The Pain’s The Thang


My mother would always steer clear of people who gave “organ recitals” as she called them.  They were “downers”, depressing people. Your mistake would be to ask, “how are you”?  They never got better, something was always wrong, yet they were at the mall, in church, at the school function.  They sounded as though they were dying yet they looked and acted fine.  Some people never get enough attention.lookatme

Makes you want to give them their own t-shirt, “here’s your sign”!

Many of us have our issues, our daily battles.  I have to say my chronic condition is a struggle.  Mom and dad raised us that if you were this side of the grass to get on with your life and bear up under what ever it is you’re going through.  Physically it is hard I know, trust me.  (I will not give you an “organ recital” now, so don’t worry :-D).  Unless you had a fever or couldn’t keep your food down, you went to school and later on work.  My father had a great work ethic.  He went back to work a month after he had his right lung removed and worked for many more years.  It is a mind-set, mind over matter… you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Work ethic, seems to be a vanishing concept.  People would rather complain about what needs to be done, how hard it is to do it or even about the paper cut that is going to keep them from doing the job.  “It’s too heavy, I don’t do ladders, my foot hurts, my back hurts ….”.  Down deep I think it simply they need someone to look at them and give them attention.  There is a legitimate time of sickness or injury, but using it for attention or to make your life easier just makes you an HYPOCHONDRIAC!

 

Sadly, many people carry this mentality into their spiritual life as well.  I call them “Spiritual Hypochondriacs”.  hypo It is no secret that in the Christian life we have ups and downs, mountains and valleys.  Some people hit the valley once and get stuck.  They clamp down on the experience and never get better.  They remember when things were better, when God blessed them and everything was smooth.  Every time you meet them they have the same prayer request.  Let me insert here I am not talking about a long time illness, financial situation, loss loved one, etc.  I am talking personal growth.  Many times we do go through an extended time in the valley because we do not grow in the Lord, we do not learn what He brought us there to learn.  Our daily life is about growing more in the Lord.  If we get stuck in the valley, we are not feeding our spiritual life.  We are not reading His word, praying for others, talking with Him daily.  We need to fellowship with other Christians who help pull us along and we in turn pull them along when the road is hard.  If we are not doing His work, helping others then we “are all about me”.  It’s the spiritual version of “look at me”.   These kind of people become cancers and spread through a body of believers, making them all “doubting Thomas’s; woe is us Christians”.  Nothing the devil likes better than to get Christians in to spiritual hypochondria.

Got pain?  Don’t make it the thang.  Take a time of rest if you need it, let it heal or get better, but do not wallow in your illness.  Doctors say that positive attitudes and can do spirit helps people heal faster than many medicines.  For Christians, that same attitude applies.  Sometimes the valley is long, it is a drudgery of day-to-day, never-ending it would seem.  But, the Scriptures tell us,

James 1:2-4(HCSB)Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

Some coach has taken credit for the “No Pain, No Gain” concept.  But it came from the Bible.  Let people hear of your journey, counting it all joy with expectation of what the Lord is going to accomplish in your journey.

Don’t make the PAIN the THANG!

smile-through-the-pain

Praise Him in the storms.


Peace-Amid-the-Storm“I Will Praise You In This Storm” *Casting Crowns copyright

So many I know are going through long, on-going trials.  As I listened to Casting Crowns song (link above) I am encouraged to know that not only does He have a plan for these storms but that He never forgets we are down here struggling.

“I was sure by now God You would have reached down And wiped our tears away Stepped in and saved the day But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining”

She tends to his needs day by day while caring for others along the way.  His body crippled by Parkinson’s and other maladies, she longs for sleep and energy.  Racked with pain, her own body screams, for Him to intervene is her biggest dream.

“As the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away…”

The death of loved ones on both sides of the family has taken place. Tears of “it’s too soon, there was so much more to say” make their path down their face. Days they want back, words taken away.  If only they had just one more day.

[Chorus:] “And I’ll praise You in this storm And I will lift my hands For You are who You are No matter where I am And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand You never left my side And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm…”

His mind is not in the present, his body worn out.  They long for his suffering to end or for him to turn about.  The days are long, it seems it will never end.  He looks at them and tries to remember, “family or friend?”

I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to you And you raised me up again My strength is almost gone How can I carry on If I can’t find You…”

He’s lost his job, maybe his home. She’s working hard, the days are long.  Day in, day out … week in, week out … month in, month out … year in, year out.  Time is at a standstill for them; God made time for them, not for Him.

“But as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away…”

The trials and suffering for many seem to have no end.  The world we live in, the life we live.  God is in control, still on the throne.  He loves us and has a plan to work all things together for our good.

[Chorus] “I lift my eyes unto the hills Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord The Maker of Heaven and Earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 121:11 KJV  “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from which comes my help.”

The Praise You In This Storm lyrics by Casting Crowns is copyrighted and Lights In The Storm is featuring it for non-commercial use only.

Just LEAVE ME ALONE!


Have you heard those words …  from one of your kids?Leave-Me-Alone-I-Know-What-I-m-Doing-T-Shirts  How about from your spouse?  Maybe, you said them.    It’s a cry of , “I don’t want to deal with it.”  Sometimes we think ignoring something will make it go away.  Sometimes dealing with an issue is worse than the issue.  Kind of like the old saying, “the cure is worse than the illness.”

Matthew 8:33-34 NASB  “The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.”

They were comfortable with their lives.  They did not want them interrupted.  Some people will not hear the Lord, because they are afraid of what they’ll have to give up to live for Him.   Many accept Him and then hold back parts of their lives, not willing to give up what is “theirs”.  Truth is, it’s all His … holding back just keeps you from getting what He has for you.

Are you comfortable with your sin?  Do you want God to leave you alone?  Deal with it now, because until you do God will keep nudging you.  He chastens you much like you do your children to clean up their room, do their homework.   You do so because it is good for them and because you love them.  God will keep after His children to mold them as they “grow up” as well.

Hebrews 12:6 NLT “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

He loves each and every one of us.  He never stops loving you and will never stop loving you.  It is safe to turn over everything to Him, every little corner.  If you do not, you still have a toehold on your life, and so does satan*.  You will never be satisfied with your life as long as you are in control, and neither will He.

Is God satisfied with you?
*satan, devil – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Happy New Year, Happy New You!


The New Year has come and I have a resolution …. to make no New Year’s Resolution.  In the 1960’s a popular saying rose up, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  I remember thinking, “duh”.  It was a saying born out of a rehabilitation program; another version of the Thomas the little engine’s chuggin’ “I think I can, I think I can.”   And another cliche’ repeated by mothers everywhere, “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”.   All are true in essence, but then life happens.  Statistics show 80% of us fail at our resolutions before the end of February.  I am sure one of the previous schools of thought gave way to the saying,  “the road is paved with good intentions”.

Happy New You!

Happy New You!

When I was a small girl I wanted to be a famous ice skater like the ones we saw each year in Holiday On Ice shows.  As I grew older I wanted to be a famous fashion designer.  I even looked at attending fashion design school.  Reality and practicality set in and I started college in the business department. When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer I dropped out of college for a semester.   With the circumstances at that time, I switched to a local community college and switched to an education degree.   I loved English, thanks to my high school senior English teacher, Miss Fields.  When I graduated I decided to go to Georgia Tech and study industrial management.   Dreams … I had them.  They just kept changing.

We all have dreams, plans for our lives.  Some have plans that were planned out carefully by their parents.  So many people graduate from college with degrees in fields they never enter.   Many never work a day in their ‘chosen field’.  There are so many perpetual students out there, always in school learning something, looking for something, needing fulfillment.   Deep inside we all have a hunger for something, a dream that needs fulfilling.  Many of us will never realize that dream.

Each of us are born with a purpose, a driving plan for our life, God’s plan.  Sometimes family, circumstances or even our own sense of purpose drives us away from His plan.  People dream of being rich, famous and think all of these will bring fulfillment for what they really want, acceptance and love.  It is so simple that many over look that all we need is His son Jesus in our lives providing that acceptance and love that is unconditional.  We are all loved by God.  Sadly, many never discover His love.  Even sadder is that many Christians forget He loves us unconditionally and walk through life defeated.  Are you running around looking for acceptance, that sense of purpose, that plan and totally missing His plan that is wrapped in His love?

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NLT) “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

I can ice skate for my own pleasure (far from being good enough to be considered for an ice skating  job). I can sew and design and  made clothes for my girls and myself, costumes for school and church plays, and managed the fittings and alterations for 10+ years of choral and band programs.   I have used my business school experience to work in many jobs as an administrative assistant in my over 40 years of working.  I used my English studies  background to help many students, even though I never became an English teacher.  I used my industrial management training in the printing industry as well as my current management job at the bookstore.   I never quite ‘got there’ in any of the ‘dreams’ yet God had a purpose in letting me learn those things even though I never worked in a the field full time as a career.   Has my life been a failure?  NOTE TO SELF:  When things do not turn out the way you planned; when something goes wrong, no matter how bad,  THANK GOD for His plan and that He has one.  Ask Him to show you what you are to learn and which direction He is pointing you.

God’s plan, His perfect plan.   So many more blessings than if I had managed to follow MY plan.   I have been married for 36 years next week.  We have two beautiful daughters and three precious grandchildren (oh, and there’s those two son-in-laws too :-D).   The life that happened to me is filled with blessings and joys beyond my capabilities of dreaming.  I never fulfilled my plan, because God’s plan was the one I really had a desire to find, in my depths of my heart.  He reveals your true dreams down deep inside of you.   You just have to listen.

If you do anything this year, discover Him in you.  Allow His plan and not your own.  When that plan of yours falls through, thank Him and ask Him to reveal His plan.  Our failures are some of our biggest successes.  We learn from them and we learn to let God take control.  God’s plan is never a failure.  God takes everything to the best end.

Romans 8:28 (NASB) “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

LET GO AND LET GOD!  HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW YOU!

Do something, VOTE!


James 4:17 HCSB “So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and does nothing.”  I bet you thought  the quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”  by Edmund Burke was original.

I have thought long and hard about blogging regarding the election. I prayed, “Lord, if Billy Graham would just say something.”  He did.  After watching David Jeremiah I was thrilled.  But, today when reading this scripture in James I realized that every one of us as Christians needs to speak out, so I am taking to it my blog. 

I have one question:

One day you will stand before your Lord and explain what you did in regards to November 6, 2012, a day that will change America forever.  I am not being dramatic.  Everyone knows it is a crucial point in time for America.    The Lord will ask you, “did you vote for Me?”.  God is our creator … did you vote for Life.  God instituted marriage between a man and a woman, did you vote for marriage.

Maybe you felt the economy, foreign policy, medicare and jobs were more important to God? The truth is God, our Creator,  will not ask you about your economy, job, or health.  He will ask you, did you vote for ME?

As a parent, will your child look at you in the years to come and ask you why did you not do something when you could?

NOVEMBER 6, 2012 you can do one of three things.

1) Not vote, not get involved

2) Vote against God’s word.

3) Vote according to God’s word.

Don’t let satan* block you, deter you or convince you that your one vote won’t make a difference.  Then, call someone and convince them to vote.  No matter HOW long you have to stand in line, VOTE for God, He spends a lot more time on you then an hour in line.

November 6, 2012 DO SOMETHING, VOTE! 

*satan, devil – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

“GASP” Oh, no! What just happened?


GOD: “Oh, no.  How did We let that happen?”

JESUS: “I don’t know Father, I thought You knew!”

HOLY SPIRIT (looking at the Father and Son in His reflection): “Don’t look at Me, I am always the last to know!”

….. (silent pause as I allow you to contemplate the above conversation.)
RIDICULOUS! Right? Of course it is.  Yet this is the way so many live their lives.  No matter what you are facing today, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are not looking down out of a window of Heaven and gasping, “how did that happen”.
God knows.  He’s in control.  He’s still on the throne.  He cares for you, loves you.  He wants the best for you.

Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB) “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Romans 8:28 (NLT) “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Are you facing your “RED SEA”… walls of “water” rising up on all sides?  Do you trust the dry land that God has put in front of you?  Are you trying to back up?  Afraid to go forward?  Looking over your shoulder?  Did you hear God gasp, “what happened?”

As you reflect on your circumstances, what have your “actions” been speaking?  So many times we act as if God gasped when we came to our “Red Sea”, just like He did not know what was going to happen, or what is happening in your life.  We kick and scream like He’s not there.  We act like we are not going to make it,  or we cannot make it.  We revert back to lack of trust and forget to move forward based on what we learned in our last circumstance.  Can you trust your Lord?  Will you wait on Him?  He is going to answer because He has the answer, He has the plan.

The people of Israel had to go through the Red Sea (Exodus 13:17 – 14:29 ESV)  They had to trust; praying on the go… actions to their prayers.  What did they learn?  What will you learn at your “Red Sea”?  Will you have to be taught the same lesson over and over again?  God will continue to teach the lesson until you learn it .. He’s very patient.

“No Fault Insurance”


In early 1970 comedian Flip Wilson’s debuted his famous skit  “The devil* Made Me Do It”.

“___ made me do it”

It was funny but, in a sad way so true.   When we are doing something wrong we blame the devil*.  It’s human nature to blame “the other guy”; your kids do it all the time don’t they?  Where do you think they get it?  Kids learn from us initially.  Oh, sometimes they learn it at school, off the TV or from the videos.  But, it boils down to they learn it from you.  Even if you do not do it, if you do not stop them from doing something wrong, then you have taught them wrong.

It is sad that so many are living in sin when we have the manual on how not to sin in hundreds of languages all over the world.  The Bible tells us who sins, what is sin and what the consequences of sin are.  Blame it on your upbringing?  Blame it on genetics?  Blame it on the devil?

Here is how I explain sin.  My family has a history of alcoholism in previous generations.  My father, the youngest of eight children, watched all of his elder siblings drink themselves to death.  Between the ages of 10-12 years of age, I attended so many funerals of my father’s siblings and offspring … all related to alcohol.  My father never drank.  It was obvious there was a genetic tendency to alcoholism.  My dad chose NOT to give into that tendency and he never allowed alcohol in our home.  He raised us all knowing we had that tendency as a possibility.  My oldest brother chose to ignore dad’s teachings and has ruined his life with alcohol (as well as his family’s lives).  When we choose to disobey, we choose to sin; we choose the consequences.  Sadly, we inflict those consequences on all those around us; family and even innocent bystanders (drunk drivers ruin innocent lives daily and walk away unscathed).  So, who is to blame?  God?  Certainly not.  Genetics … bad home live … poor environment … the bottom line is, it is your choice.  Why would anyone choose to be a drunk, ruin their life, be mocked, hated and shunned?  Bottom line, because they choose to, no one makes them, they choose their life.  I chose never to taste alcohol, never to allow it in my life.  My choice.  I am not perfect.  I have other sins I have to choose not to do as well.  I have an all powerful God to strengthen me and help me with my choices.  I cannot do it in my own strength.  I have to choose to sin; only I can choose to stop sinning.  One step leads to the next but, the first step is always your choice, make it.  Once you make that first step, get help if you need it.  Sometimes people need help and there are wonderful organizations, support groups, doctors, etc. out there to help.  But it takes your choice to take the first step to stop sinning.

WHO SINS?: Romans 3:23(NASB)for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”  1 John 1:8 (KJV)If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

WHAT IS SIN?: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11(ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.    1Timothy 1:8-16(ESV) 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 12 I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.

WHY IS IT SIN?:Isaiah 59:1-2 (HCSB) “Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear.
But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you
so that He does not listen.”

HOW CAN WE BE SAVED FROM SIN?: 1 Peter 2:24 (NASB) “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Romans 10:9(HCSB)If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB) “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

All sin separates us from God.  There are no ‘worse’ sins, my sin makes me as big a sinner as the next person, although some sins have more consequences here on earth.  If you sin, you chose to sin; you choose to be separated from God.  You, and you alone, choose your consequences here on earth… and ultimately in eternity.  Don’t blame “the other guy, you’re upbringing, etc.”, you have a choice.

*devil, satan – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.