PRACTICE

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Hmmm?   Love is like playing the piano?

When I turned 40, I realized that time was flying by. The reality that I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I want to, set in. However, I am going it give it a good effort anyway.   First, I decided to ride a street bike.   Very quickly, I went from a baby bike to a big girl bike.   I haven’t mastered her yet but I’m ready to check off another goal from my very long bucket list during the winter months.

My next endeavour has been to take piano lessons. Whether it’s playing the piano or practicing love, it is best when you follow the example and advice of a good teacher. It is great to have good role models but what happens when you don’t?   There is hope. Jesus is your role model for love.   It doesn’t matter that he was never married because he treated everyone with dignity and respect and we are to love everyone.  Although someone else said these words, you can accept them as Jesus speaking directly to you.   “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training in godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.   Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”   PURITY!? Now that’s a challenge because although we show everyone how good we are on the outside, God knows what we look like on the inside.   By the grace of God, go I. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect but in the time being, I know that it is only because of Jesus’ righteousness that I am able to come boldly into God’s gracious presence.

For years, I’ve been practicing love but in that time my heart has been broken into itty bitty pieces and I’ve learned to guard my heart against loved ones who hurt without remorse or sneak in a bit of revenge. As I commit myself to prayer for not only the ones I love but my enemies too, I choose to trust God to fight my battles in the spiritual realm in the same ways He did for King David. What God has done for one, when asked, He will do for another. Often, the argument, “that God expects me to do for myself” has been brought up by Christians who don’t mind living on the beach with God’s palace overlooking their little tent but I want to live in His home with Him.   My interpretation of God’s Word entails a lot more intimacy and dependency than these advisors suggest. So, I choose to always put love first and to sacrifice myself for the sake of the greater good so that I will dwell with the most High forever.

Many people have confided in me about their failed marriages. Often, I’ve wondered, if they had let God help, how would the circumstances have been different? There are four marriages, that I’ve seen where God has helped and completely released a spouse from another because of the other half’s outrageous behaviour. Yes, you heard me correctly. The marriage dissolved with God’s intervention. Clearly, the one spouse was favoured by God and blessed by being severed from a highly dysfunctional relationship.   Sometimes God requires us to let go of friends that have bad influence over us, as well. Considering that there may be an idealist reading this blog, I will say that my grandpa and grandma on my father’s side lasted happily until death did them part. Years ago, I witnessed a christian couple that submitted themselves to God for the healing of their marriage.  He was faithful and they were blissfully surprise how amazing God is. From where I stand, I want my life to be completely directed by God.   I am certain that His way is leap years ahead of what I could do for myself. I still want what I want and am willing to practice love and patience in order to achieve the end result.   God promises that He will give me anything I ask for.

A common benefit of playing the piano and practicing love is reduced stress.   Also, research has shown that older men and women who take up the piano as a hobby generally have an increased sex drive and better cognitive functions which is absolutely a perk when practicing love WITH YOUR SPOUSE!!

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TRINITY?

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Like the author of the novel, “The Shack”, I am going to give my personal account of the personalities of God.   After my curiosity got the best of me, I simply asked the Lord, “Why did you present yourself to us in three persons? In so far as I can see, it just confuses people?”   His reply, although not an all-inclusive answer, was the answer that I needed at the time.   He said, “We are the perfect family for you.  Where your father has been less than perfect, I Am the perfect Father.  Where your brother or sister or even your friend has hurt you, I Am the most excellent sibling who can heal your broken heart.  Where your earthly mother was unable, I Am the ideal comforter, counsellor and teacher who will never leave you.  I want to re-parent and raise you up to be all that I made you to be.”
I was not raised in a Christian home.  For a long time, I wondered who must have been praying for me because I had no blood relatives that were Christian either.   Since accepting Jesus into my heart when I was eight years old, I have experienced God’s omnipresence.   He has proven Himself faithful in his promise to never leave me.   Although Father God is Holy and unable to have any contact with Sin, His plan of salvation accommodates for His promises.   Jesus, as the Lamb who was slain for the sin of the world, bridges the gap between us and the Father.   Jesus, truly is the best brother.   His sacrifice made it possible for the Holy Spirit to remain with us always.   There have been times when my ignorant sin has created a feeling of having a thick fog between Him and I, but He never went anywhere.
From a young age, I was keenly interested in the prophetic and the church hasn’t always taught about that important subject.   As a teenager dabbling in the occult, God was faithful to show up and lure me away from Satan’s counterfeiting.   He lead me to my own deliverance and taught me how He wants to deliver others.   As soon as I request forgiveness and repent, He is there in a fraction of a second to cleanse me and work his mighty power in and through me for His purposes.   He wipes away that which separated us and lavishes me with His comfort.   The bible compares God the Father to an earthly father who gives good gifts to his children.   Like earthly parents, who allow their children to go their own way and make mistakes, God the Father is always watching over us, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, uses circumstances to draw us back home into His loving arms, where we come boldly before the throne of grace wearing the white Robe of Righteousness we purchased from Jesus as it says in Revelation 3:18.
In the same way as He lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, Holy Spirit is able to go with us into dark places and will use all events in our lives for the good of His Kingdom.   Thankfully, God looks at the heart of man. He sees my stupid naïve innocent heart and is constantly saving me from myself.   Praise God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for His auspicious plan!

BROKEN-HEARTED

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God calls his children to heal the broken-hearted.  However, we must be healed so that we have the tools to help others get well. We must do the work it takes and be practicing the disciplines of prayer, praise, devotion and repentance which will keep us in close communion with the Lord. Experiencing God’s ever-present companionship every day gives us the ability to lead others in keeping their hearts healthy. Jesus wept and had compassion on others. This proves that there is a time to grieve and cry. We must be vulnerable and empathetic but strong in the Lord to lead people out of dark places.

I think understanding this world and how it works is important so we don’t fall prey to self-pitying depression that imprisons us.  Understand that this world is an imperfect place. Everyone has choices and often we don’t make good choices for ourselves or others. Sins are simply bad choices. However, making the decision to live our lives for His purpose will change our course and open us up to start reaping his goodness as well as it spilling onto those within our influence.

We must revisit those traumatic memories that are keeping us captive today. We go back there only with Jesus because we need Him to lead us through while giving us his perspective and understanding so we can come out free. By seeing how Jesus interprets the circumstance, our view changes and we let go of our negative perceptions which allows for forgiveness and reconciliation.  For example, there was an old lady that would go on her roof and talk on the phone at midnight. She also had some other behaviours that at first appearance seemed odd. Most of her neighbors thought she was crazy. After becoming acquainted with the lady, one young boy discovered that she had very good reasons for doing the things she does. Midnight was the only time the telephone reception was clear enough to talk to her daughter who lived around the world. Do you see how when our perception changes our judgment changes as well?

Letting the Holy Spirit comfort us in times of grief and trouble is a preservation of the soul and a mending of the broken heart.

 

Greed

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The picture above is as tragic as the condition of my soul before God changed me.  Experiences as a child had imprisoned my thinking that only God knew how to grant freedom from.   Growing up in Canada on Social assistance, I thought we were poor.  Truth be told, I don’t remember missing a meal.  We, my three brothers and one sister,  never overate because our widowed mother knew the reality of our situation.  She always rationed us so that everyone got their fair share.  We learned to care for the welfare of everyone in our family.  Maybe it was easier for us because my youngest brother was handicapped and if we didn’t feed him, he wouldn’t get fed.  We couldn’t afford the “me first” attitude that is prevalent in Canada today.  However, the feeling of never having enough or the security of being well taken care of resided with me.  With these feelings came the grasp for gain.

How did He change my heart?  God’s ways are definitely not our ways.   Amazingly, the transformation came through giving.  It didn’t seem rational to my logical brain but was highly effective.  It started with a job that He used for His extreme glory (which is another story).  Secondly, my heart had committed to giving God his rightful portion. After faithfully giving, each month my income grew.   Within four years, it had increased by $11.00/hour.  Please understand this was no ordinary act for me.  I believed like the majority that I could not afford to give.  Before having taken on this challenge, twenty dollars would have been a huge sacrifice to wrap my greedy mind around.  At the end of God’s experiment, giving as much as I had given in one month was nothing short of a miracle.  For the first time in my life, I believed in God’s sowing and reaping principle and I was cured in a monetary way.

Part 2 to come.