Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Sunday, September 1, 2019

How Long Do You Grieve a Personal Loss?

Grief is...
Grief expert David Kessler at says"...grief is a process, a journey. It does not end on a certain day or date. It is as individual as each of us. Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost. Grief is not just a series of events, or stages or timelines. Our society places enormous pressure on us to get over loss, to get through the grief."But how long do you grieve for a husband of 12 years? A nephew who kills himself? A stillborn baby? A year? 5 years? Forever?

Grief and Loss
When your heart is broken, healing is a long process. In Genesis 37: 34 - 35, Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned many days when he believed his son Joseph was dead. Joseph was his baby. Joseph was his favorite son. Jacob's other children tried to comfort him, but he wouldn't let them. He wanted to be with his dead son Joseph. I recognize that feeling.

After my husband Jack died, I just wanted to be left alone to mourn. Emotionally, I fluctuated back and forth through the different stages of grieving like a kite dipping and bobbing in the wind. Denial. Anger. Depression. Acceptance.
During Year 2 of widowhood, I stayed in anger and acceptance with depression kicking in on our anniversary and holidays. In the fall of that year, I had a relapse back into pure grieving. Sharp-edged, painful sorrow returned and it felt like Jack had died yesterday rather than two years previously. Depression returned. I felt rejected and unlovable. Anger would overcome me occasionally when people would offer advice they considered to be helpful to get me through my grief.

"Helpful" Advice
Some of the "helpful" advice I was given by well-meaning people follows, along with my reaction to it.
  • You need to be strong.
No thanks! I'll be weak and let the Lord comfort me and heal my broken heart. Psalms 34: 18 and Matthew 5:4.
  • If you grieve for more than a year, you need to seek help.
Really? there isn't a time limit on grief. This is my time to mourn, weep and heal. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
  • Crying won't fix anything.
Yes it will! Crying releases the pressure and emotional tension of grief. Tears are a part of grief and and sadness. Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. Do not let anyone tell you it's wrong to cry when you are sad. Psalm 34:18
  • You need a hobby to focus on.
No, I need to focus on Jesus. Reading my Bible daily became part of my routine. I was given hope, comfort and a deeper relationship with God.
  • Get on  with your life and things will get better.
Honestly, I was already living one day at a time. I did have to keep going through the motions of daily living - work, church and family. (This list is not in order of importance.) Somewhere around year 5, I realized I had gotten on with my life and things did get better. Psalm 147:3 In God's world, there is a time for everything, and season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

In conclusion, I want to encourage everyone who has lost a loved one, to grab onto Jesus. 
Read your Bible daily. Deepen your relationship with Jesus. Grief is a journey you take one day at a time. God will be there to comfort you. 
Pray this prayer from Matthew 5:4.
Father God, I am asking you to comfort me. Your word says I will be blessed with your comfort because I am mourning the loss of _______________. I am claiming that promise. Comfort me. Fill me with peace. Take away the sharp edges of my grief. In the mighty name of Jesus, I ask this. Amen.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant, and a time to uproot,
a time to kill, and a time to heal,
a time to tear down, and a time to build,
a time to weep, and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn, and a time to dance...

Monday, July 1, 2019

Verse of the Week - Galatians 2:20

Paul acquaints us with what his own judgment and practice were. 
  • That he was dead to the law. Whatever account others might make of it for his part, he was dead to it. 
  • He knew that the moral law denounced a curse against all that did not continue in all things written in the law and therefore he was dead to it, as to all hope of justification and salvation that way. 
  • As for the ceremonial law, he also knew that it was now antiquated and superseded by the coming of Christ. He was therefore dead to the law, through the law itself. By considering the law itself, he saw that justification was not to be expected by the works of it (since none could perform a perfect obedience to it) and that there was now no further need of the sacrifices and purifications of it, since they were done away in Christ. 
  • A stop was put to them by Jesus offering up himself a sacrifice for us; and therefore, the more Paul looked into it the more he saw that there was no occasion for keeping up that regard to the law which the Jews pleaded for. 
  • Paul had renounced all hopes of justification by the works of the law, and was unwilling any longer to continue under the bondage of it; but he was far from thinking himself discharged from his duty to God.
  • On the contrary, he was dead to the law, that he might live for God. 
  • The doctrine of the gospel, which he had embraced, instead of weakening the bond of duty upon him, strengthened and confirmed it; and though he was dead to the law, yet it was only in order to his living a new and better life to God.
  •  (as Rom. 7:4, 6), Paul's new life would be more agreeable and acceptable to God than his observance of the Mosaic law.
  • A life of faith in Christ, and, under the influence of Jesus, was a life of holiness and righteousness towards God. 
Paul also acquaints us with
  • That, as he was dead to the law, so he was alive to God through Jesus Christ.
  •  (v. 20): I am crucified with Christ, etc. 
And here Paul gives us an excellent description of the life of a believer.
  • He is crucified, and yet he lives; the old man is crucified (Rom. 6:6), but the new man is living; 
  • he is dead to the world, and dead to the law, and yet alive to God and Christ; 
  • sin is mortified, and grace quickened. 
  • He lives, and yet not he. This is strange: I live, and yet not I; 
  • he lives in the exercise of grace; 
  • he has the comforts and the triumphs of grace; and yet that grace is not from himself, but from another. 
  • Believers see themselves living in a state of dependence.  
  • He is crucified with Christ, and yet Christ lives in him; this results from his mystical union with Christ, by means of which he is interested in the death of Christ, so as by virtue of that to die unto sin; and yet interested in the life of Christ, so as by virtue of that to live unto God. 
  • He lives in the flesh, and yet lives by faith; to outward appearance he lives as other people do, his natural life is supported as others are; yet he has a higher and nobler principle that supports and actuates him, that of faith in Christ, and especially as eyeing the wonders of his love in giving himself for him. 
  • Hence it is that, though he lives in the flesh, yet he does not live after the flesh. 
  • Those who have true faith live by that faith; and the great thing which faith fastens upon is Christ’s loving us and giving himself for us.  
  • The great evidence of Christ’s loving us is his giving himself for us; and this is that which we are chiefly concerned to mix faith with, in order to live for him.
Lastly, The apostle concludes...if righteousness comes by the law, then it must follow that Jesus Christ has died in vain; for, if we look for salvation by the law of Moses, then we render the death of Jesus needless: for to what purpose should he be appointed to die, if we might have been saved without it?
Adapted from Matthew Henry's Complete Exposition of the Entire Bible 

Psalm of the Week - 28:7

Monday, June 17, 2019

Verse of the Week - Galatians 2:19

For I through the law am dead to the law
  • The apostle further replies to the objection against the doctrine of justification, being a licentious one, from the end of his, and other believers, being dead to the law.
  • Paul owns he was dead to the law, not in the sense as to not regard it as a rule of walk and conversation, but to not seek for life and righteousness by it, nor to fear its accusations, charges, menaces, curses, and condemnation.
  • He was dead to the moral law as in the hands of Moses, but not as in the hands of Christ. 
  •  He was dead to it as a covenant of works, though not as a rule of action, and to the ceremonial law, the observance of it, and much more as necessary to justification and salvation.
"through the law"; 

  • That is, either through the law or doctrine of Christ.
  • The Hebrew word signifies properly doctrine, and sometimes evangelical doctrine, the Gospel of Christ; 
  • See Isaiah 2:3 and then the sense is, that the apostle was taught by the doctrine of grace not to seek for pardon, righteousness, acceptance, life, and salvation, by the works of the law, but in Christ; by the doctrine of the Gospel, which says, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
  • Paul became dead to the law, which says, do this and live: or through the books of the law, and the prophets.
  •  The writings of the Old Testament, are sometimes called the law.
  • Paul learned that righteousness and forgiveness of sins were only to be expected from Christ, and not the works of the law.
  • Righteousness and forgiveness of sins, though manifested without the law, yet are witnessed to by the law and prophets.
  • The principle of grace formed in his soul, he became dead to the power and influence of the law of works.
  •  He was no longer under the bondage of that, but under grace, as a governing principle in his soul.
  • The word law, used twice here, may signify one and the same law of works.
  • The meaning maybe, either that through Christ's fulfilling the law in his stead, assuming a holy human nature the law required, and yielding perfect obedience to it, and submitting to the penalty of it, he became dead to it.
  • He became dead to the law through the body of Christ, see Romans 7:4 and through what he did and suffered in his body to fulfil it; 
  • Or he became dead to the law through the use, experience, and knowledge of the law, when being convinced of sin by it, and seeing the spirituality of it, all his hopes of life were struck dead, and he entirely despaired of ever being justified by it.
  •  Now the end of his being dead to the law, delivered from it, and being directed to Christ for righteousness, was he says:

that I might live unto God; 
  • That I might not live in sin, in the violation of the law, in neglect and defiance of it, or to himself, or to the lusts of men, but to the will of God revealed in his word, and to his honour and glory; 
  • Therefore it most clearly follows, that though believers are dead to the law, and seek to be justified by Christ alone, yet they do not continue, nor do they desire to continue in sin, 
  • Believers do not indulge themselves in a vicious course of living, but look upon themselves as under the greater obligation to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Adapted from John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Psalm of the Week - 18:1-3

I love God with my whole soul. God isn't going to move; he will keep me stable and safe. God will deliver me and give me strength. God is trustworthy and I  am going to trust him. God will shield me because he is the power and strength of my salvation. He will keep me safe from my enemies.

My enemies are anyone, or anything that means me harm, isn't good for me, or keeps my focus off of God and his plan for me. This includes

  • Satan 
  • Addictions
  •  People who tear me down with words or actions
  • Busyness

Grammy Life - A Cloud Conversation

Grammy Life 😁🤣
In the car with 3 grandkids of very different ages.
5th grader: Grammy aren't those cumulonimbus clouds?
Grammy: Yes they are.
1st grader: They look like rain clouds to me.
3 yr. old: I like hoomo nimbut clouds!
1st grader: That is NOT a real word!
5th grader: He's saying cumulo nimbus.
3 year old: Yah! I said hoomo nimbut clouds!
1st grader: They are cumulo nimbus clouds.
3 year old: That's RIGHT!
5th grader has both hands over her mouth trying HARD to not dissolve into laughter. LOL

I'm blessed to be able to spend time with my grandchildren and enjoy the humor of conversations like this. No wonder Jesus told the disciples to let the children come to him. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Verse of the Week - Galatians 2:18

Circumcision was an issue that was dividing the Hebrew and Gentile Christians. Hebrews were required to be circumcised by the law. Gentiles were not under the law and therefore not following this. However, some of the Hebrew followers of Jesus began to expect Gentile followers of Jesus to follow the law about circumcision. Paul disagreed with this quite vocally.

Paul preached the foundational doctrine of Jesus' teaching that sinners are justified by faith alone and no one is under the law. 
Romans 7:4 and 6:7 backs this up that we died to the law through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We died to sin through Jesus' sacrifice when we place our faith in him for our salvation. We don't need to follow rules or laws to follow Jesus. 

Christians are free of the Mosaic law. 
Why would we want to place ourselves back under sin? Jesus is not the minister of sin. He died as a ransom sacrifice or sin offering for all of us and rose from the dead three days later and ascended to heaven to be with his Father God. Titus 2:14 says,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Verse of the Week - Galatians 2:17

Paul believed sin can never be justified. 
There is no good reason for sin. God does good BECAUSE of who he is. I can't go on sinning to prove how good God is by giving me grace and salvation. Romans 3:7-8

Thursday, January 24, 2019

To Retire or Not to Retire

I wrestled with the decision to retire for weeks. I looked at data and made calculations until I had a headache. I am NOT a math person. My sweetheart was supportive and encouraged me. He prayed with me and for me. Still I wrestled with the decision. 

Calmness would be mine for about 24 hours before I  started feeling doubt and indecisiveness again.
Do you remember Dr. Doolittle's pushmi pullu? It was a "gazelle/unicorn cross" with a head at opposite ends of its body. That's what I felt like. One head would be thinking about retirement while the other was dealing with today and I  wasnt getting anywhere with my decision.

Finally on my way to work, I had a one sided conversation with Jesus; he listened and I talked.
"Lord Jesus I am surrendering this decision to you. I've wrestled with it enough. It's up to you. I know that financially I can retire. If I'm supposed to retire, I  know you will let me feel the peace that only comes from you when I  think about it. Thank you for the sacrifice that you made so that I might be saved and become a coheir in the kingdom of God. Amen"

And I didn't think about retirement all day. That evening the retirement decision tried to creep back into my thoughts. Immediately I told myself that I'd given my retirement decision to Jesus and it was his choice. And I didn't think about retirement all evening or at bedtime.

24 hours after I  surrendered my retirement decision to Jesus, I woke up filled with a deep and unshakable calm. The doubt and indecisiveness were GONE! I knew in my head and my heart that retirement was the next step on my journey with Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NKJV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.