Who or What do you Trust?

Trust is a big issue for many people, or perhaps most people of the modern world, where betrayal and false information runs rampant. As so many people react with shock, fear and anger at the results of our Presidential election and decisions, I noticed right away I am remaining calm. That is unusual for me. As I reflected on why I was at peace, I realized it is because I trust in God and not in any one person or group being elected into ‘power’. I voted of course, as is the responsibility and duty of every citizen, but I was not so tied to the results, unlike any Presidential election in my past. 

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in (any) man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Or Presidents) Psalm 118:8-9 AMP 

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7 AMP

There is a reality to the impacts of governmental decisions. Being realistic I realize there are a lot of serious issues at stake when political power shifts depending on who has the most power and what their stand is on those issues that are especially important to me and my way of life or safety in this world. With reflection and listening to news reports and press releases I can react with many different emotions including anxiety, panic, or even anger if I project that what I hear will impact my life negatively. This is especially possible if it means survival financially or even physiologically by limiting health care or environmental safety or a safe and plentiful food and water supply. Some of the issues being addressed for change are very important and essential for continued quality of life. Many other countries already suffer from negative impacts on their quality of life and even survival, so we have plenty of examples of how worse things can become. Many in my country already are struggling to get their needs met for food, shelter, health and financial stability. Just a few years ago I struggled in some of those areas and still experience some struggles with my health. 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life— Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1 AMP

It used to be impossible for me to trust anyone or anything. I did not even trust myself. I certainly did not trust God, even though I thought I had faith. Because of the impacts on my body, mind and heart from frequent severe traumas in my childhood, I never thought I would be able to have peace from ongoing anxiety or even severe panic and terror given certain situations or just the events of daily life. I tried several spiritual practices and psychological methods over many years with many different teachers, counselors and experts, but my anxiety never disappeared and even could paralyze me in difficult or threatening situations. I was raised a Christian and considered more inclined spiritually than most because of a near death experience at a young age, but my active faith was minimal and my peace non-existent. But since I discovered a few years ago the truth Christ offers and having afterwards received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” empowering my relationship with God, my ability to trust and be at peace grows every day. I am amazed (and so are other observers) at the levels of peace and trust I experience today compared to just a few years ago, despite incredibly difficult circumstances and life threatening events.

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast, that is, committed and focused, on You—Because they trust and take refuge in You with hope and confident expectation.” Isaiah 26:3 AMP

What is different for me today? Why am I not afraid? Over many years of learning to let go and trust God in the many difficult situations and circumstances of my life, I have discovered God is truly there for us. I was only really able to let go with the power of the Holy Spirit. I had tried for several years practicing letting go, but fear and my level of trust had not really changed when things got difficult. God really does care about us and our needs, no matter who we are or how well we live our lives. God always has a good plan for us: (God said) “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, (plans) to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP Having heard and studied that verse for many years, I thought I believed that in the past but when difficulties arose so did anxiety and panic if I did not see some help or solutions come quickly.

Would you like to find someone you can always trust in any situation, no matter your own goodness or abilities? Unconsciously I believed I had to be ‘good’ for God to help me. I tried letting go and letting God over many years of working with 12 step programs and workshops. I grew in wisdom and in my relationship with God but when things got really difficult I caved into fear and doubt. I believed in Christ but did not really understand what Christ offers to everyone and what Christ offers does not depend on worthiness or performance. I did not really understand the depth and extent of God’s love, mercy and grace or the true meaning of surrender and letting go. I had grown in my ability to surrender but did not realize what I was holding back, my trust. Over the years of practicing with the help of the Holy Spirit to put my trust in God and God’s promises when things get difficult, unmanageable or downright painful or intolerable, I find comfort, peace, and ultimately solutions come that I could not have found or devised on my own in ways that sometimes seem unbelievable or impossible, but real.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, set aside self-righteous pride (in believing you can handle it yourself), so that God may exalt you to a place of honor at the appropriate time, casting all your cares, all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all on God, for God cares about you with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully. ” 1 Peter 5:6-7 AMP

“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize God, And God will make your paths straight and smooth, removing obstacles that block your way.” Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP

Who do you trust the most? Perhaps it is yourself. Try putting your trust first in God, turning you life and every situation over to the God of your understanding for God’s care and purposes (Step 3 of the 12 step program), as if hiring a special expert to solve your individual problems. The cost is giving up expectations of how or when it might be done, but I have found God’s ways are always better than the ones I expect and the results have much more blessings attached to them. This is exercising your faith ‘muscles’. Eventually faith grows and gets stronger. But I found I need a ‘personal faith trainer”, the Holy Spirit, to ‘spot’ me when I lift the weights of trusting God when things seem difficult or threatening to my well being. 

If you do not believe in God or have doubts in God’s existence, ability or willingness to help you, this can be an opportunity to test if God responds to your seeking to find out the truth about God. Step 1 is acknowledging our limitations and failures, evidence of not being god ourselves. Step 2 is coming to believe there might be something or someone greater than ourselves that can help us. That someone or something becomes the god of our understanding. This might be a ‘ruler’, expert, group or government or whatever you are placing your trust in. I encourage you to seek a more powerful, always benevolent, providential God for your choice to trust. That God can be found in the pages of the Bible or as Jesus Christ presented to us as an image of the Father, God: loving, caring, healing, compassionate, forgiving and gentle. King David said “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.” Psalm 145:8 AMP

Practice turning your days over to God daily as you first awake, asking for God’s loving care and guidance. As you go through your day, check to see who you are trusting and who is in charge. Are you putting pressure on yourself, anything or anyone else to make things better or give you the right answers? Are you frustrated, anxious, hopeless or impatient? These emotions and feelings are normal but they can be turned over to peace, joy, hope and fulfillment in trusting God who will never disappoint. Talk to God about your feelings and ask again for guidance. God knows our emotions and the reasons more than we understand ourselves. I am not saying not to take action or search for answers, but first ask God to direct your ‘path’ and as you listen and follow, you will come to recognize the “voice” that is leading you, the “still, small voice” Elijah heard in the cave when he was hiding, scared for his life, having been threatened with death by the ruler of the land. Do not trust in the power of rulers but in the power, provision and love of God!

The scripture verses quoted in my blog were written by authors who had experiences to back up their truth. Millions have experienced the truth found in these verses by living and acting accordingly and seeing the powerful results. I can attest to the truth I write by my own multitude of life changing experiences. 

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links at the top of each page of this website. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram.

Amazing Friendship with God

What does it mean to have friendship with God? Have you ever experienced friendship with God? If not, would you desire that? The answer probably depends on your perceptions and beliefs about God, just like what draws or repels us about having relationships with others. We are drawn by good experiences, perceptions and beliefs about someone and repelled by negative ones. 

There is a song: “Friend of God” by Phillips, Craig & Dean describing a close relationship we can have with God that is “amazing!”. The lyrics describe the unconditional love God has for us and what we can experience in a close relationship with God: Almighty God thinks of us; God hears and answers when we call. 

Who is your closest friend? How would you describe your relationship with your closest friend or any relationship you would label a close friendship? For some their closest friend is a parent, sibling or other family member. Most close friendships have developed over a long period of many years and yet close friendships can develop in much less time given the person’s character and behavior, the frequency of contact, and circumstances around that relationship. A relationship with God develops in similar ways. If we can experience God as a parent, taking care of us, loving us unconditionally with forgiveness for our mistakes, being always ready to support and comfort us when needed, the relationship deepens. 

Most close friends exhibit love and support for each other although one person can be more physically or emotionally supportive given the greater needs of the other person, like a child that depends on a parent That love develops through continuing experiences with each other where there is trust, acceptance, forbearance, empathy, dependability, commitment and other qualities exhibited in their relationship. Chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians describes many qualities of love. Unconditional love given to another no matter the other’s weaknesses and faults, like that given by man’s best friend, the dog, is the most comforting and fulfilling experience.  

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP): “Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked nor overly sensitive and easily angered; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth when right and truth prevail. Love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening. Love never fails; it never fades nor ends.” Have you experienced this kind of love? I have found some of these qualities with different people at different levels, but with God I experience all of these qualities consistently in the greatest capacity no matter how well I do or do not do what might be considered ‘good’. Looking back to times when I turned away from God, I believe God still displayed this love to me but I did not perceive it given I did not draw close enough in relationship with God to experience it.

Close friendships develop with people whose character and behavior is attractive or admirable to us. To grow a friendship with anyone we need to come to know a person through communication and many experiences of the other person that contrast to the superficial qualities of other types of relationships. Our personal experiences of another person can reveal the existence or lack of love or other qualities we desire in friendship. It is the same relating to God. We discover God’s character and behavior through a real personal relationship of 2-way communication and experiencing God responding to us and others throughout history.  

We can discover God’s character demonstrated in reading through the many books of the Bible, not just small sections, as the patterns of God’s behavior become more apparent. Jesus said he demonstrated the character of God. (John 14:8-9 AMP) Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and then we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you do not know Me yet, Philip, nor recognize clearly who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father (God).” Reading about Jesus in the Bible can help us know God better. 

In addition to reading about God, we can experience God’s behavior towards us individually. Over decades I sought, researched, discovered and practiced many spiritual methods that gave me some wisdom, peace and even grew my perceived relationship with God and helped me get through various difficulties, but I was never changed at a continuing deeper level and, more importantly, my trust in God did not improve nor did I really experience my relationship with God beyond head knowledge. Only in experiencing God through the revelation and experience I received by entering into conversation and active response through bible study and personal prayer was I able to experience my relationship with God in a way that was more real and as tangible as any other relationship I had ever had, even without the benefit of senses like sight, sound and touch.

The sensations and experiences in our spirit, soul and in some cases vibrations felt in the body can be even more powerful than other sensual experiences of the body. As I have found God to be responsive, loving, forgiving, dependable, generous, even self-sacrificing in Christ’s behavior, I am drawn to be closer and more trusting. The more I trust and engage with God, the more I experience, the more I am drawn closer. It is really a mystery, as Paul describes in his writings as do other spiritual writers. One can only experience this first hand by entering into this kind of relationship with God, not by listening to someone else’s experience except as a guide to seek this kind of relationship individually and have these experiences first hand for ourselves.

Close friendships require some continuing, if not frequent, contact to maintain the intimacy and connection. None of my close relationships stayed as close given increased geographical distance or intervening circumstances preventing contact over long periods. Similarly with God, I find daily quality time with God and God’s Word, the Bible, maintains and strengthens the relationship, grows intimacy and builds knowledge I have about God, myself, the world and others. In the last few years, I lost most of my close friendships through geographical relocations, deaths, Alzheimer’s disease in a close friend, family circumstances demanding most of my time, and chronic illness keeping me homebound, isolated and immobile. As my friendships and family disappeared, I turned to God spending more time in Bible Study and close communication with God, and, as a result, I experienced a growing intimacy with God,. Now I can truly consider God as my closest friend and trusted parent. 

Often our closest friendships develop through shared crisis and hardships suffered together. The crisis and hardships I have endured have drawn me closer to God and I discover God seems closer to me at those times. I have come to believe God is always close, but it is myself who moves closer to experience the intimacy and blessings of a close intimate relationship with God, providing all I need at all times, planned by God before I need it. The closer I am to God, the sooner I find what I need in amazing ways by being available to receive the guidance to lead me along that best plan. 

And what about God’s attitude toward us? What would precipitate God calling us a close friend? The New Testament letter of James mentions that Abraham “was called the friend of God” and attributes it to his faith in God (James 2:23) and not being a “friend of the world.” (James 4:4). To have faith in God means to trust God. God is worthy of our trust but we need to experience why that is true for our trust to grow just like we grow to trust anyone or anything else. And being a friend of the world is trusting the world, or anything in it, more than we trust God, or, choosing what the world offers over choosing God. Many trust God but still fear losing a partner, money, health, career or anything else we think we cannot live or be ‘happy’ without. For me I discovered that I was trusting in other people, myself or things more than I trusted God to have a good plan for my life. Through many experiences over time given many difficulties I have learned that God can and will provide all we need without us having to cling to anything or any person, or our own inclinations more tightly than we cling to God. As God told Jeremiah, another so called friend of God, in a most beautiful section of the Bible, (Jeremiah 29:11-13 AMP) “I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you. Then with a deep longing you will seek Me and require Me as a vital necessity and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'” This sounds like the best friendship of all time that we can ever have and it is available for all if we want it. 

I challenge you to take steps towards seeking a closer relationship with God. Ask God to be your friend. Listen for guidance to lead you to take certain steps. Pay attention to inner desires that arise to do things. Respond with action and see what happens. Take some time each day to connect with God as you feel drawn. Even 20-30 minutes a day in prayer, bible study and reading the Bible can make a difference. That is where I started. There is so much available today to help you do the same thing. If you ask Jesus into your life, you will have the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. (John 14:26 AMP) “The Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. ”

If you are already on that journey, I encourage you to continue despite setbacks since often when we are on that journey the enemy of our souls tries to distract and discourage us, but God is always faithful to draw us back. After many stops and starts, distractions and disappointments, I had a growing experience and desire for an intimate relationship with God that I have discovered is more real and wonderful than I could ever imagine. As Jesus said more than once: (John 10:27-29 AMP) “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever by any means perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. ”

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links at the top of each page of this website. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram. 

New Year, New Beginnings, New Direction

Let me start by wishing you the best year yet in 2017! Next, I am making a new commitment to post to my blog at least once a week. Since I have not posted since mid October, I apologize to any readers who had expectations of more from me. Last year was full of unexpected and mostly intense storms and challenges as often happens when we change direction or take new steps towards fulfilling our purpose. This is a new year with new beginnings. My hope is that what I share here will help others to improve their lives as it has tremendously helped mine.

How do you start your new year? Is it just another day? or, do you have some rituals around this time, like making resolutions and letting go of some things from the past year(s)? I have done a little of both this year with the help of direction I have received the last week through my relationship with God. God seems to be speaking more clearly than ever before. In reality I think God always speaks clearly, but our ability to hear seems clearer and more frequent as we grow in how we listen and, more importantly, how often we listen and how seriously we take what we hear. It also depends on if we follow, however imperfectly, the guidance we receive,, as we move following the direction we receive in our spirit. 

We can always start over again or continue from where we are, which is why the new year mark in time gives us a sense of a new beginning which we can start any day or month of the year. Experiencing the ‘success’ and gifts from following this always available guidance, we become even more encouraged and desirous to do so. We also hear increasingly more clearly and timely the guidance we can have every moment of our lives to help us experience and participate in an extraordinary life, no matter the circumstances.

Do you set goals or resolutions for the coming months and year? 
Having sought direction for my life for many years out of crisis and necessity, it has become an ongoing process of listening and responding more frequently as I discover the increasing success and incredible improvement in my life possible when I do. But sometimes, like the start of a new year, I want to take some extra time to look at my goals in life. 

Following is a process I have learned to develop new goals in life. In business I learned to use what is called Management by Objective (MBO) considering more tangent, financial and intellectual aspects and using mostly the mind to develop specific measurable outcomes. The method below, however, which can also be used in business, relies more heavily on spiritual discernment using all parts of our selves and considering all areas of one’s life. Spiritual discernment is often very specific when practiced more frequently but in this (annual detailed) context is more general in nature which produces easily visualized targets not defined so specifically. Developing more specific goals can often limit the flexibility needed to live a full and prosperous life day by day

As an example, Having developed very specific goals over the years, I seldom accomplished them the way I envisioned, or at all. But as I relied more on God, being more flexible and seeking the specific guidance day by day or even moment by moment, I discovered I was accomplishing more of my desired goals and even better ones I had not imagined in ways I could not have planned on my own. I have come to believe only God has all the knowledge needed to make a perfect plan encompassing all aspects of our lives over every moment given the unexpected (to us) events, choices and people we encounter every day. I can attest by my experiences that the guidance and support I need in any situation are more easily discerned and available as I grow in following God every day. It brings strength, comfort, peace and hope whatever storm or crisis is happening, like the ones I just went through,

If you are not living life daily this way, you can start this new year bringing God into your goal setting process and see what happens. Below is a more detailed process for taking more time to develop goals for all aspects of one’s life using discernment in your spirit in the process. You can also do this with each area of your life going through the process in each area. Do whatever seems or feels more appealing to your self, a very important part of achieving success with anything you do. Trying different methods at different times given various situations can be very productive with a coach to guide you. You can always rely on God to be your coach as your relationship with God grows more and more intimate, doing things I like to teach based on my experiences trying various methods and disciplines. 

Discerning Guidance Within

  1. Take a few moments to connect with God asking for wisdom about your future. 
  2. Ask some specific questions of God and your self. Ask for wisdom about a specific problem or area you want or need to look at. Or, ask what is my purpose and how can I better fulfill it? What is lacking in my life? What do I want more of? What changes would help my life improve? Alternatively you can ask how to make specific changes in a specific area you find difficult, disturbing or creating discontent. 
  3. Spend some quality time listening to God in your spirit and to your inner self: your soul, which consists of your mind, heart and will; seeking the inner desires, thoughts and feelings for your future. You can do this with meditation, listening as thoughts and feelings arise, asking yourself what you desire for the future and spend time meditating in silence, or, do meditative journaling (not editing or trying to control what you write) jotting down in phrases or key ideas what you hear and feel within, arising in your mind and heart. 
  4. Journaling after meditation is always helpful to retain what often disappears as we immerse ourselves into activity of daily life. Write down more clearly and add detail to what you ‘received’ during the meditative listening stage.
  5. Repeat 1-4 several times, perhaps over several days, or until your thoughts start to narrow down to a few major ideas, or pick just one that seems to have more weight in your soul.
  6. Again meditatively asking for God’s guidance, write down whatever goals or boundaries you have discerned through the previous steps. You might break these out or organize these goals and boundaries into various areas or aspects of your life, such as relating to body, mind, emotions, health, finances, career, family, hobbies, classes of activities, relationships, etc., whatever seems to fit what you have been journalling. To make this easier as a beginner you could just do this for one life area or goal that seems to ‘want’ your attention. Having a coach to give some input or feedback is helpful, but no coach knows exactly what is best for any of us except God who is really our best Head Coach.
  7. Goals should be clear, often measurable and always achievable (in your mind and heart) or you will get discouraged or lose interest in maintaining these as your overall objectives. Goals are set for achieving certain results in a specific area of your life or in specific activities that you sense through this process are needing your attention for fulfilling your purpose or improving enjoyment of life.
  8. Boundaries are any kind of limitations, quantity or restrictions to help you achieve your goals in any area of your life, such as behaviors, habits, relationships, activities, emotional patterns or specific uses of your time or resources. They can also be guideposts or reference points like a plumb line is to building a wall. These usually surface regarding improving or changing the quality of your life in a certain area that seems troubling or not supporting well your life’s purpose or enjoyment. 
  9. Distill what you have journaled into less than 5 goals with related boundaries. As an alternative you can identify 5 areas of your life and develop a goal and related boundaries for each. You can always add more as the year progresses and you find some goals and boundaries have been achieved and you are ready for more progress towards your best lived life, but do not readdress this in this much detail too often or you will probably get discouraged and build discontent about your life or become too disoriented by changing direction too frequently, not allowing time to absorb or sink into the wisdom of your discernment. As an alternative, list one goal with related boundaries if it seems best for you.
  10. Ask God to help you daily as you move towards your goals listening for refinement as you practice daily living with your goals in mind. I have found if I focus hard and work on my goals in my own strength with my own plans alone they become elusive and more difficult to achieve compared to when I let my Head Coach, God, lead me, providing all the resources necessary in perfect timing along the way for greater enjoyment of my life.
  11. Try to enjoy your improved life as it is developing without constantly trying to improve your self or your life continually. Not enjoying your progress builds a sense of dissatisfaction and discontent. Having a ‘new year’ beginning is really just the start of a new month and a new day but it is a helpful starting place if you have not done anything like this recently.
  12. You can do this at any time of the year, not just January. You may be currently in the middle of a storm or crisis and it might be best to wait until things settle down. This process can also be used to address a storm or crisis by limiting the areas of your discernment to the specific area involved. As you develop a closer relationship with your Head Coach, God, you will find the guidance you need in crisis and storms provided more easily with more joy and peace along the way. I repeat: I can attest by my experiences that the guidance and support I need in any crisis are more easily discerned and available as I grow in following God every day. It brings strength, comfort, peace and hope whatever crisis is happening, like the ones I just went through.

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links at the top of each page of this website. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram. 

Facing Storms!

We all encounter “storms” in our lives. If you see a storm approaching, you might take cover and make preparations for protection and endurance, especially if you have advance warning. I spent most of a week preparing for Hurricane Matthew, and another week catching up with what got put aside for ‘storm duty’. This is why I did not post on my blog. I find life is often like that. We make our plans and a ‘storm’ of one kind or another takes our attention, time and energy, while everything else gets put aside. These storms can be illness, death, relationship problems, physical accidents or threats of many kinds. We sometimes get notice or warning signals that give us time to prepare or take measures to lessen their impact. Often they catch us by surprise. Hurricane Andrew was like that. it turned during the night and most of us awoke in the morning to surprisingly find it was coming right at us instead of heading away as forecasted, and we were not prepared enough in advance. That is why they have added the longer forecasts to help us be more prepared, even if the storm changes its course just enough to pass us by. We spend a lot of time preparing and protecting ourselves from things that never occur, but of which we are afraid. It takes wisdom and some discernment to know how much we need to do in response or preparation.

Fortunately Hurricane Matthew did little damage in my location but we still needed to prepare. And even if no damage, there was still cleanup activities and work undoing some of the storm prep activities in order that life can go on as usual. I had some lessons and ‘tests’ along the way I would like to share. I have learned to trust God when I see storms coming. I turn things over and pray to discern the things I need to do. When the power goes out, gas pumps, credit card machines and ATM’s do not work and often banks are not open. It is wise to have a full tank of gas, non-perishable food, water, battery powered devices and extra cash. The ATM machine ate my Debit Card, probably suffering from over use by many others doing the same thing. I learn to accept what I cannot control. Even so, a wave of dread washed over me as I saw the long lines of people inside the bank doing withdrawals without a debit card. I saw a customer service rep and she had no customers so she was able to help me immediately to get a new debit card and we had a nice time chatting. It was a nice break from all the storm duty activities and in the process I received a new security chip card for my old card devoured by the ATM. 

I went to gas up my car and there were such long lines I needed to go around the back of the station fully prepared to wait. As I drove in there was an empty gas pump with no line in back so I was able to get my gas and leave quickly. The line behind me formed rapidly. I felt blessed again. I believe being in an attitude of gratitude, letting go of fear, anxiety, impatience, anger and frustration, opens the door to receiving more blessings. But this attitude did not come easy for me. It grew over several years of ‘training’ under the leadership of the Holy Spirit given through a life surrendered to Jesus Christ, who enables us with a new spirit to become like he witnessed himself to be while on the earth as a man. My childhood had taught me to be afraid and anxious around crisis and focus on taking care of myself since no one else in my family protected me from life threatening traumas occurring every day. If bad things happened as an adult, I was brought back to victimhood into fear, anxiety, defensiveness and controlling behavior. Now I have come to experience myself victorious through Christ who helps me whenever I am in need. It frees me to let go of always being in control. 

In a few hours I found most of what I needed for the storm at the several stores I visited, but there were no D size batteries anywhere. In several stores, there were lots of other people looking for them also. One thing you need if the power goes out is a lot of D batteries for all the flashlights and battery powered devices. After visiting and calling several more stores, I went home without worry, trusting in God as I have learned to do and a friend texted asking if I found all I needed. I told her about the batteries and since she was in a store I had not visited much further away from my home, she looked and found a few, which she bought for me. The power and WiFi went off a few times but not anything drastic. We were blessed that we were not hit head on.

I was thankful for the storm duty because I have been recovering from several years of being limited physically and this was a test of how much activity my body could stand. My faith, patience and brotherly love was also tested as I found myself being calm, friendly and supportive of others going about the ‘storm duty’ activities, a new experience of myself in such a crisis situation since I have been growing in Christ. I helped people find what they were looking for, warned the people behind me in the ATM line, or lightened the mood of cashiers with humor or buying them a piece of chocolate as a treat. The storm event could have changed my mood, frightened, angered or depressed me, as it has in the past, but in acceptance and trust, I discovered my body, my faith and my character are in better shape than they have been for several years, so I was doubly blessed by the experience. The blessing on top of it all is that seeing myself being so different, being the way I want to be, but could not achieve on my own, builds my faith and growing surrender even more to God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, who can do for me, in me and through me for others, so much more than we can hope for or imagine. 

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links here. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram. 

What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for something? A fulfillment of a dream or goal? A new relationship or financial opportunity? A solution to a difficult problem or help for challenging circumstances? Are you waiting for things to change to give you something you do not have in your life or free you from something you do not want in your life? What do you do while you are waiting?

Waiting is usually not a pleasant activity for people. We hate waiting in lines, in offices and airports, in traffic, for a needed package to arrive. We often get aggravated, impatient, sometimes worried or even depressed. While waiting we usually have less control, or at least it seems that way. When things are moving, we feel action taking us towards a goal, moving towards something we want or need or to the experience of something better than where we are or have been.

Our culture wants us to keep moving, take the next step, achieve the next goal. Waiting seems to be counterproductive and an obstacle to success and prosperity. I always feel better when things are moving. I have the perception of getting somewhere, anywhere. The times I have had to wait have been brutal. Having chronic illness for almost 3 decades kept me waiting in doctors’ offices a lot and waiting for the next alternative approach to diminish my symptoms, to give me relief from unbearable pain, fatigue and limiting immobility. While my health deteriorated I grew weary of waiting for some improvement or just not to get worse. During difficult times while alone I grew depressed waiting for a phone call or text from busy friends who had lot of things to keep moving towards. I found myself homebound alone for months waiting for something to change. It became almost unbearable. 

I had practiced acceptance for many years to improve the experience of having chronic illness. I learned to focus on gratitude for the things I had instead of focusing on my pain and immobility. When total isolation set in, it moved to another level more difficult than anything I had known. Death seemed welcomed, even attractive, like the early days of my diagnoses that told me I had no hope for anything but deterioration of my condition and worsening intolerable symptoms. 

Fortunately I was in a study of the books of the bible written by Moses about the struggling of the Israelites for 40 years in the desert waiting to get to the land promised for their nation which had been set free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. They struggled along the way grumbling and complaining about what they wanted that they did not have. All their needs were met but not their wants. There were stories of death from rebellion and stories of mercy and healing, even abundance of food and fresh flowing water, with clothing and shoes that never wore out. They followed a cloud by day and a fire by night representing the presence of God leading them to start, move, stop and wait. Today we have the opportunity to have the presence of God through the Holy Spirit within us similarly leading us to start, move, stop and wait. 

Over many years of waiting, I had learned how to listen to God while studying the bible. It works for innumerable people around the world since the times of ancient rabbis practicing meditating on the Word of God. Meditation is reflection, reading, praying for inspiration and listening in the mind, heart and spirit. There was a part of my study where God revealed the Israelites were being prepared to learn to follow and have faith in God to prepare them to conquer the Canaanites and take possession of the land they were promised. They could not do it on their own. They needed to listen and follow God’s wisdom, direction, timing and power. Otherwise they would have been destroyed in their first battle. 

 I heard God speaking to me  from that passage. I had always been self or other directed, but not directed by God. I believed in God, loved God and wanted to obey God in morals but not in leading me day by day through my life. For many reasons I did not think it God’s job to lead me or that I could follow if He did, or that I did not want to go wherever God might be leading me. I only surrendered when I was in crisis with no other options like I was at the time I was all alone with my condition worsening. I turned it over completely without complaining or any expectations of what the result might be and God lifted me out with a miracle as had happened several times before in my life, enough to make me believe more than ever that God could and would lead me to good things.

Through this revelation from my bible study, I found acceptance of circumstances I judged unfair, oppressive, beyond my tolerance. Since that time, I have been learning to follow God more closely like the Israelites had to do every day, accepting all things that I cannot change and praying for wisdom through prayer, quiet time with God and meditation and study of the Bible, letting the Holy Spirit guide me like the cloud by day and the fire by night. My life has slowly improved, picking up speed as my faith grows and my ability to keep following and trusting in God’s love and goodness towards me when I am waiting. 

My life took a big turn the last few months as I moved ahead more rapidly with health improvement, mobility and healing. I loved the pace I was moving at. I started this blog and website to share everything I have learned along the long journey I have traveled to a life of much peace, joy and fulfillment, even if things are not going the way I would want or circumstances get painful or challenging. 

The last few days I was hit with some unexpected painful experiences. I wanted to bounce back right away and keep moving. But God had me waiting and I had nothing to write on my blog. I am still learning to wait when I need to and do the things that I think are not as rewarding or as important in my mind as writing this blog. But along the way I see I am still in ‘training’ to be victorious in whatever battles I might face and to help others to face their own challenges and battles while following and trusting God to lead when and how to move.

Thank you for liking, any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. You can also request prayers on my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links here. I keep all correspondence by email and direct messaging confidential. 

My prayer for YOU!

Ephesians 1:17-19 “God of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, Father of Glory: I call out to You on behalf of Your people. Give them minds ready to receive wisdom and revelation so they will truly know You. Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. ”


Replace the words ‘their’ & ‘them’ with ‘mine’ & ‘me’ and make this prayer your own. I challenge you to try praying this every day for a month or more and watch what happens! Believe and receive! Trust in God’s goodness, power and love for you or just be open to find more!  

Matthew 7:7-8 “Now Jesus returns to prayer, an important and sometimes difficult topic. Here He gives the very essence of prayer. ‘Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will be opened for you. All who ask receive. Those who seek, find what they seek. And he who knocks, will have the door opened. ‘ ”

Which Way Are You Going?

Are you headed in the right direction? How do you know? Especially when faced with obstacles, choices, difficult circumstances and situations, how do you navigate through your life to find the best path? In my life I have had incredible difficulties and challenges seemingly insurmountable or even survivable. You can read my bio on the about page to find a summary. Given my childhood, I learned to survive by being alert, aware, analytical and resourceful, among other less healthy patterns. Around age 5 a near death experience caused me to believe in God who became a constant companion, with no other person in my life I could trust not to hurt me. 

As my difficult circumstances continued into adolescence, I lost that trust and faith. I decided to seek wisdom from the world and whoever I found willing to give advice. We can always find lots of people to give us advice and a lot of it is good. But how do we judge for ourselves which advice is good for us at any particular moment in any particular situation? Do we search for good reviews? Have those reviews always turned out to be best for us? Each of us has an individual unique path with lots of turns that cannot be fathomed by any amount of analysis, especially given the amount of opposing and confusing information now available. There is not enough time to research and decide. But I used to try. Looking back, some turned out good, but many turned out worse for me, or at least wasted time and money until the next solution came along. I spent years and all my money searching and trying anything that seemed ‘helpful’ or had a good recommendation. Ultimately given serious health issues without any available solutions, I turned back to God for help, following various spiritual practices and eventually teaching them to others. I gained some temporary peace but no permanent solutions, and when things worsened the peace disappeared. 

One day a friend gave me a tape of a lecture on a bible passage, Proverbs 3:5-6 (shown below). I listened and my heart lit up. It talked about letting go of our self reliance and analysis and trusting God to lead us and make our path straight, removing obstacles. That started my journey into the bible, a book I owned but never opened or was taught to use through 12 years of Christian school. The next few years were like doors and windows being opened in my mind and eventually in my heart, as I gained wisdom and experienced solutions and direction for impossible and challenging circumstances in ways I could not explain except to credit God. I realized through experience that only God has all the information needed to direct our choices and lead us on a path that connects us with the resources we need along the way. Only God knows everything about us and our past, every possible aspect of our circumstances, the results of every possible choice we could make, and information about the entire world over all moments of time. 

The experiences became more dramatic, undeniable, and, in some cases, miraculous, the more I learned to trust and follow God, as the bible verse says. My life became a journey of experiencing God’s best direction and results for my life’s choices, healing of my body, recovery from financial loss, the permanent transformation of my mind and personality and the deepening of my relationship with God in Christ, all with the help of the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus for those very purposes. Perhaps this verse will speak to you. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart. And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth, removing obstacles that block your way. ”

Thank you for liking and following my blog. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, add a comment for others to like or send them through my contact page with more explanation. I keep all email correspondence confidential. 

What are you laboring for?

On this Labor Day in the United States, I was reflecting on labor. I am thankful that my health has improved so much from when a few weeks and months ago, I could hardly labor at all. I am thanking God for healing when doctors and medications could not work. I have labored in seeking help in any way I could, with doctors, medications, alternative healing techniques and trying all kinds of remedies, while my health worsened over the last few years, worse than it had been for a long time, being told a few years ago my doctor did not think I would survive a simple infection that should have cleared up in a month. 

More than 25 years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness coming from childhood trauma to my brain and neurological system which had deteriorated the various systems in my body. I am told there is no cure since it came from brain damage and that part of the brain is inoperable. I was told I would eventually be in a wheel chair for life. My primary care physician said she was so sorry because although I would want to die, the condition would not kill me, especially if I sought emergency care when having seizures which could come unexpectedly at any time, shutting down various neurological signals that keep me breathing, standing, my heart beating, my body moving and fighting off toxins and disease that normal neurological and immune systems do naturally, automatically. 

I turned to spirituality and labored to find tools and techniques to ease pain, alleviate symptoms and developed prayer practices to get closer to God, the Great Physician and Healer. I had some successes along the way but ultimately disabling symptoms would return and got worse the last few years, no matter what I labored to do. Medical expenses had emptied all my savings and retirement funds and put me in tremendous debt I could not manage month to month without moving balances around to new credit cards and cutting all unnecessary expenses. Just when I thought I would lose my home heavily mortgaged, avenues of funding and free resources would appear, including free plumbing and roof repair. I had exhausted all the avenues open to me. But I continued to labor to keep alive, even though I really wanted to die. One by one people left my life, a life that moved increasingly to being homebound and immobile. My solitude and isolation increased. But I continued to labor on to find a purpose for still being alive. I studied a lot about healing. I learned more about what it means to follow Christ. It was not about labor or doing things to be good, to labor at spiritual practices and devotions, or even long periods of prayer. But it did mean learning about God and what we have in Christ. It did mean slowly but increasingly submitting my life to God in Christ by cooperating with the Holy Spirit.

The rest of the story will be revealed over time, perhaps in a book. The bottom line is I learned that life and healing, whatever you might define as happiness, success, prosperity and fulfillment, do not just come from labor, planning, research, determination and faith. Abundant life and prosperity are offered as gifts through what God offers out of His love for all people. It comes from what Jesus Christ has done to give us this gift of grace, eternal life and salvation, which defined in the Greek original word, SOZO, means prosperity in all areas of our lives, now and eternally. It is received as a gift, not by Laboring to earn it or manifest it in our own strength, intelligence or devices. Just like money deposited in our bank account, we just have to make withdrawals. We have to prove our identity as defined in Christ by faith, which is not even anything we work to have. It is a gift and a mystery, a marvelous mystery that only manifests when we turn it all over and come to the giver of the gift through the avenue the giver chooses, Jesus Christ, following him as a disciple, and then the road becomes narrow but ultimately easier and surer than any other road we might choose on our own or by following the advice of others. 

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened by labors that provide no peace, and I will give you rest refreshing your souls with salvation. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me following Me as My disciple, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest, renewal, and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear and My burden is light.”