Category Archives: Lessons for the incarcerated

The Grand Funk

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The Grand Funk

  THE GRAND FUNK
Have you ever felt it? Have you ever been in a dark place where any movement on your part will only bury you alive? Have you ever felt so naked, so stripped down, unveiled, exposed, unmasked, vulnerable, defenseless … have you ever felt raw? There’s hope.
When a person is in that state they are unable to articulate their pain. They become withdrawn and reclusive. Suddenly, they have nothing to say, no opinion to contribute. Nothing is worth the effort of stringing words together to form a thought. Everything they say and do comes from a place of emptiness, an emptiness that just can’t be filled by another human being, no matter how much they love you. You might not want to die, but the thought of continuing in life is exhausting. There’s Hope.
People seem to need a name for this “condition”. Some call it Bi-polar or depression. Others call it Seasonal Affective Disorder and some just refer to it as a lack of faith.
Against every bit of judgment, good or bad, I am going to expose myself. At the risk of worrying my family and friends, let me state for the record that I am not suicidal so don’t rush over or call; don’t worry and don’t feel guilty if we haven’t touched base in some time. 
Several times a year I go through what I call a grand funk. It is a state that I seem to slip into ever so slowly that I don’t even recognize what is happening until I am full on engulfed by it. Most often, by then, there is nothing anyone can do to help me for the most part because they don’t know what is going on. I have become quite adept at hiding the ugly little truth. For certain, there is that part of me that wants people to think I’ve always got it all together and I can handle everything that life throws at me – even though I’m sure no one actually thinks that. No, this “thing” takes hold of me. It wraps itself around me and squeezes until there is almost nothing left of me. My silence gives it power. I become fearful that people might misunderstand if I tell them what is going on. 
I’ve also become accomplished at changing masks, wearing whatever mask I believe needs to be worn at any particular moment. I’ve been afraid to be the real me so much so that there are times I’m not even sure where I begin and the mask ends. It sounds rather pathetic to say but when I’m in this state, I haven’t the foggiest idea who I am. I believe however that it is the very action of veiling my truth that becomes a generating station of denial that only serves to sink me deeper and deeper into the funk. Who am I trying to impress?
So, you might be wondering, why I am sharing this? Or perhaps you’re thinking you should call 9-1-1. Why am I exposing my pain for all to see? Why am I doing the very thing that I have kept private and hidden from so many, so well, and for so long? It hurts too much to bury it. I feel like I’m being pulled into it deeper. Keeping it in doesn’t seem to be serving me any purpose. The funk must have a function. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Do I actually benefit from the state of raw? Is there any good that can possibly come out of an experience where someone is so exposed that every nerve throbs and the thoughts they think hurt? I think there is.
I have heard some well-meaning people tell me that I should pray more or that I lack faith and that is why this happens to me. But they are wrong. Maybe this doesn’t happen to me but happens for me; maybe it happens to me for others. There is only one certainty when I am in the funk: by God’s grace and mercy, I will prevail. I will be victorious. Some would argue, what kind of God would allow you thrash about in quicksand for an indeterminate period of time? The fact is that only a loving God would allow it because there is something that needs to be learned and shared. Experience tells me that no matter how long the funk lasts He will rescue me and I will always come out better than when I went in. I have learned to ride the wave and hang on to Him for my very life. There are absolutely times that I FEEL I’ll not make it this time, but I KNOW that I will because He has NEVER left me or forsaken me … never. He is the Hope I hang on to.

Each time I go through this, I become a stronger person, but more importantly, I become a more compassionate person. I know what people are going through and I can usually see it coming before they become fully overtaken by it. My journey has taught me that I am able to stand along another and say, “I know Someone who can help.” Faith is believing in what you cannot see because you know it will be, even though it doesn’t feel so.
If you’re in a funk at this moment, I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that you’re not crazy. I want you to know that it is not a lack of faith that got you to this point but faith will sustain you while you are there and He will lead you out. You will overcome. You will be victorious.
Be the best you that you can be today and don’t measure your goodness and value by someone else’s standards. If you can barely “be” at this moment, hang on to all hope. Hang on for dear life because life is precious.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
My Hope is in Jesus.

 Why We Act The Way We Do

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To live in a world where people care about and spend a moment learning why they are the way they are….

What I wouldn’t give

A few years ago I hosted an enrichment class at my house for a ministry that I was involved in.  Each person was given a personality profile assessment ( Myers Briggs) and a spiritual gift analysis. It actually ignited irritation…and passive aggressive behavior. 

The truth is that people do not want direction or suggestions that do not fit their mind set. Their mind set is usually made up of selfish ambition. 

The truth is that being an ISFJ does not mean that I NEVER think instead of feel. It only suggests that I am naturally a feeler. I, in fact have many moments where I am very intuitive. That being true doesn’t erase the fact that I am naturally prone to sensing. 

And the spiritual gift analysis. Would you ask your foot to comb your hair? No. Can you use your foot to comb your hair? Absolutely. Your spiritual gifts are not meant to be a cage or an excuse. It’s a helpful tool. I personally score terribly low in mercy. That does not mean that I am excused from practicing mercy. 

My point is this… Love people for who they are, starting with yourself. Trying to change someone because they don’t think like you is an insult to them and to their Creator.   

I believe it best to have a teachable spirit and a humble heart. I do not believe nor do I mistake criticism for gentle directives. Constructive criticism is still criticism. 

but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 I have been misunderstood my whole life through. People are quick to think they know me when actually they only know what they want to know. The good and the bad.  I am passionate, I am deep, and even if I am misunderstood, I am finally ok with that. 
  

Infinite Joy (John Piper)

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Jesus revealed a secret that protects our happiness from the threat of suffering and the threat of success. That secret is this: Great is your reward in heaven. And the sum of that reward is enjoying the fullness of the glory of Jesus Christ (John 17:24).

He protects our happiness from suffering when he says,

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:11–12)

Our great reward in heaven rescues our joy from the threat of persecution and reviling.

He also protects our joy from success when he says,

Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)

The disciples were tempted to put their joy in ministry success. “Even the demons are subject to us in your name!” (Luke 10:17). But that would have severed their joy from its only sure anchor.

So Jesus protects their joy from the threat of success by promising the great reward of heaven. Rejoice in this: that your names are written in heaven. Your inheritance is infinite, eternal, sure.

Our joy is safe. Neither suffering nor success can destroy its anchor. Great is your reward in heaven. Your name is written there. It is secure.

Jesus anchored the happiness of suffering saints in the reward of heaven. And he anchored the happiness of successful saints in the same.

And thus he freed us from the tyranny of worldly pain and pleasure.

Disappointed (Christine caine)

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I found this today. Only a few days have passed since I calmly told the Lord how very disappointed I am. I’m thankful to be reminded that He loves me.

Divine (Dis)Appointments 
by Christine Caine, Living Life Undaunted: 365 Readings and Reflections from Christine Caine

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” – Genesis 41:41

Isn’t it interesting that the word appointment comes from within the word disappointment? I’ve often marveled at that because I’ve seen again and again how disappointments take something from us: a dream, a piece of our hearts — maybe whole chunks of it. But disappointment leaves something too: a gift, an opportunity, the possibility of creating change.

This means we can move from the valley of the shadow of death to new horizons and bring others with us on that road.

The enemy would like us to feel such a depth of disappointment that we never find our way back to the plan God has for us. If he can convince us to stay stuck in our disappointment, we’ll miss many of our future God appointments. I realize that some disappointments seem so big that we can’t imagine ever being able to move beyond them. We ask deep questions and they go unanswered.

Joseph could have become bitter when he ended up in the pit, was sold into slavery, and thrown in prison through no fault of his own. His dream appeared shattered by disappointment. Yet, because he did not lose hope, he finally stepped into his divine appointment and was put in charge of Egypt.

We too will encounter many disappointments along our journey and must decide ahead of time that we will not allow them to derail us.

So much of our Christian walk has to do with learning to trust the goodness and faithfulness of God despite what happens to us or is happening around us.

This sounds much easier to do than it actually is. When your emotions are screaming and your heart has been betrayed, the door of opportunity has closed, or that relationship has broken down, the last thing you feel like doing is trusting God and continuing the journey. Can I encourage you todaywith these words? Even if people have disappointed you or circumstances have not turned out as you had hoped or prayed, know that God is with you, cares for you, and loves you. He is working all these things together for your good right at this very moment.

There are many future God appointments on the other side of this disappointment.

Think About It

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So today I’m thinking about what I think about. Are the 100million  thoughts that cross my mind really what  I’m thinking about or just  passing thoughts?

If you think a thought more than once are you worried about it or are you just thinking about it? What is the difference between thinking about something and worrying about something?

If God knows my every thought ( and He does) does He consider my thoughts to be prayers?  Do my prayers have to be verbalized? Does a prayer have to formal?  Does it qualify to speak out in the heart of the moment?

Why is it that I can’t wish someone to think like I think? Why do some people not think at all?  (Or so it seems) Should common sense be considered a superpower this day in time? Are people really as thoughtless and selfish as they seem?

If you stand falsely accused should you address the problem of being accused or just let your accuser gracefully bow out? Is it wrong to hold accusers accountable for their constant criticism?

These are the thoughts that I think. I think that they deserve thought. But what is the stopping point? How do you stop?  I’ll address these thoughts in the coming days.  Stay tuned.

Devotional

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October 9, 2014 You remember when you became troubled and lost your peace of mind? Suddenly, there was a cloud of gloom and sorrow covering you. Your heart was troubled and fearful. Listen, you have been given a beautiful and priceless gift. It is the peace that Jesus personally gave you. The Lord God says to you this day, “With His peace your heart should not be troubled and you should have no fear. Allow Me to take you by your hand and lead you beside still waters and to the shade of My presence.

 

John 14:27 (KJV) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Ras Robinson

Daily Devotional

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October 4, 2014 There are hard times with battles ahead. These present situations are not new either to you or to others. This time ahead will allow you to be a cool, pure stream of fresh water to God’s army. They will come to you wounded, weary and very open minded to what you have to offer. You will minister to them out of your cool and rested spirit. The Holy Spirit will be your guide. He will activate Jesus to come alongside. His very presence will bring peace. Live in His word.

 

Exodus 33:14-15 (NLT) “The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest-everything will be fine for you. Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.”  Ras Robinson

Oaks

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Beat down, abused
down trodden, 
used, hurt and broken hearted;
You bought the lies
satan began telling in the garden.

You are more than a broken vessel.
Maybe you are completely unaware.
Maybe you hide the shame
deep inside your soul somewhere.

Don’t you know you are God’s temple?
You have been made clean.
You are forgiven and loved,
the bride of the one true King.

Surrender those lies and secrets.
Exchange that darkness for true light.
Let the One who created you purify you;
Come, He has already won the fight.

He offers beauty for ashes;
And Oil in exchange for mourning.
Recive a garment of praise.
Leave the spirit of heaviness behind.

Come daughter of the king
You were made to shine.

Daily Devotional

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September 27, 2014 Jesus is comfortable having lavish and expensive praise. The Lord is saying today, “Make sure nothing is more important in your life than worshiping and praising Jesus. Make Him look good before everyone you know and see. Commit to this privilege. I sent the Holy Spirit to lead you to a higher level in honoring your Lord. He is the Enabler and Helper to get you to Jesus. Helping the poor, which you so enjoy, is not as important as lavishing outlandish praise of Jesus. Daily make Him the crown of your life.”

 

Matthew 26:11-13 (NIV) “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  Ras Robinson