He Reigns!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's Your Choice

No matter what today's counselors might tell you, once you are of legal age, everything you do in your life is your choice. You have to choose the direction of your life and how to live it, or spend your life letting circumstance bounce you around like a rubber ball on a school playground. No matter how rough life was for you, or that you didn't have the greatest parents, or that you were raised in the poor area of town, you can either let your circumstances build you up or break you down. No matter where you are now, there are choices to be made that determine your present circumstances, as well as all of your tomorrows.

Everyone has had problems, and certainly, no one has had a perfect life. Even so, some are better than others but that is still no guarantee of a successful life. We read about the rich and famous and their problems every day. From drug abuse, to failed marriages, to committing crimes, no one is immune from bad choices. My life wasn't so great. I was molested by two uncles from age three to about age eleven. And yes, those events did mess up my mind and caused me to make bad choices as a teen, and even as a young adult. But no matter what happened to me or to you, everyone is responsible for the choices they make and the paths they follow. So how do we put the past to rest and move beyond our circumstances?

I would like to tell you how simple it is, but it's not simple. Like anything else in our lives, it takes work and diligence, and it takes practice every single day. You have to want to live right, you have to practice living right, and you need a good example of living right. The best example is the Bible, and then those who live by the Word of God daily. If you aren't a Christian, that's okay, it's not difficult to become one.  Ask God to forgive you, thank Him for that forgiveness, and praise Him for what He has done and will continue doing in your life.

Jesus died on the cross for your sins because God loved you so much, He sacrificed His only begotten Son as the final blood offering because "God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall be saved." Once you know the salvation of God, you will feel the love of God fill your heart to overflowing, and you will feel a peace that passes all understanding. You are now a child of God, an adopted child who has the same inheritance as Jesus. Heaven now belongs to you and when you stand before God after your earthly death, He won't remember the sins you committed before your salvation, but only the love you've shown others, and the ones you've told about Jesus, since your salvation. What a wonderful blessing!

This is not to say your life on earth suddenly comes without any problems. You still have the problems you had before salvation, but now you have an answer for them. Now you can call on the Lord for answers to solve your problems. Serving the Lord will bring about blessings overflowing, to show you how to live, how to cope with problems when they do crop up, and how to resist those old habits that used to haunt you. I used to smoke cigarettes and I prayed and prayed to lose the craving and for God to take the habit from me. The Lord did, and I was smoke free that same day. I put my brand new lighter in the half a pack of cigarettes I had left, stuck them in a drawer, and didn't smoke any more. Then, a few months later, something happened and I felt so stressed over it, that I lit a cigarette. I looked at the burning evil in my hand, and said, "Lord, I asked you to take this from me." The Lord replied, "I did. You're the one who picked it up again."

He was right. I didn't have the habit, nor did I have a craving. I just picked up a cigarette because that's what I used to do when I became stressed out. We have a lot of old habits we have to get rid of. Everything from cigarettes to alcohol, from drugs to sex, and everything in between are habits we have to rid ourselves of, and with God's help through the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious over our habits. As long as we depend on the Lord for our strength (Psalm 28:7), in Him we live and breathe (Acts 17:28), He will guide us into all righteousness (John 16:13).

Jesus is our answer to everything. And no matter what we have done, or how many times we have sinned, He will forgive us. His shed blood covers our sins and  washes us white as snow. Through Him we are truly made brand new as if we had never sinned, just like when we were babies, completely blameless. No matter what you have gone through in your life, or how you were raised, and no matter what is going on in your life right now, Jesus is standing by, waiting for you to make the decision to follow Him. No man knows the number of his days, but if yours ends without the decision for Christ, you will go to hell. The devil is real and so is hell. Don't let the devil trick you like he did Eve in the garden. The devil is a liar (John 8:44), so don't believe him when you start thinking you don't deserve salvation. On the other hand, don't blame the devil when you start doing stuff you know you shouldn't. You know right from wrong, you have a brain in your head, so don't blame the devil when you know it's a choice you made all on your own.

"So repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Used To Be Awesome...

Ever have one of those days where everything is out of whack? Like nothing makes sense anymore and you're not even sure if you're awake because everything is so surreal it could just be a bad dream? That's been my week. Since my daughter and her family moved back to California, my son, Michael has indeed confirmed that he is moving to California, and my youngest son, Cody is meeting with the recruiter about going to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan but if that doesn't work out for him, he's moving to California where his wife has been living for over a year. My husband went back to Texas to work, only to be told to come back home because the company's move from Louisiana to Texas isn't a sure thing yet, and may not happen after all.

On top of that, my sixteen-year-old granddaughter has been very ill over the past ten days or so, and my daughter has been taking her from doctor to doctor trying to find out what's wrong with her. Yesterday, Sarah had to call an ambulance to take my granddaughter back to the hospital but this time, they took her into surgery for her gall bladder. Apparently, because she is so young, no other doctor thought to  check her gall bladder. Today, she is feeling much better, even smiling for a picture. I know how worried my daughter was and being all the way out here, there was nothing I could do to help. But all's well, at least with granddaughter and she should be back on her feet in time for prom and her seventeenth birthday.

Sometimes I feel like there's a hurricane and I'm the eye--you know, the calm, quiet place in the center while everything around me is spinning out of control. Not that anyone would ever call me the calm, quiet type but sometimes I feel like everything just spins around me, and I have no control or say-so in any of it. Sometimes, being just the Nana is a terrible place to be. I guess I just haven't grown into the idea of being old, or at least the idea of being old the way my kids and grandkids see me. I see the way they roll their eyes when I say something they don't like, or something they think is old fashioned, opinionated, or just unwanted advice or ideas.

I don't quite know when this happened. I know my kids were like all kids, and couldn't wait to get out of the house and on their own. And I've seen my grandkids grow up, and the difference when they were small and I was awesome, but the older they get, the less awesome they think I am. At some point I have become my grandmother. She was the woman I loved and enjoyed seeing from time to time, but she had weird ideas, her house smelled funny, and she gave me birthday presents I would never use!

Perhaps it's just another of those crazy milestones that we all face if we live long enough. It's funny though, I still think of myself as being really cool, awesome, wise, and I can't quite figure out why my kids and grandkids don't want the benefit of all my years of living that equals all this wisdom.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Changes In My Future

As the saying goes, the one thing we can be certain of is change. It's probably one of the things I hate the most. Change is uncomfortable and it requires work on my part. Not just physical change, but the mentality that goes with the change. I have had quite  a few changes going on lately, just dropped into my lap like a bomb without notice, and I've had to adjust and accept. That isn't easy for me because I like things the way they are.

My daughter announced she and her husband were moving to California. This information was dropped on me without preamble yesterday. I woke up this morning to find them packing up their clothes and the kids getting ready to leave. "I thought you were leaving Thursday?" I said as I headed to the kitchen for coffee. "We were but Mike has to be there by eight Friday morning for a drug test." That was it, an hour later, amongst all the tears, and my 2-year-old granddaughter insisting her one-year-old brother was staying here, they were one their way to California. My day hasn't been very productive since their departure. After that, I sign in to my Face Book account to see my son, Michael, who lives in Missouri, has announced he and his family are leaving for California the end of the month. I suppose calling to let mama know would have been too much trouble. Later, my youngest son calls and says he may also be moving to California because he needs a better job and he's fed up with the one he has here.

So, these three kids of mine will all be in California, and all in different parts of California. It might seem like mom should move to California too but that would happen only over my husband's dead and rotting corpse. Having been born and raised in California, I left there for a reason and except for visits, haven't been back in nearly twenty years.

I do wonder about the timing of these moves and the connection they may have to God answering my prayers. I often tell people that you cannot remain where you are and go with God at the same time. God requires us to get up and move, to really reach out to others and to be a living, breathing, part of His plan. I have been praying about this very thing, about getting up and doing what God wants me to do. Perhaps with my children and grandchildren out of my house, I will now feel better about doing whatever it is God wants me to do. I realize I have created many excuses for staying home because Lisa was here, the babies were here, and they gave me the excuse to remain where I am.

So, whatever God has planned for my future, I am still praying but apparently have been freed up in order to move when God says, "Move!"