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Sending Positive Thoughts Your Way

positiveEnergyWhat exactly does, “Sending positive thoughts your way” mean? Social media is ripe with individuals posting positive thoughts/energy for someone going through a tough time.

There are hundreds of books on the market about the power of positive thinking. Plenty of those published authors who have profited from that mindset, but I am curious about what that mindset entail. If for no one other than myself, I feel the need to tackle the ‘positive thoughts’ comment head-on because it continues to raise questions every time I see it.

I am the daughter of an Assembly of God minister and pastor. My daddy walked the walk that he talked; I don’t think you will find anyone who would disagree. The same couldn’t be said of me. It took a ‘whole lot of’ hardships and life learning curves before I was able to align myself to God’s truth and defined my opinion about the “Sending positive thoughts your way” message.

For the record, I am not a protester of positive thinking. I just don’t believe we are empowered to change anything within the life of someone else without the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. Face it, God is God and we are not. You can hold your breath and wish all the positive thoughts you want but it is prayer and supplication before the Throne of God that moves the obstacles we face in life.

All the positive thoughts in the world are void compared to the power of supplication before God. Supplication is a request that calls God to action and as we bow before Him, He talks to us from the Word. It is in those moments, we discover what His mind is about the petitioned situation.

The positive thought message, in my mind, is an indirect way to bypass any belief in God, Jesus, Scripture or the power of the Holy Spirit.

Want to send positive thoughts? God has no problem with that if it aligns with His Word AND those things your petition is an outcry to God Almighty to intercede on the behalf of others, as well as ourselves. Supplication is a humble attitude that recognizes God’s Glory. It isn’t about generating positive mental thoughts into the universe with hopes our telepathic thoughts will awaken some unknown energy force and return positive vibes to the intended recipient.

 

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
Luke 18:1
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

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MY CUP OVERFLOWETH

PoppyJuice“NeeNee,” shouted my youngest grandson at the top of his lungs, “I poured too much Poppy juice into my cup and it spilled all over.”

The grand kids coined the term Poppy Juice when they were old enough to drink from a sippy cup. It’s a blend of red fruit punch that Poppy mixes in a big jug; should it spill, you have one big sticky mess with a good chance it will stain whatever it penetrates.

I’m fairly certain permanent wheelie marks were left on my office floor as I flew out of my office chair in the direction of the kitchen. What I saw was a panic-stricken six-year old on his knees with paper towel stretched in every direction in an effort to stop the trail of red juice that covered the floor.

“I’m sorry, NeeNee, I didn’t mean to put that much in my cup.” The remorseful and tearful way in which he spoke those words resonated with me. In that moment, I saw myself at the feet of Jesus asking for forgiveness.

I can’t count the number of times my life’s cup has overflowed and required heavenly intervention and damage control to mop up my bad choice messes. Like my grandson, I tend to ignore the voice that continually calls out to be slow and careful and I find myself saying, “I’m sorry, Jesus. I wasn’t slow and careful like you asked. and my cup overflowed.”

With love and a forgiving spirit, my grandson and I worked together to bring restoration to a chaotic and messy situation. That’s exactly what Jesus does for us. When we cry out for help, He comes to us with love, mercy and forgiveness to clean the stains of sin that overflow from our life.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Though we fall short of God’s glory, He made provisions to restore His glory within us through the cross of Jesus. He stands ready to restore our life messes and lead us in the paths of righteousness.

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JOY IN THE MORNING

27b005bc7bf41e519b0984870a90b2f0It was a sleepless night and the sound of the pounding rain only served to disrupt my much needed rest. As I twisted and turned to find a comfortable position, I would awaken to find my overly saturated mind silently singing Christian hymns or praise songs from my youth. How odd for someone who once wrote a paper in high school that vintage Christian hymns should be abandoned for the more trendy songs of the Jesus Movement in full force at that time. I am fairly certain the song I critiqued in my paper was Blessed Assurance. Strange how that was one of the songs I found myself humming last night.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels, descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest, Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

I knew the words to every verse of this song as well as many other hymns from my childhood. I can’t explain it, but as these hymns and choruses echoed in the night, I sensed the quiet embrace of God’s presence around me. I had an assurance that He was as close as my next breath and there would be joy in the morning.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV

Thank you to my high school friend, Carolyn Oswald for reminding me that God brings joy in the morning through His whispers of love in our little victories and echoes of mercy in our failures.

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DIVINELY APPOINTED

God has Diviinely Appointed our LifeThis morning, as I gazed out my kitchen window, I watched a spider work non-stop at spinning a web that stretched in every direction. Host of insects were entwined in the silvery threads of the web like trophies of his accomplishments. And yet, the spider continued to weave a bigger web.

The spider and his web are akin to humanity as we work and stretch ourselves to a breaking point in an effort to prove our worth and value to the world. I am at the top of the guilty list as I weave myself into new projects that have no real purpose. Why do I do that?

I believe it is a ploy of Satan to distract us from fulfilling God’s intended purpose for our life.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Spinning a bigger web of accomplishments is meaningless unless it aligns with God’s divinely appointed plan. I have found that when I operate outside of God’s plan and try to control and ensnare my OWN dreams and goals, I become anxious.
The following scripture is often used to give validity to choices we make outside of God’s divine plan for us.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

The truth is, we can do anything we want, but God is not going to strengthen us if is not part of His divine plan; the plan that leads you to all things eternal and brings you to the place God desires you to be to fulfill His purpose within your life.
So many times, we try to spin our own web only to find God has different plans for us. When we move and breathe in the Spirit of God, we have peace. Are you living within God’s divinely appointed life for you?

“In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28

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THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE

overcomeevilI am a friendly person by nature. My husband has always joked that I could strike up a conversation with the devil. Well, recently, I did just that; unknowingly.

The woman had an energy level that put me to shame and for those who know me well, that’s a daunting comparison. All the signs of an bi-polar person not taking medication were evident from the get-go, but I ignored them.

My ‘giving’ disposition took the reins in an effort to mentor this woman toward business goals, that in the end, she would never realize.

Long story short, I had met the devil in disguise and all those red flags I had sensed were really the red horns of deceit and betrayal. This person had a hidden agenda to suck the life and money out of me and others; only, to discard us by the wayside in search of new prey.

What this so-called friend (turned enemy) didn’t know or understand is the protective power of God’s Word that surrounds me day and night. As a Christian and child of God, I know the wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing will be revealed in due time. Not my time, but God’s time.

Many of you reading this post may have encountered a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On a daily basis we find the enemy of God using others to cultivate destruction and devastation to Christians around the globe. Christians needs to rise to the occasion and pray daily for those who are spiritually blinded and being used unknowingly as instruments to orchestrate the eradication of all things JESUS.

In the meantime, my husband and I are pursuing all the legal avenues to reclaim lost business possessions and continue to prayer this person will allow God to claim her soul for something of true purpose.

 

“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered.”
Psalms 68:1

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Matthew 7: 16-20

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GIVE IT ALL TO JESUS

shattered-dreams3There is no amount of preparation for blind-sided moments life randomly throws into our path. One minute life is good and then something happens that stuns our senses; within seconds our immediate reality becomes surreal as we struggle to make sense of what just happened.

The phone call informing me my sister-in-law had been killed instantly in a car accident was just one of those blindsided moments for me. There have been others; like the words ‘Stage IV’ uttered by the oncologist when my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer or ‘I’m leaving you for someone else’.

History is filled with stories about mankind being blindsided by events or occurrences they can’t control. Certainly the Philistines were blindsided when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down and Samson was blindsided when Delilah cut off his locks of hair. Life doesn’t afford us the opportunity to redo moments in time. I wish it did and I am fairly certain you feel the same.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my ex-husband still loved me, my sister-in-law was still alive or my dad’s cancer had been miraculously cured? But none of that happened and it never will. My new reality is to accept the challenge to regroup and move forward. It’s the only survival option we have and with God’s help it’s not impossible.

If you have been blindsided by something or someone in life, there is hope in Jesus. In our brokenness, hurt and sadness, he reshapes the attitude of our mind and infuses hope within us. The scars still remain, but so do the scars on the hands and feet of Jesus. It is our blindsided scars that bear witness to our desire to survive amidst some of life’s most difficult moments if we give them all to Jesus.

This song sums it up for me.

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DIANE’S STORY

Today, I share with you one of my sister’s writing from an upcoming book to be published. It will contain real-life stories, just like this one, to help encourage, uplift and bring hope when life situations break you. I have walked in the shoes of Diane; not just once, but twice. I pray this shared story uplifts the heart of someone today.

my storyThis vacation would be like no other.  I had no inkling of the devastating news I would receive.  As we packed and prepared for our summer family vacation, I felt a nudge from the Lord to talk to my husband Steve about an incident that had happened years ago earlier in our marriage.  Brushing it aside, I thought, “this happened 20 years ago.  Why would I bring that up now while we are getting ready for vacation?  “This can’t be God”, and proceeded to talk myself out of such a revealing moment.

Our vacation was going along well, until the last evening.  After dinner, I had decided to take a walk along the lake behind our campsite. Steve followed me after I had been gone for a few minutes.  It was at this time my husband of 21 years asked me for a divorce. My mind reeled, thinking “Divorce?”  I was plainly in shock, not suspecting this scenario at all.  It’s amazing I could even think of saying, “you’re involved with someone aren’t you?”  His response was “yes.”

After this confirmation, I recalled the nudging I had experienced prior to leaving on vacation and began to relay to Steve the incident of 20 years ago.

We had been married for a few years and living in California.  We were at a very low point in our marriage.  Steve had been discharged out of the army and doing drugs.   I was working and feeling very alone taking care of our son Steve, who was between two and three years old.  During this time of loneliness, I had an affair.   As I relayed this to my husband, his face expressed shock but still dead-set on wanting to end our marriage.

It felt like a tsunami had hit me with violent force.  I felt physically ill.

In that moment, he expressed to me that I was a great person, and even a great mom, but we were just too different.  I was a Christian, and he was not.  “You should meet someone more like you.”  Already feeling emotionally stunned, he expressed he wasn’t happy.

How do you recuperate from that, having to pretend none of this happened, since my youngest son and his friend were with us?  We had the packing up and the drive home yet.

Upon returning home, he wanted to stay living in our house together for at least another week.  After what seemed like eternity, he moved out.  Before he did, we sat down with our two boys, Steven and Karl, and told them the uncomfortable news, “mom and dad are getting a divorce.”  I left the room crying forced to face the fact that our marriage was over.  Thankfully, my boys were very comforting to me.

Seven years went by before he filed for divorce.   Divorce is a painful experience.  You really do become one.  I experienced pain from crying but also an actual physical tearing from deep within my soul.  Thoughts would swirl around in my head wondering “what am I going to do now? I can’t believe this has happened to me?”

I needed help in getting through this, so I began going to divorce care and read a book on divorce from the perspective of the one who asked for the divorce.  It was a real eye opener.  I started to grasp his emotional disconnect when he broke the news.  He had already separated himself from me and made the decision to leave.  Now I had to start the process as well.

Divorcing is a lot like death, except the person is still alive.  I went through the stages of grief.  In order to get through my stage of anger, I began working out, lifting weights, because I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Some of my angriest moments were watching my children trying to handle our divorce.  I eventually came to the place where I would allow myself the space to feel it emotionally.  I knew I needed to.

Something remarkable happened to me in 2013 as I sat in church.  Our pastor was preaching about husbands and wives, something that was still uncomfortable for me to hear.  As he preached, I felt my emotions stir again, feeling the pain.  In that moment, I brought this pain to the Lord, giving it to Him, not knowing what else to do.

That Sunday evening, as I was getting ready for bed, I realized the emotion I was feeling was unforgiveness.  “After all this time, unforgiveness?”  The Holy Spirit was telling me that I needed to forgive Steve.  Forgive him for taking away my dream of growing old with someone.  I recalled thinking that thought when he told me he wanted a divorce. Praise God for that extraordinary evening when God’s presence burst into my life and I relinquished my unforgiving heart.

Through all this, I have learned I cannot control anybody else or their choices, only my own.  I’m responsible for me……Diane.  I had to deal with regretful thoughts like “how come I couldn’t win over my husband like the Proverbs 31 woman? I did pray for him, fasted for him?”  I had to come to terms that I was not responsible for the choices he made.

I’ve learned to embrace today and realize that once today is gone, it’s gone.

I have found a strength I never knew existed in me – living alone, doing things on my own.  My circle of friends has become larger.  I am totally surrounded.

Today, when I look at myself, I see someone completely different.  There are things I will not settle for again, when I do meet someone else.  It has made me know the Lord as my husband and deeply enriched my faith family.

Interviewed and written by Sharon Garner