Spring Cleaning

This is the time of year for Spring Cleaning—cleaning out closets, and cupboards, giving away what others can use, and throwing away what no one can use, organizing and cleaning what remains.   

I don’t really like Spring Cleaning.  It is not my “milieu”—my area of strength.

I feel like God has been doing some Spring Cleaning, in my “house.”   Lately, I have been through some circumstances that have reminded me of other painful times in my life.  Times of conflicts with others, times I felt vulnerable and exposed and rejected.

Usually, when I am reminded of these times, I feel the same feelings of anger and a desire for the offending party to experience justice.   This time, God has said, “I want you to look at this situation, really look–and I want you to forgive this person.  Forgive them from your heart.  Now, I want you to Thank Me, for this — whatever it is.    

In the words of Ney Bailey, “We become bitter to the degree that we do not give thanks.”  Or in the words of scripture, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, and no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and by it many be defiled.”  Hebrews 12:15

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Th 5:18

God commands us to give thanks to Him, in everything!!  He tells us this, for our benefit–to get our eyes off the storm, and onto Him–our Protector in the midst of the storms.

When I was giving thanks to God for these difficult things–I did not feel thankful, I will probably never “feel” thankful.  I thanked Him because I am seeking to obey Him, despite my feelings.  I am seeking to live a life of faith–of obeying what God tells me, in spite of my feelings.

For a long time, I have let my feelings dictate my forgiveness of others.  But as I said in my last post, Embracing Joy, I am determined to forgive others who have wronged me, and to seek forgiveness from others whom I have wronged.

I also seek to thank God for these situations—as doing so digs out the roots of bitterness in my life, roots I did not even realize were taking hold of my heart and my life, until God began doing some Spring Cleaning in my life.

I think God has been desiring to do this Spring Cleaning in my life, for a long time, but I have been putting this off for a long time–just as I put off the Spring Cleaning in my home, because I don’t like it.  However, I love the end result of Spring Cleaning.  I love finding things in my closet.  I love finding things in my house.  I love a good, cleaned and organized, visually beautiful home.

We are God’s temple.  He lives inside of each of us.  When we allow Him to give us a “Spring Cleaning”, we really reflect Him.  We reflect His love and forgiveness for others.  We reflect His eternal priorities and perspectives.  We reflect His generosity and grace.   We shine–because He is shining through us.

I encourage all of us, to take some time with the Lord and allow Him to point out the areas where only He can go, to sweep out the cobwebs, and shine all the lights–to get rid of the roots of bitterness–and wash away the sins of unforgiveness.    It may be painful at first, but afterwards–”it yields the peaceful fruit of His righteousness.”  Hebrews 12:11  

Jesus wants to do some Spring Cleaning–and He is really good at it!!  He is just waiting for us to give Him the keys to our homes.  

May We Be Encouraged!!

Give Thanks

We are approaching Thanksgiving—the day we have set aside as a nation to give Thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us—as a country and as individuals.

I want to share a video in which people discuss giving thanks to God during one of the most stressful and tragic events of their lives at that time—the Great Thompson flood.  Why—you may ask, is this a timely video? 

I believe our country is going through a stressful and tragic event right now.  People are suffering physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually.  Our nation is suffering.  The world is suffering. 

In this video—a few people retell the events of July 31,1976—the night of the Great Thompson Canyon Flood, in Colorado.   7 women on staff with Cru lost their lives in that flood.  A total of 144 people lost their lives in that flood, and 88 people were injured.

Ney Bailey said that she almost lost her life 3 times in this flood.  She said that when she and some others got to a safe place –they prayed, they thanked God.  She quoted the verse, “In everything give thanks because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  I Thess. 5:18

Later in the video, Ney said, “We become bitter to the degree that we don’t give thanks.”  She also said, she did not feel thankful for the flood at the time, and she does not feel thankful for the flood now, but with her will she chose to give thanks to God.

Another thing that struck me, was that they talked about how each of the 7 Cru staff women that died, had been prepared to see the Lord—that God was getting them ready.

We saw this with our son Sean’s life—each of our sons and my husband testified at his funeral—that the last year of Sean’s life, he was serious about his walk with God—making decisions on his own—to draw close to the Lord.   I have seen this in other loved ones’ lives as well—that God prepared them to see Him before they died.  That is such a comforting thought to me.

Is there any encouragement in this?  I think there is—and I think we can find it in the example of other people of faith, and how they reacted during a time in their life where they faced death or faced the death of a loved one.

What did they do?  They gave thanks.  They did this because God tells us to give thanks in all things. 

Why?  Because God is King over all—He is King over the floods of our lives—He is using everything for good for us.  Psalm 29:10   Romans 8:28  

I have found this thought to be true in my own life.

So, this Thanksgiving, let us choose to give thanks to our God in all things!!

Hoping you find encouragement from this video—I have watched it several times—and it never grows old!!

I hope you all have a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The Lord Reigns Over The Flood
This was the ad placed in newspapers across the country after the Flood.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Perhaps you are experiencing a much different Thanksgiving this year than you have in years past.  We are—not all of our immediate family will be together, let alone our extended family.  

Sometimes, we go through times where it is hard to be thankful.  Perhaps a loved one is suffering, perhaps you are suffering.  Perhaps the entire world is suffering.

My youngest daughter, (who is 13), said—“I’ve been told by others, that their 13th year was really hard—but I never expected how hard it would be to be 13 in 2020.”    We laughed together—but she is right—if you are already going through a difficult time—this year has made it even more difficult.

I am reading through the book of Daniel right now.  Why?  Well, several reasons—it is teaching me so much about putting myself in God’s hands in difficult situations.   Daniel and his friends had been taken captive from Israel.  They saw their entire nation destroyed.  They saw loved ones killed or carried away by the Babylonians or scattered to the four winds.

When Daniel’s friends were to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to an image of gold that the King set up—they said, “…if we are thrown into the blazing furnace the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”   When they said that, they really did not know if God would save them—after all they had seen so many deaths already— yet they were going to obey God no matter what.   Why?  What difference would it have made if they compromised or not?   I believe these young men knew God—they loved Him—and they would not betray Him.  He was worthy of their lives.

If I am honest, I’ve grown up in the age of “Grace”, where God’s blessings have been abundant.   We may even think in this nation, that they are somehow “deserved”.  

I am convinced that the most Holy God is worthy of all my love and my obedience and my trust, even if I do not “see” His blessings.   The more I get to know Him, the more convinced I am of this truth.   So, as I pray to God, I ask that I continue to “see” Him and to “know” Him—for this is the true blessing.  This is why, Ephesians says that we’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places.  Knowing God and being known by Him is “every spiritual blessing.”   Everything else fades in comparison.

Least you think that I am some super spiritual person—on a different plane than others—let me say that I struggle with “fixing my eyes” on Jesus, as do most believers.  I can easily look at my circumstances and become derailed.  This year has been an especially difficult year for looking at my circumstances.   I keep hoping and praying that it will be at an end—that things will get back to “normal”, while becoming more convinced that maybe things will never be “normal” again.

Another reason I am reading the book of Daniel, is that it speaks to more of what is going to happen in the future than almost any book, except Revelations.  In fact, if you want to understand Revelations, you need to read the Old Testament Prophets, as they hold the keys to unlocking the prophesies in Revelation.  Daniel and the other Old Testament Prophets also have fulfilled prophesies— thus testifying to the trustworthiness of God and His Word.

Right now— we may be seeing the groundwork laid for end-time prophesies being fulfilled.  I always wondered how a “One-World Government” could take place—and now I could actually see that happening—we have seen a “worldwide” type of control happening in this pandemic.  Our churches have been ordered closed; our businesses have been ordered closed.  We have become more dependent on the “Government” for our survival and more compliant to accepting their control.   I know many who read this are scoffing at my ideas, believe me, I would like to be wrong– I hope I am wrong.

What does this mean for you and I?  What it has always meant—we need to be ready to enter into God’s Heaven.    Read: “Would You Like To Know God Personally”– to get further instructions on how to be ready.  If you are already a believer but want to know how to let Jesus live in and through you, so you can live out God’s purpose for you, read:  “Satisfied?”  

I am praying for us all that we will know and follow Jesus!!

Let me say again:   Happy Thanksgiving!!  May we be truly thankful for the best gift we could ever receive—Jesus!!  He is the reason we can BE ENCOURAGED!!