Jesus Freak

In a recent post entitled “WHAM”, I shared how I felt when I found out that my former husband had been saying unkind things about me to his co-worker.

The co-worker was in sympathy with my ex and stated that it was no wonder that my ex had left me because I was some kind of religious fanatic! I mean, who could blame the guy for not wanting to live with a religious nut – right?

Those unkind, critical comments hurt me on so many different levels but I think the worst effect they had on me was to cause me to initially feel embarrassed and ashamed about my faith and then to question, judge and criticize how I live out my beliefs.

I am the first one to admit that I often make mistakes – in all areas of my life, including my faith walk. More often than not, I feel like the apostle Paul when he said:

Rom 7:15 And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do. (BBE)

I have a huge heart for my God. My greatest desire is that I live my life in such a way that it gives God the glory and that people are drawn to Him. So I feel very badly if somehow or other, my faith walk has turned people off and away.

I know that I don’t always get it right. I know that I have made mistakes. There have probably been many times when my words did not match my deeds. I know that there were and are times when that unfortunate “holier than thou” mentality comes to the surface.

My faith life is ongoing and ever changing. Sometimes I have walked in sincerety of my understanding but that understanding has been in error. As I continue to study the Word of God and pray for understanding and wisdom, the way that I live out that understanding also changes. Hopefully, I am moving forward “from glory to glory”, from “imperfect to putting on perfection” (Christ’s, not my own) but I know that I will still make mistakes and will continue to do so until Jesus comes to get me.

The desire of my heart is to be a “God-pleaser” but unfortunately I am also very much a “people pleaser”. I want everybody to like me. So it is very difficult and challenging for me when living my life of faith means that I may be turning people off and away, like my ex husband. I am embarrassed to think that somebody thinks that I am a religious fanatic. It causes me to examine and re-examine, analyze, criticize, accuse and judge myself. It causes me to have doubt and shame.

These are all gut reactions. But as I pray and meditate about the issue, God brings several truths to my mind:

I have an enemy who accuses me:

Rev 12:10 …. For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night. 

I will face persecution, even from family members, for my beliefs:

Mat 5:11 Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake.

1Pe 4:14 If men say evil things of you because of the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God is resting on you.

I am not to deny believing in Jesus Christ:

Mat 10:33 But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven. 

This world is not my home so I may often feel out of place:

Heb 13:14 For here we have no fixed resting-place, (BBE)

That I am a work in progress:

1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know even as I also am fully known.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.

That God understands where my weaknesses come from and He has mercy on me:

Psa 103:13,14 As a father pities his children, Jehovah pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust. 

That God forgives me:

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

And most importantly, that God loves me, no matter what:

Joh 16:27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God.

Because God loves me, He sent His son Jesus to die for me. And because Jesus loves me, he took the punishment for my sins and died a terrible death in my place. So, for the sake of that incredible love, I will say what Paul said:

Php 3:8 … I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ

And I will gladly and proudly be considered “a Jesus freak”.

What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true
(Oh oh oh)
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain’t no disguising the truth

(Jesus Freak, DC Talk, 1995)

 

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Betrayed and Rejected

I am sure that a large number of my readers have faced betrayal and/or rejection at some point in their lives. I have faced it a number of times in my life – when my father left, when I found my sister snogging with my boyfriend, when my husband left, when I have found out that friends or loved ones have said hurtful things about me behind my back, or when co-workers and/or employers have conducted themselves in an unprofessional and hurtful manner.

In my previous post, “WHAM II”, I shared how I have recently been terminated from my employment with no reason given. It came as a total shock to me as I had had a very glowing performance appraisal one month earlier. No matter how old you are or how emotional or spiritually mature you think you may be, betrayal and rejection still hurts.

I remember the time that I was working as a nurse in a nursing home. My main duty was to dispense medications and treatments. There are important procedures to follow in order to ensure that medication errors are avoided –  errors which could seriously affect the well-being of a patient. I became concerned after noting that one or two of the other nurses had been making ongoing medication errors. It was my professional and legal (not to mention moral) duty to report these errors to the administrator. Next thing I know, I am being called into the administrator’s office for a disciplinary hearing (mine – not the nurses who were in error). In attendance was the president of the union local, who rather than being there to support me, was there to tell me that I was breaking some union brotherhood (sisterhood as it were) code by reporting against my “sisters” in the union! Talk about screwed up priorities! Talk about feeling betrayed by the very people who should have been supportive of me!

As hurt as I am over recent events and as badly as it has made me feel, I have been trying to put it into perspective by comparing the experience to what Jesus must have felt when he was rejected and betrayed. The very people to whom he brought the message of forgiveness, reconciliation, hope and love where the selfsame people who turned around and rejected who he was and all he had done for them. A man that had walked with him, ate with him, sat and listened to him and was counted as one of Jesus’ dear friends, betrayed him for a few coins. Others in Jesus’ close circle also denied and rejected him when they felt their lives were at risk.

Jesus only came to show love and do good yet he was betrayed, rejected, falsely accused and unjustly punished for sins he had not committed. I can not even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to have healed or delivered someone one day, only to be looking down from the cross upon those same faces now jeering. My heart breaks when I think about it. But my mind is totally blown away by the knowledge that even after being betrayed, rejected, falsely accused, beaten, tortured, ridiculed, humiliated, and crucified, Jesus could still look down on those snarling, jeering, angry faces and say to God, “Father, Forgive them, for they do not know what they do”. Lk. 23:34

“Heavenly Father, please help me to see that my troubles are light and fleeting compared to what Jesus went through for me. And please help me to grow in mercy, grace and forgiveness towards those who have betrayed and rejected me”.

In the light of the cross, I can do no less.

Blessings

WHAM II

I remember a line from a tv show that goes something like this: “when you least expect it, expect it!” Well. I was in no way expecting the earth to open up beneath my feet after I got to work this morning. Just as son as I got into the office the manager set me down and told me that she was terminating my employment! WHAM! No prior notice, no reasons given and don’t forget to  pay for all those clothes we made you buy so that you could work in our store. Give us your keys and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. WHAM WHAM! I had obviously been accused of something and judge and jury had come up with the verdict without giving me any representation and a chance to defend myself.

While I am a Christian, I am also an imperfect human in this world. I make mistakes, I get hurt, angry, frustrated and upset. I do my best to conduct myself as to be pleasing unto the Lord and in a fashion that gives God the glory. I do confess that sometimes my mouth forgets that it is part of a consecrated body and it says things it shouldn’t. If I realize that I have made a mistake, I do my best to apologize and make amends.

Today, I am very weary of the evil world and it’s wicked ways. Today, I feel like becoming a monkish hermit and going to find a cave to live in (as long as it has indoor plumbing and hot running water – lol) My Mom and I both agreed today that there are some days where you just feel like falling on your knees pleading “come, Jesus, come” today.

However, I may be down at this moment , but I am not out because He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.

“DEar God, help me to rise above in triumph over these moments of WHAM that shake me to my core. Fill me with you spirit of peace, love and joy so that I may be a blessing for your kingdom”. Amen

WHAM!

Have you ever been rolling along in life thinking that everything is going just tickety-boo when suddenly – WHAM – you are rear-ended or blind-sided?

Recently, I posted a blog entitled “Confession” in which I shared the many reasons for my happiness, giving God thanksgiving and the glory for each and every one of them. Just a couple of days later, I received information that my former husband had made some very hurtful and untruthful statements about me to his co-worker. And I learned this just a few days before I was to see him, for the first time in several years, at my son’s wedding! Talk about WHAM! I felt liked I’d been punched in the stomach as all the old feelings of hurt and betrayal swirled to the surface once again. This was replaced by “righteous” anger (tongue in cheek) and I was looking to do some serious slapping up side the head.

Well, I gnawed on that bitter bone for a couple of days and then realized that it was literally making me sick. I asked God to take away the hurt and the anger and replace it with His peace and forgiveness – and of course, He answered with His matchless grace and mercy. I was even able to leave the gun and sharp knives at home when I went to the wedding (more tongue in cheek), and stand beside my ex for speeches and photos, complete with smiles. God is good!

I have often noticed that after I have been publicly praising God and giving Him glory, “something nasty in the woodshed” jumps out at me and “WHAM” tries to bring me down, in effect, to make a lie of my confession of faith in God. However, I know where these attacks come from and who is the author of confusion, strife, and sorrow. I have written of it before and I will repeat it here: we, as Christians, have a deadly enemy. That enemy hates the children of God and actively seeks ways to destroy us and our testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.

Joh 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy.

I believe that the more we step out in faith and the more we testify and promote God and His Son, the more the enemy wishes to destroy us. Therefore, I believe that it is important that we prepare ourselves ahead of time for the battles that are sure to come. Be alert and knowledgeable of the devices of our enemy. And most importantly, fill your mind and spirit with God’s Word and His promises. Wrap yourselves in His Word. God’s truth will be your armour and your weapon. The next time the enemy tries to “WHAM” you, “BLAST” him right back and then “shake the dust off your feet” in his face. Remember, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. Amen!

1Pe 5:8 Be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour;

Eph 6:13 Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

Blessings

1Pe 4:12, 13 Dear brothers, do not be surprised, as if it was something strange, if your faith is tested as by fire:  But be glad that you are given a part in the pains of Christ; so that at the revelation of his glory you may have great joy.

Matchey-Matchey

“Matchey-matchey” is a term I made up to describe how I like things to co-ordinate or “match”. I call myself a “matchey-matchey” gal because I like to wear earings and necklaces that match. I like my shoes to match my outfits (gentlemen pay attention – brown shoes do not go with black pants! lol) And even though nobody but my hubby will ever see them (always hoping that I will never need an ambulance), I like my underclothes to match my “outer” clothes. (TMI ??)

When I worked at a certain women’s clothing store, one of the company’s “buy” line policies was that staff were to present themselves “styled and dialed”, in company clothing and accessories. By our example, we would then inspire customers to be “styled and dialed” by purchasing that particular clothing line. Well, “styled and dialed” is my middle name! Need I mention that I was voted Miss (ok – Mrs.) ” Most Styled and Dialed” saleswoman in our store?! To heck with Oscar and Emmy Awards! Take that “red carpet fashions”! Now one of my hubby’s nicknames for me is “Styled’N’Dialed”. (Hey – that would make a great licence plate!)

My “matchey-matchey” philosophy also carries over into home decor, home organization, cooking, photography, art, and even my aquarium!

Although “matching” is very important to me in my visual, physical world, it is also very important to me in my spiritual life and in the way I conduct myself on a day to day basis. Most important to me is that my knowledge and understanding of God, and how I live out that knowledge and understanding, matches up with what God’s Word says.

For many years, I was misled by denominational doctrines that were not based on the correct interpretation and understanding of Scripture. Since that time, I have learned to follow the example of the believers in Thessalonica:

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

We have also been instructed and encouraged to compare “spiritual with spiritual” (and I interpret that has including “scripture with scripture)).

1Co 2:13 Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

I actively search the Word of God to see if the things that I am being taught accurately “match” what God has said in His Word. But I don’t do this by just checking out what only one or two verses of scripture say. So many church doctrines have been formed in error by the church “organization” “picking and choosing” which scriptures they will follow and which ones they will discount. Instead, I do my best to seek out ALL the scriptures that deal with a particular faith issue, and I look for the common thread of context and meaning. If there are one or two scriptures that seem to be in opposition to the bulk of what the other scriptures are saying, then I go with the “weight of evidence” with which the majority of the scriptures seems to support. And of course as I am seeking and searching for knowledge and understanding, I always ask God to grant me His Wisdom and His Knowledge and His Understanding so that I am not basing my understanding upon my own interpretation.

2Pe 1:20 Being conscious in the first place that no man by himself may give a special sense to the words of the prophets. (BBE)

My interpretation and understanding of scripture must “match” all of the things that God has said about HImself and His Ways.

And as I previously stated, I believe that my faith understanding must be lived out accordingly in my life. I can not be a Christian simply because I call myself one. I am truly a Christian if I am a follower of Jesus Christ, which means that the way that I live out my life must “match” the way that Jesus lived out his. And I am not talking about the way that I dress or the food that I eat. I am talking about the way that I live out the life of love that has been placed inside me through Christ’s death and resurrection. Flowery words of Christian love are not enough – my deeds must “match” my words. People need to see that the way I live my life “matches” the Christian words that I speak.

There is an older Gospel song entitled, “They will know we are Christians by Our Love”. I hang that title as a banner in the front of my brain. I need to remind myself that when people look at my actions or hear my words, I want them to see the Love of Christ.

1Co 13:1 If I make use of the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am like sounding brass, or a loud-tongued bell.
1Co 13:2 And if I have a prophet’s power, and have knowledge of all secret things; and if I have all faith, by which mountains may be moved from their place, but have not love, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 And if I give all my goods to the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it is of no profit to me.
1Co 13:4 Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride;
1Co 13:5 Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil;
1Co 13:6 It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true;
1Co 13:7 Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. 

I am far from perfect and I often get caught up in the way that the world says and does things, so like David, I pray the following:

Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer.

I pray that you too will also desire to become “matchey-matchey” in your faith walk.

( and remember – no brown shoes with black pants! lol)

Blessings