It has now been seven years since I started this blog. How quickly time goes by! We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ. Therefore you do not journey alone! Hopefully through this site you will be encouraged by the fact that many things you are going through in your own walk, others are going through (or have gone through) as well. Sometimes we think we are "going through things alone." But we are not. God said that "He would Never Leave Nor Forsake Us." (Hebrews 13:5) and that "There is Nothing New Under The Sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No man is an island. It's easy to forget that. May the words in this blog help you to think, encourage you in whatever spiritual state you are in and may the Lord use them to help us to grow in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!

I don’t want any readers to think that I am “promoting” being a prodigal. I definitely am not. But what I am hoping to do – is to encourage those of us who either have had or are currently experiencing a hard time in our walk to be honest about it. Personal conviction is a powerful thing, especially if you truly love the Lord. I think that sometimes the Body of Christ critiques and judges to the point where the person who is at the other end of that pointing finger feels ostracized, alienated and alone. I don't think that that is what Jesus intended. When I read through my Bible - I see a firm yet gentle restoration that Jesus ministered to those around Him. Look at John 21:15-19. When Peter who was at an all time low point in his walk - he was firmly, yet lovingly restored by Jesus. He didn't tear him down, or yell or make him feel any worse then he already did. He spoke to him lovingly and gently - and in doing so, Peter was able to repent and minister in a much more powerful, humble and confident way and it became one of the largest ministries ever.

Please note that I am only a vessel, my calling - to write. I dedicate this blog to the Lord and ask that He use it to reach out and touch whoever needs a special, loving, personal touch from Him. My hope is that the Holy Spirit allows you to see Him through the words (and not me). We go through things so that we can extend our right hand of fellowship behind us to assist and help someone else. Our Bible is the same today, as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (I am far from perfect and do not profess to have all the answers...) but the good news is - Our Heavenly Father does! His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy is real!Nothing you are experiencing in your walk comes as a surprise to Him! May He be glorified through this blog and may God bless you at whatever stage in your walk you are in!~

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer on June 24th, 2010 - I have been cancer free for 7 years now. It was only a chapter in my life - NOT my life, but the impact is one that has changed my life forever. Its important for women to know that 80% of the breast cancer diagnosis come from women who don't have a history of it in their family (My family didn't). Early detection is the key. For more information please click on the pink ribbon above. It could save your life.


April 28, 2015

Are You For Real?

My style has always been one to try and reach people where they are at...  I guess if my friends were to describe me, most of them would say, “Kelly doesn’t sugar coat anything.  She’s the raw ingredients. She’s completely transparent and the ‘real deal… I know that if I want a direct and honest answer, I can get one from her...”
This is something that I learned as a new Christian under the tutelage of two Christian couples, The Claibornes and the Lewis’ Family, who took me, a baby Christian at the time, under their wings and gave me spiritual nourishment to help me grow.  (Thank you Lewis’ and Claiborne Families!!!!) :)

They taught me that the best way to reach people is to be your-self! To be real! 
In this day and age people can sense when someone is either putting on airs, being fake, not really interested in their situation, or acting “religious and pious;” and truly what they see is the response you will get back in return.  If you don’t really care – you shouldn’t be there!  We are called to truly love people!  LOVE THEM.  The way Jesus’ would want.  The way Jesus did! Be real!  When I meet someone who is either a prodigal or is hurting or who clearly needs to hear God’s message of redemption and love and shares their particular situation with me – I listen.  I share.  I care. It's not easy to be transparent with someone.  You make yourself extremely vulnerable.  You expose yourself in a way that most people don't do now a days and for someone to allow themselves to be vulnerable is something no one ministering should take for granted.

There is a reason you go through the things you go through in your walk with the Lord.  When you were a baby and you learned how to walk, you didn’t just “walk” on day one – first you learned how to turn your body over.  Remember the rejoicing that went on when you rolled over?  (Well…. You wouldn’t remember that – but I’ll bet your parents did!  They probably hooped and hollered in joy and praise like you graduated from an Ivy League University!) After you rolled over, you soon learned to crawl and eventually raise yourself up.  Your first step was one of uncertainty and hesitation.  I can still remember the pleased look on each of my three kids faces when they realized they were walking!  They were proud of themselves!  Kind of like a “hehehe look at me now Ma!” expression on their little faces.  Our spiritual walks are the same as our physical.  We learn over time - and sometime we fall!  But here is the thing, when/if we fall God wants us to get right back up!  We are not to sit there on the ground and cry and wallow in our mistakes but to know that God has redeemed us.  
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
After being a Christian for 23 years, I entered the hardest time in my walk, where I willfully (and consciously not to mention gullibly and naively) chose to allow myself to go down a prodigal path.  What that means is that I, knowing the Word of God, still decided at a point in my journey, to go a route that I knew God had specifically made clear I wasn't to venture.  Instead of choosing God’s will, I chose MY will.  The ramifications of that decision have reverberated in my life over and over again, even though I have been an ex-prodigal for a while now. Quite frankly, I’m still trying to come to terms with myself as to why I allowed myself to become a prodigal in the first place. The emotional anguish that I went through because of my disobedience is one that God is still in the process of healing me of. He is faithful, it is just a slow process.  (Keep in mind, as I have said this throughout many of my blog posts – that there is a reason why God says NO!  It is not because He is being  a “mean” Father, but because He knows what is best for us, what harms us, what the consequences for certain actions are; He desires the BEST for us, yet sometimes we become willful, stubborn, disobedient children and think we know what that  "best" should be.  The truth is, we don’t. We only see in part, God sees in full. ) I learned a very valuable and painful lesson, one that my Heavenly Father had not wanted me to experience in the first place, yet I did.  Instead of beating me over the head with my stupidity, as with the prodigal son in the story of the prodigal (read Luke 15:11-32) I turned around from my prodigal pathway onto the pathway home and God in His love and mercy wrapped His arms around me and welcomed me home.   For every decision that we make there are consequences for our actions, even if we have confessed our sins and gotten right with God. (They can be either physical or emotional consequences depending upon whatever your sin is/was).  Ol’ Slewfoot would have you “stew” in your mess.  But God would say, “Rise up!  I have called you by name!  Child YOU are mine!”   So – what do you do?  You rise!  You confess your sins to God! (Who sees everything any ways!)  And you get back on that path He has for you, repent (which means turn from) your experience and go forward!
What good came from my prodigal experience?  You know, God can take our "mess" and turn it into a "message" - which is how I came about writing this blog.  My having been a prodigal taught me things about myself I didn't realize before.  That it is TRULY God's grace that saves us.  You can't "earn Heaven" or "be good enough."  It is totally JUST God's grace, His forgiveness, His love and the precious blood of Jesus that allows us to have a relationship with a Perfect Sinless God.  When I hit rock bottom, with a broken heart and no answers - I learned of God's grace.  When I repented - TRULY turned from my situation, I learned God's forgiveness on a personal level.  I became humble.  I became less judgmental (even though I hadn't known I had been judgmental of others in the first place!) I decided to become transparent.  I chose to be real.  I chose to use my prodigal experience to minister to others who feel alone.  Who are on their own individual prodigal journeys and need to know that God loves them for who they are, has better for them and wants them to return home.  I chose to use my pain and shame to glorify God with my experience.  It has become part of my testimony.  In being transparent and being “real” I am able to humbly share a time in my walk with others that I am not proud of so that they in turn can be real with me, open up and receive the knowledge of love and healing that their Heavenly Father has for them, and together we can approach the throne of God through the shed blood of Jesus and thank God for what He has done and who He is and they can grow from their own prodigal situation, be redeemed and use their prodigal experience to "pay it forward" and help someone else so that that "someone else" won't feel alone.
The only “perfect” person that ever lived is Jesus.  When He hung on that cross He looked ahead through the years and centuries and saw ME, saw YOU and STILL chose to die on the cross for forgiveness of our sins.  He DIED for US.  He made a way to God where there was no way.  A death He didn’t deserve.  So in my eyes, I feel like if I can glorify Him through my life (a life I turned over to Him on my own accord through Campus Crusade for Christ 28 years ago) He may be glorified.  Because I’ve been real and able to share my prodigal experience, I have met others whose lifestyles are like nothing this “Sandra Dee” type girl (me) has ever experienced.  While I’ve never done drugs or smoked cigarettes – I know what it is to hunger for something/one I cannot have. While I’ve never committed a crime, or been in jail, I can find common ground with someone who has a desire to have a second chance at life, to turn their lives around.  The fact is that we ALL sin, there is no degree of sin with God.  Sin IS Sin.  Jesus was REAL with people.  Shouldn’t WE be the same?  Not so that that person will see “us” but will see CHRIST in US and to know that God is a God of forgiveness and love.  

In fact, recently I met someone for the first time in my life who had been in jail.  They'd been in jail for a crime that they had committed, but now they were out.  This was someone with genuine remorse.  This was someone who honestly told me their story, when they hadn't had to.  I wouldn't have known anything about them at all if they hadn't felt comfortable enough to share their story with me. This is someone who has an absolute beautiful, incredible soul, someone who has gone through so much, but cannot seem to get a second chance by others judgmental views (including the system) because of their past.  This is someone who is trying to make a new start at life - but is having trouble getting over the hurdles of their past because others won't allow them to move forward.  THIS is someone who has recently come to Christ, honestly made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior - has been born-again.  Someone who God has forgiven.  Someone who God dearly loves! Someone who deserves to have a second chance at life and happiness.  Someone God has a plan for!  My heart went out to this individual, because the stigma of the poor decisions they have made in the past is making it difficult for them to have a good chance at moving forward, and they are truly trying!  It's no wonder that there is a high percentage of ex-criminals who end up in jail again because they feel as though they are swimming against the tide! That they can't begin again! That society has given up on them and not allowing them to have a fresh start.  Not only is this person having to combat getting a fresh start at life, but also has to deal with mire of health issues because of their past!  This person has an absolutely beautiful soul, a gentle soul, and while God only had me be in their life a short time - to plant, I pray God will help them get their life on track, heal them and then use them as a powerful way to help others.  I know God is able! I pray that God will bring other people into this individual's life and assist them!  I know God will and I pray that when God does, this person will "pay it forward" with love and grace and help someone else (or many someones) that have been where they once were. So that God will indeed be glorified.  Thank God for a God who loves them and who is a God of second chances!  We ALL require "second" chances in our lives - no matter what our past situation has been.  We are not called to judge, we are called to LOVE.  We are called to minister.  We are called to help. 

"And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Often times God will bring such a person in our lives to plant, and then someone else into their lives to water and what a beautiful thing when God Himself provides the increase! There are so many wonderful testimonies of what God has done in the lives of others. Each story individually beautiful. Each of us has our own story - like handprints no two are the same. the truth is - God is ABLE.The truth is - that we grow by using our past mistakes and weaknesses to show others that God is not looking for a “perfect” people but for people who are willing to confess that they are *not* perfect and need a Savior to stand in the gap for them, the reason why Jesus "our Savior" came in the first place, God will truly be glorified by our transparency and our honesty... It truly doesn’t get any more “real” than that…! We are called to be transparent, we are called to be loving, we are called to be humble and to remember:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:19-20).

I didn't know I would go through a prodigal time in my life.  In fact, if you had told me I would, I would have laughed in your face. ME??? Experience WHAT? You are so wrong! It is very true that there is pride before a fall.  I fell alright... I fell hard, on my face, with my heart shattered into a million pieces - and while it all came as a surprise to me - guess what?  It didn't to God.  He knelt down beside me and began to pick up each one of those shattered pieces, and as He picked them up, He kissed each one and He told me, "Kelly, I am going to put you back together.  I am going to make your heart stronger, I am going to fill this heart of yours with so much love for people (from ALL walks of life - especially for those so different from your own) that unless you decide to share it with them - they will never know how broken it once was.  I am going to fill your heart with a love for me like you have never had before.  I am going to renew you.  I am going to redeem you.  I am going to use you.  I am going to heal you - You are mine.  I forgive you, I love you and I am here for you."  And you know what?  I love Him all the more for it.  He is my all in all.  He is my Savior.  He is my God.  He is my Lord.  He is my Father.  He is the Author and the Finisher of my Faith.  When I am weak - I run to Him and He makes me strong... I am far from perfect - I am a work in progress - but Oh How I know who I belong to.  I know who I trust.  I know who I can talk to.  I know who I can be real with.  He is God.  He is the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I lay down at night.  The truth is - that as long as I have breath in my body, He will continue teaching me.  I probably will continue to make mistakes! LOL  After all, I am FAR from perfect.  But God did not mean a prodigal experience in our journey to last a life time - only a short time.  A time where we can grow and acknowledge and learn to love God in a deeper committed fashion.  And if dear one, you have - than allow Him to move you forward and use you.  Because if you do, He REALLY will...  Only the things we do for Christ will last. What are you doing for Him?  Isn't it time you took a real long look at you? Because that is really the "real" of it... Really...

April 27, 2015

A Silly Little Ode to Dr. Seuss...

 If Dr. Seuss was alive today, I wonder what new words he’d say…
For cancer survivors (just like me) whose lives have changed so drastically.

Treatment was a real success; the cancer gone upon my breast.

My life, unscathed?  No, simply repaved, a 20 year marriage gone to the grave.

What words of wisdom would you give on living a life one never lived?

Oh Alice in your Wonderland – have you ever met a married man?
Or Dorothy in your Land of Oz – met a man who needed more than gauze?
Oh Dr. Seuss what would you think of dating sites that could make one drink!

My head is spinning, where am I now? Red light, green light, yellow light too –
Five years have passed and still no clue.

Oh Dr. Seuss, what would you say to get me through another day?

What silly rhyme could you construct to make my life feel real un-_ _ _ _ _ _. (Plucked!!!)
My faith in God keeps me a float without  it I’d be without hope.

Oh Dr. Seuss  I’d better end this here, before my readers (which I hold so dear)
decide to leave my little blog site – I’ll log off now and wish you good night!

April 24, 2015

The Allegory of the Pitbull

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
 (Ephesians 5:15-16)

 She was walking down a new pathway, lost in thought of the lessons she had learned upon the previous way.  Soaking them in, digesting them, smarting from the lesson she had learned, realizing that while her heart still smarted and needed mending from her recent battle with a troll (*On the right side of the blog where post are listed refer to a post entitled "The Pathway Continued" from June 2014)  she was going to be okay and able to move forward.  She had been one who planned, but her plans had not worked according to how she had thought they would.  The new pathway she was on was one of trust, this time not in and of herself; but in Him.  As she strolled along this new pathway, she randomly spoke out loud.

“Where am I going Lord? The scenery is beautiful, but I have no destination in mind. I have no plan to follow.  I am at your mercy, trusting in You.  Clearly my own plans have fallen by the wayside and I am too tired and heart sore to come up with a new.  You tell me that “the steps of the righteous are ordained by you.”  (Psalms 37:23) So, I place my trust in You, lead me and give me wisdom to follow.”
She continued along the pathway, uncertain as to where it would take her, but filled with peace that He would guide her where He wanted her to go.  As she continued on she was surprised to see lying upon the left side of the pathway a medium sized, light brown pit bull dog.  He lay whimpering.  She approached him cautiously, as it was not in her nature to keep walking when encountering a creature in clear need of assistance.

Hesitatingly she approached him, keeping a mindful distance.  “Are you alright?” She asked. Without turning his body, the pit bull lifted his head and looked up at her; she was amazed that he had the most beautiful hazel eyes, eyes which were clearly filled with pain.
“My pain is of my own doing.” He indicated wincing, with a beautiful smooth voice.  “You have no reason to fear me.  I will do you no harm.”

She stepped closer.  She didn’t have very much knowledge of pit bulls, and what she knew was not good, still he deserved help and a chance.  “What did you do?” She asked cautiously kneeling down beside him.  He lay on his side, his right hind leg bent at an unnatural angle, clearly the source of great pain, but his eyes captivated her, though filled with pain, and he had a look of defeat that pulled at her heart strings.  Carefully she reached down and stroked the stop of his head, hoping to bring him some comfort in spite of his pain.
“As a young pup I was filled with energy and a strong sense of adventure.  I constantly threw caution to the wind and did whatever I pleased.  If you told me I couldn’t do it – I did it.  If you dared me – I did it.  I was afraid of nothing or no one, life was one big adventure.  I was given to a man, who became my owner. I thought to myself, how wonderful! I will have a family who will love me and adventure with me.  But that is not how it was… I was not loved.  I was beaten over and over again whenever his mood shifted. I didn’t understand what I had done to deserve such treatment.  I tried to please him, but no matter what I did – it was never good enough.  Finally I stopped trying because I realized the effort was useless.   I ran away and became more and more daring with my life.  Whenever someone dared me to do something I did it, not considering the risk to myself.  See that scar? He said lifting his chin. There was a long scar that lined his throat at the base of his neck. 
“I had ventured onto a farm. There were a lot of animals there – horses, pigs, sheep, cows, geese.  I thought I could be taken in, or at the very least had found a place to hide and sleep for a couple of nights.  Next to the barn was a shed.  While conversing with some of the animals and boasting of my exploits a pig dared me to jump from the top of the barn across to the shed.  He said if I made the jump, he would give me complete access to his slop to eat for the night. My belly rumbled at that the thought.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten a meal, the challenge was there and all the other animals looked at me with expectation wondering how I would answer.  I knew I could do it and he had dared me.  I never turned down a dare.  Defiantly I found a way to climb up to the top of the barn roof.  I glared down at that pig and did a flying leap.  I had miscalculated the distance; the shed was not as close to the barn roof as I had figured, as I fell I hit the sharp edge of the shed roof neck first. It left a long gash which is the scar you see now.  I fell in a heap at the base of the shed. I don’t remember much else after that… I must have passed out.  When I woke up I was lying on a cold steel table of what turned out to be a veterinarian’s office.”
She listened to his story as he told it, horrified and wanting to put her hands over her ears to shut out the horror of his life experience, her own problems and worries minute in comparison to his.  She could not relate to his life experience but felt compassionate towards him, for he clearly had never been shown a kindness. He spoke matter-of-factly, with an acceptance of how his life had been without thinking it should have been otherwise.  It seemed to her it hadn’t occurred to him that although he had lived a life of living on the edge unwise in the decisions he had made, that he had truly deserved a life of love.  She stroked his head gently and lovingly as her heart filled with compassion.
“Turns out the farmer must have come out to tend to the animals, give them dinner and found me lying bleeding; by the shed, unconscious, not knowing what else to do he carried me to the veterinarian’s for help and that’s when I woke up in the most tremendous of pain. I could hear the vet speaking to the farmer as he worked on me.”
“This dog is lucky to be alive.” The Vet said to the farmer.  “It’s a wonder he didn’t break his neck.  I don’t know how in the world or what in the world he did to himself to get this injury, but if you hadn’t found him he would surely be dead.”
“I came out to give the animals their evening feed,” said the farmer.  “And to my surprise, there he lay.  I’ve not seen him before.  He is a rough sight to see with the many scars on his body.  But I couldn’t just leave him by my shed to die.”
“I’m going to have to give him a  large shot of painkiller to keep his pain at bay.” The Vet said.  “I will give you pain medication to give him for a while to keep his pain at bay.”
“I wasn’t planning on keeping him.” The farmer said. “But I suppose I can keep him until he’s healed up a bit.  I have no use for a pit bull, now if he was a sheep dog that would be another thing…”  He and the Vet laughed together.
“That was the last thing I heard, because after a pinch of pain caused by the needle the Vet was sticking into my hindquarters came the most wonderful feeling of peace and all of a sudden I was painless, feeling more wonderful than I had in a long time.  Pain free… Feeling extremely fine, the best I ever felt.  Care-free… I didn’t need to think anymore.  I just floated and everything was wonderful… You see, the medicine made everything okay… Or so I thought…  The farmer took me home and cared for me, set up a blanket in the kitchen by the wood stove and allowed me to stay there, gave me a collar to go around my neck… He even gave me a name, something I had never had been given.  He called me, ‘Bob.’”

She giggled at that.  Bob...  He didn’t look like a Bob.  Yet how odd she found it that no one had even considered him important enough to even provide him a name.  It was more than she could comprehend.
“I lived for those pills.  I eagerly awaited the moment he would give them to me so that I could go off into the La La land of peace and wonderful floating feeling that it gave me…  Days turned into weeks and then months and then came the day when the pills were no more.  They were no more!”
"'I’m sorry Bob.' The farmer said to me. 'You don’t need them anymore.  They are all gone.'"
“All gone?!  All gone! How could they be all gone?!  The farmer went out to tend to the other animals and when he left,  I looked frantically around the house.  They had to be somewhere.  I needed those pills. I wanted those pills!  Those pills had made life bearable for me.  They made me want to exist.  How could they be no more?  The more I looked and couldn’t find them, the more frustrated and angry I got.  How could he not give them to me! Where was he hiding them?  He was probably using them for himself! He stole my pills! I’d fix him alright!  I’d show him that he couldn’t treat me that way!  I tore up the cushions in the living room, knocked books down off the shelf, made a royal mess of things.  Not give me my pills!  I’d show him! Take my pills from me!"
Her mouth formed a perfect O.  She removed her hand from off his head and laid it on her lap, leaning forward to hear what happened next, she could only imagine the farmer's anger at coming back to the house and finding his house a complete wreck.  Bob looked up her and nodded his head.
"Oh yes... He was livid. I'll never forget the look on his face when he entered the house.  It went from confusion to astonishment to absolute anger.  He yelled my name.  I bodly came out from behind the sofa I had been tearing apart.  As I came around the corner, he was removing his belt from off his blue jeans.  All of a sudden I had flashbacks, to when I was a pup.  It wasn't the farmer who was standing before me, but the owner I had had and this time I was not going to allow him to beat me. He came at me and I snarled and clamped my teeth down upon his hand.  Hard. I wouldn't let go. He yelled in pain and grabbed my collar to pry me off his hand, which was profusely bleeding at this time.  I had shocked myself.  Here was someone who had shown me kindness, took me in and cared for me.  I knew it was over now.  He picked me up and headed out the door of the house towards his truck.  Threw me into the back of the truck.  I couldn't think.  I couldn't do anything.  I was shocked by my own actions.  He had tied a towel around his bleeding hand and was driving the truck at a fast pace right down the road, muttering under his breath the whole time.  I don't know how long we drove, it felt like forever, it was dark and getting cold.  I wasn't feeling very well, the remorse I felt from biting him filled my mind along with a fuzziness in my head, which I can only think was contributed to my having a lack of pills.  When he finally pulled the truck over, we were somewhere far away, looked like a cornfield.  He came around to the back of the truck, picked me up and threw me onto the side of the road, did a u-turn and drove back the way he had come leaving me stranded. Once again, I was on my own and it was my own fault."
She didn't know how to respond.  She couldn't identify with his experience, what he had done was wrong. But at one point or another everyone did "wrong" things in their lives.  She was not one who could judge.  She thought about the things she had done "wrong" in her own life and found herself unwilling and unable to judge him for his actions.  It didn't matter that life had shown him little kindness, there is a point where one has to take responsibility for their own actions, no matter what life had previously thrown one's way.  to own up to one's own wrongs and look to the One who had provided a way out.  A covering of grace.  She knew now why she had encountered him along the path.  She glanced down at his twisted leg.
"Is that how you came to lying here?  What happened to your leg?"
He barked out a laugh before he answered. "Once the farmer had left, I became terribly disoriented.  I didn't know what way to go or where.  I was experiencing all kinds of strange feelings along with regret.  I felt hot, I felt cold.  Felt like I was going to vomit. Felt sweaty.  Physically I began to run the gamut of strange sensations.  I didn't know how to get back to the farm, nor did I want to try returning there because I had outstayed my welcome, I thought it would probably be best if I found somewhere to lie down and try to get both my head and my body together.  Perhaps if I could just lie down and sleep I would feel better when I awoke.  I walked off the pathway into the cornfield and found a quiet place to lie down and rest... What I didn't count on was sleeping days and days. I woke up to the sound of an engine. I was groggy, it sounded close, but I didn't realize how close until it accidently ran me over.  The driver didn't even realize he had hit something and couldn't hear my yelp over the sound of the tractor motor.  I thought at that point I was truly done for.  Yet I was able to drag my leg behind me, not sure of the distance.  But here I am. I lay on the side of this pathway with the expectation of eventually dying."  And with that statement, he lay his head down on top of his two front paws.
She sat next to him quietly for a moment, thinking. And then she shifted closer to him, lifted his head onto her lap and began once again to stroke his head.
"Now you listen to me, Bob..." She could tell he was listening as his ears twiched in the direction of her voice, even though he remained silent.  "You weren't dealt the best hand at life, I'll give you that. And you have made some really stupid decisions in your life.  REALLY STUPID... But I'll tell you this.  At some point or other we ALL have made really stupid decisions in our own lives, so I can't point a finger at you without pointing all the rest of them at myself!  Here is the thing though... There is Someone who has always loved you, cherished you and wanted you all your life.  In fact, He created you!  He knew you when you were formed in your mother's womb! (Psalms 139:13) He knows all hairs on your head (Luke 12:7)  or in your case fur...  Maybe He has brought you to this point so that you can realize how much you need Him."  She could tell he was really listening to her because now his head was tilted at an angle, he was looking at her listening intently to her words.  She continued to tell him how when Jesus hung on that cross, He had done so for Bob.  He had looked as he hung on that cross future and had seen Bob.  And if Bob had been the only one He had seen, He still would have died for him. Tears were streaming down Bob's hazel eyes as he listened to how much God loved Him.
"You matter Bob, you do.  And it isn't a mistake that God had me walk along this pathway to meet you.  You see Bob, you are not at the end of your life - you are at a new beginning."
"What do I have to do?" Bob asked.
"You need to just turn to Him.  Talk to Him.  Tell Him, 'Lord, I don't know You, but I want to know You.  Come in to my life and be my Lord and Savior. I need You.'  And watch what He does..."
Bob did just that and when he was done, he was taken by surprise when she rose up on to her feet, leaned over and carefully picked him up and put him across her shoulders as one would carry an injured sheep, effortlessly which was surprising because she was a slight of a female.
"Where are you taking me?" Bob asked.
"Well I'm not going to leave you here in pain at the side of the road." She said a little bit breathless as she walked forward down the pathway.  "The steps of the righteous are ordained by God, and I am almost certain that we'll find help for you along the way."
A little farther down the road was a cottage.  I would say ironically, yet nothing that God ever does is "ironic."  The owner of the cottage was a retired old man, one who had recently lost his wife.  One who lived alone.   A man who was extremely lonely, and in need of company.  A man who happened to have been at one point in his life to have been a veterinarian.  It was here that she dropped Bob off.  Here that she left to continue on upon the own "unknown" pathway of her own life feeling confident that Bob had finally been given a home.  One where he would heal, where he would grow, where he would love.
Even when we feel lost, even when we can't see or understand why we go through what we go through, God is still on His throne.  All we need to do is simply acknowledge that, be thankful and trust that in the midst of all our uncertainty, it is certain that God knows what He is doing and is in control.  Even when we ourselves are not.

Often times on our own individual journey, God will have us encounter people along the way. People who have lived lives very different from our own.  People who He only wants us to walk with for just a short period of time.  The Bible says:

"I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

Often we are only to be in someone's life for a short period of time, God uses us to plant or to water and the growth is what God is responsible for Himself.  It is important to recognize when it is that He wants you to move on.

Along the journey of our lives we shall encounter many different characters upon the pathway. Indeed, for myself, it has become more of a time of personal reflection, spiritual growth and more food for fodder in what I write.  May God bless you Bob (not his real name).  May you continue to grow in Christ.  God used me to plant, I trust that He will bring someone else in your life to water - and I know without a doubt that if you will allow Him, He will certainly turn your life around and provide an increase.  In Jesus precious name I pray. AMEN
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:12-13)

April 17, 2015

Bullet Dodging

"With Every Temptation God Will Provide a Way Out" (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Are You Taking It? Or Are You Dodging Bullets???
Careful Now... One Might Just Hit It's Mark...
I believe every Christian is able to relate to this at some point in their walk… Especially one that is having a prodigal experience…

I call it bullet dodging.  The times when we allow temptation to overtake us… Times when instead of walking away we give in to temptation.   It is during those times where we really need to ask ourselves, if it is (or was it) worth it.  The Bible tells us:
“With every temptation God will provide a way out.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
But it is up to us to take that way out!  This is not always easy…  In fact, sometimes it’s just down right hard!  It is easy to justify actions, to give into temptations – if a temptation wasn't tempting, it wouldn’t be a temptation!  A temptation is a lure, an attraction, something that draws you and pulls you in.
Although it is difficult at the time of the temptation it is important to think about how this will make you feel after you have given in to whatever the temptation is.  Sometimes the cost can be much higher than the experience was worth.  Ol’ slew foot and his crew doesn’t tempt you with things that are not alluring or desirable.  But this is where we have to remember that the reason why God says *not* to do something is because He knows when something is in our best interest.  Remember,  living in the moment can change any future moments you have…  The Bible is a book on instruction.  God is not trying to be a *mean* parent holding back on you.  He knows the outcome of what certain actions and decisions can lead to.  He has your best interest at heart.

Think of it this way…

Those of us who are/have been parents can see the broader scope of things than our children can.  Our children see what they want, when they want it, especially if they are little.  They are not mature enough to “reason” like an adult.  That is why God has given them parents.   An example?  You are baking cookies and have put a batch that have just come out of the oven on top of the stove to cool off before using a spatula to put them into a cookie jar.  Your six year old child smells the wonderful smell of freshly baked cookies.  The smell leads her into the kitchen where she eyes them on top of the stove.  Ohhhh how she wants one… 
“Mummy,”  She says, tugging at your skirt.  “Can I have a cookie?”
 You smile down at her and stroke her head and say, “Yes, just as soon as they have cooled off.  Not right now.”

Perhaps you walk away to attend to something else with the mindset of coming back when the cookies have cooled.  But your child only smells that great smell and sees what she wants, and she doesn’t want to wait.  She wants one now… She reaches over to grab a cookie off the hot sheet and is filled with surprise when she burns her hand.
Or maybe she doesn’t burn her hand, but puts the hot cookie in her mouth and burns her tongue… Or worse, perhaps she reaches over to get a cookie and the whole hot tray falls upon her face.
There are consequences for all our actions.  Some consequences manifest in the physical, some emotionally.  The point is – God sees in FULL.  We see in part.  We can be just as willful and stubborn as that young child.  When we want something or when something tempts us, we often don’t think of what the consequences to giving into those actions can be.
Each one of us is guilty of that.  There are no perfect Christians.  There is no “degree” of sin with God.  Sin is sin, yet different sins cause different consequences depending on what they are.  There are times when we choose to play, “Russian Roulette” or we choose to take our chance and dodge bullets.
Nothing pleases Satan more… Can you hear him whispering the same lie he whispered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Remember the first lie that came about in the Garden of Eden? It is worth putting the story into this post.  The account below is taken from the Book of Genesis Chapter 2.

Adam & Eve

 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but stream came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:4-9)

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” 18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.  But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:15-25)
The Fall
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” 20 Adam named his wife Eve,[because she would become the mother of all the living.21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:1-24)
Adam and Eve decided (in spite of God’s instruction), to give into temptation and to believe the lie of the devil.  God had only good in mind for them.  In fact, God had made a point of explicitly in detail telling them what the cause of their actions would cause.  That is something that He didn’t have to do. Yet still they believed the devil, gave in to the temptation and in return, dealt with the consequences.

We haven’t changed a bit since Adam and Eve.  We still do and respond to God’s instruction the same way…  It was never God’s intention for us to allow ourselves to live lives of “dodging bullets.”  Yet still we do…
How much it must pain Him when He sees we choose to do what we want and not what He has instructed.  And then, on top of everything – when we “get hit” with a bullet that we’ve allowed ourselves to stand in front of – we blame Him!  We blame Him for our own course of actions, when all along God told us NOT to do something.  We rage at Him, we yell at Him, we blame Him – for actions that are of our own doing…
And yet, still He loves us…  In fact, all the while God was planning a plan of redemption, because of His love for us.  He was formulating a “Plan B.”  His plan?  To leave His comfort zone (Heaven) and come down in the form of man (Jesus).

“God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
He was already planning a new way to give us eternal life… And He did that through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus on the cross.  Jesus made a way to correct the wrong Adam and Eve had done (and the wrong we do) and by accepting Him as Lord and Savior we are given a chance to have eternal life all over again.  Now THAT is love.

As long as we have breath in our bodies, there will be temptations that come in our lives.  God knows that.  It isn’t always easy to push those temptations aside or to choose not to “dodge” those bullets.  Sometimes the ramifications for giving into those temptations can be life changing.  What can you do when you are facing a temptation?  Try to keep your head together. Think about – “Okay, this is something that I REALLY want to do…  Oh this is hard not to give into..” Try thinking beyond the temptation, what will you feel like afterwards?  Will you be remorseful? Will it make you feel bad about yourself?  How will it affect your life or those around you?   How will it affect your health? Will the giving in to the temptation feel worth it afterwards?  And then PRAY.
“Oh God, this is soooooooo hard!!! I want to give into this.  Everything within me says to DO IT. But I know what Your Word tells me.  Help me be strong.  Help me to run from it! Help me not to give in but to do what YOU would want me to do.  Make it less appealing to me.  Make the desire for whatever it is go away!  You said in your Word with every temptation YOU will provide a way out.  Help me to take it! To walk away!  In Jesus’ precious name I pray! Amen!”
There will be times when you give in to a temptation. This is where ol’ slewfoot has got you in his trap and he is ridiculing you, accusing you before the Father and laughing his little behind off because he has got you exactly where he wants you.  He stands before the Father saying, “You see?! You see?!!! Look what she/he has done! I told you!!!!  You see?!!”  This is where (if you are a Christian) Jesus stands up before God the Father and says.

“Yes – its true. She/He has messed up.  But Father, I have paid the price for her/his sins.” And points out the nail scars in His hands and feet and reminds His Father of the blood He shed on the cross for forgiveness of your sins. Which shuts ol' slewfoot right up.
“Though your sins are scarlet I will make them white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)        

Your sins have been forgiven, if you have made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior. If you have prayed the prayer:
“Lord Jesus, please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  I recognize that I am a sinner.  That I have been saved by grace.  That You were born of the Virgin Mary, died on the cross and rose from the dead for forgiveness of my sins. Please forgive me for my sins, come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen”

And He will… HE WILL.  It is by His grace, His forgiveness, His love and His mercy that no matter the temptations we face or give in to – He loves you.  REALLY loves you.  There are still consequences to any actions we take – sometimes they show up in our physical bodies, or in our lives themselves, depending upon what those temptations have been.  But no matter what – if you bring those times you have been hit by a bullet of sin before Jesus, He will cover it with His precious blood and forgive you.  It’s called repenting.  With that being said, true repentance is recognizing when you need to turn away from something, just because you are a Christian does not mean that you should willingly sin because you are covered with the precious blood of Jesus.  Remember – God looks at the heart.  He knows you.  He knows what you struggle with.  He knows when or why you do what you do.  Confess that you are struggling with a certain temptation and turn it over to Him.  He will strengthen you and He will change you.  You see, our God is in the “restoration” business.  He is ALL about change.  You just need to be open to it.
God has a plan for your life. 

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
It all amounts to trust.  Who are you going to trust? Yourself or Him? Trust Him. Trust His Word. Trust that He has your best attentions at heart.  No one knows better than He does what is best for you.  Believe Him… Just believe...


April 14, 2015

Compassion - The Key Ingredient

"And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion..."
Matthew 14:14 
There are times in our walk with the Lord where He will bring you into situations that are totally out of the realm of anything you have ever encountered or experienced before.  You suddenly find yourself in a situation where you are completely out of your comfort zone.  You have no experiences that are similar to draw upon.  Situations where you find yourself wanting to put your hands over your ears and shut out what the person is telling you because you don’t want to know, you can’t identify with them and you certainly don’t want to hear about life styles that you have done your hardest to stay far away from, life situations that you have only heard on the news – never directly in contact with you.

But then you have to think… What is it that Jesus would do?  When Jesus was here, he was with what was considered at that time as the “dregs” of society, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the lepers.  Time and time again it astonished Jesus’ followers that he would be where they least expected him, or wanted him to be. 

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-32)
Jesus looked beyond the individual, right into their heart. He knew the heart of who they were.  If we are to call ourselves “Christians” (which means to be Christ-like) we have to think no matter how unfamiliar we are with the lifestyle of an individual, how Jesus would want us to respond.  We are called to be Christ-like.
We forget that there is NO degree of sin with God.  Sin is just that SIN.  Whether you lie, cheat, steal, kill, etc… It is all sin.  And God recognizes it as such.  There is no one who is “better” than another.  No matter what your back ground is.
I have found myself thinking a great deal about the people who came down with leprosy in the days of the Bible.  They were ridiculed, they were ostracized, and they were judged by those around them.  At that time they were under the “Old Testament” – the law portion of the Bible.  I cannot even imagine what that must have been like for them.  In serious physical and emotional pain, not dead – but probably living with the wish that they were dead.  Leprosy is not a common disease anymore, but there are other diseases in this day and age that can cause an individual to feel just as ostracized and alone.  When I think of what Jesus would do in those situations, I think His reaction would be the same as it was back then – one of love.  He reached out and touched those people that were considered "unclean" or "untouchable.  His life was one of compassion. He was unselfish.  Giving, loving, caring -  Isn’t that the way were are supposed to be when we come in contact with someone who is hurting? Either physically or emotionally?  If we don’t show them the love of Christ, who will?
My own sins and faults are ever before me, I cannot understand how anyone can feel they have the audacity to be able to judge or the right to judge someone else. What a dangerous place to be where you feel you have the authority and right to judge someone else.  Have you walked in their shoes? Do you know what led them to make the mistakes they have made in their life?  What about the mistakes YOU have made?  Are you really in  a place where you can stand in judgment of someone else? I can honestly and passionately say – “NOT I!!!”
The Bible tells us:
“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)
You may read that and say, “Yes, Kelly – but I have never done A,B, or C.”  To which I would look at you and say, “That may be true, but D,E, and F are JUST as bad. So stop standing in judgment of someone else and be more concerned about how God is viewing YOU.”  The Bible tells us that:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
What should we do???  We should repent.  We should confess our sins.  We should admit to where we ourselves have missed the boat!  We should ask God to help us, to forgive us, to strengthen us and change whatever needs changing within us.  Our lives are our individual journeys and there will be MANY times when we “miss the boat” and have to back up and repent and confess again.  I know that I have.  I think it is just in admitting it that you are on the right path.  “Lord, I can’t get through this life without  You.  I NEED You.  Forgive me when I sin.  Show me, teach me, guide me, help me!”  And He will!  We ALL have things we need to work on – and I think that it is the way it will be for as long as we have life in our bodies.  The point is to admit it and not deny it!  To work on ourselves and instead of judging others – show them compassion!  Show them love!  Be Christ-like and ask yourself, “What would Jesus have me do???” If that is not something you can relate to, than at the very least - ask yourself how you yourself would want to be treated if you were in that person's shoes?
If someone has fallen – does it do them any good to rub their face in the dirt? If someone is hurting, does it help them to point it out to them in judgment and mock them and make them feel worse than they already do?  I can assure you that when I mess up no one can beat myself up better than I can. I'm pretty good at holding a grudge against my ownself.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?""No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you,"Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."(John 8:4-11)

Compassion, love, forgiveness and showing them God’s grace, you cannot become “their God” (nor would God want you to) but you can direct them to Him.  Your own past and what you have gone through can be used as a great  encouragement to others, so that they will know that they are not alone.  Our own testimonies can draw people closer to knowing God than anything else.  Even if it is admitting your faults or weaknesses to someone else.  The only perfect person to live was Jesus.
We are not called to be “comfortable” but to be there for someone else – that they would see “Christ in us” the Holy Spirit that came into our lives the day we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and realize that God’s love is true.  It’s real.   And He is no respecter of persons.  God has NO favorites.  As He has loved me – He loves YOU.  YES YOU – just as you are right now.  In the middle of your stinky mess.  He will take that “mess” and make a “message out of it.”  Because our Father is in the business of restoration.
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Every where that Jesus went He showed compassion, forgiveness, grace and love.  He didn't say it was going to be easy - but it is the reason WHY Jesus came.
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17)
God left His comfort zone in Heaven and came down to us in the form of a man - the Son, Jesus - to meet us where we were at.  If He is to be our example, it should be no surprise when He calls us to leave "our" comfort zones (whatever that may be) to show someone else who needs to come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior that God is REAL.  That His love is REAL and that He can reach us wherever we are AT.
The days are short - there are still so many people who have yet to personally see or know how real God is.  How true His love is.  Are YOU a Christian? Is that what you call yourself?  Than isn't it time to stop judging and start helping? Start loving? Start showing?  Compassion.  That's where it all begins... That's what makes all the difference. And they will know who you are by the love that you bear.  Because when it comes down to it, it is the Holy Spirit that removes the scales off blind spiritual eyes, how? By showing God's love.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)