Gifted

Pretty paper-wrapped or boxed presents… with fancy bows and shining colors. No’b, not that kind of gift.

The thought in my head: Gifted people. 

Some are gifted. Born that way. They may struggle in other areas of life, but if you wish to read the encyclopedia at age 6, I’m betting you’re gifted in one way or another… But no, I’m not talking about that type of gifted either.

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If you are one of those who can see the rainbow beyond the cloud, then you are gifted with a stellar faith I’m downright envious of! 

I’m a doubter. From early childhood or as far back as I can remember, I have been drinking deep of a cocktail known as “Trust Doubt” or the liquor called “Prove It”. Occasionally both and undiluted.

When I can’t see a so-called “silver lining” to circumstances or somehow put reason behind things about to happen, I look for God and want Him to prove to me that He is still good. But I doubt Him.

When my child is in bed at night crying salty tears, telling me she hates life, I seriously wonder where Jesus is, because in those moments – I sincerely look and cry out to Him but I do not find Him. Every time she utters those words in one way or another, a part of me dies. Broken-heart-two-part-heart-wallpaper

Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, you have no clue what it feels like! 

I still have my faith. I can’t really get fiercely angry with Jesus if I don’t believe He exists. So that’s that.

I’m not gifted. I wish I could see the rainbow beyond the cloud.

Heroes of courage

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I think Jesus must have been the bravest person ever lived! – In His human form of course. Considering the punishments given by authorities in His lifetime on earth, He still spoke up and sometimes loud against the wrong.
A righteous anger backed up by amazing courage complete in the knowledge of His Father.

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He managed to make some pretty high-up-on-the-ladder people very angry. When He faced His human end, His choice was to endure. His love was meant to save people who trusted Him and to give the people who refused Him, a chance to be saved. Saved for the splendor He lives in. His voice is still used today to freely grant forgivenes to those who now realize the wrongs they’ve done.
Now t-h-a-t is a true hero in my book.

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But Jesus certainly doesn’t “fit” the profile of the heroes we have today on the movie screens; Arrow, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Batman etc. They train hard, seek justice and kill to get the revenge and even though some of them do display some remorse afterwards, it isn’t repentance. But, as audience, I do get carried away by the thrill of the story.  How about real life heroes?
Would Jesus have fought for a free Scotland like William Wallace?
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.
Would He have stood up (or perhaps more accurately “sat down”) for equal rights like Rosa Parks?
Jesus said “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what is yours, do not demand it back”.
While the heroes of real life fought for noble causes, Jesus does not “fit” the profile.
Because Jesus had to deal with the root of it all. 

Jesus didn’t kill anyone to defeat evil. Because in the spiritual realm, the “good vs. evil battle” is a cruel war for the souls of people. He gave Himself to win any soul willing to believe and be forgiven. Only by faith, only by wanting to believe, will you be able to truly see how evil was defeated by the death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Himself. dkYTTX42TYyPrrxdHJz3_JESUS-is-the-only-way-to-Heaven

Jesus changes the lives of those who wish it to change… But ah; You need to want it! You need to really want it!

A hero in the eyes of the world vs. a hero in the eyes of Jesus, are two different kinds of heroes. One fights according to worldly rules, one stands his ground and follow the Lord. One may have remorse of some sort, one asks for forgivenes. One confronts the bully, one gives the bully more than expected.

Being kind and to conquer all with love takes a remarkable courage.
Where does that leave me?..
“Have mercy Lord, for I am a sinner!”

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For full disclosure and in case you’re curious, the word “hero” popped up in English around the 14th century from the Ancient Greek ἥρως (“heros”), meaning “hero, warrior, demi-god”. So calling Jesus a “hero” isn’t actually a great idea since He IS fully GOD… But He owns my heart and in that sense, He is my hero.

All… Hallows…Eve…

Last year I wrote this blog post about Halloween. Since I’m up to my neck in “stuff” I’ll reblog it this year, because my viewpoint is the same…

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Oh boy, am I ever going to be unpopular after this…!!
Best to apologize in advance if I step on a pinky toe… Sorry!

Each year I have the internal struggle, whether or not to whip up a post about that festive night of the year where people, adults and kids alike, dress up to look horrible (?!!??)…
You know, that night when “scary is good and fear is fun”?

God gave us free will and I love that He did. We have choices…
My choice is to not celebrate Halloween.
Okay, so you do, but at least the costumes are cute and the pumpkin is smiling – yeah? Take a slice of moldy bread and smear on a nice thick layer of peanut butter and it looks really good – but the bread is still moldy.54eba640e0b89_-_halloween-mason-jars-luminaries-boo-xln.jpg
Sorry – couldn’t help squeezing that one out…

Yep, I can almost feel someone slapping my face now “How dare I – who do I think I am”… I’m a nobody. Pay no attention to me… after all, it’s still your choice.

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Why not join in the fun? So many Christians all over the world enjoys the party of All hallows eve and it’s Catholic too!?! I know many Christians who does celebrate it and often because “why take the fun away from the kids?”

Yeah – that’s where my internal struggle begins.

Honestly, it freaks me out. Just the look of the decorations gives me the creeps… which in turn is actually the main idea, right?
Or maybe I’m wrong… But if it creeps me out, does it come from Jesus?

I have no intentions of digging into the Celtic “Samhain” or the Catholic church’s “all saints day”. If you have the interest, there’s about a million websites out there all speaking for or against Christians celebrating Halloween.

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Since when are scared kids fun: Top FEAR pics of the WEEK? Seriously??

– But for me, simply gazing at the Halloween I see around me:
It’s creepy, crawly, monsters, zombies, ghosts, goblins, witches, sorcerers etc. Pumpkins with frown or smiley face and all that simply tells me:
This is something odd and scary. Then I see kids dressed up in anything between princesses, superhero’s and zombies and they learn that this scary stuff is fun.

It’s not fun. It’s scary. Fear is not fun and fear is not from the Lord!

Dwelling on the Lord… I can’t find any place in the Bible where the Lord says I should celebrate (or pray to) His dead saints nor dress up like something only the evil one would do anything, to make us wear.

What I do have are Bibles where it repeatedly states in various ways:

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A smiling devil?? Yeah, something’s wrong here!

“Do not have anything to do with sorcerers… evil… darkness…” etc. Want the verses? Try Ephesians 5:8 and 11, Galatians 5:19-20, Deuteronomy 18:9-13 and I’m sure there’s more.
Halloween, as far as I can see, does not celebrate anything that has to do with God. Because only good things comes from God. When we try to make scary costumes fun, we are teaching the kids exactly that. Is that really good? pure? holy? kind?

Halloween is not a celebration given to us by the Lord God and that’s why I’m the “evil mom” who places the huge burden upon my daughter’s shoulders, to say NO when her friends in school want her to celebrate Halloween! – Praise Jesus, for He gives her the strength to speak up and say no.
Gosh, I’m so proud of her!

the-philippians-4-8-filterI know that my opinion about Halloween is strong, but I do respect those who chooses to celebrate it anyway. That’s not really any of my business. However, I will choose to ignore or delete any comments to this post which may indicate a longing to change my mind…
So, if I have stepped on your toes, I’m sorry. But I really really really do not like anything that has anything to do with Halloween or the celebration of it
That’s me…
But I still love you! May Jesus Bless you all and keep you safe from evil all the days of your lives. Amen.

Different in-difference

It’s not that people don’t care. They do.
It’s not that people don’t want to be involved. They do.
It’s just that people don’t want to help someone who doesn’t want the help. Or be disrespectful or an inconvenience – or perhaps even the other end of the scale; If others are already helping then why would I (need to) pitch in! Chat_Bubble_Huh.jpg

So instead of acting upon what can clearly be seen, like a friend or church member being ill, people regress into an indifferent state of mind; Telling themselves “She said she was fine. I must respect that, so I’ll leave her to her own devices, shrug my shoulders and tell myself “that’s what she wants”… Despite it being visibly crystal clear that the sick friend was not fine at all.

No, of course not all churches are like this!!…But sadly, many are!
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I truly believe that sometimes we need to love God enough to break the rules.
Now, before you slap my face… I mean the man-made rules, the courtesy rules, the “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone” rules…
Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard? 
– We make Yahweh smile by loving Him – and putting a smile on the faces of our family in the unity of His body – in our faith. 
Jesus loves us – and enough to give away of… so pass it on, shall we? 

Illness and bad circumstances are no strangers to anyone I think… but I have seen several things lately that has thrown me off. One or two which I would actually have been willing to share but I would be breaking God’s rule of “don’t gossip” so I won’t.

What I do want to say about it is this:
When the people around you, friends and church family, do not take notice of your failing health or the expression in your eyes or if someone does take notice but do not ring the alarm bells to have help put into action, something is very wrong.
People take on the mindset of indifference.
I have a beef with that!
Love without action is wasted.
Prayers are great… but oftentimes within His body, more is needed.
When you can SEE that someone needs help – would you do more than pray for the person if you have the ability to help? 
In reality:
– Does a friend cross the line if they help you, without asking permission first?
– Is it inconvenient to have a meal hung on your doorknob?
– Is it a bother if someone would say “I’ll come by Saturday and mow your lawn!”?
I know we all have full plates; Our own family of course, a long to-do list, church responsibilities or we just can’t seem to get our act together… really? Are we all so caught up in ourselves that we can’t postpone or strike something from the list and go help someone? HELPING-HANDS-care.jpg
I’m not saying you as an individual should go all out and into the extreme to help others… well, actually that would be nice… but churches can make sign up sheets and you can write your name committing to help with gardening, bringing a meal or doing laundry…

If you really are indifferent, then you are lukewarm
and… well, Jesus was pretty clear about what He thinks of that!
But I’d like to think that most believers are not indifferent in the heart…
but the evidence of otherwise just seems to elude me.

If there is a struggle between the willingness to act vs a fear of being disobedient, then perhaps we can remember Ruth when she obeyed Naomi and went to lay at the feet of Boaz… but what did Ruth actually do?

She didn’t wait for him to tell her what to do, as Naomi had asked her to. No, she spoke up… and essentially asked Boaz for marriage.
She disobeyed Naomi, I believe, but I also believe that she obeyed God – “under Who’s wings she had come to take refuge”.
I think Ruth knew that her stumbling into Boaz’ field was no coincidence, for if you trust the Lord, then there are no coincidences… We need to LOVE those whom the Lord places in our path.
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This post was sparked by my dear friend Joel and he brought up Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, because it talks about the extremes… I personally prefer to look up several translations before settling on one that, to me, will make most sense. In this case, I’d like to read the passage in The Message translation:

Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 MSG

So don’t knock yourself out being good, and don’t go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won’t get anything out of it. But don’t press your luck by being bad, either. And don’t be reckless. Why die needlessly? It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.

The first part talks about pride I believe: Doing everything right all the time – appearing to be perfect and actually, I think that drives more people away than drawing anyone closer.
But don’t act in bad ways continually. If you break the rules all the time, you’ll get in trouble and people get tired of a troublemaker.
I love that last part that states:
See both sides of the coin and deal responsibly with reality;
With what we can SEE.
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We can obey a lot of good rules, but sometimes, we need to see the reality, step out in faith and act on what we can see – so we can help those within the body who are in need.  Even if it means breaking a man made rule.
And no, I’m not a Catholic despite two photos of Catholics are on this post, but it serves to illustrate “LOVE in action”.

Loosing faith – finding YAHWEH!

Possibly my faith in YAHWEH has never felt stronger, but I think I’m loosing faith in people. In the body known as the church. The unity we are called to nurture, protect and lovesukkot.jpg
I have no idea how to write this… I’m so sad. Bear with me though – it has a happy ending.

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The past weeks has been eye opening. Everywhere in the body I see fractions and the unity torn. From the communities I move in to the online world, I see love torn, lost, exhausted, stretched and twisted.
Love your neighbor as yourself is a command and a lifestyle.
I see a lot of empathy in the body, eyes full of compassion, offers of prayers etc. It’s all great expressions of love, but there’s little action.

What good is love, if it is not followed by action?
If love is present, but not shown?
If you can do more than pray, what stops you?

YAHWEH wants me to LOVE those He places in my path. It’s not up to me to choose whom I want to love. It’s not up to us if we call ourselves believers, followers of Christ or Christians (whatever the difference is) to pick and choose who “deserves” my love and attention. No!

24dd920aeb36e4084f92a75e5b2a34a8.jpg We are supposed to be known by our LOVE!

The healthy do not need a doctor, but they do need to be humble enough to pour out the Blessings the Lord has given them (does Boaz ring a bell?) – into those who are in need (how about Ruth?). Especially within His body. I’m very sorry if I step on toes now… but being a believer is not “just about witnessing to non-believers” (though that’s not a small task), but it’s also about being a part of a community that shares and loves and nurtures each other.
If we don’t do that, how can we be known for our love for one another?

I asked my Lord a while back if He would show me how He feels about this world He created. If what follows below is any indication, my YAHWEH is grieving:

It began with an email from a dear friend, Sue, who lives in Jordan. She had just returned from celebrating “Sukkot” in Jerusalem. It was the week before Halloween… and I have been wanting to find a celebration to replace Halloween with. Something YAHWEH would want me to celebrate. As I read Sue’s email about how they celebrate Sukkot “as a “picture” of events that are still to come: the “wedding feast” held for Messiah and His Bride, as well as “The 8th Day” which represents the inauguration of the Eternal Kingdom” and she told me about the various things they do.

Then I came to the 8th day celebration. Her description brought me to my knees, short of breath, in emotional pain and grief and my eyes literally flowed over with endless tears… This is an edited excerpt of her mail:

On the 8th Day, we begin by reading the last two chapters of Deuteronomy together.  Then, in a traditional service, there is a pause.  Everyone has a chance to go up and view the Torah Scroll (assuming the congregation has one), and ask questions, etc.  Because the scrolls are so delicate and expensive (many are also VERY old), normally only the ‘readers’ get to see or handle them, so it is a great delight to actually be able to view an opened scroll up close.  A Torah scroll is a truly beautiful thing, especially because it represents The Living Word, our Messiah Yeshua!  

After the viewing, the scroll is formally and ceremonially rolled back to its beginning position at Genesis 1 – not an easy process that takes at least two people!  Then the first Chapter of Genesis is read, beginning a new year of study in the Torah. The Torah scroll is carefully dressed in its cover, and then it is reverently but joyously passed from hand to hand in the congregation, while everyone dances and sings!  Gentiles passing in the street get pulled in to share the fun!  This is called Simchat Torah (The Joy of Torah).  It represents the way we will joyously celebrate with Messiah when He takes up His Throne!

As I was on the floor crying out to my Lord to stop this grief I was feeling, tears just kept flowing, my breathing was rapid, my prayers unceasing. It took about half hour for me to gather myself.
I know I have never before been overwhelmed by YAHWEH like that.
It’s crystal clear to me that what He asks me to celebrate is found in His Word.
And my mind kept going: I want to touch the scroll! Even thinking about it now makes me cry. Literally.
Love expressed – is love noticed! 
Expressing our love for God is to put a smile on His face when we celebrate the things He has given us in His Word to celebrate.
Expressing our love for each other is to put a smile on each others faces as we stand side by side, always welcoming newcomers in just as Jesus would.
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A voice silenced — Pastor Jim Bell’s Jottings

My friend and fellow blogger – Pastor Jim Bell – has gone home to be with Jesus. My heart is aching though I know he is in the best place any of us can be in. Still… I will miss him.

I wish to write that my heart goes out to his family… but I’m not sure I can express adequately how my heart is grieving. Pastor Jim was my friend and fellow blogger and cheerleader. My strength during hard times and the kind voice that kept me going.

This good and faithful servant is home now. One day I will have the privilege of meeting him in person, in heaven, sharing our wonderful Jesus!

He is resting in peace.

Please go to his blog (see below) and find inspiration and love and at times a push… His voice will live on through his blog.

Yesterday, my father James H. Bell passed from this world into the loving arms of Christ at 8:24 a.m. He was 80. His passing was peaceful, at home, and with his loving wife Kay, his daughter Lisa and myself at his side. About six months ago, he made a courageous choice to take control of […]

via A voice silenced, but it will live on here…. — Pastor Jim Bell’s Jottings

New post|”What if..”

It takes more than physical attraction to make a marriage work! 37667cb6b315bab9b446074a85d7c9a2
– Maybe if we had been on the same page and both known Jesus 
– Had we taken time out to actually talk & support each other 
– Maybe, if there had been more between us than our naked skin

What if…

Jump over to Song of Virginity and read the new post “What if…

 

Defining Moment

When Julian asked me to write a guest post for his blog, I felt honored. He is an awesome blogger… but I  couldn’t imagine what subject to write on and when I asked him, he said: A defining moment. It took me very little time to decide which defining moment;

The moment when the Lord wrote His name on my heart, 1 1/2 year after I became a believer…

Jump on over to Julian’s blog and have a read: Defining Moment

And if you like his blog, you should definitely check out his guest post on my side-blog “Song of Virginity”: Real Men

Thanks

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Jesus & the Japanese

I was so humbled when Joel asked me to write a guest post on his awesome blog In the desert with Jesus and very challenged too! Joel is a coffee lover like me <3, loves Jesus like me and writes about his family – and little new baby girl!

I don’t write about Japan usually, but I gave it a shot…

Please head over to Joel’s blog and see what you think: Jesus & the Japanese – and while you’re there, check out his own posts. This guy has a lot to say!
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And just to add a Japanese spin on this, here’s the manga version of the story of Jesus as seen here in Japan. It’s a widely popular manga within international Christian circles.

Satan’s greatest desire

After having just begun Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study “Armor of God” with my small group we were engaging the “Sizing up the enemy” pages and sharing how each one of us filled out the blank spaces. It’s really good…

Then a group member shared with me a sermon by Robert Morris from Gateway church taken from a series called “Love expressed”. I really want to share with you who our enemy was – and is now, because it made me realize just how big our God is! (God really has to help me get this time and time again…); Satan’s greatest desire

We know the enemy can wrap himself in light and we know we must be discerning between right and almost right… but this sermon enlightened me about who the enemy is, where he came from, why he is fighting a war he has already lost. It’s worth the half hour!

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