Tag Archives: Jesus

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 They become withdrawn and reclusive.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.

A Prayer for My Friend

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Come to this place that I will take you.
A place that is carefree.
A place of freedom and joy,
this place few will ever see.

It is in this place that you will find rest
Come, find freedom for your soul.
Lay it all down here child
give me your burdens
and your fears
You were never meant to carry it
But you have carried it for years

Let my Streams of living water
wash it all away.
Run now child. .
Don’t pick it up again.
It is time for you to play

You see my child it is gone now.
There’s freedom for your soul.

Daily Devotional

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September 23, 2014 Have the attitude of the psalmist and declare God’s word over your life. There are perhaps many things you could complain about. Perhaps there are unmet needs you could mention, but what about going ahead and saying what God says concerning your life? Notice that not only does the psalmist declare God’s word, he also joins with God in making a declaration. Peace will rule your life when you make the word of God supreme within and without your mind, will and emotions. For in His word there is life, grace and truth forever. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever. Try it.

 

Psalm 23:6 (NASB) “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Ras Robinson

 

Daily Devotional

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September 18, 2014 My eye is upon you watching, waiting. It is like the calm before a major storm. Angels have been stirring around you so you will not be afraid. Are you ready for something big to be manifested? Only those who have faith and who believe will have unhindered blessings. Your labor to enter His rest is absolutely required at this moment. Peaceful sleep will serve you well. Revelation of what God has done will fill your faith tank for the required diligence and needed endurance (Read Deuteronomy 18:1-14; John 1:16-17; John 7:19; Romans 13:10; John 1:14; Romans5:21; Romans 6:14). By faith both grace and truth are yours. Gather it up and rejoice greatly.  

 

Romans 12:5 (AMP) “So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” Ras Robinson 

   

The Gratitude Blockage

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     For the past few weeks I have been on an emotional adventure! So, of course, as it is my style to do, I journaled my feelings and now have examined my findings.
     First of all I have to identify a detail or two…. from March 2013 to July of 2014 I was under the influence of hormone replacement therapy. While this might work out great for some people, I have come to the conclusion that it is not for me. You see,  I was having testosterone implanted into my body and that was in turn morphing me into an emotionless creature… somewhat like a man. (No offense to the men in the world) I also began to grow a beard, minor detail.  Also during this time I went through the hardest blow I’ve encountered yet. My daughter moved in with her dad for 4 months and 3 weeks, oh and 2 days. Yes I was counting! And while I am compiling details let me just say that this ‘over 40’ thing is confusing to one’s soul. On one hand it is great to feel grown up,  you know..I feel established,  like a real women.  On the other hand,  I feel like a busted can of biscuits. Someone has let the air out of my can.. The ingredients of what was once my body has lost all shape. I am soggy physically and emotionally…I need to be put in the oven to be cooked, refined, reformed but I don’t like the heat!
     I am naturally a NF or Meloncholy, if you will. I am an emotional creature, I feel things!  That is my nature.  How could it not dawn on me that I wasn’t feeling much of anything? I suppose I was happier not feeling as deep as usual. Was I turning into a man? It’s a grand possibility. 
     While I was waiting for something to happen with this medical endeavor I forgot to look for the good. Oh,  I could see the good in what was evident. While I was waiting for something big I missed a lot of small, great things. Those little things in life are the details. A Christmas tree is just a tree without the details. Don’t miss it.  If we are only grateful for the ah ha moments…. our gratitude will be blocked.
     By my calculations most of the hormones were out of my body about 3 weeks ago. That is precisely when I noticed this emotional side of me that I am no longer familiar with. I have decided that I like her. I am grateful for the way God made me! (Psalm139) I am grateful to have feelings,  to love deeply and to have an intense, overwhelming emotional response to my ‘tribe’. To my friends, family and ministry partners~ I feel deeply connected again.  I am grateful for those connections!  Honesty,  I am even grateful for the disconnects,  I’ll call them lessons.
      Thank you friends and family who love me in spite of me. Thank you for sticking it out! Thank you for finding beauty in my heap of ashes. I love you.  I mean that with every fiber of my being. I love you!  Deep!
     I bless you my precious savoir for saving me, for refining me, for loving me and seeing no fault in me. I am grateful. My gratitude is no longer blocked.
~Hope

The River

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The River

He took me to the river,
it was a sight to behold.
How I came to this place
is a mystery to my soul.

Beautiful trees;
every tree I had never seen.
Their size,  their shape,  their color
Still a mystery to me.

Flowers and plants, 
beautiful,  big and small.
Intense color,  vivid,  brilliant
I felt the need to be amongst them all.

And the river.
I heard it before I saw it.
The sound of a mighty gushing wind.
I could here it calling me, here is where it begins.

I  stopped  in my tracks. 
How can I take this all in?
In awe or was it bewilderment?
I do not know, my friend.

Breathtaking,  stunning, Beautiful,
My eyes could barely glimpse.
Everthing I’ve ever known came together here.
This is my beginning and my end.

Blue, lucid,  so very clear.
Water crashed upon the  rocks
Flowing hard and powerful
Going somewhere, But where? It never stops

I felt  somehow weightless,
Being carried by the wind.
Wet by the spray of the water,
Still warm by the Son.

There He stood
Gazing with intent.
He said to me “come child”
Away with Him I went.

We walked upon the water.
My safe place, my Friend.
My love,  my every emotion,
Was safe here with Him.

He allured me with His loving kindness.
He captivated me with dance.
We waltzed and laughed for hours,
Over the hills, upon the mountain we went.

He baptized me in that river.
I am forever clean from sin.
He loves me, He cherishes me.
He made me clean for Him.

He loves to run and frolic with me.
He told me so Himself.
He is with me every moment.
He is my need and my wealth.

I am free to visit the river.
That is where He lives.
He is the river of life.
It’s water He freely gives.

Right to Privacy

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My prayer for myself this day and everyday is to be clothed with the mantle of humility. I pray that God will help me esteem others higher than myself. I pray for a heart that loves others unconditionally. I pray to live in such a way that my words would draw others to Christ not push them further away.

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Matthew 7:1-5 NIV

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5 we find this warning, “judge not, lest ye be judged”.    The verb is krino and literally means to decide what is right or wrong for someone else.  Here, Jesus says, it’s not for you to decide what is right or wrong for others.  He then goes on to illustrate personal responsibility with the example of the speck that is in another’s eye, compared to the beam that is in your own.  It’s a matter of perspective.  And if you have the proper perspective, your faults (the beam) should look much larger  than the faults of others (the speck).  And when you combine His instruction with the illustration He gives, you should conclude that it’s wrong to decide what’s right or wrong for others and it should be your priority to look for and deal with your own faults.

Somehow we are elevated if our imagery of self dwarfs someone else.

We are quick to excuse our own behavior by faults we find in someone else. It may look something like this, ” I’m not judging them, they need to be told.” Or,  maybe we take the responsibility of discipleship to a whole new level of micro managing. I have been guilty myself of comparing my walk to someone elses. I have been guilty of being absolutely sure that I was better than, more spiritual than , producing more fruits and than…. The trouble with that is God is not comparing me to them. He is comparing me to His son.  Jesus did did not come here to judge the world but to save it. There are basically two reasons why people compare themselves to others and both are wrong.  They compare themselves to those they think inferior in some way to make themselves look good.  Or, they compare themselves to those who seemingly are better off in some way, because they feel sorry for themselves.

Let’s look at the conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-23 following Jesus’ resurrection. In verse 18 Jesus tells Peter that when he was younger he took care of himself and went wherever he decided to go.  Then Jesus tells him that when he is older, he’ll stretch out his hands for help, another (the Holy Spirit) will take care of him and lead him where he will not want to go.  Verse 19 then tells us that Jesus was talking about the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  And Peter evidently understood this, because when he saw John following them he asked Jesus in verse 21, what is going to happen to him?  To which Jesus answers in verse 22 and repeats in verse 23, what is that to you?

Notice Jesus has repeatedly told Peter to “feed My lambs”, “feed My sheep”, “follow Me”.  God had a plan and purpose for Peter’s life.  At best, it would be difficult; at worst, it would be humanly impossible. And Jesus was telling him, Peter, it’s time to focus, concentrate on the business at hand, your business (what the Father has planned for you).  Never mind what’s going to happen to John, that doesn’t concern you.  The principle is the same for every one of us.  God has a plan and purpose for our lives, but we’ll never realize it by minding other people’s business.  We’ll only know it by concentrating on Him.

In Romans 14:4 Paul tells us that we’re not to judge (krino, again) another’s servant, because it is before his own master that he will either stand or fall.  This is a great statement. Romans 10:10-13 goes on to reiterate the point that it is not our responsibility to decide what’s right or wrong for someone else’s servant, their Master will decide. Their Master is Christ once a person accepts salvation.

Galations 5:1 says we have freedom in Christ.  In this context  the word “freedom” or “liberty” in some translations refers to the right of privacy that every believer has that allows him to pursue a relationship with God free of any interference, or constraints that others might try to put on him. Every one is supposed to have this freedom from the interference of others.

In II Thessalonians 3:11 Paul warns against being “disorderly”.  The word disorderly is (ataktos) meaning out of rank, and is used here to signify those who were out of line.  Or in otherwords they were busybodies (periergazomai), those who meddled in the affairs of others, instead of minding their own business as they had been taught was the proper thing to do. Paul mentions busybodies again in I Timothy 5:13. In this verse he warns against idlers, tattlers and busybodies.  In fact what he says is, don’t be one of those who find themselves with too much time on their hands.   They’re going to find themselves more involved in the affairs of others than they are their own (busybodies). They become one who is more interested in the supposed spiritual condition of others than they are their own spiritual condition.  They’re more concerned about the moral condition of others than they are their own moral condition, because morality is what their religion has taught them.  They don’t know what true spirituality really is… Your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the change that takes place because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Galations 6:2-5 tells us that we must quietly endure one another’s faults and in this way we will fulfill the law of Christ.  The law of Christ is that we love one another.  And here, it is clear that Paul’s view of fulfilling this law demands the acceptance of those who exhibit failure. Judgment or isolation is not an option.  Verse 3 tells us that those who refuse this course do so because they think themselves superior to those who fail. This is certain self-deception, since we all fail from time to time and find ourselves in trouble. Verse 4, tells us that we must examine ourselves, take proper care to remedy our own faults and then we can feel good about ourselves without having to resort to unhealthy comparisons. Verse 5  tells us in conclusion that we all have to bear our own load of faults, that is, we simply have to take responsibility.

As is usually the case, Christ is our example.  John 8:1-11 shows us the principle that should guide us when we’re tempted (and we will be) to judge someone else’s seemingly wrong behavior.  This it is the account of the woman brought to Jesus after she was caught in the act of adultery.  Without going through a verse-by-verse explanation, let me just tell you the principle taught here is neutrality.  In regards to the woman and what she had done, Jesus was neutral.  He neither judged nor excused what she had done, evidenced by His statement “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

Jesus did not violate her right to privacy.  He did not judge her.  Nor did He feel the need to get personally involved, find out all the gory details and set Himself up as the expert ready and willing to give this poor woman all the counseling she would need to help her out of this mess.  Isn’t that amazing? He didn’t “minister” to her.  Instead, He stayed out of it and minded His own business.   In John 8 Jesus in His humanity was simply following this truth.  Did God have a plan and purpose for Jesus?  Certainly.  Did Jesus have to concentrate and keep Himself focused in order to understand and fulfill that plan?  Absolutely!  And regardless of what you think “church ministry” should look like, you find no evidence in the life of Jesus that the Father’s plan for Him included getting personally involved in the private affairs of others.  Yet this is a large part of what goes on today.

Who gave us the “Christian” responsibility to be moral policemen to those around them?  If the guilty one conforms they are only taught to yield to the interference of the one perceived to be above them. There is no spiritual value in the things we do because we were made to feel guilty through the judgment of others, manipulated by false authority, pressured into conforming to some religious standard, or counseled by men (or women) and guided into some kind of reformed behavior. 

It is the plan and purpose of God to  conform us from the inside out to the image of His Son.  But the only change God will recognize is that which comes as a result of our submission and obedience to Him.  Our own efforts to reform or forcing someone else into living according to my self-righteous standard is not acceptable to Him.

“He delivers us, not because of any self-righteous works that we have done, but because of His mercy.  And He does it through the cleansing of regeneration (change) by means of the renewing ministry of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

Why should we respect other’s rights to privacy?  It is because God is both the source and the agent for change.  Regardless of whether it is our religious training, our self-righteousness, deceitful perceptions of spiritual superiority or our genuine good intentions, any change that comes from our interference in the lives of others is merely the result of human effort and is worthless in the eyes of the God.

Tradition…Tradition…Tradition

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I remember a time when I was a young adult when my parents had gone to Colorado.  My mother had came back with a little figurine. It was called a Kokopelli. I thought Kokopelli was the cutest little thing.  I then began to put Kokopelli in my home as it was decorated in southwest as well.

I recall in my first home having lots of Southwest decorations.  I had the Suns,  wolves, cactuses… you name it I had it but Kokopelli remained my favorite.  He was a stick figure with a mohawk playing a flute.. he just seemed to be the epitome of joy and fun. Eventually on a night out with a girlfriend of mine I even had a Kokopelli tattooed on my ankle.

It didn’t take long before one of my clients,  you know a ‘concerned Christian’ made a comment about Kokopelli to me and told me that Kokopelli in fact was an ancient infertility god and that I should not worship him. I must tell you that I was stunned.  It had never crossed my mind to worship Kokopelli nor did I care that he was a fertility god because I did not put my trust in him.

Kokopelli was as much a part of my home as a lamp..not worship object. Funny thing about the story is that in the next couple years I would find out that I was unable to have children. I’m glad that I did not put my faith in the power of the little Indian fertility god spread around my house or I would have been sorely disappointed.

My love for Southwest art has aso landed a few dream catchers in my home. I do not believe that the dream catcher has any more power than what my mind will give it.  The only thing that has power to change a life or change your mind or change your circumstance is the Power of God.

These amongst other objects of our affection are distinctly planted in our Western civilization. They are as much a part of my life as Santa Clause, the Easter bunny and even the tooth fairy. I believe that I can speak for most Americans that we do not check the history behind these traditions. We enjoy them as families that come together in love and unity to be together over a meal and over a little bit of tradition.

Living in America, we are in the melting pot.  Most times we lose our traditions from our heritage in exchange for the American Way.

I am a Christian! I’ve been set free by the power of the living God through His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at age of 28. I love Santa Clause!  I love hiding Easter eggs! I love watching joy on children’s faces! I realize that by the time most children come to the age of accountability they usually are a the point of figuring out that some of these fairytales if not all are fake. 

I grew up loving these holidays and not understanding the meaning behind it or the true reason for it.  I was not scarred as an adult I can assure you. What has scarred me far worse, Christian people cramming their beliefs and doctrines down people’s throats.  If people in fact include Santa Claus in their Christmas celebration or include the Easter bunny or pagan Easter eggs in there Sunday afternoon get together with their families…They are doing it wrong. Well, I guess I did it wrong with my daughter because I thoroughly enjoyed every Santa Clause and every Easter Bunny..it was my delight!

I believe that if we would instead be the Christian people that God created us to be we would love everyone enough not to throw our family traditions under the bus. Or… just a thought..We could add to the  traditions by telling the story either the birth of Jesus Christ or his death burial and resurrection. Who knows we may have the awesome opportunity to lead someone to Christ. Or remind someone that is already assured of their salvation just how much Jesus loves them! I was able to do that yesterday!

In closing I would like to say back in the day that the concerned Christian explained to me what Kokopelli was  I wanted no part of her religion especially if it gave you the freedom to judge. I don’t believe anyone, religious or not, likes to be judged.  We must be careful as Christian people not to judge other people.  Sometimes we don’t think we’re judging but in fact it’s the other person’s perception that names your behavior and gives them an opinion about the god you serve. 

I understand more everyday why Gandhi said

“I like your Christ I do not like your Christians your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

What Does My Walk Look Like?

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Matthew 23:13 NKJV

“ But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

I sincerely want to live in such a way that people look at me and see Jesus. I believe our affections will be demonstrated by our actions. I begin by loving my inner circle but that’s easy. 1st John 4:18 says because God is love we love one another. Therefore if I can’t show love to you I can’t say God this or  God that. You can’t say the right thing if you refuse to do the right thing.

We refuse to love sometimes  because we don’t feel like loving. Truthfully following the ways of God have nothing to do with how you feel but everything to do with taking His Word (the Bible) over your own.

The word love in the Bible is an action word. Not just a spoken word but one shown in our actions. It may be the act of forgiveness or maybe the act of service or maybe it’s just a word to encourage but it is an action.

My thoughts for the day are: mercy triumphs over judgement and your fruit is showing.

Complete Surrender

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Complete Surrender

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Not so long ago someone asked me how I became interested in prison ministry.  I didn’t have an answer at that time.  Or perhaps I did. Perhaps I only thought I should have some well thought out,  eloquently spoken response.

Perhaps it began when I asked God to break my heart for what breakes His. Or was it was when I began to contemplate what consecration really meant. You see I was not  cherished as a child.  Sure, I was loved but not really nurtured as a child should be.  I was a lost and lonely child who became a lost and lonely adolescent who became an empty adult. My heart was a gaping whole needing to be filled. I turned to many things in hopes of fulfillment. But only the love of Christ could change me.

As I look at the faces of the ladies in white I realize I could be any one of them. I am every one of them. Only because I chose to surrender am I no longer in my own prison.

I pray that they see Jesus through me.  I pray that they trust the love and grace that He has for each one of them.  I pray that they would not be satisfied with having a savoir; but be completely captivated by His love.  I pray that they will surrender.