Sunday, May 29, 2011

Is There Some ONE You Need To Forgive?


You are not alone. Forgive yourself. Give yourself this freeing  gift!
How do you hear that word? Releasing, condemning, sweet, burdened, stuck, free.

What does it feel like? shameful, glorious, sorrowful, joyful, negative, positive.

Who do you think of? a sin against you, a sin you committed, the blood of Jesus.

Most people have been told they should forgive others, and may struggle with doing so. But usually when they understand the blood of Jesus paid the debt, how can you not release the injustice committed against you? We get this, so we work toward and try to do it in our life. Releasing people from owing us a debt.

How often though do we not forgive ourselves?

We berate ourselves over our failures, sins, missed opportunities, etc. It doesn't matter what "It" is.... We must learn that God can forgive us and not bring our sin up again through the power of Jesus' blood. His righteous blood is enough for our sin, more than enough!!!

So we must do the same.... and forgive ourselves.  Jesus' blood removes the sin and balances the account of what we owe God and others (even what we may think we owe ourselves). Without looking back at "could have been," "should have done," "I knew better," "how could I," we need to allow the blood of Jesus to release us from all guilt, and apart from using "it" for ministry forward we must forget it and leave it behind.

Don't you dare let Satan win in your life!

Let the blood have powerful victory in your life. Forgive yourself!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stress, Mess and Lazy Weekends Go-together So Well

Is it just my life, or do you relate? 

I roll out of bed and hit the ground running. Oh, where is that daytimer...hmm, I just remembered I forgot to pick it up last Tuesday when I received a call from Captain D's. I left my calender/scheduler/my life organizer on the bench of Captain D's. Why I bring stuff like that in a fast food restaurant -I never will know. You think after 15 years of parenting, and having three children I wouldn't think I might get to look through my scheduler while I swallow down a baked potatoe (Quayle spelling) and tea, and listen to my tween/teens graze through conversation as their chicken dinner disappears. But, yes, it is Sunday, and my scheduler hopefully is still behind the counter.

Nothing to worry too much about it just had my original Social Security Card and some other papers I tucked away into it when I took my oldest a few weeks ago to his second failed attempt to get a driver's permit. (He thinks he can pass without studying...retaking tests appears to be a new way of learning)

Don't ask where Tuesday to Sunday went. If my life is anything like yours, half of it was in my car limoing (did I create a new word?) a child here, another there, picking up friends, dropping off overdue library books.... Yes, once again my library books are overdue, I think two weeks this time. I yearly make a "donation" to the county library so that I can take home more books to rack up more fees.

And this week had a very special celebration, to ring the weekend in, and rush me all around town. My middle son had his 14th birthday party. Thank God, he is pretty laid back and isn't into fru-fru decorations, events, activities. (Although we did shop for his gifts from 10 am til 3 when we picked up one of his friends thirty minutes late.) I had no real planning to do. He was just meeting three friends (I set the limit for the sake of midnight noise control) at the local mall to hear their youth group band do a live acoustic set in a store about the size of a fancy mansion's clothes closet. I was informed by my daughter that the store required you to be an emo or was it emu in order to enter as a girl. Something about having a wildish, Gothic-like, cool look, which she didn't have and so she stayed out in the mall walking around with her dad and me (oh, what joy for a tween!)

After about an hour, the party group was all ready to get into my car. Dad took off with sister to pick up the pizzas. Mom headed to the grocery store to get cake, ice cream and soft drinks. I know, you just love how prepared I am. I run in the store in the middle of a heavy drizzle and a great view of a perfect rainbow! Speeding around the Indy, tackling all the needed items and a few extra: chips, batteries, nightlight....I get a call before I can check out. The boys have set off the car alarm! Finding a safe place to park my cart, I quickly head outside to the beeping car and teens boys laughing their heads off. I tell them I have to run back in and, by the way, "Your dad called and told me to hurry because a tornado was on the way!" Leaving the now, panicking boys I head back in to complete my purchase. (Seriously, my husband had called me while I was in the store, but I know my husband well enough to know it is about 30 minutes away...for me, that is lots of time!)

We zip out of the parking lot and get into the house where dear hubby is holding down storm track central. After the excitement of pea-size hail, wind and rain, the party heads upstairs for gaming. I am not gonna go into the rest of the lively details, just know I was patrolling upstairs at midnight after a wild dance of "jump on it" made it sound like buffalo were migrating on my bedroom ceiling.

Laying down in my bed, I finish my Novel, When Heaven and Hell Changed Places, truly a great story about the Vietnam war from the point of view of a precious Vietnamese child - now American women. And I fell asleep, to only begin my morning rolling out of bed in half-sleep after 6 am, making my way to the kitchen to put the Pillsbury grand cinnamon rolls (all 15 of them) in the oven to greet the hungry boys before they launch off to church with my husband that teaches Sunday School. Nothing like sugar to get teen boys rolling fast in the morning! (:

I get back in bed, watch some news (another billion $ bailout is planned...and they call this news), read the paper (only takes a few minutes now because they have no writers on staff anymore due to cutbacks), and pick up my next book to read, And The Rain Fell Hard, a novel by a GI from the Vietnam War. (I bought four books from different perspectives because I wanted to get an all around view of what happen...OK, now you know, I like/love to read, and learn, and see lessons in life.) Getting sleepy-eyed, I fall back asleep about 10 am, just in time so my dear husband will come home from church and think I have slept the morning away. (yes, he did!)

So, I will get off this computer and head out into the house of mess, dust and believe-it-or-nots. Stress, mess and lazy weekends go-together so well. I push my children so much during the week to get things done, I think everyone needs a break...including me. (And I wonder why I feel like I am having an elephant on my chest just in time for Sunday night church, you think I would learn a new way) If I leave everything as it is and walk with tunnel vision, I just experience stress. If I start to clean, as I see everything that needs to be done, I am sweaty exhausted and anxious because I will never finish, and of course, because I never gave myself a chance to rest...before the rush of the weeks starts all over again.

For my organized, compulsive readers, just pretend my house looks just as nice as works for me(:

Now why did I come to this computer in the first place, check email, write an article for the e-magazine, research potential 25th anniversary destinations....oh, I was going to read my Bible and write a short devotion. I wanted it to be real. My Bible is still on my lap...and I am not sure I have any material here to springboard from. Now let's, one of my favorite verses is "Be Still and Know That I am God!" Maybe I could start there.

(This is a republished post from 3/29/09)

The Pastoral Sin of Creating Seeker-Friendly Churches

Why do Church members not mature to be like Christ?
I have just finished reading the most incredible book by the now very popular author among American seminaries, Dallas Willard. I picked up a copy of a book he wrote in 1986, The Spirit of The Disciplines (understanding how God changes lives). I loved learning how to implement spiritual disciplines to become more like Christ, and honestly, I have not yet started any live changes. Like all books, I feel the need to allow its teaching to simmer in my heart during quiet time with the Lord to determine what He would have me to do first.

But I am writing about this because what I read in the last two pages of the book surprised me, in a good way, and for me at least, it made this book a classic that should be read by all disciples of Jesus Christ. What could possibly be so powerful, you may think? I will let Dallas Willard's words speak for himself:

But there is a prevailing problem. The people of Christ have never lacked for available power to accomplish the task set for them by their Master. But they have failed to make disciples in the New Testament sense of the term. And naturally following upon this, they have failed even to intend to teach people to do all that Christ would have us do. ....
At this point in history, every leader among those who identify with Christ as Lord must ask himself or herself: "How can I justify not leading my people into the practice of disciplines for the spiritual life that would enable them to reign in their lives by Christ Jesus? How can I fail to give them this opportunity?...
Ministers pay far too much attention to people who do not come to services. ... The Christian leader has something much more important to do than pursue the godless. The leader's task is to equip saints until they are like Christ (Eph. 4:12), and history and the God of history waits for him to do this job. It is so easy for the leader today to get caught up in illusory goals, pursuing the marks of success which come from our training as Christian leaders or which are simply imposed from our world. It is big, Big, always BIG, and BIGGER STILL! That is the contemporary imperative. Thus we fail to take seriously the nurture and training of those, however few, who stand constantly by us. (italics and caps taken from the book text, as is)
Everyone who has a pastoral role to others, ... must strive for a specific understanding of what is happening to those who come regularly under his or her influence and must pay individual attention to their development. This is the absolutely sure way to "win the world" (John 17:21-23).  
There is a special evangelistic work to be done, of course, and there are special callings to it.  But if those in the churches really are enjoying fullness of life, evangelism will be unstoppable and largely automatic. The local assembly, for its part, can then become an academy where people throng from the surrounding community to learn how to live. It will be a school of life (for a disciple is a pupil, a student) where all aspects of that life seen in the New Testament records are practiced and mastered under those who have themselves mastered them through practice. Only by taking this as our immediate goal can we intend to carry out the Great Commission.
I want to shout the last sentence from the roof top of every church! Only by taking this as our immediate goal can we intend to carry out the Great Commission. How long will pastors of American churches not hear God's cry? How long will they seek "illusory goals" pursing "the mark of success" of "big, Big, always BIG, and BIGGER STILL"? When will they become themselves spiritually disciplined disciples instead of evangelically aimed program promoters? What will cause them to see "equipping the saints" is  to be their God designed role in the body of the Church, not getting the godless lost to come to church?

Plain and simple, the Bible is quite clear on this point: The local assembly (called the church) is the place for disciples to meet regularly to be equipped until they are like Christ! Churches are not for lost souls; they are for saved souls! A church is one of few places in this entire world that is to be set apart unto God in holiness, not a place to make seeker-friendly goals to draw godless people to God.

The Great Commission has been twisted totally out of context on the altar of seeking "illusory goals" pursing "the mark of success" of "big"! Jesus desires remaining fruit that is spiritual matured through the equipping by ministers who should be teaching them in the local churches. Pastor must stop feeding baby food in sermons driven by the seeker-friendly illusory goal and equip his flock through solid, convicting, developing food from the Word of God.

Most pastor are taught to judge the health and effectiveness of his ministry by higher numbers indicating growth, but oh how deceptive the lie of "how many" is! 

True disciples of Jesus will be racing to the doors of a church that was equipping them week by week to be like Christ, and each true disciple would carry his weight of the ministry (in service, tithe, ministering, giving, winning souls to the Lord)! There should be no free-loafers in the Body of Christ who simply come to the local church to enjoy programs, having activities for their children and a place to find friendships or socials.

Churches should not be a place that non-Christian find comfortable or appealing, since they don't have the indwelling spirit of Jesus Christ but are children of the Evil One. 

If people with Satan as their father are drawn continually to come and attend church to hear the message and participate in gatherings, in greater and greater numbers, pastoral leadership should be alarmed, not celebrating. Evangelism is to be done through the outreaching arm of every church, ministering each where they live, work and play. And once a person comes to know Jesus they should then be baptized into the faith, since they are a member of the body of Christ, and therefore encouraged to continually attend services to be taught how they are to live to be like Christ.

Is this not clear and Biblical teaching? And if so, why do so many pastors not obey God?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Consistency is the Catalyst

We all have our issues.

Consistency raises high on the list of mine. I've understood the importance of it, longed for the habit of it and implemented methods obtain it. But still, after 20 years of blundering around a life of "if", "when" and "not" consistency demands from me my full attention.

Nature reminds us daily that we need to be consistent. 

Yes, I have had many reasons for not being, and the reasons are very sound, realistic problems that had to be faced first. I am learning that I can not always conquer the largest or most obvious answer because a long line of little dominoes must be lifted prior to tackling consistency.

Recently, I find myself finally able to make goals, and keep them for at least a few days at a time. Plus the down time is short before I am back on track again. I've been amazed at how powerful of thing consistency can be. I am marveled how others change in response to dealing with someone who is basically consistent.

While I haven't reached any mountain top, by a long range, I am still on the mountain! And I have a really great safety rope of continual grace keeping me from dropping on the rocks at the bottom. I still stumble... doesn't everyone? Today I praise to God because true healing has taken place and I have worked through many issues to get to where I am today.

If you find something like consistency to be easy, be thankful. You are blessed. You have not been dealt so much trauma in your life that you live life from the bottom looking up. Keep going strong, because it is a wonderful place to be. I do have one suggestion for you, because it has happen to me so many times. If you see someone else that lacks this skill, don't just keep pointing it out. Ask if there is anything you can do to help or what is it that they most need at that given time. They might looked shocked at first, startled at such a concept, but if you really want to help, listen for their answer.

What about you? Is this an area you struggle? Does lack of consistency negatively effect your life?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Two Men, Two Very Different Lives, Two Religions - You must choose which one is truth!

Every person must choose.....
Two men, born into the Middle East about 600 years and 750 miles apart. Today, more than a millennium after their deaths, they each have millions of people following their teachings of how to know, obey and live for God.

During the time of the first man, the Palestinian land (the land of the Philistines - remember David and Goliath) belonged to the Jews, given by God as their promise land shown to Moses and entered by Joshua, continuing during the the reign of King Saul in 1020 BC though the occupation and then governed of the Roman Empire in 73 BC. During the time of the later man, his followers through bloody attack conquest-ed the Palestinian land for Islamic Arabs in 638 AD.

Jerusalem, with deep religious focus, became a holy city for both men's followers. One, being a Jew, visit Jerusalem yearly throughout his life and as an adult peacefully, entered the city on a donkey (a symbol of peace) to a crowd hailing Him with palm branches repeatedly saying, "Hosanna, Hosanna to the Highest" (the word for rescue me, save me, salvation). This compassionate man spoke as one with authority, teaching followers to love their enemies,  healing the sick, and miraculously even raising a man from the dead. He never carried a sword. Moreover, he never took one human life, though he healed and saved many. He never forced for people to convert to His teachings, and discouraged those who did not count the cost of submission to God discipleship to follow him. He boldly offered forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Heaven to all who by grace believed He was sent by God, being His begotten Son, to live, die, be buried and rise conquering physical death and eternal separation from God.  And to those who didn't choose to believe, He became a man of sorrow, burdened for them, in tears he cried for Israel out of deep desire that they would believe. But never coercing , he honored each  to have a free will to choose who to believe and how to live.

The other had nighttime visions of conquest of Jerusalem, where he dreamed of being taken about by Angela Gabriel. He used fear, intimidation and lethal force to demand all people to believe His message and the words He wrote in the book of Islam, the Koran. He spoke of only followers of Islam having the right to live, possess and live a protected, life. Non-believers (particularly calling out Jewish and Christian believers) were to be scorned, punished, hated and even killed all in the name of supporting Allah, the name he gave for god. Paradise was a place for Islams alone, and only Islamic believers had protected rights and life. This man led wielding a sword dripping with the blood of thousands of decapitated people who did not believe in him nor his teachings. It was never recorded they he shed a tear of mercy for unbelievers. And Moreover, he called upon his followers to kill those who did not believe in his words. In conquest, he entered cities by violent warring force and plundered people, property and governance.

One man never married, never enjoyed the pleasure of intimate relations with a women. He lived a humble live teaching his followers to abstain from sin, such as lust in the heart, and certainly never to divorce his own nor cover another's wife. The other man had multiple wives, some writings claim 11 others 13, while the number is unclear, without a doubt he was both a polygamist and a pedophile. His youngest wife was 6 years old and he began to sexually raped her at age 9. This child remained with him for nine years sexually abused until his death.

Innocence of a Child

Upon their death, the first man was killed by Jewish leaders of his time because He claimed to be the son of God, the only begotten, one equal to God, and possessing full authority of Father God. The leaders claimed he blasphemed God. Dying upon the cross, He cried out for the forgiveness of those who killed Him in torturous ridicule, beatings and ending, in the painful death by crucifixion. Nailed upon the cross, He compassionately pleaded his murderers forgiveness saying  that they did not know what they were doing. And suffering under the weight of the sin of mankind born into his being, in agony, He cried out that he did understand why He was forsaken upon the cross. The year was 30 AD (Ante Dominion meaning the year of the Lord). Three days after his death and burial, he was witnessed by thousands to have resurrected from the dead, and seen ascending into the Heaven.

The other man died on his bed in 632 AD asking his followers to vow allegiance and to finish what he had began of eradicating the world of Jews, Christians and non-Islamic believers through warring force of the beheading sword fights and capturing women and children for slavery or forcefully taking them as wives. He is not recorded in his writings to have ever forgiven nor petitioned to God for the forgiveness of those who disagreed with him. He died, and was buried. He was never seen again by any witness. The spiritual leaders who followed him continued his murderous conquests, and conversion to his teachings by force.

I have written a historical account of the lives and death of two men who very different lives.

One man, the first, describes the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, God's only begotten son. Jesus came to fulfill God Holy Book of the Jews and after his death the New Testament was compiled by those who knew Him.

The other man, the second, describes Muhammad, a prophet of men, calling all to worship Allah, god of Islam, and the Koran, the Holy Book written by himself.

Consider Jesus and Mohammed portrayed side by side - which is worthy of adoration?

Jesus                                                                         Mohammed
Jewish born in Palestine land            Arab born in Saudi Arabia

3 A. D - 36 A.D. (approx)                 570 A.D. - 632 A.D.

Founder of Christianity                      Founder of Islam faith

Spoke to Father God                          Spoke to Angel Gabriel

God's only begotten Son                     Prophet, messenger of god

Single, sexually pure                           Married 11+ wives, a 6 yr old

Healed sick, raised dead                      Beheaded 1000's by sword

Taught to love enemies                        Taught to kill enemies

Came for all people/Nations                 Came for Mid East/ Muslims

Willing died to save all on cross            Fell ill and Died on bed

Buried and rose alive witnessed             Buried and stayed dead
   by 500+ people, ascended to

Seated at the Right hand of God,             Dead, decomposed, his                
    Interceding for Believers                         spirit awaits judgement

Will return to Judge the living                   Will face Jesus's as his 
 and dead, and throw Satan                        Judge, bowing before  
 and demons in permanent                         Jesus, knowing Him as 
 lake of fire.                                                 Lord and receive  
                                                                    eternal judgement.

Which man, to you, lived a godly live that should be esteemed by others to imitate and follow? Who do you choose to believe and obey?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plese woch my mom Plese God - God hears and answers Prayer

A beautiful, cherry-wood prayer box rests on my dresser. I first purchased it as a mother's gift for my husband's mom a decade or more ago. When she died from cancer complications, it was one of the few things I desired from among her belongings. A faithful woman of prayer sits at the feet of God lifting up her petitions, even pleas,  portrays the impressionist painting on the lid.

Opening the box to retrieve another treasure dear to my heart, a charm bracelet started by my child two Christmases ago. What a joyful reminder my children have bestowed on me to know their desire of their heart for me in each selected charm... a gift of what they think and remember.

Clasping the bracelet my eyes caught site of the back of a little white business card with large letter pencil writing. Lifting it up to read and recall... an innocent child, troubled, hurting... my own sweet daughter deep in concern for her mom... prints a beautiful prayer of faith - one of those "unless we become like little children" God-size pleas:   Plese woch MY Mom Plese GOD.

God hears a child's heartfelt plea!
And the years of suffering during the recovery and healing years run through my inner sight. Sad, chaos, and compassion used to fill me until regret swelled up and rolled as a tear down my cheek. mom... the longing of my heart, so close, but yet so troubling far from consistent reality.

God hears. He heard the plea of a little girl with enough faith to print her request to Almighty God and leave it with Him in her mother's prayer box, knowing with Him on watch her mom would be safe. And God answered her plea in so many wonderful ways that are still being revealed every day.

I am changed!

Peace washes over me as I hold the card in my hand... a deep sense of joy, knowing God watched over me. God heard and answered my daughter's request. And I am the grateful recipient of unfailing, boundless, healing love!

Praise God! And thank you my sweet daughter! Thank you for praying for me!

Has God answered a prayer made for your on your behalf by one who fervently believed?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Think I Can, i think i can, i....... (Preserving in Family Devotions)

Family Devotions challenge us to grow in perseverance, obedience and relationships. Maybe some perfect families somewhere enjoy a sweet hour of listening to the Word, sharing insights and worshipful prayer, but I don't personally know these families. Do you? Are you?

I could fill an entire shelf with all the potential family devotional books. We have:

  •  toddler time in the Word, 
  • Children Bibles, Christian Bible Videos (Old & New Testament with workbooks),
  • Young Inductive Bible studies, Teen Discipleships on topics of teen interest, Purity studies, 
  • Bible on CD, 24 Steps for Every Family devotional, Family Time books, 
  • Bible Memory Verse programs, 
  • Drawing the Bible Study, Acting out the Bible Time, Sing Fun Christian Songs, Color the Hymns, 
  • And that doesn't count all the books of godly missionaries, reformers, preachers, and martyrs.

Regardless of how well prepared parents are or how age-appropriate and nicely packaged the study may be, Satan is working overtime to ensure that Family Devotions fail. What better joy for him then to see children and parents grumble, annoy, and in so many creative ways simply destroy "Bible Time"!

I have a word of encouragement for you: Persevere!

Consider it all joy my brethern, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (perseverance) and let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete (mature/whole/sanctified), lacking nothing. (James 1:2-3)

Are you still fumbling around to get started? Are you dragging moping people to gather around? Are hearing the whining and complaints about the timing, the study, the subject matter, the room selected, or the color of your hair? (:   Persevere!

Have you been humbled by loosing your cool, by rasping back a reply, by you not getting out of bed in time, by the Holy Spirit checking your attitude or by spilling another drip of coffee on your shirt? (: Persevere!

Have you grown weary of being challenged, questioned why this study was picked, offered unsolicited reviews of how ridiculously lacking the questions are? Or maybe you have been blessed with the aged-wisdom that "one of a special kind" of timeless teenage wisdom, the "You don't have a clue what you are doing" assurance. Persevere!

Cheer up! This too shall pass in probably a decade... and no matter what you get wrong you are pressing forward doing what God has called you to do!

"These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of themwhen you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (
Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Train up a Child in the Way the should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it. (Duet 6:6-7)
Hangeth thou in there parent!  God promises that His Word will never go void and to those who persevere we will receive the crown of life!

What are your family devotionals like?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Living Visible - A Ministry For Healing

So many hurting are hiding, invisible to many.
OK, I wrote this yesterday and chickened out with tons of doubts and removed it. Now that I realize I was listening to a lot of comments being sent my way by the enemy... I am putting it back up. "Oh, me of little faith!"

If you are interested in helping organize a non-profit ministry for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and trauma, please contact me.

So often the world sets up organizations to be there for hurting, but they don't have the real answers. I am hoping to set up a ministry that really make a permanent difference in hurting survivors lives.

God is laying the vision of such a ministry on my heart, therefore, I am looking for a team of like-minded Christians to prayerfully lead.

God uses each of our abilities and gifts for His ministry. If interested in more information, check out this document about Living Visible Ministries.

 Lindy Abbott