He was a friendly little kitten and at first glance, he looked like a normal, orange tabby. He was meowing in the parking lot. A big tomcat was approaching him so me…being me…got out of the car and picked the kitten up. The first thing I noticed was the huge scar on his neck and upon closer inspection I fought back tears as it wasn’t an animal marking, it was a knife wound. Still, he purred and cuddled like nothing had happened. He was seemingly unaffected by his past trauma. As I got to know him better, the visible signs of abuse were evident. His eye looked abnormal, whiskers had been burned and cut, and two more deep gashes on his sides were prominent. This kitty had been through some stuff, yet he was still loving and affectionate. How in the world could this baby critter (vet said he was no more than 4 months old) still be trusting to any human hands? I was amazed.
Ellis reminds me of us. Some have wounds that are visible and when we see them we find them repulsive and sad while their owners, because they’ve become a reminder of their survival, think nothing of them. I’ve met so many courageous people who’ve been through unspeakable things who bear their marks as evidence of our God who freed them and flipped their horror into absolute healing.
Oh that we would believe to be an Ellis. God can do it.
He can turn our ugly scars into most beautiful reminders of what He’s done for us. More importantly through the healing He renders, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with Him discovering who He truly is. You can trust Him. Will you?
Their eyes meet from across the room. She tries to talk herself out of being attracted to him; he thinks she’s beautiful. It seems like every place she goes, he’s there. Finally he catches her in a moment with no one around and he hones in to speak to her, one on one. He’s totally enchanted with her and she, him. They arrange a meeting and then another. After being with her for a while, although he’s sure he loves her, he starts to notice the deep wounds she carries. The more he’s with her, the more prominent the wounds become.
She doesn’t show them to everyone, but she thought she could trust him. Why else would there be such chemistry and attraction between them if she wasn’t safe to show him who she really is, what has happened to her? Surely she’s safe with him. She wasn’t. She was wrong. Eventually she finds that he, too, once her man of promise, has abandoned her.
Nothing is more beautiful than being loved by someone not because of all you’ve been through and who you really are…but in spite of it. They come to know even the ugliest you and to your surprise, love you any way. That’s what real love does. Too often though for one reason or another – good reasons and bad – we find we’re too heavy a package that people drop too easily. We find people can’t handle our reality – the real us. They like us, they love us, they hate us. No matter how hard we try to “be good”, be what the other one wants and needs, it’s never enough.
All of us carry wounds others have no idea about until we let them close enough to see. When we’re exposed, they may decide they can’t handle it and they sometimes become distant. Love is an overused and abused word used often with good intentions but few results. Some have heard that word so many times (chimed in with other well-intended promises of faithfulness and love) we don’t want to take the chance on hearing it again.
We can totally expose ourselves to Jesus. We may as well, he knows it’s all there anyway. He can handle it. He’ll never walk away no matter what has to be done to heal the wounds…ALL of them. He’s perfect love, and human love can only be successful through Him (I believe). He’ll never be intimidated and reject us because of anything we’ve been through, done or are going through. We’ll never be too much, too wounded, too lost or too far gone for Him. He can handle it. As a matter of fact, what’s hurt us the most and left the ugliest scar on us, He died for. He came specifically so we could be one with Him, expose ourselves completely to Him and let Him heal us. He can even make the scars more beautiful. He changes them from something we seek to cover to things of beauty we long to expose to glorify Him.
Whatever’s going on with you, He can handle it. Whatever you’ve done, He can handle it. He died so He could make you whole. You, beloved, can trust Him. Will you?
Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (NASB)
We’re in the midst of our first snow of the season. Sampson couldn’t wait to walk and play in it so I walked him down the hill this morning to let him run in the woods.
I went to a nearby shelter and was reading my devotionals as it’s still snowing and I was trying to stay as dry as possible. I got immersed in what I was reading. Usually when we walk I try to stay where I can at least hear him running in the woods but this morning I didn’t. When I came to myself I called him. Nothing. I listened for him. Nothing. I started to walk down to where I thought he was, calling him. I looked up the hill toward our house and he was running down the hill! That’s never happened before. He thought I had left him! He was whimpering and ran to me happy to see me.
Sometimes we feel like that, don’t we? While we’re running, working, playing, immersed in our lives we sometimes feel God’s left us because He’s quiet. There are times when we may feel we’re utterly alone.
I’d never leave my precious pup. I love him. Sometimes I let him go and do his thing but I’m always close by waiting for him to come back to me.
Our Father does the same. He awaits the invitation to join us but during the times there’s no invitation from us, rest assured. He’s always nearby. He’s as close as a whisper no matter what, no matter where. Jesus came to earth donning flesh to assure we’d never be alone. He’s in us, beside us, in front of us, over us and in us.
Sampson was sure happy to see me and hasn’t left my side since. I’m praying we stay that close to the Father today. As unstable and unsure as the world is, we never have to be unsure of Him, His presence and His love. Leave us? It’s never going to happen.
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
We were all shocked yesterday when we heard that a gunman entered a little Church in Sutherland Springs Texas and killed 26 people and injuring more.
I can’t even begin to fathom what was in that young man’s mind when he walked into that church. Understanding something like this is beyond us. What I absolutely know though is evil is rampant in our world and when it comes in to a place or personal life, the results can be devastating…even to Christians.
For some reason God’s people think we’re entitled to a pass from devastation and destruction. Exactly the opposite is true. Exactly the opposite is true (according to Jesus Himself) and that encompasses inside the walls of the church as well. Evil can exist and does exist literally everywhere. I wish God would protect us from horrible things happening, I wish we were all exempt from the experience of evil and sin. There was a time in my life when I expected God not to let me suffer anymore; I thought since I had been through some stuff, I’d had my turn and ‘land of milk and honey’ was my destination. It shames me to admit that but after all, that’s what I was told when I got saved! Nothing could be farther from the truth. (Romans 8:35) I thought I’d failed as a Christian when bad or horrible things happened because I didn’t understand – now I understand better and I know that just because bad, evil things happen to us doesn’t mean God loves us less or has abandoned us in any way. (Romans 8:35-39)
Our hearts break just like everybody else’s. We lose people we love just like everybody else. We lose jobs and finances, material things that are important to us, and we feel it just like everybody else does. There is only one difference between us and people who don’t know Jesus and that difference IS Jesus.
I don’t pretend to understand how people will cope with what happened yesterday. I just know that Jesus is with them. I believe God weeps at the atrocities (He’s in us, with us, for us – he feels our pain, of course He does!) playing out now but I also believe He will comfort his people. He promises to do so, we must believe He’ll be true to His Word. In times like these His promises are all we have. Jesus himself said we will have (not might have) trials and tribulations but He’s overcome it all (John 16:33).
When we have pain we can go straight to Him and when we do, we can have that peace that passes all understanding – the peace only He can give. (John 14:27) Miraculously through His Spirit that lives in us, His comfort comes. Those of us who have lived any time at all can testify to the fact that He eases our pain, He comforts our broken hearts and helps us by giving us His strength when we’re at our weakest so we can carry on through this Valley we’re walking through (2nd Corinthians 12:9). He will do the same for His precious people in Texas because he’s 100% faithful. He died so He could have a connection with us and that His Spirit could live inside of us for moments like these. He’s the Difference Maker. I’m quite sure many hearts are broken and many tears will be shed but I’m just as certain that the many hearts turning to God, seeking His touch will be comforted by His great presence and His matchless love.
In this world of uncertainty where evil seems to be out of control, where morals are definitely on the decline, and where there is nothing solid to hold on to we can rest assured, God is with us, walking us through these times of the unfathomable. Jesus feels our pain and He’s right here to help us through it.
That’s all I know and today, that’s enough.
Today’s my 59th birthday. Honestly I didn’t think I would live to see it. The majority of my family didn’t live to see 59, including a 35-year-old brother (died on his birthday) and a 47-year-old younger sister, all pretty good reasons to think I wouldn’t. But here I am, the first day of my 59th year. I’m thinking…well knowing…there’s a reason I’m still here. I asked God what He wanted me to do with this year and this is what I felt Him say:
Believe. Believe that I am good. Believe I have your best interest in my heart. Believe I control everything concerning you, even the bad stuff. Believe I have a good plan. Believe the enemy is still very much working in everything (and lots of those around you) and he’s a worthy opponent for you…but no match for Me. You’ll witness and experience bad, heartbreaking things you don’t understand and when you do…believe.
Live. Not just breathe; not just do the thing but live each moment knowing I’m in you and around you. Even in the mundane, remember? How many things have I shown you in the everyday moments of your life (?remember The Last Mile Home?). If you search for Me in everything, every day, I promise, you’ll find Me, you’ll hear Me and you’ll experience Me. No matter where you are, what you’re doing, look for Me. I give life…even in the most ordinary things of life…its true and fulfilling meaning.
Love. The greatest thing you can do, is to intentionally be a person who exhibits love for Love is the one thing…the greatest thing…that shows others who I am. I know your world, it’s not very easy to be kind with so much meanness and ungratefulness but I called you to be different. You’re not supposed to act like you’re lost because you’re not! I called you to be light in all that darkness. You’re alive for My glory and good pleasure “for a time such as this”. Don’t waste it. Don’t think love is a waste of time or not worth the effort. What if I had felt that way about you? Remember where I found you!!! Do the same for others. Don’t fret over their response, I’ll see to that. Do what I called you to do; do what only you can do – be you – for My Glory.
How easy it is to get caught up in our lives, thinking we’re just here to make money, buy the things we want and do what we enjoy. God wants so much more for us. His ultimate will is to know Him and love Him. My greatest fear is to leave for heaven and never know I’ve fulfilled His purpose for my life. What a regret that would be! I want His will in my life so I’m going for it and doing exactly what He told me to do: Believe, Live and Love.
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”
I feel you. I see you. So weighted down by what you’re going through. So burdened and fearful. My heart aches for you…but I can’t reach you. I won’t run after you but I’ll wait for you. I’m right here. Stop. Breathe. Close your eyes. See me? I’m waiting. Just think Me; speak to Me. Tell Me about what’s on you. I have what you need. It’s all wrapped up in Me. Everything….every thing you need can be found in Me.
I have all of it, right here. I’ve prepared a Table for you. Just you. Won’t you come sit with me a while?
In Me. Rest. Comfort. Consolation. Peace. Understanding. Love. Acceptance. Strength. You name it, I have it.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28