Overcoming Regrets

A good reminder for someone like me.

Unshakable Hope

Do you ever feel like your regrets are haunting you like ghosts from your past?

I used to allow regrets over things I’ve said or wished I had said and things I’ve done or wish I had done, to steal my joy, peace and hope. I became so aggravated with these condemning “ghosts” of regret that I finally decided to figure out how to defeat them. The following “battle-plan” (for conquering regrets) has helped me and I hope it might help others dealing with this problem too.

Defining this enemy
Even though I knew what the word regret meant, I began by looking up the definition, which, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is: “sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair: an expression of distressing emotion (as sorrow)” 

I also noticed that repent is one of the synonyms for the word regret. I suppose this makes…

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My New Place

I and my family have been enduring some very difficult and challenging times since the Fall. Many days have been filled with great stress. The ongoing struggles have left me exhausted – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Each day has been an exercise in perseverance to look for something to be joyful about, and for which to be grateful.

In keeping with the teaching of changing my focus so as to change the direction of my thoughts,  I thought that I would create another blog site – one that allows me to focus on the beauty that God has created –  a beauty which is all around me.

In my new blog, I will share photos from my many nature walks as well as an encouraging scripture or two. I may even bore you with some information about some of the interesting plants and creatures I have photographed. LOL

I invite you to travel with me to “my new place”:  In My Father’s Garden  at    https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/myfathersgarden832723765.wordpress.com

Come walk with me.

Blessings

 

Care for the Care-giver

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Mar 1:45 … And they came to Him [Jesus] from every quarter. 

 

I feel like I have been a care-giver, in one way or another, for almost all my life. As the oldest child, I often felt responsible for looking out for the well-being of my two younger sisters. As a daughter, I have been very concerned about the health and happiness of my mother throughout the various trials and tribulations of her life. I have been a wife since I was 18 years old and have looked after the needs of two husbands, both of whom had various issues, including frequent, severe headaches. I am the mother of two sons, and although they are now adults with families of their own, I am still frequently called upon to be a listener, comforter and encourager. I also have the somewhat unenviable and dubious role as a not-really step-mom to two adult children, one of whom is living with us for a time. On top of all of these day-to-day care-giving rolls, I have also been a long-term care nurse, women’s fellowship leader, adult Sunday school teacher, and community volunteer.

It seems that being a care-giver is a natural aspect of my personality and use of my God-given gifts. So it would also seem that doing all these different care-giving jobs would be easy, joyful and fulfilling – NOT!

Being a care-giver can be wonderful, joyful and fulfilling, but often as not, it is draining – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When this happens, I ask the question, “who cares for the caregiver”? Unfortunately, I have found that if I am hoping for, or counting on, other human beings to fill that need, I am often left feeling very disappointed which can then lead to feelings of bitterness, resentment and anger – not good!

Now some may say that being in service to others should leave us feeling filled and energized and that if we are not feeling that way, we are either doing something wrong or not using our gifts and talents where they are best suited. I agree that there may be some truth to that, and thus we should always seek God’s wisdom, discernment and wise counsel on how best to use what He has given to us. However, even the greatest care-giver, Jesus Christ, appears to have felt stretched thin, worn out and worn down at times by the cares of those to whom he was ministering.

Mat 26:37,38 And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He  [Jesus]began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

So what are we, the caregivers, supposed to do when we begin to feel stretched thin, worn out and worn down? We need to follow Jesus’ example in these situations.

Jesus chose people. He surrounded himself with the people that he chose to help him carry out his Kingdom work.

Mat 4:18-22 And walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they immediately left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw another two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And He called them; and they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Luk 6:13-15 And when it was day, He called His disciples. And He chose twelve of them, whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;  Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who was called Zelotes; Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also became the betrayer.

Besides the disciples and apostles who helped Jesus with his ministry, there also were people, like Mary Magdalene, who followed Jesus and ministered care unto him.

Mat 27:55,56 And many of the women were there, watching from a distance, those who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, watching from a distance; among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Luk 8:1-3 And it happened afterwards, He traveled in every city and village, proclaiming and announcing the gospel of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve were with Him, and also certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to Him of their possessions.

When you are involved in a lot of care giving, pouring yourself out for others, you need to make sure that you also have a human support system in place. Make sure you spend time with people who can encourage, comfort, support and bless you. I am very blessed to have some special people in my life to whom I can turn to when I need encouragement and support.

However, people, being flawed humans, can disappoint you and let you down, even the ones you can normally count upon. Jesus faced this very issue at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mat 26:36-41 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. And He said to the disciples, Sit here while I go and pray there. And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Wait here and watch with Me.  And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will. And He came to the disciples and found them asleep. And He said to Peter, What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Jesus knew and understood the frailties and failures of humanity, so when Man failed him, or when he needed spiritual re-charging, comforting, support and encouragement, Jesus took the most important step – he went to the One in whom he could always trust and count upon to be there for him –  he went to his Heavenly Father in prayer.

Mat 14:23 And when He had sent the crowds away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray.

Mar 1:34, 35 And He healed many who were sick of different diseases, and cast out many demons. And He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.  And rising up quite early in the night, He went out and went away into a deserted place, and He was praying there.

Luk 5:15,16 But the word about Him spread even more. And great crowds were coming to hear, and to be healed from their infirmities by Him. But He [Jesus] was drawing back in the wilderness, and praying.

Luk 6:12 And it happened in those days that He [Jesus] went out into a mountain to pray, and He was spending the night in prayer to God.

So when my care-giving duties leave me feeling wrung out, worn down, and discouraged, I need to remind myself to follow Jesus’ example. I need to reach out and spend time with the One who is able to give me all that I need to continue serving others with love.

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do in full measure more than all our desires or thoughts, through the power which is working in us, To him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. So be it.

 

 

A Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

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Tomorrow is my least favourite “holiday” of the year – Halloween. Kids of all ages will be sporting the latest costumes,  including witches and wizards.

One of my favourite childhood movies is The Wizard of Oz. After Dorothy lands in the fantastical Land of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch of the North appears in a shimmering bubble and asks Dorothy, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”  Dorothy quickly answers that she is not a witch at all!

Many children’s books and movies are filled with stories about witches, especially bad witches. In popular media, good witches seem to be a rare character. The only other “good witch” that I have ever heard of was the character of Samantha Stevens in the TV series Bewitched which, believe it or not,  ran from 1964-1972.

As a kid, I always wished that I could wiggle my nose like Samantha and make bad things go away.

As a child, I semi-believed in witches. As an adult, I know that the world is filled with those who would call themselves witches, warlocks, wizards, sorcerers etc. I know that there are people who practice the “art” of witchcraft and that some of them do define themselves as practicing black (bad) or white (good) witchcraft.

But as a Christian, I ask the following questions: is there such a thing as a “good” witch or “good” witchcraft?

As always, I go to the Word of God to find what He has said about the subject.

In the Old Testament, the word “witch” is translated from the Hebrew word “kashaph”:  to whisper a spell, that is, to inchant or practise magic: – sorcerer, (use) witch (-craft).

Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch,
Deu 18:11 or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who calls to the dead.
Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination to Jehovah.

God regards those who practice and/or promote any of the above activities as abominations – disgusting, abhorrent, abominable.

God says that practicing witchcrat is a sin.

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idol-worship.

Gal 5:19,20 Now the works of the flesh [sin] are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies,

God hates the practice of witchcraft because it is based on lies and false spirits and it leads people away from The Truth of God and His son Jesus Christ.

Because God knows that those who practice such arts can have such a profound negative impact upon the spiritual, eternal life of  mankind, He has set a serious punishment for those who practice witchcraft.

Lev 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death:

Exo 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer [permit] a witch to live.

God has made His views on witchcraft abundantly clear. And I couldn’t find any where in His Word where He differentiated between a “good witch” and a “bad witch”. Witches and withcraft are an abomination to God – period!

King of the Jungle

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When I was a child, and before I really knew much about God, my mother taught me to appreciate and care for the natural world. We were never allowed to throw garbage such as candy wrappers, gum, popsicle or lollipop sticks, Kleenex etc. on to the ground.

My love and care for the natural world came from my Mom. It is a lesson that I tried to pass on to my sons and one which I hope they are passing on to their daughters.

It was in the wonder, beauty and majesty of creation that first really spoke me about a glorious Creator. I think that when we are outside enjoying the beauty of creation, my Mom, my husband and myself feel closest to God. Nature is our cathedral.

My husband taught his children to appreciate nature too. His daughter went on to take Environmental studies in college. The three of us love to watch nature programs, go for nature hikes, take nature photos, and talk about nature. These conversations can get quite interesting as my step-daughter is not a Christian and ardently believes in the theory of evolution. My husband is a Christian but he also believes that some aspects of evolution, such as the earth being millions or billions of years old, may be true. I believe what God tells us about creation in His Word.

Another point, about which the three of us have different ideas, is the role of mankind in creation/nature. My step-daughter believes that we are just another species of animal – no better than any other creature. In fact, she often professes to like animals more than people. She gets very upset and angry when she sees the damage that mankind has done to the environment. My husband believes that humans are supposed to be caretakers of nature, not really “users” of nature. (This is ironic as he is a self-proclaimed carnivore! LOL)

The three of us all agree that creation/nature has suffered, and continues to suffer, at the hands of humankind. Where we disagree is what the role of mankind was/is meant to be in regards to nature and the environment. My husband often says that we were made to take care of nature, not to be lord over it. He hates it when someone mentions the term “dominion”; he doesn’t believe that we were created to be “Kings of the Jungle”.

So I decided to look into God’s Word to find out what He has to say about the relationship between two aspects of His Creation – Man and the earth.

The first 25 verses of the Book of Genesis tell the story of God creating the heavens and the earth and all the living things on the earth – and then He created Man.

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them [man] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth.

Gen 1:27 And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth. 

It is very clear to see that God created Man to have “dominion” over the earth and all living things.

The term “dominion” used in these verses comes from the Hebrew word “râdâh” and it means to: subjugate;  (come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.

At the time of creation, God gave Man the right to reign and rule over nature. We were indeed made to be “Kings of the Jungle”.

Heb 2:6 But a certain writer has given his witness, saying, What is man, that you keep him in mind? what is the son of man, that you take him into account?
Heb 2:7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you gave him a crown of glory and honour, and made him ruler over all the works of your hands:
Heb 2:8 You put all things under his feet. 

God created the earth to be inhabited by humans.

Isa 45:18 For so says Jehovah the Creator of the heavens, He is God, forming the earth and making it; He makes it stand, not creating it empty, but forming it to be inhabited. (the context here is human habitation)

God created the earth for the purposes of mankind –  to live, work, and play. Man was created to be at the top of the creation pyramid – to rule over the rest of creation on earth.

Now I firmly believe that with the right to rule comes great responsibility. Mankind was meant to rule over the earth with Godly wisdom, counsel discernment and love. God expected Man to cherish and look after the wonderland that had been given to him.

Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve sinned, not only Man became cursed, but the curse was spread to creation as well. Instead of being able to easily enjoy the abundance of creation, Many had to struggle to provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves.

Gen 3:17,18 And to Adam He [God] said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.

Man is still trying to live as though he has “dominion over all the earth”, but he is no longer ruling with Godly wisdom, knowledge, counsel or love. Man uses and abuses creation for his own selfish purposes, with little to no thought to the care needed to sustain creation.

As Christians, I believe that we are responsible for looking after the blessings that God has given us in creation.

Luk 12:48  For to whomever much is given, of him much shall be required.

We are supposed to be “faithful and wise servants” of all that God has blessed us with, and that includes nature.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” Henry David Thoreau Walden

Queen of Denial

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Cleopatra has often been called the “Queen of the Nile”. While I have never met her (I’m not that old – yet) I have certainly met a number of Queens of “Denial”.

I have worked in fashion retail for several years and have gotten pretty good at estimating a person’s clothing size so I am often surprised and bemused when a customer states that she is a smaller size.

We live in an insane age of “size 0 (zero)”. I don’t know about modern math but I was always taught that “zero” equals nothing, zip, zilch, nada – a big, fat nothingness. So it stands to reason that it should be impossible to be a size 0. But somehow, the fashion industry has managed to defeat the laws of math and come up with the impossible – a size 0.

No healthy woman is a size zero, but if clothing sizes start at such a minimalist number, who wants to buy clothes that say size 12, 14, 16 or more? It’s as if women think that the size number on the clothing is somehow mysteriously visible to all and sundry.

It is well known in the fashion retail industry that there is no standardized sizing for women’s clothing. That is why you have to try on 15 different pairs of jeans before you can find just one that fits! There’s just no such animal as an intercontinental size 12.

Most women know this lamentable fact about clothing, yet for some reason, some women get “stuck” on (and in) a certain size number. They insist that they are a certain size and will not entertain the idea that they may have to try on a larger size.

Personally, while I am not best pleased with my current size and shape, I am very much aware of the reality of it. Yes, I could still fit into my wedding dress – if I only wanted it to cover one leg! No amount of wishful thinking accompanied by generous amounts of squeezing, smushing, pushing, cramming, jamming, sucking in, grunting and groaning is ever going to make me fit into the clothes I wore in my slimmer and trimmer days.

Yet, I get customers who will try to do just that, even though fleshy parts are spilling, oozing, flowing, and popping out, over and through the clothing, they will continue to insist that they are a particular size and will refuse to try on a larger size.

When it comes to clothing sizes, we women can certainly be “Queens of Denial”.

Denial is not limited to just women and their clothes size. To be in denial basically means to deny the truth. Denial has been around for a long time, every since that old troublemaker, the devil, chose to deny the truth of his inequality with God. He chose to deny God’s supremecy over him.

Isa 14:12 How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
Isa 14:13 For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
Isa 14:14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.

God is truth.

Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.
Joh 14:7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him.

Heb 6:18 so that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,

Tit 1:2 on hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the eternal times,

To deny God is to deny truth, and to deny truth is to deny God. Denying truth is an act of rebellion against truth.

Tit 1:15 To the pure all things are pure. But to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient and reprobate to every good work.

Denying God, and His son Jesus, has earthly and eternal consequences.

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

Mat 10:34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.

2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

Being a King or Queen of Denial of the truth of God and Jesus only hurts oneself and is an exercise in futility since in the end, all people will acknowledge God.

Isa 45:21 Declare and bring near; yea, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this of old? Who has told it from then? Is it not I, Jehovah? And there is no other God besides Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me.
Isa 45:22 Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
Isa 45:23 I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Unfortunately, waiting until the end will be too late.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Rev 20:15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

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Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,