Pain Taker

“If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

People love to bash social media but I’ve had some very interesting encounters on it. A particularly special one happened not long after I “got on” Facebook and downloaded Messenger.

I opened Facebook one day to find a very, very long message that started like this, “Are you Penny who used to be Penny Langley? If so, I am ***** the girl who was with your sister the night she died.”

The message went on to tell how this young woman had lived 20 something years with the burden and pain of feeling responsible for my sister’s death. Wow. I copied the message and sent it to two of my brothers. We were all in awe and I couldn’t wait to write our reply: “Lay it down girl. Lay it down. We forgave you a long time ago.”

I went on to tell her that each of us had laid our pain at the Savior’s feet a long time ago and didn’t carry the burden any longer.  We were horrified that she had carried it so long.  Do you carry a burden?

Lay it down. Jesus Christ is the pain taker.  He’s our burden barer. Jesus Christ came to take from us the weights and burdens that life heaps on us. The weights that we were never created to carry. He came to restore all that Satan has stolen and tried to destroy. To restore us and give us Life with a capital L-IF we’ll lay it down.

I had a realization after watching The Passion of the Christ. If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you do. And when you do and you endure the scenes of His intense suffering, ask yourself this question, “Is what I did, didn’t do, endured, subjected someone to, more heinous than the beating He received to pay the price for sin?”

If you think it is, you think too much of yourself. There is nothing on Earth that any of us have ever done-and we’ve done some terrible things- that deserve more punishment than what Christ took on the cross-so quit the self-inflicted punishing. Lay it down at His feet and thank Him for what He did for you and then show your intense gratitude by living life again-with a capital L in thanksgiving and share the message like I did to my sister’s poor friend:

“If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

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Quit your Crying and start Digging

We’re so bad to cry out to God for stuff and then get angry when we perceive that He is not giving us what we ask.

Maybe it’s because we ask for things we already have. The Bible tells us that we have been given all things that we need for life and for godliness.  2 Peter 1:3.   I’ll never forget the day I realize that was in the past tense. What?   Already given?  What does that mean for us?

Perhaps the reason we’re not having a prayer answered is that what we’re asking for is already ours.  We just have to claim it.

Kind of like when you hear that there is a list of people who have money unclaimed that they are not even aware of.  Money in some long lost account. We always want to look at the list and see if our name is on it. Perhaps there are some things that God has already done for us that we don’t even realize belong to us and all we need to do is pick them up.

Like Joy.   We can have joy in our life. That’s because Joy comes from having Jesus Christ. Nobody can steal Joy from us because nobody can steal Jesus from us. We are blessed beyond belief just because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We just have to claim Joy and walk in it. It is ours.

Once we realized there is  treasure with our name on it that God has already given us, we begin to search and dig for it like the character in The Bible who dug up treasure and then went and bought the property  so that it could belong to him. Smart guy.

Maybe instead of crying we should start digging and see what we find. There’s treasure out there with our name on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moldable

I liken myself to have a tad of artistic talent.  I have drawn some pictures that look somewhat like the object I’m copying.

Although I’m an amateur at art, I’ve seen another artist at work that isn’t. His name is Influence.  He doesn’t work with pencil and paper though; his craft is done with human souls.  His work can be very good, or his work can be very bad depending on the source of his inspiration.

God warns us of him.  Tells us of his power.  Warns us of our own constitution-clay.

The good news is, God uses this artist Himself to create His greatest works.  When clay is in the right hands, it can become the most beautiful, powerful pieces and God puts those pieces on display for the world to see.

image

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Too

Too.  It is a little word but it has come to have a big meaning for me.

too (adverb)-in addition, also

You see, I have a problem-I eat TOO much;  I eat in addition to what I need.  I eat my meal and also a little bit more, and I’ve set out to understand and overcome the problem of too.

And so, I am doing what I try to always do:  Ask the one with the answers: God.

I have been asking God how He viewed the problem and what He has set up for a way to overcome the problem of too.

And then I read something that caught my attention.

What I read mentioned the Garden of Eden.   It told how Adam and Eve lived in a smorgasbord.  A smorgasbord of goodness.  In the Garden of Eden there was only one thing that they were to avoid-a certain tree and a certain fruit-everything else was up for grabs.  Easy huh?  Well, we know how that turned out.

eve

We, on the other hand, live here on Earth-in a different kind of smorgasbord.  A smorgasbord with many things we, as God’s beautiful, holy children, are to monitor and a plethora of things to avoid.

times square

Sometimes it is an obvious avoidance:  don’t take illegal drugs, don’t take other people’s stuff, don’t lie, cheat, or murder.

Other times, it is that little but powerful idea of too.  Don’t eat too much food, spend too much money, or even exercise too much.

You know-enough is enough.?.?   

Herein lies our problem-enough.  Why isn’t enough, enough-enough sex,  enough TV,  enough Facebook?  When are we-how are we-going to learn to be content with enough and quit wanting too?

Self control

Well first I think we need to call it what it is:  gluttony, greed, idolatry, perversion (ouch).

Doesn’t sound so good now, does it?  Let’s take it out of the darkness and bring it to light.  We have an ugly problem-our flesh and the flesh is never fully satisfied.

There it is.   The scale just keeps going up.  The amount due on the credit card bill just keeps increasing-the list of partners….the stuff in our house…..the amount we need to take to feel good again.  Ugh!  ENOUGH!

This flesh of mine is corrupt.  So is yours.  That is why God tells us to make no provision for it.

new life

I need to change what I can change:  what is in my pantry, whether I carry a credit card at all, whether my phone is a flip phone instead of an internet access one (There, I said it men.).  I need to make it hard for my flesh.  The Bible would tell us to take it off.

But, that is not enough.  When you take something off, if you don’t put something on, you leave a void. And voids are dangerous when you live in flesh.

We need to be full-not overfull-but filled.  If we’re not filled, our flesh will seek to take care of the deficit.

When we take something off, we need to put something on, someone on-Jesus Christ.  Off with the old flesh-driven, self-seeking self and on with the new Spirit driven, holiness seeking, other-centered newness of Jesus Christ.

God is enough

We need to quit identifying with, therefore, becoming like the gluttonous, drunken, over-sexualized world and begin identifying, and becoming like the temperate, sober, loving,  Jesus Christ-and be satisfied in Him and the life He offers us.   Abundant life.  Full life.  A life filled with contentment, satisfaction, peace, love, and joy.

Throw it out, cut it up, trade it in.  Enough, I say.  No more too.

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. ……..if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. …….And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell…  Mark 9:47

But, that’s another blog altogether……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full

Eeyore

I heard something at church today that made me smile. The visiting preacher compared a whiny, sad person to being like Eeyore from Whiny the Pooh.  I hadn’t thought of Eeyore for years-poor, sad, gloomy Eeyore.

I shook my head because I know some Eeyores.  People who have everything they need to live a full, content life but don’t.  And they don’t because they choose not to.  You know them.  You sit next to them to have conversation and quickly regret it.  It is like a cloud surrounds them and if you get too close, you get enveloped into the grey matter.

Eeyore cloud

And it isn’t that they don’t have a full life and a full heart; it is that their heart is full of  wrong things.

The thing about a heart is once full; it doesn’t have room for anythings else.  A heart full of gloom and sadness, anxiety and fear, or anger and bitterness doesn’t have room for joy or peace, kindness or patience,  love or contentment.

eeyore happy

A full heart is just that-full.

If we want room for the joy and peace that God wants to fill us with, we  might just need to do a little cleaning out.  A little getting rid of.  God tells us to get rid of-anger, bitterness, rage, malice.  He also tells us not to let unforgiveness stay in our heart and set up a root of bitterness.  He knows we can’t have both.  We have to choose. One or the other.   And God never tells us to do anything that He Himself won’t empower us to do.

So let’s not be an Eeyore.   Let’s choose light and life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Even Superman Had His Kryptonite

Chocolate.   And cake.  Some pies.  Basically anything creamy and sweet.

That is my Kryptonite.  You remember kryptonite, don’t you?

Superman.  Superhero with one flaw, one weakness-Kryptonite.  In the presence of Kryptonite he lost all his power.

We all have our Kryptonite.  You know that thing that when we come under its power, we lose ours.  Maybe it is beer, or that “little blue pill”, or, like me, that clear, white granulated stuff that tastes so sweet.

In the presence of our Kryptonite-we become weak and give in under its power.

The problem with Kryptonite was that it was used by Superman’s enemies to take him down.  They knew Superman was stronger than them and that they had no chance of subduing him unless they could find His weakness-his Kryptonite- and use it against him. Then they could control him.

Kryptonite in itself wasn’t a bad thing and it wasn’t a bad thing to all people-just Superman-and the enemy knew it.

What was Superman’s defense.  How did he protect himself?  He stayed as far away from Kryptonite as possible and that is to be our strategy-to make a life where our Kryptonite is hard to get at.  

The Bible tells us to, “make no provision for the flesh”. We are to create a life that would make coming under the power of our Kryptonite difficult-don’t buy it, find accountability, don’t drive that way, delete the account. Make no provision.

A life that it would be hard for our enemy to use Kryptonite against us.  He wants our lives to be weak and ineffective.  He wants our minds burdened with guilt and shame for being drawn to the very thing that overtakes us.

But, to the glory of God, we also have a Savior who has come to set us free and empower us.  We are overcomers in Christ.  There is no Krytonite used against us that will prosper.  Walk on dear follower and know the power of God in your life through Jesus Christ.

 

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What Does Freedom Cost?

Last night I threw away a nearly full half gallon of Breyer’s Coffee Ice Cream.  Crazy, I know.  Who throws away a perfectly good container of ice cream?  Somebody who wants to be free.

It all started when a good friend told me about her daughter’s addiction to drugs and subsequent recovery.  In the course of the conversation it was mentioned that the tab for rehab for the three years her daughter spent in recovery cost the parents $30,000.  Wow.

I have thought a lot about that conversation the last few days. How much are we willing to pay for another’s freedom;  what about our own?

I personally have my own addiction-food.   I have struggled with an addiction to food most of my life.  I have lived a life of gluttony.  How do I know?  I have been miserable.  I’ve struggled to find clothes that fit, I’ve struggled with personal hygiene,  I’ve struggled to tote the extra weight around.  It has cost me. My spirit has been willing (and desperately desires to be free) but my flesh is weak.

So, lately, I’ve been talking to God about how to walk in freedom from the flesh.  I’ve noted here a couple of verses that I believe He’s given me to ponder:

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.  Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.[Proverbs 23: 1-3]  Unlearning habitual patterns of the flesh takes a firm resolve.  If a person wants to be free, they have to face facts. Most of us are given to abusing things of this world: food, alcohol, sex, drugs, money (It is our kryptonite;  we loose strength when we are around certain foods or are in certain situations.). We must make serious effort to undo flesh patterns that have been set up over the years until we develop a new relationship with whatever has us in bondage.  Delicacies are deceptive; they only satisfy for a moment. They look wonderful, but are of little value to our body. Actually, they are destructive. Ellicott’s commentary explains the verse like this:  Use the strongest methods to keep thine appetite in check, if thou art likely to give way to it.

Another verse… make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. [Romans 13:14]  That is why the ice cream had to go-and so does keeping any sweet dessert in my house.  If I were honest, the things I told myself like:  It wasn’t fair to my family if i didn’t keep some junk food for them- were lies.  None of us needed junk food.  And, having a healthy mom who set a good example would have been much more valuable for them. An alcoholic doesn’t need alcohol in the house and a food addict doesn’t need to keep unhealthy food in their cupboard.

And lastly, and this is a tough one:…. If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. [Matthew 18:9]   This is a hyperbole obviously but its meaning is clear-take sin seriously.  Sin kills.  Sin destroys.  The flesh has to be crucified-not catered too and pandered.  We cannot love the world or the things in it-even food-if we want to walk in freedom.  We need to make strong effort to rid our lives of sin-throw away the ice cream, join AA, get an accountability partner, get rid of the Internet-what are we willing to pay for freedom?

True freedom costs.  We have to lose to gain.  We cannot love the things of this world.  Like the alcoholic has to give up their drink  and the drug addict their chemical, the glutton has to give up their habit of abusing food for pleasure.

Jesus paid a great price for us to gain freedom.  He took up a cross for us and He calls us to take up our own and follow Him.  How much will we pay for freedom?

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