sixteen 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.

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!

 

Listen, Love, and Pray

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