Life’s Hard


Which way to turn? Which way to go?

John 16:33NASB
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Social media is swamped with everything from pity and woe, to beware and be scared. It is not that I do not understand these emotions, these fears, I do.

I have lost loved ones too soon. The list is long. I lost a sibling tragically. I did not understand. I was not asked to. I know death up close and personal. I have watched it suffocate. I watched my dad crash. I watched his lung suctioned. Scripture asks me to trust. Obey. Faith.

I have walked through hard times of jobs lost, savings and retirement gone, car and home lost. No income. It is hard. It is devastating. But, God had a plan. I was not asked to like the circumstances I was passing through, just to stand on His firm foundation and trust His plan. It does not matter if I ever understand the reason this side of Heaven. I am asked to trust. Faith.

Seniors are missing end of year memories. It is hard, I know. I did not go to homecoming or prom. I had worked all summer with 8 girls; made them 3 uniforms each. Those 27 uniforms saw little use when my senior year world was turned upside down. A boy was stabbed in the heart in front of me. Memories? I was 16 years old. My brother turned to protect me and push me out of the way of the five boys attacking. The police took four of us as witnesses. They let my brother stay with me. It was an away game. Cell phones were not invented. My parents met the busses, heard there was a stabbing. My brother and I did not get off the bus. Someone told them we were ok and I was a witness. They had to go home and wait for a call. They caught all but one of the five that night. The guy that stabbed the boy in the heart got away. They lined them up in front of us and we pointed them out. No two way mirrors, face to face. Three days later I came face to face with the guy that stabbed the boy in the heart. Fear unimaginable. I got the detective. He got him. The threats came on the phone in the middle of the night. Dad took the phone off the hook. The threats and more came at school then. The school was suspended from all extra curricular events. My 17th birthday came and went. Two witnesses dropped out due to threats. The nightmares. The trial was horrible. The tranquilizers didn’t help. The stress and fear were overwhelming. I alienated friends, and eventually my high school sweetheart. Senior year? We got back activities after dad and another father threatened to shut down all 64 high schools if superintendent did not lift ban. Our teams, band, chorus, drama, etc., were able to do some events. I graduated. It is a blur. All the years of dreams gone. In the next six months dad had lung cancer. Senior year. It is not good for everyone. Focus on the good circumstances and memories you had and be thankful. You do not like the circumstances but, God has a plan. Grow. Look for the His plan. I did not at first. I dwelled on disappointment and lost dreams. I was grounded in faith, found I was still on His firm foundation. He carried me through. People look to see how you handle these circumstances if you are a Christian. You may never understand. Will you learn anything? Will you grow? Do they see faith?

These current circumstances are no different. Life is hard. Are these the end times? Does it matter? We entered the end times with the fall of Adam. There are no new trials or circumstances, no new sins. We should always live as this is the last days. Never take for granted our Lord’s grace and mercy. The Romans persecuted Christians in arenas for sport. The idol temples were filled with debauchery and sins unimaginable for profit. Plagues and famines have been recorded since Pharaohs’ days. Only the Holy Spirit can bring someone to salvation. You cannot scare them into it. So point to God’s sovereign love, mercy and grace. Show them trust and faith in your Lord, not fear of circumstances.

This too shall past. Be steadfast.

Psalm 26:12 NASB “My foot stands on a level place; In the congregations I shall bless the LORD”

RBGreenDesigns.com 2020

Let’s Call It What It Is, Selfishness.


There is nothing new under the sun. No new faults, desires, sins. It all boils down to self, the “I wants”, right now, greed.

Greed, the hardening of the heart to put self before all else is as old as time. “I want”, “I need”, and “me first above all else” is priority. Self leads to all sins because self rules.

People want to be rich, they want success, they want prosperity, they want everything centered around them, they want… want… want. Wants, not needs, is as old as recorded time.
Yesterday New York celebrated a “want” for women. High society, highly successful New York, so sophisticated, so highly educated, right? Or, are they just turning back time to archaic and barbaric practices? Did they not just erase centuries of advancement for women?

The Canaanites, circa 1509 BC, practiced a ritual of offering their first born to the fires of Moloch so they would receive riches, prosperity and a successful life. Malkam was the same for the Ammonites and Melqart for the Tyrian. Placing their first born in a fire, how barbaric people say. How ignorant, how selfish. God thought so.

Leviticus 20:2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death.

Imagine what He thinks now as New York has just turned back time. Women can now offer their first born to the fires of abortion. Yes, fire, saline abortion is toxic and it burns. Essentially it burns soft tissues, even skin in the womb. The baby is burned even from the inside as the child swallows the solution. Such torture. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. How barbaric. A modern woman would never do such a thing.

New York has done the unthinkable. A woman can choose to torture an infant for convenience, for costs, for unwanted, for wrong gender, for any reason. Be careful though, you still cannot disturb a turtle or eagles nest. Those eggs, fertilized or not, are still protected by state and federal laws.
Welcome to 2019 New York. Your women can sacrifice their first born for convenience, career, riches, gender choice …. success and prosperity. Moloch just changed his name to abortion.

A civilized woman would utilize self control over selfishness. A civilized society would fund adoptions, not abortions.

It’s 5 AM … does God know where you are?


Made you think about it though.  Of course He does.  As Christians we know this, but do we act like we KNOW this?   Sometimes I believe we are in a “hide and seek” mode with the Lord.  We “hide” in our everyday life and “seek” Him only in our “wants”.  Our actions basically say He’s not there or, we lost Him or, we don’t know where He is in relationship to our everyday circumstances.  Then along comes something serious … too big for us to handle alone … and we start seeking.  “God where are you?  I need you NOW!”

Kind of a sad state of affairs isn’t it?  But, it is what we live and so, consequentially, it is a subliminal lesson we teach our children.   Think about the children you have in your home or have raised.  You are all in the house, you know you are all in the house and the comfort for the kids is knowing you are there IF they need you.  The kids do not come to ask your advise on getting dressed, or help with homework, or which friends to pick, etc.   You probably would like for them to, you want that kind of relationship.  But, when they need money?  When they need a ride?  Here they come.  Sometimes it is when “he hit me” and they need judgement on another?   Stop and think about the big picture within this little picture.  He is in “our house”, He lives in us … yet, we do not seek guidance and wisdom until we ‘need money’, ‘need the car’, ‘dealings with someone’…. ahhh, the light bulb just turn on?

God knows where you are and what your needs are at any second of the day.  He is always there for you to lean on. Are you leaning on Him, or do you just run to Him in need. Is it really a need or is it a want? We are not promised our wants.

Psalm 23:1 KJV

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” 

The HSCB translation reads, “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.”   

NLT translation reads, “The Lord is my shepherd;  I have all that I need.”

Maybe today you just need to stop and listen and lean.  God knows where you are, He is waiting on you to realize where He is.

Renee’ Green Copyright 2012

RBGreenDesigns.com 2020

R U A Fixer-Upper?


“I CAN’T FIX IT” … ever feel frustrated with your life … your family … your job?  Do you feel helpless to help? I hate that feeling.  I like to make things better.

Face it: You Can't Fix It

R. U. A Fixer-upper?  Do you try to solve all your own problems?  (Fix your children’s lives to make them smooth?)  Of course we are to be helpful, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us; loving and caring.  But, sometimes you can’t ‘fix it’, and you were not meant to fix people’s lives.

I admit that I have often said to the Lord in my prayer time, “Lord, if you’d let me I could” or “Lord, you know if this happened then …”.  I like to fix it.  Right now, if I could, I would give my husband his dream job, we would have all the money we need come in to fix our financial woes, I would save our house from the bank … I would fly to my daughter to help take care of my sick granddaughter.  Yet, as ‘noble’ as all those plans are, they are not God’s plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What if we truly believed God’s word?  What if we fully understood that our soul is safe … that He is taking care of it and that our HOPE and FUTURE are in Him? Yes, sometimes we will not prosper and we will fall in harms way … but, that’s here … on earth.  And sometimes we will prosper and have everything going our way here on earth.  But God’s plan is that we all find His son and live with Him in prosperity in the future … in Heaven.  This life on earth is preparing us for that time.
So many times when we try to ‘fix’ things we break them … we make them worse.  God gives discernment to you through His Holy Spirit… if we would only listen.
God does not teach or guide you through doubt.  He gives HOPE.  HOPE is an action verb.  You stand before choices and ask God to guide you.  If you have doubts about a choice, you wait.  You make choices that He shows you.  When you read His word and pray each day, you are in tune with Him and the Holy Spirit.  As odd as it sounds, you have peace over even making a hard decision.
Why do we try to repair our broken lives when we not only know the best “fixer-upper”, but He is also the creator of what needs fixing?

Yield Your ALL to Him and He Will Direct Your Path

Need to know basis …


Curiosity killed the cat …. curiosity gets us in a pickle …

When we think we need to know ... we don't.

(ask the cat in the picture to the right).   Growing up I heard these sayings and I repeated them to my children as I raised them.  You probably have said them yourself.  My other favorite comment was, “that is a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”  We know these truths on one level but on the spiritual level we do not live them.

Sometimes we treat God with the attitude of “I NEED TO KNOW … and I NEED TO KNOW NOW!”.  It is a struggle of will power, of who is in control.  I would be lying if I said I do not struggle with wanting to know God’s plan NOW.  Waiting is hard.  But, He says in  Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ESV

We are like the reader that wants to look ahead to the back of the book to see how it ends.  We look for the answer sheet to the crossword puzzle in the paper.  We want to cheat because we want to know.  We think we NEED to know.  We have to know or …. or what?  Truthfully, there is nothing you or I can do to hurry God’s plan.  All we are doing is adding to our anguish by not letting go and letting God.

God is on a need to know basis … He gives you His word for guidance.  You have prayer and the Holy Spirit to lead you in His will for your life.  If you are in control and demand to know … if you are constantly striving to figure things out on your own, then you are going to get yourself in some pretty tight jams (just ask the cat).

All we need to know is He knows.  Trust Him and wait upon the Lord…

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

remembering that in His time (not yours), all things work together for good. Romans 8:28 says,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” ESV

When God closes a door ….


“When God closes a door, He opens a window!”

CLOSED Do Not Enter

Ever heard that?  It always bugged me when people said that because it was as if they thought God sneaks us out a side window, the backdoor, or through the attic and onto the roof for a jump ….

Huh? I don't think so.

What I think is that we are facing the wrong path, which is the side window, the backdoor, the attic; and God is closing all exits but the front door.  We are turned around, not Him.  We place God where we want Him and tell Him that is the door.

When Phil lost his job through the buyout of his company, God shut a door.  We did not shut it, God did.  Through the past three years as Phil has looked for work and been interviewed we have asked God to show us His path.  Each time the door has shut.  Sometimes there is NOT another way out because God has not opened the front door YET.  Sometimes you stay where you are and WAIT.  We do not wait well as humans.  We are impatient.  We want our fingers in the pie and we want to stir the pot.  God has plans for our lives and if we allow Him to direct our path, then IN HIS TIME He will show us the front door.

Waiting on Him is the hardest part.  Three years seems forever to us, but, considering it was over 2000 years ago He promised to return, well … three years is nothing in the light of eternity.

Are you faced with choices?  Are your children needing direction?  Tell them to BE STILL and WAIT on Him.  Accept WAITING and enduring as lessons of patience and character growth.  It is not always what we think, feel or want.  However, when we do wait and He closes all the doors, windows, and steps to the attic … the front door will be in front of us and it will be opened in His time.

Psalm 46:10 (HCSB)“Stop—and know that I am God,exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB) “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.”

Psalm 37:4 (HCSB)“Take delight in the LORD,and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

When we are willing to allow Him to have His will …. “Lord, help me to delight myself in You.”


Will They Be Like You?


Focus

We recently learned that our youngest daughter is expecting a boy in December.  We have two wonderful granddaughters by our oldest daughter so this will be the first grandson.  Well of course I had to go walk through the baby department to see what is out there for boys.  As I was browsing I heard this loud voice and I looked and there was this very tall, athletic man on a Blue-tooth talking away.  He had a little 7-8 year old girl tagging behind.   They were in the little girls department next to infants so I could hear and see the whole incident.  Obviously dad had her out to look for things for her.  Maybe mom had the little one’s at home, maybe it was his weekend … it really did not matter, it simply was not ‘her time’.  The conversation went like this, “yeah man, it was like that game when the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s football team) played … you know, the year before they won the Superbowl”.   OK, time reference here … the man is discussing a game circa 2001.  His little girl probably was not born.  I wanted to shake him and say, “look at her face … see your child … what are you doing?”   I wanted to go to the little girl and tell her to pull up Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” and play it for her dad.

Where is your focus?  Children know when they are not getting your best.  God’s word says in Matthew chapter 6, that He loves us and cares for us.  He knows our every need and want and He takes care of us.  As Christians we are to mirror God’s parenting as we parent our children.  I do not see God with a cell phone in His hand, watching His favorite TV show, or reading a book.   He is not out playing some sports game, or going to some event at our expense.  Our children get their value of themselves from us.  We tell them by our actions how valuable they are.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things for yourself as long it is not at your child’s expense.  No matter if you chose to be a parent at this time or not, you are the parent.   The child comes first.

I remember growing up watching a relative with their kids and comparing them to my parents in my head.   If there was a cake to be divided that parent would always make sure they got a piece,  the biggest piece.  Yet if there was dessert on our table, my mom (who LOVED dessert and would eat it at the beginning of the meal  if she could) always made sure we got some and then if any was left she had some.  One time  my dad gave mom the money to go buy herself a new coat, TWICE.  After she returned from the store twice with things for all her five children, the third time dad drove her to the store and stayed until she bought herself a coat.  She taught us how valuable we were.  It was not just ‘things’ either.  She spent time on her knees for us; she made our favorite foods; she went to the school events; was PTA and band booster presidents.  She invested her life in us.  She was a mom first, and “Gwen” … well, after all others’ needs were met.

My goal was to grow up to be a mom like her and to raise children that felt loved and valued and then they would pass it on to the next generation.   Throughout the Old Testament (like in Leviticus and I Samuel) there are stories told of ‘sins of the fathers’ being passed on to generations.  Basically, this means sin begets sin.  A drunk raises drunks; a thief raises a thief, a liar a liar …  an adulterer raises an adulterer; and an inattentive and unloving parent raises another generation of inattentive and unloving parent.  The cycle stops when someone in the chain makes a conscious decision to repent of the pattern of sin in their family and chooses to move forward in God’s strength leaving the past sins of the father’s behind.  Then and only then, will God heal the family.

Leviticus 26:39-43 (New International Version)
39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.
40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.

Your kids, they’re going to grow up to be just like you!  Scared?