Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Hip Girls Guide To Spirituality: Maybe You Can't Do It...But, God Can!

The Hip Girls Guide To Spirituality: Maybe You Can't Do It...But, God Can!

Maybe You Can't Do It...But, God Can!

Frustrated? It may be because you're trying to make something happen that only God can make happen.

Whenever you are doing what God has called you to do, it is important to rely on His strength, His grace, and His power to complete your task. You will become frustrated if you try to make things happen on your own strength instead of relying on God. God is the author and finisher of His plans (Hebrews 12:2), and you must not try to take the place of God if you expect things to work out.

In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul reveals a mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations... Christ in you, the hope of glory. In other words, there is something that people of the past didn't know—it was hidden from them, a mystery to them—but Paul is now revealing that mystery to us: Christ lives in all who believe in Him! No longer is God just with his people—God now lives in his people! In Him we live and move and have our being!!! (Acts 17:28)

Also, note that it is Christ in you that's the hope of glory—not Christ and you.

Paul then continues by saying that he labors and works for the gospel, but all of his labor is really done by Christ's power, which so powerfully works in [him] (Colossians 1:29).

If you're trying to labor without Christ's power at work within you, then your labor will be frustrating and in vain. You need to stop trying, and start dying to self so that you may be alive to Christ's power. It's hard to imagine that killing the flesh with it's love of lying, gossiping, cursing, cheating, manipulating, and controlling, will in essence bring about a victory in the area you desire. But, it will. God honors dying to ourselves and becoming alive to Him. He honors it by increasing the ability of the Holy Spirit to work and move through you! His power can increase as you decrease the power of the enemy in your life.

Struggle and frustration occur when you try to do God's job by your own strength—rather than relying on Christ's strength, which is at work in you. And, you can increase Christ's strength in you by submitting to Him and His word.

If God took you to it, He'll get you through it.

Exodus 14 records the story of how the Hebrews escaped from bondage and slavery in Egypt. On their way out of Egypt, they camped in the desert near the Red Sea. They thought God was leading them out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh led the Egyptian army to where the Israelites were, and he trapped them against the sea. The Israelites must have felt betrayed by God, for it looked as though he didn't follow through on his plan to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. But God was faithful to his word -- he didn't let his people down. He led them through the Red Sea and delivered on his promises.

You have probably faced times when you thought that you could never do something, never complete a particular task, or never make it to the finish. However, if God has promised you something, then you can be confident that God will get you through the difficult times in order to bring about his promise.

This is true in Joseph's life. God took him through years of pain and suffering for an ultimate benefit; Joseph realizes this and, in Genesis 50:20, says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." God had a bigger plan for Joseph's life, and God didn't let him down. God led Joseph through his struggles.

This principle is also true in your life. Even though you may be going through extremely painful times, do not fear for God will get you through the hard times you face (see Psalm 23:4). If God took you to it, He'll get you through it.

As I journey on my road of spiritual growth I find that I don't need to see the end result of a thing, a goal, or a desire, as much as I once needed to, because as long as I am walking my road with Him then as He lives in Me I move forward and what I am becoming is what I always dreamed of being. In Him we Live and Move and have our Being! (Acts 17:28) All of a sudden what I couldn't do by my own power, or by employing anyone else's power, God can do by His power and what He does lasts and is of eternal value to the Kingdom of God!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I feel like I need to share this letter that I wrote to my son with all my other talented 'adopted' kids out there, as well as all my talented friends and family members whose faith has carried them this far! "Fear not!!!! Only be strong and courageous for the Lord your God will be with you WHEREVER you go!" (Joshua 6)


The apostle Paul, one of the greatest men in our Christian history and present, had a physical ailment. Some documents say it was a bad limp. Some say it was a different physical handicap. It is fact. Whatever it was, Paul prayed to God many, many, times to take it away. He cried. He told God I am doing all I can for you and the Kingdom, I am living my life as you want, or at least trying to, I am willing to let go of whatever you tell me to...just please heal me and take this problem away and make me into what I want to be. I believe in you. I love you. I acknowledge you. I go to church. I serve you. I even give up worldly things that seem fun, for you. I am sure he prayed and asked God in a thousand ways to heal him.

Yet, God's reply is one of the greatest replies in the Bible, in my humble opinion. God told him, in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, as He was also telling us when we cannot seem to understand why things are a certain way, "My GRACE is sufficient for you. For when YOU are weak. I am STRONG." My grace is sufficient for you...for when you are weak I am strong. Wow. Try it like this. Christian, MY grace is sufficient for you. My grace is all you need. My grace is enough to cover you, deliver you, and make you successful in spite of what you think is your handicap in this situation. For when you are weak, Christian...when you feel like you cannot do it, or be it, or achieve it, I CAN...I AM STRONG...I AM God. I can handle it. I can do it. I can overcome your limitation and make you victorious. I can overcome the negative voices even when they are only in your own mind. I can, and I will, make you strong enough for whatever situation you are in because my GRACE is all you need!

Do you know what GRACE is? GRACE is GOD'S UNMERITED FAVOR. Unmerited. That means favor that you don't deserve...but favor that GOD has CHOSEN to give YOU because in HIS plans for this earth HE has a REASON why HE needs you to be lifted up and SERVE HIM. Simply put, GOD HAS CHOSEN TO GIVE YOU FAVOR AND NOBODY ELSE CAN MESS WITH WHAT GOD WANTS TO ACHIEVE BECAUSE IT AIN'T ABOUT YOU, OR ANYBODY ELSE, IT'S ABOUT WHAT HE IS TRYING TO DO. It's about HIS WILL.

As God goes on to speak in this scripture, what He is trying to explain to Paul, and to us, is that if He allowed us to be perfect and without ANY limitations perhaps we would become to prideful. And, as the Bible says Pride is a nasty thing and pride goes before a fall. Perhaps we would think it's all about us. Or perhaps you'd think that you are the man, you made it happen, you can do it without anybody...eventually that thinking would lead you to actions which would have you acting as if you could do it without even God. When God loves you and calls you His own, He will never allow you to be in a place where you get so puffed up with pride, that He lets go and allows you to fall, by THINKING for even five seconds, that you can do it on your own. What He does instead is leave us with a challenge, a handicap, something that keeps us from being perfect in our flesh. He does this so that we NEED him to cover us. Provide for us. What He does is let us know that HE is the MAN. He is God. He is our strength. And, if we will just TRUST Him and proceed in the direction of our dreams, through the doors He opens for us, we can find confidence and courage and skill and strength in spite of what the world, or ourselves, see as a 'handicap.' And, armed with his GRACE He will be strong in us... and we will always win!

So, as the word says, 'count it all joy when you suffer trials and tribulations' for God is working out our faith. He is forcing us to call on Him so that He can love us and be our strength. For as He says, His grace is more than sufficient. Because when we are weak. HE IS STRONG. I have learned to thank God for my weaknesses...and to thank Him even more for the fact that I KNOW and BELIEVE that I can be weak, and it doesn't matter, because when I am weak this is when God can get busy and show up, and show off, and BE STRONG. EXPECT Him to be STRONG son. EXPECT Him to show up and show off in your life. Be HAPPY with what you think is a limitation or a handicap. Be happy with what you think makes you not as attractive as you want to be, or not as smart as you want to be, or not as whatever as you think you need to be. Be happy because God has promised you that HIS GRACE, not mom's grace or Roger's grace, or grandmas grace, but HIS grace is sufficient, meaning just enough, perfect, completely adequate and right on time! And, with that grace YOU ARE STRONG BECAUSE HE IS STRONG FOR YOU!!! And, what God has blessed nobody else can curse.

My son, my champion from birth, my joy, my life, my everything...when you are weak God is strong. And you have already won. Everything that will be yours will be yours. Nobody can stop that. God's resume is more than enough. Somewhere in His resume of what he has done while working for Christian Garrett His grace has been more than sufficient and in your weaknesses He has shown you to be strong!!!!


I Love You,

"However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"
1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PARENTS: Gotta Live With 'Em Cuz Ya Really Don't Wanna Live Without 'Em

I am inspired to share this amazing article I read by John Huffman, Jr. the senior pastor of a church in Newport Beach. I hope all my adopted kids, nieces, nephews, and even friends will read it. It's a great help to our journey as kids dealing with parents, no matter how old we may be.

Biblical reminder #1: God created our parents for our benefit.

Can you grasp that fact? Your father and mother, as tough as they are to understand at times, are God's gift to you. You are part of an authority structure that helps you be the person God wants you to be. In this world there is authority. This authority is ordered by God.

The Ten Commandments state: "Honor your father and mother."

The Apostle Paul wrote, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' — this is the first commandment with a promise: 'so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Do you catch the positive element of that command? We are to obey. In the process we will find a full, positive life.

Paul notes that this is the first commandment that gives a promise. The promise is that if you obey, respecting the authority of your parents, your lifestyle will be blessed of God. Whether this is simply a psychological fact of life or whether God himself goes out of His way to reward you is not clearly specified. I am inclined to believe it is both, for the Bible is God's clear expression of how to live the life He created you to live.

On the other hand, the author of the Book of Proverbs warns of what will happen if you don't take your parents seriously. He states, "The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures" (Proverbs 30:17). That's tough language, isn't it? The person who disobeys the commands of God finds out that this actually happens. Your life is destroyed by your failure to live within God's authority structure.

What are these authority structures? The Bible teaches that God is able to accomplish His purposes in our lives through those He places in authority over us. In the family relationships, this authority is entrusted to God and parents. Every teenager has an enormous potential for either beautiful living or chaotic ruin. In God's eyes, every child is a diamond in the rough. The father and/or mother serve alongside with God as master diamond-cutters, working to bring out the finest qualities of the young person's God-given selfhood. If you refuse to submit to the sometimes painful experience of being shaped by the authority of God and parents, you can end up realizing so little of your ultimate potential.

Biblical reminder #2: God instructs you to obey your parents, not to spoil your fun but because it is the smart way to live.

God knows how you function best. He is the One who made you. Through His Word, He alerts you to a plan for living. He knows that your mother and father have insights that can be of enormous help.

If you are a young person struggling with your relationship with your parents, why don't you try a new approach? Put aside for a moment some of the differences you have with them and take an opportunity to go to one or both of them for some advice. Get their opinion on some issue with which you are struggling. You might be surprised at how helpful they can be.

I am speaking now specifically to teenagers, although we of all ages can continue to learn from our parents. As a teenager, you have your dating problems. You talk them over with your friends. Have you ever stopped to think that Mom and Dad can give you a lot of good advice?

This is especially true if you are doing the asking. Remember, they were young once too. Remember, they have gone through the insecurities, frustrations and problems that you are experiencing. Remember, they made some mistakes. Confront them with your questions. You will be surprised at the wise answers they may give.

I realize you may chuckle and say, "I don't have to ask my parents. They are loaded with all kinds of advice without me even having to ask!"

Why is that? Do you really want to know? It's because they really care!

Mom and Dad have a lot they can share with you. Even the worst parents have a God-given instinct as to what is best for their child.

I discovered this way back in my seminary days when I was serving at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, as an assistant to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. One Sunday afternoon, I was counseling a prostitute. She came to the church with her five-year-old boy, Michael, who had been born out of wedlock. This young woman had come to New York from the Midwest, aspiring to be an actress. Her plans didn't work out. In a sad story of downward spiral, she ultimately resorted to selling her own body in order for her and her boy to survive financially. She was so mixed up. Yet, one thing that impressed me about her was that she was determined that Michael would be free of the mistakes she had made in her teenage years. I will never forget the sincerity of this young woman, who did not have her own act together but wanted what was the best for her child.

You say, "But I can't get my Dad's time long enough to have a good talk. He's so busy in his work. And my mother, when she is not working, is in the gym or somewhere with her covenant group."

Harold Mallett suggest writing a note to your parents. I'll guarantee it will catch their attention. He says to write something like this:

Dear Folks:

Do you mind if I make a suggestion? We don't talk enough. I realize how much "Go" and "Do" there is in your lives, and I know it's important. But, frankly, I need some of your time. It's not that I'm in a jam, or intend to be, but somehow it seems that we belong to different denominations! I go my way and you go yours. We get along fairly well, but I'm like your roomer.

I'd like to discuss dating with you, and some problems that come up about school, parties, drinking, and such. I really need to know what you would say and do.

Could we agree on a time, soon, to fix other times when we can "get with it" more? Yours for the talking!

Your parents were created for your benefit. Obey them because God tells you to and because God knows what is smart. You'll be a lot happier that way.

Biblical reminder #3: There are circumstances in which you are entitled to disobey your parents.

I would be totally dishonest if I pretended the Bible leaves you forever in bondage to your mother and father. There are two specific contingencies which free you from their authority.

The first contingency is that you don't have to obey your parents when what they are demanding goes in direct opposition to the Word of God, the Bible.

Jesus put it bluntly when He said, "'Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me . . . .'" (Matthew 10:37).

God is the ultimate authority over your life. Jesus Christ should be first. You are to be free to disobey your parents when they force you to do something that goes against the Lord.

For example, there are some fathers and mothers whose lives are so perverted by sin that they enlist their children's aid in illegal activities. I know parents who have urged their children to lie, to steal and to cheat.

And, hardly a day goes by that we do not hear a case history of a young person whose parent has used them sexually.

God never expects you to obey your parents when this goes against God's instructions for creative Christian living. Remember, though, you are going to have to know the Bible. You should be growing in your relationship with the Lord so as to know what is right and what is wrong. I believe that in most cases the requests of parents do not go counter to the Word of God. But when they do, the highest authority is God, not Mom and Dad. Please don't use this as a copout. Use this as a responsibility. In most cases, your commitment to the Lord will only increase the quality of your relationship with your parents as you, in a healthy way, acknowledge their authority.

The second contingency is that you don't have to obey your parents forever.

The day comes when you leave your father and mother.

If you are a single young adult, you will have the privilege and responsibility of making your own decisions.

If you are married, the Bible urges you to leave your father and mother and cleave to your partner.

As an adult, you will be primarily under the authority of God and His Word. Maturity in a young person means that you are able to develop in your relationship to God and your fellow human beings so that you are able to live as a responsible adult.

As long as you are dependent on your father and mother for money, you have a responsibility to them.

A young man I know is 20 years old and has many hangups with his father. He went away to college. He and his dad continued to get along like cats and dogs. It all boiled down to the fact that my friend wanted freedom from his dad. Yet he was content to have his father pay all his expenses. When Dad made a request, he resented it. He was in bondage. Physically, he was an adult. Emotionally, he was a dependent. He wanted his freedom from everything except financial support. The fact is, he's not going to be ready for full freedom until he is no longer dependent upon his parents for financial support.

Biblical reminder #4: Don't be surprised if you, as an adult child, still have problems with your parents.

There are three kinds of problems I see quite frequently.

The first problem: Possessive parents.

So often I have heard this refrain: "My parents are so possessive. They try to dictate my life." I have heard this complaint from people in their twenties, thirties, forties and even fifties.

One friend went through 30 years of professional life hounded by his father in a business relationship.

I know another man in his forties, with a lively brood of teenage children, who still is taking direct instruction from his parents, resenting it all the time. His mother has gone so far as to dictate where he lives and who his friends should be. He is being torn apart inside.

Frankly, this happens because the child doesn't have the sense to really leave home when he becomes an adult. He may get married. She may live thousands of miles away from her father and mother. But, at the same time, they have left a link of vital connection that keeps them in bondage. In most cases, I have discovered that link is money. Most adults who have problems with their parents have them because of a bargaining situation in which the parent-child ties never mature to the point of adult-to-adult friendship. If I am dependent upon my father for the home in which I live, the job which is mine, and the inheritance which will someday come, I will find myself involved in a "love-hate" relationship. I love him because he is my father. I hate him because my relationship with him is distorted. I am still a teenager, dependent upon him, instead of living as an adult who is self-sufficient and self-governing.

Nothing is more pathetic than an adult who is dependent upon his parents for financial and emotional support. If you are caught up in that situation, get out of it. Allow your parents to be free and allow yourself to be free. Or, negotiate some kind of an understanding whereby you have clear boundaries.

The second problem: In-laws.

One psychologist states that 40 percent of the problems during the early years of marriage are related to in-law difficulties. He says there are two major causes of this. One is when the parents do not emotionally release their child. Two is when the child does not emotionally break away from the parents. The parent-child problem becomes extremely complicated because it involves someone else's parents.

There is a strange phenomena that I have detected in counseling and in my own marriage. It is easy for your wife to criticize her own parents. She can make a list of her mother's weaknesses and her father's weaknesses. But if you begin to list those weaknesses, you are in trouble! Why? Because you have criticized her when you thought you were criticizing her parents. After all, she is a product of people whom you are criticizing. She expresses her independence when she analyzes them. She is depersonalized by you when you analyze them.

The smart in-law is one who gives complete freedom to one's son or daughter to establish their own life with their new family. This means no financial support. Or if there is some financial help, such as a down-payment on a home, make certain there is a clear understanding of the implications and that you will not manipulate them in the years ahead by reminding them of the help you have given. Make it clear. It's a gift or a loan. Let them be free from your control.

The smart young couple is one that realizes that no set of in-laws is perfect. His parents are people. Her parents are people. They love their son. They love their daughter. I believe you can best accept that love if you are free to let it be known that the two of you are primarily committed to each other. You have left your parents to make a husband-wife commitment. In turn, you are going to be loving to the parents of both, yet independent of them. This independence may require that you make material sacrifices in order to achieve complete emotional freedom.

The third problem: Aging parents.

I am spending an increasing amount of my time in pastoral conversation with people in their fifties, sixties and seventies as they are endeavoring to cope with the issues facing their aging parents who are now well into their eighties and nineties.

I am close to one couple in their seventies who have spent a major amount of their time since their retirement providing support for his aging mother and her aging father. The roles have changed. The once care-receivers have become care-givers. The question now is how to establish firm boundaries, which guarantee responsible support for one's parents yet the capacity to continue to live one's life meeting other responsibilities that also are important. Fortunately, we are learning more and more about the aging process. That knowledge is much needed.

Yes, the child-parent relationship is fraught with potential problems. There are hassles. At the same time, it is worth whatever work we put into maintaining healthy relationships with those who have brought us into this world. The day will come when they are no longer with us.

My friend, Joe, found this out. During his twenties, thirties and forties, he turned on his mother in revenge for her domination of his adolescent years. He belittled her, ridiculed her lifestyle and talked about her behind her back. Then she died. Joe couldn't accept her death. Burdened with guilt, he went into severe depression. The mere mention of her name brought tears to his eyes. He would break down, sobbing. He had abused the special trust relationship. It was only when he accepted God's forgiveness in Jesus Christ that he was set free from his bondage. Still, he longs to have her back again to express his love and appreciation. He will never be able to do it in this life. He let his problems with his mother get the better of him in a way that has clouded the rest of his life

Let me conclude with this bit of whimsy that sort of describes this fascinating child-parent odyssey. It is titled "Parent."

4 Years: My parent can do anything.

7 Years: My parent knows a lot, a whole lot.

8 Years: My parent doesn't quite know everything.

12 Years: Oh well, naturally, Mom doesn't know everything.

14 Years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.

21 Years: Oh, that woman is out of date. What did you expect?

25 Years: He/She knows a little bit about it but not much.

30 Years: Must find out what my parents think about it.

35 Years: A little patience, let's get mom and dads meaning first.

50 Years: What would my parents have thought about it?

60 Years: My parents knew literally everything.

65 Years: I wish I could talk it over with my parents once more.

I don't know where you are in this child-parent odyssey. Hopefully something I have said has been helpful. Perhaps now is the time, before it is too late, to pick up the phone, write a letter and say "I'm sorry." Or perhaps all you need to do is re-establish or maintain communication in a way that takes your parents seriously as God's personal gift to you.

If it has been a troubled relationship, one with abuse, you may just have to keep those boundary lines clear. Talk to the Lord about those issues and get therapy if you continue to be troubled. Hopefully you will come to the day when you will forgive your father and/or your mother for the mistakes they made, even if they are incapable of understanding the full degree of those mistakes. Hopefully you can identify the wonderful qualities in your parents and take the initiative now to express your appreciation to them. If they are not alive, thank God for His gift of parents!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why Jesus?!

So every now and then, as my ministry grows, I am feeling compelled to share some of the amazing emails and communications I have with people who are in some way grappling with the whole concept of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Let's face it, if being 'saved' was easy wouldn't everyone be saved? Maybe. The reality is that being saved and living for Christ involves a deep desire and faith in God's word as true and God's way as best. When I seriously questioned that God's word was true and His way best, my research affirmed the truth and validity of the word of God and the undeniable fact that...Yes, HIS WAY IS BEST. But, alas, the desires of the flesh WAR against the desires of the SPIRIT. I was going to comment on celibacy today with everything going on with Brandon Davies and BYU but....I find the following worthy of sharing.

I have deleted the email dialogue which preceded my final reply here. A dialogue which began with my friend, Terri, wishing me a happy birthday, commenting on a scripture that closed my email and stating her belief in the Mayan 2012 prediction, and asking for Samuel L. Jacksons phone number. Which I do not have. And, please note, I do not believe that God would reveal anything to a culture of people who murdered innocent children by cutting their hearts out to sacrifice them to their bevy of false Gods. As Jesus said, "would I do anything unless I've already revealed it to my prophets?!" Mayans...prophets???? DOUBTFUL. Anyway...

The following is my reply to my friend Terri. After years of spiritual dialogue and gently nurturing and encouraging her search for meaning spiritually I think I kind of felt fed up...with humor anyway.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thurs, 3 Mar 2011 1:06
Subject: Re: Just To Be Different!
Oh Terri you are an original. But, I must tell you...when the reference to blind faith is made, I believe, it is actually to explain the ability to believe without seeing God. It is the ability to believe in what God has told you even though the circumstances around you, the world, society, events, tell you differently. As Hebrews 11 says 'Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' You might actually continue in Hebrews 11 for an amazing record of those who 'blindly' followed after God and the promise of His Son. They were following, One God and One Son. You must know from reading the Bible that following after 'many gods' got them into a heap of doggie doo on many occasions. They were to put no other gods before Him. That is also Commandment number 1. Thank you Moses. Unfortunately, as God said in Isaiah 65:

'All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations'

Sadly, I understand your inability to accept that the only way to the Father is through the son, Jesus. It's tough because it brings up questions for all the quote unquote good people who don't believe Jesus is the only way. And even more questions for those who grew up in a remote village and never heard of Jesus. Yet it is what Jesus said. Perhaps what makes you doubt Jesus is that you cannot imagine any one person could say such a thing? Or that a loving God could be so harsh? Yet not only did He say it, he died for it...out of love for us. That's a long way to go on a hunch that what you're doing is right. From that same love I have to believe He has a way to deal with the circumstances above, so that all have an opportunity to get to Heaven, so to speak. I do believe that a God who loves us so much as to DIE for us MUST have a master plan for those truly good people not to be left out. I don't judge anyone. But we all get, and will get, a choice.

As for all those who choose not to believe that Jesus is the Savior that the Bible spoke of in 66 books through 44 men over thousands of years simply because they think the Bible is filled with lies, and doesn't include them, or that it's not relevant today (love that lie)...I have to say, good luck on judgement day when we all find out how God will deal with the non-believers and the sinners and the un-righteous who actually chose to live for the pleasures of their flesh rather than for the will of God.

His word tells the whole story. I have now studied it, picked it apart, and chosen to live in it for 18 plus years because I know that it is the truth. He is the way, the truth, and the light. And, sorry, my friend, but neither mohammed, budda, or anyone else can get you into heaven if in fact God's word which says, the only way to me is through the son, is accurate. And, I think we've established that I believe it is. ACCURATE. LOL

Again, This is not to say that God who loves us doesn't have a plan for people and for children who've never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some great and plausible theories on this subject. And, in the last days many people may come to Him on their death bed who walk around now saying 'I am open to everything, or I do not accept that Jesus is the only way.' Again, I have to believe God knows more than I do about how He will judge the children He created, so I stay away from thinking I need to make someone accept what I believe or from judging them if they do not. God is much better equipped to answer the questions and I am certain that if one seeks after Him He would lead them into clarity for themselves...I knocked and He opened the door. I sought. I found. I asked. He answered. With all that said...

As it is said in Joshua 24 "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

So, I am going all the way with the one-way of the God that Joshua was speaking of, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose lives ALL foretold in word, witness, action, and symbolism of the coming of one Savior...Jesus Christ of Nazareth who came in the flesh to die (in a way predicted 2 thousand years before crucifixion ever existed) for our sins, to save us. I say thank you Jesus!

My friend, like you, I've read it all and tried it all. I have even felt so abandoned and alone and under intense spiritual attack that I thought there was NO way there could be a God, anybody's God, who would allow the bad stuff I've lived through to happen to me or anyone in the world.
I tried Buddha, Hare Krishna, Kabbalah, New Age, Muslim, and every other way to get a real deep life in God and some help, and deliverance, and NOTHING else has POWER.

Try calling on Buddha to speak to you...Or does that red string on the wrist answer prayer, heal the sick, raise the dead? Don't think so! In fact I know it doesn't. Been there done that.

Did the 'confusion thing.'
Did the 'I live for me and God is me thing.'
Did the 'I am a Christian but pre-marital sex is OK if you're in love thing.'
Did the 'I'm spiritual so that's all that matters thing.'
Did the 'there are many ways to the same God thing.'
Did the 'I'm a good person so God just wants me to do me and be happy thing.'
Did the 'there cannot be 1 way to God because I cannot understand what God is thinking by sending a Savior who claims to be the only way thing.'
Did the 'it's ALL good thing.'
Did just about 'EVERYTHING'.

And, honey let me tell you with all the strength and conviction I can muster up in my soul...that the only 'THING' I did that ever worked was submit, surrender, bow down, and praise God though Jesus Christ His son and my Savior and wait for HIM to speak, lead, guide, help, save, deliver, set free, and BLESS.

When I did the 'Lord, I wanna follow you, live the way you say, follow every rule because I worship and adore you, know you're the truth beyond a doubt, thing,' I was given the answers to my questions, set free, and blessed abundantly. I don't boast, but if like Paul said I may boast in the Lord, I have what people covet their whole lives to have; spiritual clarity, ultimate peace, total provision. 'Life and life more abundantly' as Jesus said He came to provide.

I say all this to simply say, like that old gospel song, from some old folks who lived longer and stronger than we have at this point in our childish journey's...CAN'T NOBODY DO ME LIKE JESUS!

You do what you want! We can hook up and compare notes at the end. LOL

I love you regardless of whose right or wrong. But, I wouldn't bet against me if I were you.
Know that you've been warned, my UK sister.
Cynthia...aka, your resident hip girl on a journey of true spirituality!!!

"However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"
1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

'The Turning Point In Prayer'

I read the devotion below, written by Jack Zavada, (the author of Single & Sure, a new ebook aimed at single Christians. A cancer survivor, Jack is a contributing author for a number of online publications, and shares his experiences as a single Christian on his website,

Prayer is both the most exhilarating and the most frustrating experience in life. When God answers your prayer, it's a feeling like no other. You stagger around for days, awestruck because the Creator of the Universe reached down and worked in your life. You know a miracle happened, big or small, and that God did it for just one reason: because he loves you. When your feet finally touch the ground, you stop bumping into walls long enough to ask a crucial question: "How can I make that happen again?"

So often our prayers don't get answered the way we want. When that's the case, it can be so disappointing it drives you to tears. It's especially hard when you asked God for something undeniably good—someone's healing, a job, or mending an important relationship. You can't understand why God didn't answer the way you wanted. You see other people getting their prayers answered and you ask, "Why not me?"

Then you start to second-guess yourself, thinking maybe some hidden sin in your life is keeping God from intervening. If you can think of it, confess it and repent of it. But the truth is that we are all sinners and can never come before God totally free of sin. Fortunately, our great mediator is Jesus Christ, the spotless sacrifice who can bring our requests before his Father knowing God will deny his Son nothing.

Still, we keep looking for a pattern. We think about times we got exactly what we wanted and try to recall everything we did. Is there a formula we can follow to control how God answers our prayers? We believe praying is like baking a cake mix: follow three simple steps and it comes out perfect every time. Despite all the books that promise such a thing, there is no secret procedure we can use to guarantee the results we want.

With all that in mind, how can we avoid the frustration that commonly accompanies our prayers? I believe the answer lies in studying the way Jesus prayed. If anybody knew how to pray, it was Jesus. He knew how God thinks because He is God: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30, NIV).

Jesus demonstrated a pattern throughout his prayer life all of us can copy. In obedience, he brought his desires in line with his Father's. When we reach the place where we are willing to do or accept God's will instead of our own, we have reached the turning point in prayer. Jesus lived that: "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38, NIV)

Choosing God's will over our own is so hard when we want something passionately. It is agonizing to act as if it doesn't matter to us. It does matter. Our emotions try to convince us there is no possible way we can give in. We can submit to God's will instead of our own solely because God is absolutely trustworthy. We have faith that his love is pure. God has our best interest at heart, and he always does what is most beneficial for us, no matter how it appears at the time.

But sometimes to surrender to God’s will, we also have to cry out as the father of a sick child did to Jesus, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24, NIV). Like that father, most of us surrender our will to God only after we hit rock bottom. When we have no alternatives and God is the last resort, we grudgingly give up our independence and let him take over. It doesn't have to be that way. You can begin by trusting God before things get out of control. He will not be offended if you test him in your prayers. When you have the all-knowing, all-powerful Ruler of the Universe looking out for you in perfect love, doesn't it make sense to rely on his will instead of your own puny resources?

Everything in this world that we put our faith in has the potential to fail. God does not. He is consistently reliable, even if we do not agree with his decisions. He always leads us in the right direction if we give in to his will. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus said to his Father, "…your will be done." (Matthew 6:10, NIV). When we can say that with sincerity and trust, we have reached the turning point in prayer. God never abandons those who trust him.

It's not about me, it's not about you. It's about God and his will. The sooner we learn that, the sooner our prayers will touch the heart of the One to whom nothing is impossible.

Scripture Of The Day: "...Your will be done" - Matthew 6:10