The Truth Will Set You Free

It is no fun living in bondage.  As a believer that has lived under bondage for far too long let me encourage you to take your fears to the cross and ask Christ for wisdom in what the truth is that has you bound.

With the help of my counselor I did that today and learned a lie that I had been believing for far too long.  The enemy knew my past, something I had hidden much of from myself as a means to cope, and was using it to keep me in bondage.

Today for the first time in decades of therapy  I was strong enough to look at some very difficult things.  It’s not that I hadn’t had inklings that these things had happened but with no memory I doubted myself.  The Lord very graciously brought these things back to memory for me today and with that truth came freedom.

I finally became aware of the lie I had been believing the majority of my life, “If I was pretty, men would hurt me.”  I have been the victim of multiple rapes starting at the age of 10.  But until today, I only had suspicions of them and no actual memories.  God is His goodness knew two things today.  One that I was now strong enough to handle the truth and two that I needed to know the truth for real healing to happen.  I feel finally as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  The self-doubt, questions, confusion is all gone now that I know the truth.

No I would prefer that this had not happened to me but knowing it, explains so many things in my life.  Why as soon as I start getting thin and getting compliments on how pretty I look I turn to food in an attempt to alter my appearance.  Since I believed the lie, “If I’m pretty, men would hurt me.”  I did what I could to make myself unattractive.  Yet another part of me wanted to feel and look pretty because I equated it with love.  Definitely not the right kind of love.

When I had blossomed to 350 pounds I hated myself and the very sight of me.  I avoided mirrors and the scale.  I didn’t want to know the truth of how bad it had gotten.  The things that I wanted to do to myself are too horrible to mention.  Suffice it to say I was miserable. Now 98 pounds lighter I’m learning to love myself.  I’m still not satisfied with my weight but I am hopeful with todays revelation I will stop sabotaging myself on my journey to a healthy weight.

Isn’t this picture true we are the elephant with God’s help big enough to escape the bounds of these chains and these chains are the enemy and all his lies tricking us into thinking that we are stuck in our bondage.

This is the biggest revelation God has given me about how the truth truly does set you free.  I’ve been in bondage to food and I feel it grip released on me.  I praise God for that.  I know that it is nothing of my own it is totally from Him and the gift of showing me the truth of my life.

My part was to be willing and open to His guidance.  Isn’t that all He asks of us on a daily basis?  After this revelation my fear has gone and I’m more willing to trust Him and His will for my life, wherever that takes me.

My hope for you is that you didn’t have to go through the same things I have.  But I also hope that you will learn to be open to God’s guidance and free from fear.  I also pray that you learn the blessed truth of how the truth really does set you free.  So don’t be fooled like the elephant be the triumphant child of God that you are!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Are We Living As Christ Would Have Us?

There have been a lot of things that have been done in the name of Christ, some good and some not so good.  There have been majestic Cathedrals built by artisans over ages to honor Him.  There have been celebrities giving all the glory to Jesus Christ for their success.  Yet there have also been horrific things done in His name as well.  The crusades is one of the darkest time in the history of Christendom.  War was waged all because those calling themselves Christians thought that those who were not Christians should die.  This is not what the love of Christ is all about.

I know that the crusades may seem like a rather harsh example of not doing or rather walking the walk that God would have us walk, but in God’s eyes sin is sin.  Whether we are killing people in Christ’s name or killing His image in their sight, it is all the same to God.

Let me explain what I mean by killing His image.  Every time we do something that is contrary to following Christ those watching us we are actually destroying His image, because we are representatives of Him.

I know that for me there have been times when I have not been a good representative of Christ.  Much to my dismay I have given cause for others not to have a desire to come to Christ, which is our commission.

I have learned to be more responsible about how I act and what I say and how I say it.  Sometimes silence is the best and just allow the world to see your walk.

Most importantly we need to love people.  These are not only the people in the church (because unity is important) but the people outside of the church.  Those who don’t know Christ as their Savior need to see His love and the only way they can do that is for them to see that through you and me.

This is how Christ wants us to live, loving Him with all our heart and soul and mind and then to others as you love yourself.  It seems simply enough but to put it into action on a daily basis is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God’s Boundless Love

No matter what the enemy might try and tell me God reminds me that I am worthy of His love.  As an infant is worthy of their mother or father’s love, so am I.  Neither of us have done anything to deserve it nor are either of us capable of doing anything to deserve it.  It is simply because we are and that our parents or Parent’s love is overflowing with love at the sight of us.

It is nothing that I can explain or comprehend it is a gift that I must trust and accept and have faith in.

Sometimes I feel so unworthy I have problems understanding God’s Boundless Love for me.  Then I read His Word and I put my trust in Him and I realize I am worthy because Christ’s blood makes me worthy.

Yet as I read His Word I find jewels that show me that He loved me even before I came to Him.  How boundless is that?

How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  – Psalm 36:7

This verse in Psalm was written long before God came down as man.  And look there is no partiality in it.  Both high and low among men find refuge.  He is so loving that He takes all types.  No one is too good or too bad for Him.  He loves all equally.  Now that’s boundless love.

He said: “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth – you who keep you covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. ”  – 2 Chronicles 6:14

and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or earth below–you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”  – 1 Kings 8:23

Both of these counts are part of Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple.  These verses reveal again God’s faithfulness in His love towards Israel but they also add our part,  “continue wholeheartedly in your way.”  Does that mean that God does not love sinners?  Heavens no!  We are all sinners.  What it does mean is that He expects us to do our best not to sin and when we do by serving Him wholeheartedly, we come to Him when we sin and ask forgiveness. Back then it meant a guilt offering, now it means repentance and change and the blood that was shed by animals is the blood that was shed by Christ.  He is now our guilt offering.

And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”  – Deuteronomy 9:12-13

Here we see the Lord asking His people to love Him and serve Him with all their heart and all their soul.  God is into relationships.  He is offering all of Himself to us no barriers. All we need do is ask.  Ask Him for wisdom and it is ours.  He wants to give it to us.  For knowledge, He says yes. He even tells us in His Word to ask for such things.

Yet, out of love like any parent He may not tell us everything.  He may be silent when you want to hear from Him.  It’s not that He doesn’t care.  It’s that He does care.  To love someone enough to be quiet when silence is needed is love in deed.

I wonder if it is as difficult for Him as it is for earthly parents to give that tough love?  The love that we all need from time to time, but hate getting.  I wonder if it breaks His heart too?

The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.  It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere.  Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.  – Deuteronomy 13:3b-4

These verses in Deuteronomy show another side of God’s love.  He tests us to see if we will serve Him and Him only.  This may sound strange to you to call this a side of God’s love, but it is only one who cares for you that would care if you are following what he says and commands.

The absentee parent won’t check up on you or anything and won’t give you any guidelines.  The loving parent will give you guidelines for your best interest and will watch you to make sure that you are following those guidelines.  That is a parent who truly loves you.

I had a friend who had parents that didn’t pay attention to her or give her the love that she desired.  She started starting fires in dumpsters and calling the fire department so they would put them out.  It wasn’t until a loving pastor took her under his wing and started giving her very severe guidelines that she felt loved and accepted and stopped her very unsafe behavior.

God wants to spare us of unsafe behavior so He has given us commands to follow for our benefit.  Like any child we will most likely test those boundaries but hopefully after testing come back to God in a humble spirit and ask forgiveness for not obeying Him.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of heaven.  His love endures forever.  – Psalm 136:1, 26

Each verse in Psalm 136 states a different quality about God to give thanks for and at the end of each one it says, “His love endures forever.”  How comforting that is.  Not just for a lifetime or 100 years or even 1000 years but forever.  That’s infinity past, the present and infinity future.  I don’t know about you but that gives me a sense of security.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.  You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.  – Luke 11:42

Here Jesus is letting the Pharisees and all within hearing distance know that their works weren’t enough.  They had neglected justice and the love of God.  He made it clear that although they had tithed this in itself was not enough.  They lacked justice and love of God.  Without these two things how could they say they were truly following God.  Love if anything is just.  They were supposed to be leading the people to God yet they were not following God themselves, this is what made Jesus so mad.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  – Romans 8:28

Here Paul writes to the Romans that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.  Now this again shows that we have a part in this love relationship.  He has amazing and boundless love for us and is looking for us to love Him back.  When we do love Him then God works all things for our good.

We may not see or understand the good at the time that it is happening, but good doesn’t mean joyful or happy.  What God is talking about here is, He will work all things out to our benefit.  Even if we may never in this life understand what the benefit is.  He loves us enough to make the tough decisions.  And like some parents have to make tough decisions for the benefit of their children so does God.

The main benefit is that we become more like Christ.  That is God’s goal. He loves us enough not to let us stay the same or stagnate.  He wants to see His children grow.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – Romans 8:38-39

Now this is the most comforting of all the verses.  There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Now if that isn’t boundless love I don’t know what is?   Death can’t.  Life and all it’s trials can’t.  Demons can’t, sorry Satan try as you may you can’t.  Angels can’t.  The past and all those old tapes running through your head, they can’t separate you from the love of God.  The present and all it’s worries or concerns – it can’t.  The future and all of the unknown, it can’t.  No matter how high or low it can’t.  Nothing else in all creation, nothing you can imagine or dream of, can separate you from the love of God.  Now if that doesn’t give you a sense of security in Christ Jesus our Lord, nothing will.

God loves you and me more than anything else that He has ever created.  Why else would He send His One and Only Son to come down to earth, to die on the cross for our sins?  To be raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father so He could make petition for us.  Telling the Father, “Dad that one’s mine I died for him/her.”  And the Father saying, “Welcome my child into my house of rest.”

We needed reconciliation and God loved us enough to provide that for us in the guilt offering of His own Son.  Who is now our High Priest.  That is boundless love.  He didn’t abandon us because of sin.  He provided us a way back to Him.  That is what God’s love is unconditional, forgiving, boundless love.  Thank You God!

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Enjoy the Journey

Yes we are a work in progress, but do we allow ourselves the pleasure of enjoying the journey?  I don’t know about you but I’m a destination girl.  I decide on a destination and once I get there then is when the fun begins.

But if I live my life the way I take trips I’m in for a miserable time.  God is all about the process or journey if you prefer and I need to learn to enjoy the changes or growth I see along the way and not wait for the day of perfection to be happy.  If I were to do that my life on earth would be one of disappointment and frustration needless to say a lot of anger at myself for being less than.

This is just where the enemy wants me.  Feeling defeated because I’m less than perfect.  When He knows that the only perfect man that ever walked the face of the earth was Jesus Christ and that when he comes again then is when He will be done with His work in us.  As it says in Philippians 1:6

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. –  Philippians 1:6

So I must learn to stop and smell the flowers both in my journeys in travel and in life.  Life is too short to take for granted the growth that you’ve made and to beat yourself up for growth you’ve not yet accomplished.

If God in all His love and mercy and grace is patient enough to wait for the end of the journey, then so must I learn to love myself and be merciful, gracious and patient with myself and enjoy the journey.

I have two choices to be miserable through the journey or to enjoy watching my growth through the journey.  Since God is the One working it to completion it is His job to see it through.  I just need to do as I’m lead to do by Him and leave the rest in His very capable hands.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

A Work In Progress

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. –  Philippians 1:6

I am fully aware that I am not where I want to be in my life.  There is nothing in my spiritual or physical life that I can say I am at the place I want to be.

Even though God has made my short comings very evident to me He has also told me in His Word that is to be expected.  There will be a time of perfection but that will only be on “the day of Jesus Christ”.

Until that time I need to continue to do my part to learn and grow in Christ.  To seek wisdom and understanding and spread the good news that Christ saves.

Although we work to become closer and more like Christ, Joyce Meyer puts it best in this quote.

God is the only one who can perfect the good work He has started in your life, but it takes some time.  And during the process He wants you to recognize you are making progress.  So give yourself a break and say, “I’m okay and I’m on my way!”   – “Ending Your Day Right: Devotionals for very Evening of the Year”  By Joyce Meyer

God started that good work in you and though you have a part in the process: quiet time with Him, prayer, worship, Bible reading, fellowship, acts of service, praise, singing to Him in praise and worship, etc. He is the ultimate One who will complete the process.  It’s not something that we can do on our own or will it.  It is part of the gift of redemption.  God brings us to Himself at the right time to perfection.

Thank you Lord for Your gracious gift.  Thank You for the process and help me to remember that it’s okay to be in process.  At least I’m not stagnating.  For that Lord I praise You!

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Struggle with Self-esteem?

I don’t know how many of you struggle with not feeling good enough, but it has been a thorn in my side for my entire life.  It was almost a stumbling block between me and salvation.  I didn’t think that there was anyway that God could possibly forgive me!  My poor self image and my awareness of my sinful nature was so before me that for some reason I thought that God would accept Hitler before me.

Now no at the age of 13 I had not caused the death of anyone or tried to take over the world, but all the same I felt so unworthy that I was certain that no one even God could possibly forgive me for my sin.  It took a long time to realize that it wasn’t a matter of worth that got me into the kingdom of heaven, but a matter of grace.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.   –  Titus 2:11

The passage that really settled it for me and gave me assurance of not only my salvation but my position in Christ is Ephesians 2:1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work is those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature an following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What comforted me about this passage is many things and I’d like to break it down for you.  First of all, as I’ve already mentioned I was keenly aware of my sinfulness, which made me feel totally unworthy of anything God could have for me.  In Ephesians 2:1-3 it talks about our sins and how we were dead in our transgressions and how all of us lived this way as by nature objects of wrath.  When I read that I thought this Book gets me.  This is exactly how I feel.

Then came verses 4 & 5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”  I could hardly believe my eyes, God loved me and not only that he had rich mercy on me.  Though I was dead in my transgressions God chose to make me alive in Christ.  By grace I was saved.  What a generous God.  It was almost more than my eyes could take in.  My heart was pounding with joy as it is now reliving it.

As if He knew that I needed the added message of what my position  was to help me with my self worth, He goes on to tell me that He/God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, amazing.

So that we don’t get it wrong we are reminded that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  This keeps me in the right frame of mind humble because I know that I need God for everything.

Then the writer does us the wonderful blessing of letting us know what God’s purpose for us is. Verse 10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Isn’t it wonderful we know what we are here for to do good works that God has already prepared for us.  That means we need to keep in communication with Him so that we don’t miss out on our purpose.  Since He has planned them out in advance it would be foolish to just go around and do any good work that might not be the one He is wanting you or I to do.  Open communication is crucial for us to know what it is that we are to be doing to stay in God’s will.  Anything else is pride.

Lord thank You for Your Word and for Your will and plans.  Forgive me for my times of pride when I’ve charged off and done things on my own will whether I thought they were for You or not, I was sinful not to come toYou first.  I ask you to forgive me of the sin of my pride and help me to turn to You first.  In the sweet name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 10

Lora asked tentatively, “Do you think that she would want to talk to me? For years I’ve not taken her calls and returned her mail and never answered the door when she came.” Diane assured, “Lora, Lynn forgave you ages ago and her fervent prayer has been that you would forgive her and welcome her and Ken into your life.” A relieved Lora stated, “Do you think that she and Ken would be available today? I really don’t want to wait, our relationship has been horrible long enough.” Diane smiled, “Why don’t you call her cell?” “It is the same number?” Lora admitted sheepishly, “After four years of no contact I’ve forgotten her number.” Diane replied, “I understand give me your cell and I’ll dial it so it will be on your phone.” As the phone rang Lora’s nerves were beginning to get the best of her, but she took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage she could find. Finally Lynn answered and Lora responded tentatively, “Lynn, its Lora I was wondering if I could talk to you and Ken today?” Lynn was ecstatic to hear Lora’s voice, “Sure Lora, how about coming over for dinner at 6 pm? Ken and I have been doing yard work all day so that will give us a chance to clean up and change. I already had a menu planned that was going to leave lots of leftovers so you’re more than welcome. Oh, you don’t know where we live do you.” “No.” answered Lora. “We live at 1425 Randolph St., isn’t that a hoot that the Randolph’s live on Randolph St. When we found the house I fought against it just because of the street name but in the end the house won me over it is so perfect for us. Well I look forward to seeing you at six. Do you need directions or can you find it by the address?” gushed Lynn. Lora laughed to herself, “No, I’m good my car has a GPS.” “Okay then we will be looking forward to seeing you.” As Lora got off the phone she couldn’t help but think that Lynn sounded like the girl she knew so very long ago. The one she first met and knew until Curtis got his hands on her. Up until this moment she had never realized just how much that night changed her. She couldn’t help but smile at the thought of seeing the old friend that had been gone for so long. Then she remembered her talk with Diane. She couldn’t help but wonder what Lynn would be seeing in her. She prayed a quick prayer that it wouldn’t be bitterness and coldness.

Six pm came and as usual Lora was right on time and a bit apprehensive about the night. When she got to the house she noticed it was a modest ranch style home. The stucco was painted a grayish Wedgewood blue, the door, shutters and eves were dark slate blue with white on the wood pane windows and garage door. The yard was immaculate. It had gray slate slabs for the walkway from the sidewalk to the front door and wrapped to the right side of the house where a rod iron bench stood. Tree roses flanked the walkway to the front door and driveway. Either side of the walkway was a fresh cut lawn the aroma was still in the air. There was a window box under the kitchen window filled with herbs. There were pot lights that accented all the right areas. As Lora walked up this very welcoming walkway she couldn’t help but compare the sterile atmosphere of her modern condo and become a little jealous. Once inside the smells of dinner and the friendly host and hostess completed the feeling of being welcomed.

“Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes. Would you like some wine while we wait?” Lynn said gaily. “Yes that would be lovely” replied Lora, “What are we having? It smells absolutely delicious.” “Oh it’s a dish I created. I call it Polynesian Stuffed Pork, the stuffing is brown rice with apple, crushed pineapple, white currants and dried cranberries with a sauce of Teriyaki, orange juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice. Some of the sauce goes in the stuffing but most of it is thickened and poured on the pork then the remainder is used for gravy.” Lora smiled, “It’s hard to imagine that the girl who barely ate in college is now creating her own gourmet recipes.” “Well I wouldn’t call them gourmet but I do have a lot of fun cooking now. I’ve changed a lot in many ways. Lora I’m not the same girl that you used to know.” Lynn confessed. “I can see that Lynn. It’s like you’re the old Lynn I first knew the one that was carefree and happy. The girl I knew before that awful New Year’s night. That’s what I wanted to talk to you and Ken about. Can the two of you sit down for a minute?” Ken and Lynn sat beside each other on the love seat. Lora sat opposite them and continued. “Thanks. The reason I wanted to see you is because I realize that I did a horrible thing to you by betraying your trust and I want to ask the two of you if you can find it in your heart to one day forgive me. No matter how mad I was at the time, my actions were inexcusable and I don’t blame you if it would take a long time for you to forgive me, but that’s okay I can wait.” Ken looked at Lynn and smiled, knowing how much this meant to her. Lynn responded, “Oh, Lora I can’t tell you how long I have wanted to talk to you to ask your forgiveness for hurting you. I wanted your blessing on Ken and mine’s relationship but things had gone so far that I couldn’t just give him up. The only thing I could do is hope that someday you would find it in your heart to forgive me. Of course I forgive you. Actually what you did is what started the change in me that you now see. I had stuffed all that pain inside me and it was eating away at me. It gnawed at my heart; I was acting out in my eating though I didn’t want to admit it at first. I’ve been doing a lot of work to get to where I am today and it all started with being forced out of hiding. You did that for me. Yes it was in a very painful way at the time, but God turned it to my good. I’m a better woman for it, as you have seen. So the question I must now ask my dear friend is, can you forgive me?” Lora astonished and relieved said, “Of course I can forgive you, but are you really sure everything is alright with us?” Lynn smiled, “My dear sister come with me.” She walked her down the hall to the bedrooms. As she got to the intended door she turned and put her finger to her lips and said, “Ssshhhh” She opened the door quietly and motioned for Lora to follow her into the dark room. Coming to a crib Lynn motioned and said, “This dear sister is your niece, her name is Lora Diane Randolph; honoring the two ladies that helped me rediscover the person God made me to be.”

Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July is a time of picnics and BBQs and fireworks.  A time with family and/or friends.  A time of hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, watermelon, corn on the cob, chips and dips and a host of desserts.

The 4th of July is also a time of gratitude.  To be grateful for the freedoms we have.  To be grateful for those who fight for our freedom.  And to be grateful to God for placing us in this country.

We could have been born in some third world country.

Even most of our poor are considerably more rich than most of the worlds population.

So as your enjoying your vacations or just relaxing in yours or someone else’s home be grateful for all the many blessings we have.  Food in our kitchen, a roof over our heads, a car or some sort of transportation to get us around.  Most of all for loved ones and for that greatest loved One of all time our Lord Jesus Christ!

Have the happiest of fourth’s and thank God that you are blessed with all her faults to live in this wonderful country.

May God bless you celebrating richly.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 9

Lynn had a fitful night’s sleep. Drank a cup of coffee and headed out for school. Things didn’t get much better there. Curtis was waiting for her at the parking lot. “What’s all this talk about me raping you?” he shouted. “I never raped you, you tease! You know you wanted it just like I did! You lying slut!” Ken had driven in as Lynn did and was privy to most of Curtis’ tirade. He was coming to Lynn’s aid as quickly as his legs would carry him but he didn’t reach her and Curtis until Curtis had called his precious Lynn a slut, this got Ken’s blood boiling, “Look you lousy scum of the earth don’t you dare call her that! You’ve already done quite enough to my woman I won’t stand for you continuing to persecute her any longer! So get into your car and get the hell out of here before I have to get physical with you!” Lynn adored this manly protection never before had anyone stood up for her in such a manner. Oh, how she loved this man. Lynn swooned. Ken caught her before she hit the pavement. As she awoke, Ken asked, “With the stress of all this are you getting enough food? I know you usually eat like a bird but sometimes I wonder if you aren’t too petite?” Lynn replied annoyed, “Oh, you and Diane are such worry warts! I wish you both would just lay off!” Ken could see that this was not the time to discuss this; Lynn was in no way ready.

Dealing with the fall out proved to be very challenging but the support of Ken and Diane, and her family, Lynn made it through. The hardest part was dealing with Curtis. He insisted on a public retraction of the rape charge but she found the courage to tell him that she would not deny the truth and if he didn’t stop harassing her she would press charges; for both the rape and harassment. As she found her voice her eating got better. She also realized what Diane meant that first day by this was an opportunity for healing. It took two years of therapy before she could really grieve all her losses. With the help of not only her therapist but Ken, Diane, and her family, she found healing and came to a point of forgiveness. Lynn realized that She and Lora had their own demons and each needed to forgive the other. She prayed daily for an opportunity to reconnect with Lora. She longed to let Lora know she had forgiven her and to seek that forgiveness from Lora.

While Lynn was healing and growing, Diane continued to remain friends with Lora in hopes that she might be able to one day bring “Sisters Three” together again, especially since she knew this was Lynn’s desire. As much as Diane was attempting to stay close to Lora, she was pulling away. Finally four years after the incident Diane saw something more than just pulling away when she looked in Lora’s eyes, while having Saturday lunch with her. She silently offered a quick prayer to God for wisdom on how to precede, “Lora, I see something when I look in your eyes. I’ve sensed you pulling away from not just from me but it appears everyone now. I see pain and loneliness. Can you tell me what is going on inside of you?” Lora replied, “I’m not positive what is going on I know that the girls at work avoid me and don’t include me for lunch. I used to be popular but over the last three or four years I’ve become more and more isolated.” Diane ventured, “Do you think that the timing of the change could have anything to do with you letting Lynn’s secret out and not forgiving her?” “That was between me and Lora I don’t see what that has to do with the girls at work! Just what are you getting at Diane?” snarled Lora. Oh Lord, please help me with the right words, prayed Diane, “Let’s look at this objectively. You say this started three or four years ago that would put it around the time of you revealing Lynn’s secret. Such an intimate confidence being divulged may have the girls at work worried that if they share anything with you, what will happen if you get mad at them? That is easy enough to understand, isn’t it? Now, as for the pulling away, have you noticed that your language has gotten more and more cutting over the years? This could be a reason why the girls don’t invite you to lunch with them. I love you and I’m here for you in good times and bad but these girls aren’t as invested in you. Even I have been a victim of your increasing harshness but I love you and know how you are hurting.” Lora had a shocked look on her face. Diane took a deep breath and continued, “But my friend you are letting your hurt turn to bitterness and that is an ugly thing that no one wants to be around. It is time to let go of the anger and bitterness. You have let this brew in you long enough and now you are seeing the repercussions of jealousy. It’s time for a new beginning its time to forgive.” The years of hardness of heart was cracking, Lora answered, “I don’t know if I know how. I’ve been living so long with it.”

Still praying, Diane replied, “There is One who has forgiven you for everything you have ever done and He will teach you how to forgive. Would you like to meet Him and start a relationship with Him.” Something in Lora’s heart leapt as she said, “You’re talking about Jesus right?” Diane beamed, “Yes, He is the author of forgiveness. If you want to learn how to forgive He is the one to go to.” Lora questioned, “What do I need to do?” Diane was elated, “All you need to do is ask Him to forgive you for your sins and come into your life and believe. It is that simple.” Lora bowed her head and said, “Jesus forgive me for my sins especially for what I did to Lynn, come into my heart and help to make things right with Lynn. Thank you Jesus.” Almost instantly Lora felt a difference in her heart, the coldness and hardness seemed to be melting away. Looking at Diane for approval Lora asked, “Was that alright?” Diane smiling with a tear in her eye, “Lora that was beautiful and perfect, it came straight from your heart and that is exactly what God wants. You know now “Sisters Three” are sisters in two ways emotionally and spiritually. Lynn became a Christian before she and Ken got married 2 ½ years ago. Ken shared Christ with her and 4 months into their dating she accepted Christ.