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Have you had a foot bath lately?

August 5th, 2013

Have you had a foot bath lately?

Have you had a foot bath lately?

Ah yes, dirty feet. We go about our day, and without much effort the filth our feet encounter ends up on them and it is time for them to be bathed. Most know the story where Jesus took this hygiene dilemma and called those closest to him to follow this example of washing one another’s feet. From John chapter 13 versus 4-5: He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. OK, so the son of God is going to wash the feet of the men he travels with? Yup! And he wants us to do it too. From John chapter 13 versus 12-15 “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” This gesture is pointed to often as the template of service and humble actions toward others. And it is. How do I know this? In verse 16, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” So he wants use to serve… to do kindness to each other. To not put ourselves above the needs of others. Just yesterday I took time out of my busy schedule to help a neighbor, and it was good because he needed it and I could sense that through this chore we worked together a peace and fruitfulness came over what was heading in a wrong direction prior to calling me over. The problems we solved together, offering suggestions and carefully weighing the outcome before proceeding. And I felt very blessed to during the two hours I spent with him. I felt like I was the one being served. It sounds weird, but one thing I felt I had little to offer was time and yet it was so easy for me to generously give it in that moment. When a fleeting thought came to point out my much more important life and much more important plans, the thought was wisked away before taking hold, or worse, taking action.

I think there is a little more to the story. It is focused on serving, but there is a purpose, not just to be helpful and share ins someone’s labor. There has to be more. In fact I sensed the more. It was not definable, but it was discernable. And versus 6-10 I think help explain: He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.” OK. There are a few things I see in this. 1. It is not easy to explain and be understood, you have to experience it. 2. If I am not permitted to humble myself and serve others, there is a lack of connection or love exchanged. 3. We are clean except our stinky feet. OK. So breaking it down, get in the habit of offering your service, responding to a call for service, and allow others in to serve you. See what happens when your agenda is set aside for a few moments to fully engage in someone else’s. Experience and notice the dynamic. It is loving to set aside what you rank as top priority for the needs or wants of another. Any parent knows this, because whenever something “real big” is on their honey-do list, the kids are in need of some attention. From my experience, kids are the most loving and gracious and adaptable little people and maybe it is them who practice this principle the most. And my final word on it is the one that caused me to write this blog in the first place. It is only our feet that need cleaning? The rest of the washing is a waste? OK, let’s not be too literal here, drop the ball on hygiene, and miss the point, too. “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.” That has to mean something? OK, they have been baptized. I get it, we are cleansed of our sins. But why then to the feet need to be washed? Or am I going too far? Did he just not want to give Peter a bath? No, I think Jesus is pointing out that what is connected to the earth gets dirty inevitably and needs to be maintained. The rest is kept pure? Yes, that, but he’s saying the rest is not of the earth. He is saying we have an earthy connection and also a heaven connection. Like dirt grips your feet, the problems and pleasures of this world grip your focus and become your consciousness. We need to work together to loosen that grip so we can be aware of heaven around us, our “share” with him. That’s what I experienced. My attention got pulled from my agenda into the body of Christ.

Be ready to serve when your are called. Give little moments here and there to your brothers and sister. Love generously, especially to those (children) who have no other recourse but to offer their hearts. By all this you will be blessed and share in the body, the sacrifice, the kingdom of Heaven, the Lamb of God, forever freshly slain and washing away the dirt of this world.

Jonah amplified

March 16th, 2013

Jonah amplified

God’s love and his plan for man's redemption is the central theme in the book of Jonah. It is a foreshadow of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and for what purpose he came. John 3:16,17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Jesus came to bring people from disobedience and apartness from God, into repentance and relationship with God. Jonah tries to run from God and his command to travel to Nineveh and preach God's message, same as people's thoughts go adrift here and there.

Back to the Book of Jonah, one reason I appreciate this story is the calamity from chapter one, that was used to get Jonah’s attention, a God fearing Hebrew, also caused the other men aboard the boat to witness the raw power of God and inspire them as a result of the storm they witnessed, Jonah’s testimony, and the immediate end of the storm as they plunged Jonah into the sea, just as he ordered them to do. Our sin was taken care of just that fast when Jesus died for us on the cross. I get an awesome visual from imagining Jesus plunging into this enormous sea that contains the full amount of our sin, our issues, choices and circumstances, and freeing us through his timeless sacrifice.

In chapter two, Jonah called out to God from the belly of the fish after 3 days and he was spit onto dry land. As you might imagine, he was convinced that going to Nineveh did not sound so bad after all. In the third chapter Jonah proclaimed the destruction of Nineveh which caused the citizens to repent, and when he heard word, the king of Nineveh, ordered a fast as a sign of their commitment to change and fear of the Lord. God saw their changed hearts and called off the devastation. I know sometimes I need a change of heart. I need particularly to remember to be humble, more loving to others, and understanding of our differences.

In chapter four, Jonah displayed his anger because God showed compassion to the people of Nineveh. Jonah chapter 4 verse 2: “And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” Wow. These words are from a man that was almost lost at sea and swallowed by a fish, but he also knew he had been safely guide to where he was needed, regardless of how. Later in the chapter God reveals his heart to Jonah by causing a plant to raise up and provide shade only to die the next day. Chapter 4 verses 10,11: And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” This plant kind of reminds me of Jesus and how his life so quickly got to the place where he was raised up the cross only to die for me and for you. The cross is God's great compassion poured out.

It's not all that hard to become lost in this world. There are so many things to give your attention to and put your faith in. If life is throwing you a curve and you feel yourself in a struggle, remember to call out to God as Jonah did. Remember there are those around you willing and able to help. Remember that Jesus is Lord and to have faith that he is with you and is savior. Pray for him to be plunged into your situation and your life and turn your heart away from the distractions and toward the living God.

Dear Lord I thank you for this day and your awesome word. I pray these words open up the hearts of many. That each day we rediscover that you are a merciful, loving God with a desire to remove calamity from our lives. Jesus you plunged yourself into my life, issues and circumstances. Show me the result of your power and grace to free me from the struggles I brought upon myself and those brought on by someone else. Give my life direction, meaning and hope. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Table Tennis Transformation.

January 2nd, 2013

Table Tennis Transformation.

In the book of Romans, we come across the tennis match of change (or not so much change). I will elaborate. It is a Christian belief to live by faith, but what exactly is that? Paul, the apostle that wrote the book of Romans, was a man who clearly had an understanding that Christianity is a life of faith and what that means specifically, not just abstractly. His writings are basically the first self-help book, a practical guide to life. The only hang-up is it takes a little to understand his writings. I am not a scholar or expert on the writings of the apostle or anyone else, but I believe the Holy Spirit helps us find meaning of verses as we read. I am going to describe a story from Romans, as I am presently understanding it.

Some habits/changes have been a struggle for me. And I have volleyed between strict resistance and overindulgence. And other issues have just gone away. One day it was normal for me to do this, and the next I no longer did, without a stgruggle. And it has been hard to understand. Things of spirit may not be meant to be rationalized, but experienced and accepted. But our habits and actions, that is physical and psychological. This is my take on some change, and I write mostly to myself, but also because there are people that go to counseling and others do self-counseling. Regardless of the method, people get to a point in their lives and think, regarding this characteristic (physical, mental, emotional, …) this doesn't represent what I stand for anymore. But reconstructing their actions and habits does not just happen automatically with that realization for everyone or perhaps anyone. Guilt can come along with this desire to change, but I don’t think it does any good. I think guilt is polarizing. I am trying to have the attitude, ‘it was OK then, but now I am just hanging on to the past with that. I am ready to move on.’

In Romans, Paul talks a lot about the law and it’s purpose. He clears up some things about sin and points to Jesus as savior, redeemer and answer for sin. He thoroughly discusses faith and cites the old Testament patriarch Abraham. And he talks about circumcision, and again cites Abraham as an example. When he speaks of the law, he says it’s purpose is to be a guide to point out sin. It was never meant to be the answer because it cannot save only condemn. Faith is according to Paul, believing and trusting and acting upon the words of God. When Abraham heard from God that he would have offspring and be the father of nations, he did not look at the impossibility of his circumstance and doubt the Lord. He believed and trusted that it was true and through grace this old man and woman would produce children. His faith was tested, The results did not immediately come to be. Sometimes we have to believe in something for a while. I have some things I am believing in, that the circumstances, or as I like to say, the evidence, suggests it won’t happen, that hope is in vain. Some things, as the evidence has mounted against, I have become more solid in my faith, even when those closest have been discouraging. I think faith is meant to be tested and developed. And we are meant to realize that when it does happen for us, it is grace and not our effort. If it was our effort, then it would not have been God and it would have come to pass a while ago. Maybe it is more like our participation and God’s consummation.

A point Paul is making about circumcision. Abraham trusted God before he saw results. His thoughts and actions lined up with God’s promise before the results. Then God made a covenant and required Abraham to seal it with circumcision. And Abraham lay with Sarah knowing they would soon conceive in their old age. I think that is the answer to the question, 'are we supposed to wait for God to do it for us?' It is probably safe to say it doesn't help to be frustrated that it has not happened, but we accept God’s promise as truth and respond accordingly. We keep doing what he told us to and believe. Circumcision was the outward sign that came after faith. I think this is pointed out to say in some places of our growth, we have to get right with our thoughts and actions, be tested and become settled in our belief, this having the safe permanence as circumcision, and then grace will come and the promise that we are carrying will become outward.

Father I thank you that you have safely locked inside each of our hearts a spiritual DNA that testifies to who we are. I thank you for the beauty and amazing faith the you have loaded inside us and you are faithful to uncover and reveal to ourselves and others. Draw out the character and image of Christ in us. Whatever we may be a part of, let Your glory be there. Amen.

Romans Chapter 4

Abraham Justified by Faith
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

The Promise Realized Through Faith
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

He turns over tables?

December 31st, 2012

He turns over tables?

Jesus turns over tables.

Lately, I have been thinking about the story of Jesus turning over tables and releasing animals from the temple, cleansing it. Specifically, I am remembering a scene from a movie, ‘The Gospel of John,’ where a narrator, ironically, reads the Gospel of John and it comes to vivid life with terrific actors. In that scene, Jesus is tearing up the system of changing money and the selling of animals to be offered as sacrifice. I know from experience, when a story or passage gets stuck in my thoughts and becomes intriguing, it just might be time to look it up. And as I look into it, I find there is so much more to dig into. After a day of picturing Jesus running rap shod through the temple scaring away the desecraters, I started to think maybe this applies to my life right now and I need to read up on it. I knew already I would find this happening in John (chapter 2), and when I searched online, I found the story also appears in Matthew 21 and Mark 11. Three of the four Gospels, stuck in my head, it’s worth a look.

The chapters from Matthew and Mark are very similar. John is different. It goes from the miracle of turning water to wine, then to cleansing the temple, and ends with Jesus declaring he knows what is in a man. In John, the section about cleansing the temple, Jesus says these words to the Jews, "destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." He was speaking of himself and his death, burial and resurrection. He is also making the comparison that a body is a temple, one that can be restored. This establishes the context as I continue. The other two Gospels tell of the triumphal entry, the fig tree Jesus withers, cleansing the temple, and the authority of Jesus questioned. Matthew 21 adds the parable of the two sons, and the parable of the tenants. Focusing on Mark, Jesus enters Jerusalem, the center of the world at the time, on a colt. I believe it is a symbol of the coming of the new covenant. The next day in transit with his disciples, Jesus finds an otherwise healthy fig tree that was without fruit. He wanted fruit from it and the tree had none, so he withered it. When they reached Jerusalem again, Jesus went to the temple and flipped out when he saw how corrupt a place it had become. He turned over tables, released animals, and chased away those who had been desecrating the holy place. He proclaims, "is it not written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?” But you have made it a den of robbers."

After cleansing the temple and teaching those that remained, Jesus and his followers once again exit Jerusalem. As they travel past the tree He spoke to, Peter announces, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered." And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. The eleventh chapter of Mark concludes with the authority of Jesus being challenged and him turning the tables on the questioners/accusers and in turn stumping them.

Ok, to bring it all home. We have this covenant with God through Jesus Christ, who comes into our lives and begins disrupting things. He begins transforming us back into our original design and purpose, that which we were before experiencing the effects of the fall. Into a ‘house of prayer.’ Through this process he has to shake up and get rid of some thinking and habits and influences. And things that are planted and not producing and yielding fruit to him, he withers, so there is no more resource dedicated to supporting it. And he tells us we have the power to do the same, but not through our might alone, but through our faith. It is worth repeating. "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” So have faith in God. Recognize, discern, and know that mountain before you, that may be hindering your advance, the thing you need to overcome, is removable. Speak to it having faith that God will remove it and dump it into the ‘sea.‘ This is bringing it to the cross and the body of Jesus where all things were overcome. And do not doubt, but believe is has been done.

So what is it that is cluttering my life up? What are the things distracting me from being a house of prayer? What is drawing resources from me without being fruitful and must be withered from me? What is the mountain before me, that doesn’t need to be climbed but thrown into the sea, completely removed from my life. These are good questions, but remember to ask this of yourself: What do you believe? What are the promises of God? What has He said to you? And what flaming torch of faith, He has asked you to hold high and uncovered for all to see, as you believe?

Father I pray in the name of Jesus for your guidance to help find and remove the mountain of obstruction. Even if that mountain is time, I say let it be brought from our path, to the cross and our deliverance provided for us in the body of Christ. Thank you God for the seed that is planted securely in me. I carry a torch and affection for your true plan for me, my life and for the lives of those I encounter or encounter me. I pray we are always walking in and receiving faith in the year to come. Amen

Anxiety and Panic, look inside for answers.

December 31st, 2012

Anxiety and Panic, look inside for answers.

Ok. I am going to give you the scoop, as I see it, about certain conditions, primarily panic attacks, interpreted through my experiences and perceptions. I do not give support from any medical journal or other documentation, only my opinions and recollections as true testimony from my own life. I am not a Doctor. I am an artist/writer with a day job. But I have lived through some things and overcome some things and am writing because I want others to use my experience to get well faster. I can’t give “professional” help, but I can give help from the trenches. My information comes from first hand personal experience. I hope it helps, but at the very least, I think it is something to consider, whether you are reading this for yourself, or someone you know. It is my belief that the condition, ie. panic, depression, etc… is a symptom and not the primary issue. It is a pointer or indicator letting you know something doesn't line up. We know when we have a cold by a runny nose or cough. We come in contact throughout our lives will emotional/psychological “germs” through our experiences. And we are quite resilient to them, but some more than others need to be looked at and dealt with. Our conscience or inner map of who we are, gives us our direction. But we can easily bury that guide behind habits (not necessarily bad) and excuses. I believe many of our conditions are from ignoring a little voice inside. Not to say the remedy is to overhaul or change any part of ones life, but to find out what that voice is saying, acknowledge it is real and important, and then move forward with a conscious decision, rather than avoiding dealing with it. It is not always a bad thing that may bring on a condition, but it is something on the inside that wants to be looked at.

The Book of Romans chapter 5:1-5 says: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” That says a lot… ‘peace with God through Jesus Christ… access by faith into his grace… sufferings produces endurance/produces character/produces hope.’ In other words, it is common to have difficulty, but the answer was given. I have found the Book of Romans to be helpful when I need to refocus.

Let’s look at an example, whether it is a deep desire for a career move, being abused in some way as a child, loss, or fear of where your next meal will come from, you have a voice that you need to listen to if you are having some sort of condition. Listen to it and discover the whole desire and the root of it, and then make a plan that satisfies yourself. You may not have the time or energy to make a change. If it is something that happened to you, perhaps you can listen to that hurt, and communicate with it and acknowledge it from where you are now. Maybe there is something you need to grieve. My wife and I lost a baby at the beginning of her third trimester. She immediately went into grief and I believe got real inner healing. I did not deal with it for years, but at some point I decided to begin attending a church where worshipping God through song was more expressive, the sermons correlated with my life, and there was something new to me, ministry time. One day years later, out of nowhere, I began to grieve that lost child. It was so beautiful and good to do. I felt so thankful to do it. I have had other things I have had to grieve, and that normally has taken place during a church service. Maybe others are more open normally, but I tend to bottle things up and singing and focusing on God does it for me. It opens me up. I have found in my late thirties and early forties how beautiful it can be to be among a group of people, all setting aside their daily agenda, to give thanks. There is no greater recommendation I can give, regardless of where you are at this time in your life, than to find a church to worship God through Jesus. That I believe is recovery. It will help you hear the voice and from there you can decide on the resolution. Whether it is to make a change or a concession, I believe this will help you follow the bread crumbs back to the source.

When I have felt anxiety, it is typically a sign that I am not living what I believe. I am going along with things and not standing for what I stand for, putting something off, or I am hiding my true self and beliefs because it is easier. Following what others believe. It is not cool to let others dictate your path, you have to take what is said and look inside for your answer. Medication may be what is necessary for a time, maybe even years, that is for you and your professional to decide, but also try to pay attention to what you are doing, saying, thinking, feeling and hoping and trail it back to what that inner need for acknowledgement, attention, and/or a response. It takes a bit of looking around to remember what you really believe some times and other times you know exactly what is going on and where a discrepancy lies. I had horrible panic attacks 10 to15ish years ago. My body and emotions were very convincingly suggesting something was wrong. And true enough for me there was, but not what I originally perceived. I got through this period of time with prescriptions and vices I had collected over the years. But somewhere on the inside of me I didn't want that stuff anymore and that inconsistency between who I was internally and who I was functionally was causing the panic. So in a sense, my remedy I used to get through the symptom or problem, was the root of the problem! Some of my bravest moments involved just going to bed during a panic attack with my body saying there is an issue. I knew, (remember this is a recording of my experience only), my issues were panic related and not actual physical concerns but it was still hard as heck to be sober and ignore seemingly serious sensations. Over time, panic symptoms went away and stayed away. I attribute getting past panic to getting through some addiction issues and beginning to serve God, or at least going to church and worshipping. I had to find where I was living contrary to my belief of who I thought my self to be, and fix it, with a lot of help from God, by realigning myself and my actions with my true self. I love fictional writing, but fictional living, not so much. There is still much to overcome and enduring is often painful, but better than the alternative.

When we are overwhelmed by something, and grief, anxiety/panic, and depression can all be overwhelming, we need to remember who we are and come back to God. Don’t punish yourself or worry about lost time, just remember he is your God and you are his son or daughter that he loves.

Romans 9:25,26
As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Father I thank you that even when we are going through difficult and traumatic physical or emotional experiences, that we are not exiles to you. We may only think that is the case, but the truth is we are beloved sons and daughters. We are cherished by you. Thank you for being a forgiving God. I ask you father to help each and every one of us to find forgiveness for those who have hurt us in the past, forgiveness for the circumstances that have hurt us, and forgiveness for ourselves regarding our decisions, actions and mistakes of our pasts. You make us new in the body of Jesus Christ. Father, I thank you for providing us peace with you through your son Jesus Christ. I pray we see and experience and fully remember our innocence that you gave us today and every day. Amen.

Jonah and my life At Sea

December 11th, 2012

Jonah and my life At Sea

The story of Jonah is one most everyone knows. It is absolutely epic. As huge as the fish (or whale) that swallowed him whole. As large and legendary the tale, the Book of Jonah is only four short chapters. And the big fish, though central to the theme of the story, is covered in just over one of the chapters. It is easily read at one time and is such a rich story. I have found there is much more in this little book, that my own life brings me back to these verses over and over again. You see, I identify with being on that boat when gigantic waves are trying to crush it, with everybody looking around trying to figure out who caused the storm. Jonah got on board the wrong ship going the wrong way because he was hiding from God. And like Jonah, I can sometimes look at the decisions I made and know I got myself there. But sometimes I can't. Some of the stuff we are exposed to, or that happens to us along the journey, isn't our fault and can distort how we read our inner compass. A bad incident or just bad programming from people we trust can make us fearful of people, places, circumstances.

Sometimes I look around at a struggle I am in and what I have not yet overcome and think what a waste! What a wreck I have made of things. I have taken the one life that should have been fulfilling and torpedoed it. Then I think of the crap that I went through as a child, no choice of my own. And I look inside and find there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, that my life has purpose and meaning. It is just different than the script I that I thought my life was about. The story of Jonah is all about the forgiveness that God has for us his children. God goes to great lengths to reach his children. There is a lot of destruction people encounter and develop into patterns, but finding yourself in too deep can be potentially sobering. Crying out for help and taking the first step is the path that leads out of that dark place.

I often think that I have missed the will of God, that I have somehow gotten off track in life and am lost to find my way back to the life I was meant to have. A better way to think is, my life has brought me to this point and I am to go forward from here. A large part of my adult waking hours have been spent accumulating cash working on a computer in a cubicle only to see that resource just pay the bills and not much more. It feels like I am pouring myself into a hole that cannot be filled. I am like, where did it all go? My life, my time, my money, my resources, my energy. When I feel like that, it is a symptom of a few things, 1. I am not looking at the good things in my life. 2. I am not seeing the growth that has occurred in my life. 3. I am underestimating the impact that God is having in my life and those I encounter. 4. I need to remember to look to God for courage, inspiration, satisfaction, promise and joy.

Being lost is only a temporary symptom. Getting found is submission and honest words calling on God. Your heart may want to follow the Lord, but your actions are struggling to comply because of habits, addictions, confusion, weakness, or lack of knowledge. Hang in there and allow those around to assist you. When I am lost, I feel like I am At Sea. If you are lost, reach out and ask, "what is the answer? What is the way to dry land from here?"

Jesus I pray that you lead us to safety when we are lost. I pray that we only remember your crucifixion is real and relevant to our lives. Let it be easy to remember, to have the full awareness that our sins have been pardoned when we ask you to be our savior and our life has real meaning when we ask you to be Lord. Give us solid ground to stand on Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.