Archive for the Theological Thursday Category

When I realized my greatest loss

I have a way of knowing things intellectually and even believing them intellectually, but without it fully sinking in. I suspect it is a manifestation of a coping/survival skill I picked up as a child. I've been piecing together things through my recovery. Who am I? I've been exploring that question my whole life, and never really coming up with a satisfactory answer. My Christian friends have and do tell me that my identity is found in Christ. Yes. That's kind of the Christian no-brainer. I've been adopted into the family of God because I've been redeemed by Jesus. But... Who is God? Because of my poor relationship with my dad along with a lot of hellfire and brimstone rendering of God, I had a warped view of who God is. My distorted childhood view of God (which lasted well into adulthood) was a vengeful God lacking grace. If you're not the perfect Christian, He is going to destroy you. Sure, Jesus washes your sins away, but when he does that you're not supposed to sin any more. I had to learn who God really was. Thankfully, He didn't leave me in my ignorance, and I finally grasped the concept of sanctification that occurs between justification and glorification. I slowly understood that I can't/didn't/won't earn God's love, that it is freely given through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. I had to learn who I was I learned I was a victim. I was a co-dependent, reality-escaping victim. I was afraid of everybody. It impacted every single area of my life. I felt trapped, and in all honesty, I was trapped. I was bound in a trap of my own making. A trap that was constructed with distorted truth and outright lies. Identity crisis I was at a crossroads of sorts, torn between who I've always thought I was and the reality of whose I am. I felt trapped between a cage that was at least familiar, and between fear of the unknown. I finally met that point in co-dependency where I asked myself who I would be if I dropped my victim status. How would I manage to live without it.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
My greatest loss was that of my old distorted and arbitrary identity. It was great not because it was good, but because it was heavy. It isn't going away without a fight. It still screams for attention. But I have tasted something much better. Freedom. Freedom to be who I was made to be. Freedom to have purpose and worth. Freedom to be loved by my Creator not because of what I do (or don't do). Freedom to love, as I am loved. My greatest loss is turning out to be an amazing gift.

But for the grace of God…

Dear fellow Christian, You're scared. I understand. Not being in control is very scary. And that is why you are afraid. You forget that God is in control. That He is sovereign over all. You grew up singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" and believe deep down that you deserve to enjoy the privilege of being an American. You are going to eat, drink, and be merry and no sinner is going to screw that up for you. You have been taught your whole life that the United States is a Christian nation highly favored by God unlike any other nation before it. You believe we are the modern day Israel. The United States of America has never been the "My people who are called by My name." That was only Israel. As I saw it in a blog comment not too long ago, "IS - RA - EL." It is a covenantal name. God made no covenant with any other nation before or since, and that includes the U.S. If you think that the current moral state in the U.S. is the worst this nation has ever been, clearly you don't know the full history of our nation or you are just choosing to overlook it. You think homosexuality is the worst sin to take place here? If so, I have a fraction for you: 3/5.
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons." - From Article 1 Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
That remained in effect until the 14th Amendment passed by congress in 1866 and ratified in 1868. This stands in contrast to a particular line from the Declaration of Independence -
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
- which only applied if you were white. African slaves and indigenous Americans (American Indians, not European colonists) were not endowed with these rights. Human trafficking is not a Christian value. Breaking every single treaty ever made with the indigenous peoples, driving them from their lands, and slaughtering them is not a Christian value. Institutional racism, still to this day observable in many lily-white churches every Sunday, is not a Christian value. We have played the Christian card to our benefit for centuries without suffering the suffering promised us by Jesus. We have lived a safe and prosperous existence which is neither promised nor deserved. Jesus told us to pick up our cross and follow him, not sit down and kick our feet up while expanding our waistlines. If you are not willing to give up or lose everything - EVERY SINGLE THING - in this life then you are not really following Christ. Are you so concerned with your personal comfort and your entitlement to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" that you lack compassion for others who are created in God's image just as you are? Do you think you are better than Jesus who laid aside his divinity to live and suffer as a poor man and die for you when you hated him?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)
There are many many people in this country who need to know the love of Christ and they aren't getting it because they are treated as the enemy. And we as Christians pat ourselves on the back for telling them their place. Then we piss and moan and play the victim when they fight back. We have forgotten that but for the Grace of God, there go we. The Cross is offensive enough. There is no reason to heap on extra offensiveness just to stroke our own egos and make ourselves believe that we are any better. We aren't. We never will be on our own. And we certainly can't berate and bully other people into our image. God doesn't do that. He gave up his Son to atone for our sins as well as theirs. God doesn't save and protect countries for the comfort of people. He saves and protects people for His glory. And not good people because before a holy God, there are no good people.
Luke 7:36-50 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman 36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”


It struck me in the middle of a conversation where I was sitting on my pity pot bemoaning the latest catastrophe to befall me. Do I really trust God? Do I really trust Him? Because it is one thing to pray and surrender everything to Him and His will, but when you've done that, and something happens that you didn't anticipate, it's another matter to follow through by walking in the faith you thought you had when you said that prayer. Talk is cheap, but living it out is going to cost something. Clinging to control and self-sufficiency is going to cost you a lot more. All the years I spent pushing myself and pushing myself trying to do it all and do it all perfectly exacted a heavy price. Multiple times. And I didn't get it. A few years ago I asked "Just how broken do I have to be?" I knew at the time. Completely. I just didn't really know what that means exactly. I have a much better idea now. It's whatever it takes until I become completely dependent upon God and quit trying to do everything (and do everything perfectly) in my own power in effort to be good enough. Ah, but there's more. I was talking with a friend earlier this week and we got on the subject of legalism in the church. Since we both grew up Baptist, we were generally talking about Baptist churches since that's what we have had the most experience with. I don't know where it came from (I probably read it somewhere), but in response to discussing the logical though flawed thinking behind legalism, I said, "Grace is scary because grace can't be controlled." If you can spot it, you got it. The control freak in me doesn't want to go down without a fight. She's been calling the shots for decades because she has to head off every possible problem and either prevent it from happening or fix it before anyone finds out she messed up. Every time she thinks she's hit bottom, it turns out to be a ledge, and she rolls right off over and over. Can I really do this? Can I give up my control and self-sufficiency and really really surrender my will and my life over to the care of God? Am I going to just admit where my best thinking has gotten me and just trust Him? Am I going to accept the grace I can't control? IMG_3561

Full of grace

I don't have many readers left from the old days when I did a lot of political blogging. (And drunk blogging.) My writing was staunchly conservative and I was convince all liberals were idiots. While I have not ceased being conservative, I no longer think all liberals are idiots. Actually, I think there are no more liberal idiots than there are conservative idiots. The idiots are among the far left and the far right with most people more toward the middle and just leaning liberal or conservative. See how easily I threw the idiot card? That's the number one reason I don't blog about politics. It just pisses me off and stresses me out, and it's too easy to make sweeping generalizations in a nasty way. It's also why I don't listen to talk radio. Not political nor religious. Because in both cases the underlying result is to fire up the base, and get them angry enough to fight the people on the other side. Not to win them over to one side, but to force them to agree with that side, and demonize them if they don't agree. Win at all costs. Problem is, each side just digs in their heels more or more convinced that they are right and the other side is stupid/evil/lazy/greedy/jerks. The schism widens, the rhetoric ramps up, and the media (news, entertainment, religious) exploits it all further distorting and escalating the real issue driving the schisms even wider and the people angrier at each other until hate abounds albeit while many haters deny that they hate. But their words tell a different story. And this is why I don't spend so much time on Facebook anymore.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
I think that we Americans are sort of hard-wired to fight for our rights (to paaaaartay! - Had to. Squirrel!). But I think that somewhere along the line as American Christians we blurred the line (if not completely removed it) between our United States citizenship and our citizenship in heaven. So many of us have been taught (whether explicitly or implicitly) that the United States is the new Israel ordained by God as a favored Christian nation. As such, we have elevated our nation's leaders beyond their clearly laid out constitutional mandate as leading our nation to be spiritual leaders of our nation also contrary to what is laid out in our constitution. We demand our leaders to proclaim they are Christian before we will vote for them, and then we cry and rage when they don't live up to what is really an unconstitutional standard. It is absolutely not a constitutional requirement for our elected officials to be Christians. It is also not a constitutional requirement of US citizenship to be Christian. Therefore it stands to reason that we are going to have leaders who are not Christians serving an electorate who either aren't Christians or aren't conservative Christians or are nominal/cultural Christians. Most importantly, not any of our elected officials are perfect (Christian or not) and every single earthly government makes a crummy god.
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17, ESV)
Nero was emperor when Peter wrote that. No one in our government is an emperor nor does our government as a whole entity equate with being an emperor. Is our government corrupt? Absolutely, and so are we who elect our officials to office to serve us. So pray for them. Yes, be informed of their character. Yes, vote your conscience. Pray for your elected officials the same way you would pray for your best friend or family member. Don't demonize them because they don't do things the way you think you would if you were in their shoes. Don't demonize the people who vote differently than you do. Don't demonize unbelievers because they don't follow the American Christian moral code. Pray for everyone who doesn't think or believe the way you do not so they will become a clone of you but that if they don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the Truth. Not what you think is true, but what is really and truly capital T Truth. Quit just throwing salt.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV
Rather than include the Beastie Boys, here's how Pastor Benji preached this concept. Hopefully I didn't lift too much of his material. ;)

Separation of Church and Hate - Part 1 from newhope church on Vimeo.

Thinking out loud

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26, ESV)
I don't think I took my "happy pill" yesterday. There was that moment where I looked at the bottle and could not remember if I had taken it or not, but decided against risking an OD. Not that I know if you can OD on 40mg of Celexa. I've missed doses before. This past Saturday as a matter of fact. There were no ill effects. Yesterday though. I bottomed out. I blame(d) the lack of medication because it was just out of the blue despair. Or so I thought. I did enough backtracking through the day to discover the trigger was a video I had watched. From there I was able to root out the discontentment and resentment that were in the pit I found myself in. It's a dark pit where the darkness is heavy and constricting. Prayers were said, tears were shed. Withdrawl happened. Not complete withdrawl, but alone time to sort the truth from the lies. I remember the first time God spoke "audibly" to me. It wasn't a loud booming voice like I imagine he spoke to Moses. Of course there is a story to it. I spent probably half my early childhood begging my parents for a swing set. Like this: EXIF/JPEG image with thumb Yes, I got the kids what I wanted when I was a kid. Anyway, I never got one, but my dad made me swing by buying some nylon (or plastic) rope, and hanging it from a tree limb. In hindsight, that was a way better swing. Anyway, that old rope swing gave me many many hours of fun. I would get it swinging as high as I could (which was way higher than a "little" metal swing set swing could go), and then jump out at the forward apex. I did that so much one weekend that my legs were so sore I could barely walk for 3 days. That was what I was doing: seeing just how high I could get the swing going before jumping out. As I was on the back swing just before that apex, I clearly heard a voice in my head telling me to stop. As I came back down, I put my feet down to stop. As soon as my feet were firm and stable on the ground, the rope broke. If I hadn't listened to that voice, I would have gotten hurt. Maybe seriously, maybe not. Regardless, I would have been hurt. But it was years before I would realize what that voice was. Or rather, whose. I don't remember how old I was, and I may or may not have still been using that swing while in junior high. ;) I don't think I ever told anyone about that except for my mom, though I might have told my dad when I told him the rope broke. But I don't remember actually telling him. I know I did because he was going to notice and then wonder why I didn't tell him. Plus, he was the only one who was going to fix it. lol But I think it was just within the last year that I told my mom the whole story of the incident. She recognized the voice for what it was. She may not remember what day it is, or people's names, or whether or not someone has died, but Alzheimer's has not yet touched her mind where theology and doctrine are concerned. I wanted to hear Him yesterday like that, and well, every time I find myself in the pit. I don't, but yet I don't really feel completely alone either. I mean, in the deepest, darkest, heaviest point I do, but once the load lifts, I can tell I wasn't alone. It's really hard to explain it. It's kind of like and aftertaste, only just a feeling. A closeness if you will. So, this was a bit ADD. Hence the title. That's how I roll.

Demons are real

I started writing this post back in March, and then abandoned it to the drafts hole. As I write this "intro," I am still teetering on the fence on whether to finish it and post it.
I have spent a week debating whether or not to write about what happened to me last week. For various reasons. Good, bad, or whatever. ;) I did tell a couple of people about it, so I didn't hide it and/or pretend it didn't happen. I mean, not that I could pretend it didn't happen because I had a rough few days over it. I had a demonic encounter. And I brought it on myself.
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27, ESV)
I gave opportunity to the devil. And it was over something that didn't directly involve me, and was something that I thought I had let go, but when I was struck, I knew immediately that 1) I had just "physically" been struck though I could not see what hit me, and 2) that I had dwelled too many times for too long on a particular event. That scared the crap out of me. Not the attack, but the fact that I invited it. Then I spent the next couple of days fighting off an onslaught of angry thoughts about various other events where I should have spoken up and pointed out how things that were said and/or done were both unbiblical and unloving. But I remained silent in fear of confrontation. Mainly. Because I have a strong fight or flight response to confrontation, and flight is default. Part of it is that I know deep down whatever pisses me off the most, is more often than not something that I struggle with. Also, I have been known to act/speak without thinking through the whole situation and ended up at least as wrong as whatever I got hacked off about. But anyway, as I came out of this encounter, I faced several things about myself that were exposed because of it.
    Self-righteous arrogance pisses me off because I am so self-righteous and arrogant. Gossip and backbiting piss me off because I have done and find that I still do it myself so often. Controlling busybodies piss me off because I am such a control freak. Dismissive know-it-alls piss me off because I have long been a dismissive know-it-all. Elitists piss me off because I am one too.
So as I envisioned my anger as righteous anger such as Jesus had when he drove the money changers out of the temple, it seems as though I have a lot more in common with the money changers. I love to be right. And I love to argue, except that I hate to argue because I suck at it. I realize the complete contradiction that statement is.
All that said, and everything offset in the blockquote is from March, this hasn't been an isolated incident. That was just the first one that happened where I recognized what was happening. I had suspicions that there was demonic activity going on around me, and prayed for discernment. I still continue to pray for ongoing discernment to know the truth about my own ongoing struggles to know which are internal and which are external. In other words, what is coming from the old me, and what is demonic influence/oppression. Now at this point, I still haven't seen a demon while awake/conscious that I am completely sure was a demon. I did see something run through the living room earlier this year that I thought at first was KitKat until I looked again and couldn't find her in the living room (and she can't move silently that fast anyway), and then asked Jamie if KitKat was in her (locked) room. Which she was. So it wasn't KitKat. Too small and dark to be Gizmo. So I erred on the side of caution and rebuked it. I have had dreams (nightmares) over the years where there was a presence trying to get me that I could feel, but never see. These dreams are always different from the nightmares of murderers, rapes, nuclear detonation, snakes, spiders, car wrecks, falling, tornados, etc. In the last couple of years, I had one of the "presence" dreams only I saw it coming at me, and knew exactly what it was waking up as I cried out to Jesus. I have since heard people describe demons they have seen, and it was exactly what was in my dream. Why am I sharing this? I think there are a lot of Christians who are completely ignorant as to what spiritual warfare is about because they don't truly believe demonic activity can have any contact with them. That said, I do not believe that a believer in Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit can be possessed by demons. But there is no scriptural basis for the teaching and belief that demons can't do anything to you once you are saved. In fact, I would say the Bible teaches just the opposite. They can touch us and they can afflict us and they will do it because the enemy "comes only to steal and kill and destroy." He already has the lost, and he has already lost. But what better way to keep unbelievers in darkness than to damage the Light because as believers we are the light of Jesus here on earth. So don't believe you can't be touched or influenced because you are still at war, and the enemy is real.
Ephesians 6:11-18 English Standard Version (ESV) 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

I need to write a book

I'm serious. There are just so many things that I want to write about that are just too much for a blog post. Or several blog posts. Maybe if I say it enough, I'll actually start to do it? Right. Like I can finish a blog post. ;) But really, there have been a lot of things I've wanted to address, but they would be at least essay length and cover several topics. I want to say "Ain't nobody got time for dat!" I do though. I waste enough time with Whirly Word to write what I want to write. Then again, that is something easily interrupted without destroying my train of thought. Between working full time and homeschooling, there really isn't a whole lot of time left. Then there is just normal house & family stuff. And Al-Anon meetings. And therapy. And church. And running. And texting Petra to make me a pie and sharing TMI with her. #everybodypoops Anyway, I need to write a book about my spiritual journey. Ok, maybe it is more of a want than a need. Just things I've learned and experienced along the way complete with all the tripping and falling on my face that I've done...and still do. The struggle of a rebellious deacon's kid who knows what it is like to be both the prodigal son and his brother who wouldn't attend the party for the prodigal. The struggle with my fear and the conflict between that fear and speaking out. And not speaking out against cultural decline in general, but the decline within a divided church torn between the polar opposites of watered-down feel-good man-centered worship and the militant flag-waving get-America-back-to-God worship of 1950's America. Yeah. I want to write a book.

In which I hit publish before determining a title

I'm thinking I probably shouldn't try to blog with a headache coming on and with brain fog. Especially when it's "Theological Thursday" and I have no topic in mind yet. lol But, heck, when has that ever stopped me. I had my second session of counseling yesterday. I don't know if it's the "happy pills" or the Al-Anon or the increased running, but I noticed I was feeling a lot better emotionally as if everything is ok. Which it's not. I'm still sleeping like crap, and I woke up sick this morning, but this sick is probably diet related since I also ate like crap yesterday evening. Anyway, I felt more relaxed, and maybe because I did the verbal vomit on her last time. haha I also noticed something last week that I do that I didn't used to do. I shared it at an Al-Anon meeting last week. I know everyone has an internal dialog going on much of the time. I've always had one and can remember I time when I would have it out loud. I only did that when I was alone (or thought I was), but after getting busted a couple of times, I worked on that. Although I still get called out by my family for hand gesturing when it gets intense in my head. Case in point, Jamie said to me over the weekend, "Stop thinking with your hands." lol But I digress. What I have been doing more often over the past few years is having arguments in my head. So there is an all too often mental conflict going which tells me I am pretty bitter about some things that are unresolved. MentalChaos I read that yesterday and did a little bit of connecting the dots. There has been some kind of chaos going on for so long, and I just suppressed it like I did when I was a kid. But it's all in there lashing out in my internal dialog. And when I indulge it, I open myself up to demonic attack. I know that sounds out there, but it is what it is. But my demonic encounters are a post for another day. Finishing this thought will be for another day too in another post.

“And where do we go from here?”

I have started, and deleted this post about 3 times now. It's gone from snarky to whiny to incoherent. As I sit here trying for the 4th time to get this written, this version may be snarky AND whiny AND incoherent. See, there are events and conversations behind it that would give it the necessary context, but I don't want to blog about those. But there was one conversation that has kind of served as a catalyst for wanting to write about this because something was said that kind of shook me up and made me think. At one point I said essentially that doctrinally I am still a baptist. Then later as I thought on it I thought "But culturally, I don't think I am." This brought up the realization that I have been a baptist my whole life - 12 years longer than I've been a believer. So naturally, me being me, I "have" to question whether I have picked baptist churches as an adult because I am altogether baptist or if it's because that's all I know. I mean, seriously, up until the past month, aside from a handful of base chapel services when I was active duty, the only non-baptist church I had ever attended was a Catholic church with my best friend in high school for a few months. There are some things that I am sure of. 1. I don't want my "Christian experience" to consist of just church attendance. That's performance. I did that for my entire childhood as a deacon's kid. I don't want to just play the part at church services and functions. Like I said, been there done that. 2. I don't want to go through the motions and not get out of my comfort zone. Kind of like #1, only I want to perform in a way that brings glory to God and not attention to me. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." 3. I want to reach out to the lost, particularly the unchurched. You know, the ones who don't know how to "perform" as a "good Christian" is supposed to. Rough, crude, and unpolished. The ones that folks who grew up in church and never openly rebelled/strayed don't know how to relate to. 4. I don't want to "get our country back to God" by means of political activism under the banner of the church. We cannot ever change a culture of any kind through politics. No law ever changed a person's heart. Plus, the USA has never been nor will ever be the new Israel which is to say we, as a country, are NOT God's chosen people. So far, this seems to be kind of a ramble, but whatever. That's what happens when I don't fully contextualize. ;) Where I am right now is with my family looking for a new home church. Let me tell you, when you leave a church where you love each and every person there, it is like breaking up. It's not pleasant. It hurts. It hurts you, and it hurts them. But sometimes you have to move on for the sake of the whole family, and when your kids don't want to go anymore, and you reach the point that it is nearly impossible to force them, it's time to move on. Hence the dilemma. Do I continue to press for a baptist church out of tradition? And I have come to the conclusion that what I want is a church faithful to scripture, zealous for evangelism and discipleship, as focused on children and youth ministries as adult, and not afraid to open up in worship and in life (meaning, you can't be open if you "bite and devour" aka gossip and backbite). I think I managed to hit snarky, whiny, and incoherent. Therefore, since I have labored over this post for well over a week, I leave you with a little "Flyman."

More than I can handle

I am going to state up front, that Pastor Roger preached a sermon about this earlier this year, so it isn't something I came up with on my own. On the other hand, it isn't straight-up plagiarism either. I hope. ;) I have heard it said many times that "God won't give you more than you can handle." The thing is, I haven't found that in the Bible. There is this:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
But that is dealing only with temptation and not trials of life. Sometimes we get so bombarded with trial after trial on top of trial, and I for one am right now at the point that I don't think I can handle one more trial. I told a friend last week that maybe I should meltdown on the next person that tells me how strong I am. lol Because seriously, I am NOT as strong as I appear. Not even remotely close. This isn't the first time I have felt like I had more than I can handle, but I have to say that this time around it's like the hits keep coming. Several years ago, I was tdy to Ft Gordon for class, and one day we all went to Myrtle Beach. At some point, I got knocked under by a wave, and when I came up, I got smacked by another before I could catch my breath, and this went on for a couple more waves before I finally got my feet planted which was well after panic set in. That's kind of how I feel now; like the waves are coming faster than I can get a breath.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)
Last week I let one of my friends at work know about one of the biggest trials going on because it is/was to have an impact on me being at work. Turns out not a huge impact at this point, but I'm not getting into that yet. Anyway, she asked me a few minutes later, "How can you stand there and smile like everything is ok?" I answered, "I have a lot of friends praying for me." Well, that and I am pretty good at faking everything being ok when it isn't. In the midst of all this, I rely on God to get me though. To carry me when I don't have the strength to get out of the bed in the morning. To give me the strength of will to hold my tongue rather than lash out in anger with verbal diarrhea. To not be so self-focused as to fail to pray for my friends who are going through their own trials. To remember that God is in control, and the suffering is temporary. To rest in the knowledge that Jesus redeemed me, and gave me the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide me...and to set my feet against the waves so I can breathe.