My Mother’s Day with Covid

This was a most unusual Mother’s Day for me. About four days previous, I caught Covid. During the night on Saturday, I felt achy and awoke to a beautiful Mother’s Day morning with pain in all my joints! Yes, Covid came and claimed my body. Even though it was a celebrated day on my calendar, I didn’t have the usual delights of that day to enjoy, yet I experienced God’s love in a beautiful way.

I notified a few friends of my situation and they moved into action. Offerings of prayer and love, supplies and vitamins for my covid protocol, food, anything I wanted! Indeed, with God’s grace through prayer and the protocol that I adhered to, everything worked out very well for me. The abundance of prayers and comfort care went a long way in keeping me secure as I traveled through the first and second trying days. This is my 4th day now, and I feel so blessed to be on the other side of that and strong enough to think and write!

Day 1 and 2 were the worse for me. Extreme body pain everywhere: bones, joints and muscles… I felt like an injured snake writhing in pain without relief. No escape even with strong pain meds. But, when I awoke yesterday, I knew it took a turn! I slept almost all day, resting my wrecked body. Upon waking today, I knew I was climbing out of it. Praise God!

I am so thankful for the wonderful friends who cared for me. My neighbor, Gaby, who offered to pick up anything I needed: bought some vitamins I needed and baked and shared with me a wonderful homemade dessert last night. My friend, Doris, one of the best cooks I know, made some mean spicy-flu-chasing-chicken-soup that tasted so good yesterday, and today. And thank you, Bill, as always, for delivering Doris’ remedies, even while sick yourself. And my dear friend, Cathy, who early on help me get my protocol in place and ran over the final ingredient I was lacking at 10 pm on Sunday night! And to the many other gals who texted me asking what they could do or bring. Thank you all so much! You are a beautiful family.

Once again, I have lived through the reality of having a family come alongside me in my need to demonstrate the love of Christ beautifully. Galatians 1:1-10 talks about bearing one another’s burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ, and that is exactly what my sweet friends and church family at Greater Grace Community Church did for me! Your gifts of prayer, supplies, food, and abundance of love carried me through a couple of painful days.

That is my testimony on how something as rotten, painful and destructive as Covid, could be turned into a blessing in my life, demonstrating God’s goodness amid some limited suffering. It is wonderful to be part of the Family of God. I have brothers and sisters who will, in Jesus’ place, go with me all the way. And I am ever grateful.

Photo Credit: elizabethbruders.com

Adopted and Fearless

Fear is a snare. The only way to overcome the fear of any person (husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, or child) is to trust in the Lord and fear (reverence) Him.

Fear is used by the enemy of our soul to keep us from moving forward into an abundant life in Christ. God has provided everything we need to live fully for Him in this world (II Peter 1:3-4.) The Holy Spirit living within us is greater than the spirit in this world (I John 4:4). As we learn to yield everything to God’s Spirit, we become free from the bondage of fear and the enemy’s influence upon our lives.“ For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15 (AMP)

As God’s adopted children, knowing our position in the Kingdom of God, gives us the confidence we need to overcome fear.  Remember who your Father is — Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of heaven and earth! Romans, Chapter 8 declares that as obedient children in God’s family we can be free from condemnation and live as His own adopted children, available to freely serve our Father as He created us to. Fear is a major hindrance that binds us from this freedom. Fear comes to us through three main areas: 1) The world—by the fear of man, 2) Our flesh—through condemnation, and 3) Satan—lying spirits and deception.

The World-by the fear of man

The fear of man brings a snare, but whomever leans on,  trusts in,  and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.”  Proverbs 29:25 (AMP)

Hunters lay snares to catch animals… I found this pic of a fearful rabbit as I researched snare hunting a bit. (Oh, it is heart wrenching to see the pictures… and I am not a hunter.) The Bible tells us the fear of man is a snare and the outcome of living this way is also heart wrenching! Some of my biggest failures in life have been because I feared a person rather than God! My husband, my children, an employer, any authority figure became “my god”. When God delivered me of that, those around me were set free to be accountable before God for their actions and I was set free to worship Him fully!

We are told by Jesus Himself not to fear man.  “And  fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “    Hebrews 13:6 (KJV)” So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  Matthew 10:28 (KJV)

Fear carries with it doubt and unbelief.  Our fear of failure, or how we are viewed by others, reveals our human nature that is governed by human pride.  Human fear, when rooted in pride, will bring defeat.  This fear of man reveals whether we are truly trusting (believing) in Christ as our source or in our own abilities.  Healthy fear equals reverence toward God our Maker. The fear of man brings us into bondage and a snare.

Our Flesh—fear through condemnation

The secret to freedom living is to align yourself with Jesus in all you do!  Not only does this produce a rewarding, fulfilling life, but it protects us from sin and condemnation.  “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).  Conviction of sin is a precious gift from God.  It is the Holy Spirit attempting to lead us into Truth and freedom.  Conversely, condemnation comes when we refuse to respond to conviction and continue to walk in sin.  We, in essence, are conflicted because we are willfully acting against Truth presented to us by the Spirit of God.

Internal conflict drives people to act in ways that harm themselves and others.  A person becomes disillusioned with themselves and attempts to cover this conflict in a variety of ways.  The Holy Spirit continues to convict by His love, yet if we continue to indulge in sin, we will continue to experience condemnation, guilt and discouragement.  Yet, all the while freedom awaits us! Jesus said to the woman who had been condemned of adultery, “…Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11).  We come out from under condemnation and receive the freedom Christ offers when we choose to turn and “sin no more.”

I John 3:20-21 (AMP) says, “Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].  And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God.”

So, we must discern the source of condemnation.  God already knows it, but we need to see if it is because we are going against the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or if we are facing an external spiritual attack upon us.  Knowing God’s Word helps us in assessing this. Conviction is good; it comes because of God’s love and desire for fellowship with us. When we respond rightly to the Holy Spirit we sense grace, assurance and His love, which in turns gives us boldness. 

God’s Word tells us that as His Children, our position is purchased and kept because of Christ.  Our thoughts as to who we are needs to be placed upon the Cross of Christ and what He did for us to make us worthy!  He is the One who took our sin so that we can come unto the Father.  Our soul was redeemed by His precious blood—nothing else.

In order to live victoriously over sin, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and comfort us.  Our greatest need is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, fully surrendered to His leadership, and find true joy and usefulness in God’s Kingdom. We then become Adopted and Fearless!

Satan—fear from lying spirits and deception

If we are obeying what we know, and walking in open fellowship with God, yet sense condemnation, we can discern that it is coming from the enemy to defeat us and pull us out of the place of victory.  Satan uses this as a tool to keep us away from God–falsely!  The Father of Lies, tries to tell us that we are not worthy of God’s love and care.  He can build upon that through deception and can use other people in a variety of ways.  People who continue to live under condemnation, develop a guilty soul and the shame pulls them into bondage. The focus then becomes their shame and guilt, and fear grows. Depression usually accompanies this. Freedom and change seem impossible in their situation. Deception has done its work.

The work of Satan and lying spirits is to tempt and deceive us. He attempted this with Jesus Himself (Luke 4:1-13). Concerning fear, spiritual warfare is a battle between truth and lies. And the battle rages strongly within our minds. Satan is the Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).  In order to win the battle, our position as adopted and fearless children is crucial to overcoming the wiles of the enemy!  You can be safe and protected. But as a good soldier (I Timothy 2:1-5) you need to be willing, trained  in and obedient to the “Manual”, God’s Word.  Our weapons and our true enemy is outlined in Ephesians 6:10-19 and II Corinthians 10:3-5. Satan and the fallen angels desire to bind you with fear and aloneness in your battle. He wants to make you an orphan, rejected and discouraged. But God desires to adopt you, to make you His own, fearless and useful in His Kingdom.  He desires that you know the purpose for which He created you, and the destiny He planned for you.

Remember, God’s objective is to fill your life with Himself, use you in His Kingdom and for His glory which results in great joy and fulfillment.  The objective of God in filling us with the Holy Spirit is to enable us to love as He loves, to walk without fear in this world, and be a witness for Jesus Christ.  This lack of fear and abundance of love will allow you to walk as a victor, not a victim, causing you to overcome in every circumstance you face.   II Timothy 1: 7-8 (AMP) “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible].”     Amen.

Photo credit: Google Images, Pixabay

Wait…

Being asked to wait works against our human nature; we’re born for action! No wonder the past year has been so difficult for many. I am often unwilling to wait because it feels like I’m not acting responsibly.

In looking back on my waiting experiences, I can see that as I practice waiting, I am growing in patience and humility. Patience involves trust. Placement of trust is important — ask yourself: Who am I Trusting? By learning to trust God while waiting we see that He IS at work in our life.

Throughout scripture we are told to trust in God and wait patiently upon Him. This does not mean inaction. With investments there’s a term called progressive passive income. It’s when you make an initial investment and over time it progressively grows; by waiting, you allow time to multiply your investment. So, it is with certain aspects of our spiritual life. We take action by investing, or turning over our life to God’s care, and there are seasons when we wait. It may appear to be lackadaisical, but in actuality, passive growth or compounding is occurring. How, what, or whom, we are willing to invest (or leave with) with God will determine the growth we experience.

Can you look back upon your life and see where this passive growth has occurred? When I consider the most difficult long-term waits in my life, I see now that God was doing some of His most important work in me. I just needed to Step Back and wait upon Him. Areas that I have made major investments in and then had to wait are: waiting to having children, our adoption process, marriage issues, marital separation, and divorce. Now I am also waiting, for the forgiveness and healing process to multiply. Yes, there’s pain in waiting, but remember God is working in the midst of it.

Seasons…

There are seasons that seem slow to us. Investing in prayer, fasting, giving, and faithfulness can feel like nothing is really happening. But God is always working in some way in us as we trust Him. Using our season of waiting to grow our relationship with Him is wise. We can learn valuable lessons during this time and find contentment and peace in the process.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Photo credit: Google Images

Nancy Demary

Being asked to wait works against our human nature; we’re born for action! No wonder the past year has been so difficult for many. I am often unwilling to wait because it feels like I’m not acting responsibly.

In looking back on my waiting experiences, I can see that as I practice waiting, I am growing in patience and humility. Patience involves trust. Placement of trust is important — ask yourself: Who am I Trusting? By learning to trust God while waiting we see that He IS at work in our life.

Throughout scripture we are told to trust in God and wait patiently upon Him. This does not mean inaction. With investments there’s a term called progressive passive income. It’s when you make an initial investment and over time it progressively grows; by waiting, you allow time to multiply your investment. So, it is with certain aspects of…

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Recipe for Relief

While living in Romania, I would find joy in the morning by sitting on the porch reading God’s Word and watching Gabriel herd his sheep, and goats, down the lane. I would think about Jesus, our gentle Shepherd, and it would bring me peace. We can find ourselves at times in emotional and spiritual struggle and I hope this article brings relief to your mind during these times.

The Recipe

Read God’s Word often and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust the Father and understand what He has written. Put on the armor of God and pray as the scriptures instructs us. Resist temptation and keep your heart clean.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Walk humbly before God and thank Him for opening your eyes to see Him. Our real enemy is Satan, the deceiver, those who oppose God are still blind. Pray that their eyes may be opened to Truth from God.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2Corinthians 4:3-4)

Trust your Heavenly Father, He is at work in ways much higher than we know. He is in control and has authority over this world and He will bring justice in His time. Acknowledge His will above your own and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-15.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Fast (Isaiah 58) and pray, financially support, and speak on behalf of those who are truly oppressed. Extend yourself to those in legitimate need: children of poverty, refugees fleeing war, orphans, children in foster-care, widows without means of support (no family), preborn babies and their parents who are considering aborting them, and the families of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17.

Understand that God is allowing each heart to be revealed. God, our creator and sustainer, is warning us all (our entire world) to reflect and consider if we will submit to Him or not (individuals and governments). He is a loving Father and gave everything to extend mercy to us, but at some point, because He is also a just Creator, His righteous judgement will come. But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Remember: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:12)

 Photo Credit: flickr.com/Turatti

Forgive and Live!

Hurt people, hurt people; we’ve heard this phrase often and it’s true. Realizing that everyone has suffered some type of wounding in life, leaving scars of pain, we can see that if left ignored your hurt will hurt others. This article is the conclusion of Painful Pasts (Part 1 and Part 2). Here we will explore how to be set free.

Have you washed your windows lately?

Some people drive around with dirty a windshield and this makes it hard to navigate the road ahead. Seeing clearly makes a big difference when we are traveling through life. We all have our blind spots and with humility and an open heart, God will give us good people who will come alongside and help us see those areas. Then, like the dirty windshield, we have a choice to make, wash it and see or wait until it rains (God’s grace allowing us to see some of it) or an accident happens (again, God’s grace with a more direct hit).  These blinding filters upon our hearts need cleaning, if we fail to respond when we discover a blinder, we end up in a very destructive and dangerous place.

Accidents Happen

Yes, they do, and prevention is worth a pound of cure. I like to take a defensive driving course every three years to sharpen my driving skills and receive a 10% discount on my auto insurance. Insurance companies have found that those who will take the time and preventive care to take the course will make an attempt to drive defensively. They remind us of current laws, give attention to potential hazards while driving, and to make adjustments for constantly changing road conditions. Navigating life is a bit like this. If we’re going to avoid unnecessary accidents, we must invest energy in prevention and recovery.

When we live with a Que sera, sera, attitude, we demonstrate human pride in a way that says, “Don’t trouble yourself, live and let live, what will be, will be.” This attitude works against what the scripture tells us about sobriety, learning, and stewarding our lives well. We are told to care for others, to teach and model responsibility, study and learn, and to be good stewards of what we have been given. 

A good illustration of this attitude is a young person whose situation entitles them to a car, perhaps the family car, or they are given one by their parents or grandparents. Compare this to the young person to one who works and saves money to purchase their own car. Which vehicle will likely be more carefully driven and cared for? Which person will “see” the importance of maintaining the vehicle? And when an accident occurs, which will say, “Get off my back, accidents happen!”. Perspective often creates attitude.

Entitlement

When we view God as someone who should take care of us and fix everything in our lives so it runs smoothly, we tend to be like the child who has been given everything, it’s expected. We become angry with God over the injustice that has occurred or if things don’t go our way. We blame Him, or others, for our lot in life. Relationship with God is two-sided, both parties must reciprocally give to it. The person who understands the sin-nature of all human beings realizes that God owes us nothing, yet offers us everything. With this outlook, we tend to approach Him with a proper fear and reverence for who He is. If our worldview is off biblically, nothing will be properly understood about life here on earth, or why things happen as they do. Missing this big piece of life’s puzzle makes one think that only good things should happen. Suffering of any sort – physical or emotional abuse in any form — becomes monumental and we demand justice. When we find our proper posture before God, we discover that we have all sinned against someone, and it’s by His grace that we have not perpetrated the same, or worse, against another.

Hurt people, hurt people. Apart from Jesus Christ, everyone born into this world has experienced the pain of being sinned against and in turn, has sinned against others. Jesus himself was greatly violated, tortured, betrayed, and hated, yet he reviled not against those who harmed Him. He knew that one day His Father, the only just One, would make all things right.

Truth and Justice

Until we desire to know Truth, we will not allow for God’s method of justice. Rather, we will demand justice our way.

God set up earthly authority as it is described in Romans Chapter 13 and Paul said we should avail ourselves of this human government. In chapter 12, he claims that vengeance belongs to God alone (Romans 12:19-21). Since God is the ONLY ONE who sees and knows everything about every situation, and the intricacies of every human heart, He is the only one qualified to exact vengeance and justice. And He will one day. He alone is just. His Truth and mercy endure forever. The best we can do as flawed human beings are to enact laws and punishment according to the best of our ability. And yes, we fail, but God knows. Innocent people have gone to jail. Parents have not been fair, they have failed in many ways. We have missed the mark. So, what do we do with these failures? How can we best promote truth and justice while living in a hurting and confused world?

Humility and Forgiveness

It becomes clear, over time, when a person’s heart has been cleansed by God and granted forgiveness from their past. Humility is a marker of that, along with the willingness to make things right. It’s true, we cannot take back what we have done, but we certainly can, in humility, go to those we have wronged and name what we have done and ask forgiveness. This is foundational to healing wounds that we have inflicted upon others.

Sometimes we are not aware of the damage we have caused another and that’s where humility helps us. It allows others to share their feelings and pain with us. Ask someone who has a broken relationship with you, “What have I done to hurt you?” Yes, it will hurt to hear it, but if you have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness, you will be able to listen with an attitude of concern. We must examine our own hearts and see where we have wronged another and make it right. If we do not, we will become the abuser we so despised.

Matthew 6:14-15  (ESV) “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.

Stonewalled

But what about those who are fearful, afraid of confronting someone who has hurt them, what can they do? This is understandable in many circumstances, depending on the abuse suffered, and the relationship of those involved–child to parent or subordinate to authority figure. This is where it helps to have someone who can come alongside and offer to help, perhaps mediate. 

For those who’ve been deeply hurt it would be wise to seek out a helper, rather than continue trying to get by. Building a wall to protect the pain inside only magnifies it. Some victims lock themselves into a prison of despair, thinking the other will suffer from their silence. Each must decide for themselves to become free of the past and move into a healthy new day.

How’s your heart?

Have you opened your heart to God lately? Have you thought of allowing His refreshing cleansing stream to wash you? Or are you crusted over, forever blaming and reliving all the wrongs that have been done to you? You will not find peace or contentment if you resist having your heart cleansed; even the good things of the past become wormwood to you.

Continued rumination is dangerous. Without taking action toward the right, you will be consumed to where your thinking will become distorted. You will no longer find joy in anything. The people around you will only frustrate and fail you.  You will not be able to recall the blessings of God but only the fruit of your miserable heart. If you are there, humble yourself and turn. Get the help you need to begin to wash your windshield so you can see where you’re headed. Accidents may still happen but you’ll be able to handle them differently. You will begin to see joy in everyday life again. The burden of shame and blame will be lifted from you and you will see like never before.

God will grant grace to those who come to Him in sincere humility asking for his mercy. Taking steps toward change may involve removing yourself from a destructive relationship, involving civil authorities, placing temporary protective boundaries.

We have all failed God and unless we move into a place of surrender to Him, we will never progress from our painful past to healing freedom. Dear friend, let this be your starting point today. Take the necessary steps to forgive and live!

Counselor Rick Thomas shares here on allowing people to share their feelings with you, whether in a good healthy way or not (12 minutes)…   https://youtu.be/zGw2k8Rz6sc

Photo Credit: Google Images

Related articles: Painful Pasts (Part 1) and Painful Pasts (Part 2)