Right Relations / Thoughts on friendships

Jesus is referred to as the friend who sticks closer to you than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) As I have been looking at which relationships to write about, friendships keep jumping to the top of the list. I was planning to write more on the parent child relationship, but this project is not about me me or what I plan to write. It is about drawing closer to God, learning from the relationships we have and those found in scripture. His Word and our testimony.

I have had many friends come and go in my life, and others who are life long friends. The friendship that matters most is the one with Jesus. The friend who laid down His life to save mine.

One friendship found in the Bible is the one between David and Jonathan. 1 Samuel 18:1. Question;

What friendship in the Bible speaks to you?

Do you have a friendship testimony that you would like to share?

I will be taking some time from writing to look deeper into friendships and their influence on our relationship with Christ. I look forward to which friendships have special meaning to you.

God bless.

Have You Really Looked At The Cross?

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I made this cross a while back. The clay did not bake as it had before. Instead it came out black and cracked. I was going to throw it away but I couldn’t. You see various places decorated with beautifully crafted crosses. Some even dedicate a wall in their home to crosses they have collected. Each one beautifully decorated with jewels, or flowers. Some are painted. They are made from various materials. I have made a few myself as gifts. I had looked at this black and cracked cross and thought it would never be a nice gift. It was not beautiful. I could have painted it but it was not smooth and it was cracked. To be honest when I looked at it, I thought it was ugly.

Then I thought about the day Jesus was nailed to a cross. The cross was not beautiful, they had not sanded it smooth. It was rough and stained with His blood. Pierced by spikes driven through His flesh, nailing Him to the instrument of death. When Mary looked up at her son Jesus, she did not see beauty. Her heart was torn, as she watched her son suffer and die. Innocent blood stained that cross. A life freely given to pay the price for the sins of all mankind, no matter when they were born or if they are male or female. He went to the cross without a fight, and then spoke forgiveness.

You know how badly He had been beaten and how distorted his face must have looked like. The pain that He felt. Not the pain of one man did He bear, but the pain of every person who would ever be born on this earth, and all of the sins He took on Himself. He redeemed us, because He loved us.

The beauty is not the cross, no matter how you decorate it. The beauty is the love of Jesus given on the cross. This cross is a reminder of how ugly my sin is, and what my sins cost. So I will be keeping this cross. Not for decoration but as a reminder of how much He loves me.

Right Relations/ Sibling Rivalry/ The Cain and Abel Story

I love the people you find in the Bible. Even the not so good ones, because you can relate to so many of them. I am continuing on my project of ‘Right Relations’ how are earthly relations affect our relationship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father, and how we can learn from our relationships and make them better. Allowing His Holy Spirit to be a part of these relationships.

Back to the beginning / Sibling Rivalry/ The Cain and Abel Story

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   How many of you have brothers or sisters? Next question; How many of you have a relationship that can be compared to Cain and Abel? Do you wonder how others that are close and loving to their siblings do it? I know of many brothers and sister who say their sibling is their best friend. Do you envy these relationships? I know I have wanted since a young child to have a family that is close and loving. I wanted to accepted and loved and I thought why doesn’t my own family love me? It has been a battle just to survive in my family, and I even had to fight my own brother. My stepmother had said that there was a devil and an angel in our house, referring to me and my brother. Our fights got pretty bad. When we were young and he would come at me I was big enough to get him off me and hold him down until he calmed down enough that I was not afraid he would try to hurt me again. Unfortunately more times than not, one of my parents would walk in and see me on top of him, and even I was only trying to restrain him from hurting me, I was the one who got in trouble. No surprise there, no matter who did what, I was always to blame, and took the punishment (another excuse to be abused.) Eventually my brother got bigger than me and protecting myself became more difficult. Our last fight back when I was in my early 20’s, he had me pinned and was trying to choke me and was yelling things in my face that I will not repeat here. I got him to stop by responding to something he called me, by saying, ‘Yeah, just like Mom!’ He got off me and went to another room. The first time my brother had told me he loved me,  he was 21, and had first started drinking and I came home to find him sitting on my bed drunk. He told me he knew he was an _____ and he would always be one to me, but he loved me. I was in shock, but grateful he could say he loved me. No need to repeat the rest of that conversation but over ten years later we would have a similar conversation. My brother did not call me things I was not already being called by other family members. I could not go out to eat with him and my father without feeling degraded in public. I would be so humiliated as they verbally tore me apart in front of others, and was too afraid to speak up for myself. I always found it strange how easy t was for me to stand up for others but that I could not defend myself against my own abusers.

Okay time to get back to my relationship with my brother. Even as young children we had been at odds with each other. I have one memory though where we weren’t fighting. I was only five years old and what was about to me I had no idea. We were living in Pacoima and a relative of my father had taken me into our (my brother and mines) bedroom. I remember looking from my bed and seeing my brother cry as the door was being shut on him by this relative. What happened is another subject. I just remember him crying outside our bedroom as I was being molested. After this we were never close. We have fought and been distant from each other. We have spoken to each other in years now. I still pray for him and his son. Who knows one day this relationship will fall into the reconciled relationship file.

Now look at Cain and Abel. They are the first brothers recorded in Genesis. They were the son’s of Adam and Eve. Abel’s story is short lived because his brother murdered him. Cain’s jealousy turned to anger. It was not Abel’s fault that Cain had not obeyed God in his offering. Abel pleased God, and Cain wanted the labor of his own work to be pleasing. When his offering was rejected, instead of doing what was pleasing and acceptable by God, he took his brother’s life. God still loved Cain and showed it in that when He came to Cain after he had murdered his brother, God did not take Cain’s life. Instead He marked Cain so that no other could take his life. Cain had taken a life so God would have been justified but once again God shows mercy. That is our Heavenly Fathers love. What is sad in this story is two brothers seeking approval of Father, could have been so different if Cain had looked at what his brother offered as a lesson in learning to do what is right, instead of demanding with his actions for things to be done his way. Then he got angry when he didn’t get things his way. Now the sadder part of this story is they not got a chance to reconcile and their parents lost both of their sons.

Is there any of you who can relate to their story? I am not saying your brother or sister has tried to take your life, but that there is such strife in your relationship, that you have no relationship with them other than by name? Or do you have one that you are a part of each other’s life, but every time you are in the same room the battle breaks out and damage continues to be done? Do you pray for them and want to have a peaceful and loving relationship with the, or do you want nothing to do with them, as if they do not exist? What if God had the same attitude a lot of us have? What would our lives be like? Can you imagine God saying, ‘I am done with them. I am tired of how they treat me.’
I am not saying allow a person to do harm to you just because they are your relative. Sometimes we have to be separated from our family. Not just live peacefully but to live safely, because if we stay the damage that is done can cost not just your physical life but your can cause a spiritual death. You get so wrapped in the fighting, the hater and bitterness there is no room for love and forgiveness and with each fight your spirit slowly dies. We must guard our hearts. We can love and forgive and walk away from a relationship that is toxic to you. God can still reach their heart while He heals you of the would the relationship caused you.. Pray for yourself and pray for them. Focus on what you can do that is pleasing to God and let God be the one to deal with the other person. Love and forgive them through prayer. Then if the opportunity comes where you can show them the love God has given you and that He has for them, you might find a “Right Relation’ with them.

Now who are some other siblings we can find in the Bible who we can relate to in our own sibling relationships? I have a few in mind but would love to hear from you. I am still looking for testimonies relating to both right and wrong relationships and what God has done for you in these relationships. Please leave me a comment if you are willing to share your testimony and I will give you my email to contact me privately. There is no judgement or condemnation in Christ, only healing and His love. You do not know you may help by sharing your story. I also will not reveal your name if you would like to keep it  private but still have a story to share. Thank you and God Bless you.

 

Right Relations / The Beginning

It has been a short while since I have been working on this project of ‘Right Relations’, how our relationships here on earth have affected our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I am back at it now and here is my next installment. I am still looking for testimonies to include in this book on relationships both good and bad that can help others draw closer to Jesus, so if you have one you would like to share please contact me, I would love to hear how God has worked in your life.

Here is my latest work on this project, I have gone back to the beginning.

The First Relationship

After God had created the heavens and the earth, and filled the earth with the various living creatures, He formed man out of the dirt and breathed life into him. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone so he took a rib out of the man and created woman. Eve was not Adam’s first relationship. His first relationship was with his Creator, his Heavenly Father. Yet he did not listen to his Father as he should have, and Eve did not listen to her husband. She listened to the serpent and did the ONE thing they were told not to do and ate the fruit of the tree that God had commanded them not to eat of. One action as simple as it may seem damaged a perfect relationship. They lived in Paradise! They had all they would have ever needed, and they threw it away by disobeying the One who had created them and loved them.

Doing what they thought would not harmed them got them kicked out of Paradise and all of its comforts and provisions. Their lives would be filled with hardship and pain. This did not stop God from loving them though. He made a promise which He kept. Through the woman a Savior would be born and He would redeem that which was lost. Read Genesis to get the whole story.

Their story is one of the first broken relationships you will find in the history of all relationships. You might wonder why it is when they had everything and were loved so dearly how they could go against the One who created and loved them, giving them the best life He could. That is a question I cannot answer. How many of us have had everything we could ever want or need and thrown it away for a temporary pleasure though? This doesn’t mean that our lives were perfect or without pain. For many of us the beginnings of our lives on this earth have been filled with various forms of abuse, pain and suffering. We find it hard to trust an unseen God. The idea of a Heavenly Father and His Son is like a myth, or a fairy tale. We are like Thomas, filled with doubt and refusing to believe until we can see and touch, so that we have proof.

We stay distant from Him even after we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord. He is now a part of our lives, but a part we only find in a book. We don’t truly have a solid relationship with Him. Even after we have received forgiveness for our sins we are in a distant relationship with our Heavenly Father, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. The source of life is there but we are not truly connected. It is like that distant relative that you have never met. You know they exist but you have never laid your eyes on them or even spoken to them. So how do we change this? How do we have a real relationship with the One who has given us everything? You have repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. You believe God sent Him to pay the price of your sins redeeming you and giving you eternal life, yet They still seem so far away.

We are on this journey together. As I am writing these words I am learning myself what it means to have a better relationship with Jesus, His Spirit and our Heavenly Father, Abba. We are sinners saved by His grace and love. Yet we hurt and so we hurt those around us. A lot of the time we hurt others not realizing what we have done. As the saying goes, ‘Hurt people, hurt people.’

Too many of us have gone through this life hurting for one reason or another. We lack hope and trust. We feel like we are the only ones we can depend on and we don’t even feel capable of being able to do that most of the time. This is not the life God wants for us. He wants a close and intimate relationship with each of us. He loves us and wants so much better for us. We are at a place in our lives where we need to learn how true His love is. We need to learn to trust Him more and know His love never fails.

So let us examine our own relationships and those we find in His Word. Really take a good look at the lives and relationships of those in the Bible and learn what it means t have a right relationship with Him and each other.

Right Relations / Thoughts April 15, 2018

This morning my thoughts are on how we can so easily let relationships drift away. Even a boat on calm water can drift if it is no securely anchored. Our relationships need our attention and effort if we want to keep them. These relationships that drift away are not bad relationships, and are not with people you quarrel with. They are those relationships that drift away because you have not stayed connected with. I am not saying you have to make time daily to call or talk to these people who you have drifted away from, but we need to make an effort to stay in contact. Make that phone call, write a letter or send a card (make it personal and skip the text or email), or even better go and visit them. People need to know they are important to you and that you care that they are a part of your life. How many of us still have friends from our childhood? I have a few, but to be honest we have grown distant, and not just in location. Most of us have moved to different states and a spread out over the country. We have even lost contact. We got busy and life moved us right along. I am envious when I watch a movie where a group of friends from childhood are still very close, and are there for each other, and wonder how my life would have turned out if we had stayed in better contact. I know many of the choices I made before we even moved away from each other was already putting distance between us. Not that my childhood was great, but I had friends who meant so much to me, and we went through so much together. Even though I had friends that were not all part of the same group, I was a social butterfly and had friends with interests in many different things, but it did not matter how we became friends or which group they belonged to, they were my dearest and best friends. Yet now we are barely acquaintances. We have our own lives and new friends. We may think of each other from time to time, but the closeness we once shared is gone. We didn’t have a major falling out, there was no fighting, we just grew apart for various reasons. There is no one to blame, no tragedy, we just grew apart.

So why am I thinking about this today? To be honest, I was not feeling well when I woke up and had thought about staying home from church. Now I know that Jesus is with me every moment of my day and night, and that I do not need a building to worship Him. I do however see how easy it is to drift away from Him and go my own way if I am not willing to make an effort to gather with other believers who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a part of me that hates showing up when I don’t feel well and that I am struggling with my health or my finances are troubling me because there are bills I am not able to pay, and I do not want to be that person who always has their hand out. I don’t want to be the one complaining all the time, and so I want to disconnect and hide. If I stay home and don’t answer the phone then I can keep from showing the negative parts of my life, forgetting this life is not my own. I gave my life to Jesus, not because I had to or because I was told I had no choice. I gave my life to Him because He gave me His life and showed me how much He loves me. He didn’t stop loving me because I sinned, and He didn’t stop loving me the many times I walked away. He has loved me from before I was born and still loves me today. Yet if there is no real reason for me to stay home, if I can get up on my feet and get dressed, then I need to connect with the others who God has placed in my life and fellowship with them and grow my relationships with them. By doing this I am not just securing my relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, but with Jesus who lives in each of us.

Today I am glad I chose to go and worship and here His message,  and Lee share an excellent message and the worship was beautiful. The Lord inhabits the praise of His people and His love was shared by all in attendance. We need each other, so that we can encourage and lift each other up.

Question;

Is there a relationship in your life that need tending to?

What effort do you need to make to nurture this relationship?

God bless you and your loved ones, may your relationship with one another grow closer and more loving as the love of Jesus grows in you.

 

 

Right Relations / Family Relations / The Parent Child Relationship

Well here is the next piece in the puzzle of my project Right relations. Sometime I wonder if anything I am writing makes any sense or if I am just rambling. So I hope that those of you who are taking time to read along as I continue on this journey are finding things that are helpful to you. Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as you feel inspired to do. This is a work in progress.

Family Relations/The Parent Child Relationship

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NLT)
Leviticus 19:3 “Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NIV)

These are only 3 verses on how children must act towards their parents, yet they show the importance of the relationship between a child and their parent. Now do we stop obeying this commandment when we become adults? The answer is no. What if you parents are not good to you as you are growing up and even when you become an adult, does this mean you do not have to keep this commandment? If you read what God has instructed us to do, you will see there is nothing said about the parent’s behavior. It simply tells us to honor our mother and our father and by doing this you add to your life. Why does God care about your relationship with your earthly parents? It is not like you were given a choice who your mother and father would be. Yet these two people made a choice and you were conceived.
I do not know what your childhood was like. Some have loving and caring parents. Then there are those of you who did not have bad parents, they made sure you had what you needed as far as food, clothes, shelter, and other things. Yet they were gone a lot, they worked long hours to provide for your needs, but had little to no time for you. Then there are those of us who grew up in unstable and abusive homes. Maybe you were not the one getting abused, but you watched one parent hurt the other repeatedly. Your house was filled with anger, hate and fear. Some knew about the affairs their mother or father was having and this made you angry but there was nothing you could do. Then there are the ones who were raised by a single parent, which used to mean you were raised by your mother, but in today’s times you could have been raised by your father. For whatever reason they were left to raise you alone, and how much they showed you they loved you, there was still something missing.
I know I have not covered the entire list of dysfunctional childhoods, but you can see by this list that there are many reasons to question this commandment. How do you honor a parent that is neglectful, abusive, absent, selfish, and cheats to name a few character flaws some parents have?
How can you respect or honor someone you are afraid of? You may love them because they are your parent and you are desperate for them to love you back. Yet they have hurt you in ways that leave your angry or depressed and feeling worthless. You may do everything right, and never speak an angry word or ever talk back. Yet you cannot trust them. You live in fear of how they are going to hurt you, your siblings, or your other parent. Where is the honor in this?
You have been raised by your single parent. Some are so loving and do twice as much to make up for the lack of the other parent not being there that you do not doubt you are loved and that they will do anything to make you happy. You have no problem loving or respecting this parent, but what about the absent parent? The one who left you behind,. Whether it was before or after you was born. How do you respect or honor them? They haven’t been any part of your life, or they just show up on rare occasions, and you don’t have a relationship with them other than a biological one. So why do we even care about this person?
Unfortunately the actions of our parents are not controlled by us or by God. They have free will to choose how they live their lives. This does not always have a positive effect on our lives. We grew up watching how our parents treated each other and then how they treated us. If it was good it had a good effect on most of us behaved ourselves. Yet there are some that no matter how good their parents were they still acted out, hurting themselves and those around them. Why I cannot tell you. Then those who grew up in the unstable and dysfunctional homes it had an effect on the person we were. Some grew up to be exactly like our parents. We became victims to others just like our parents, or we lived angry, abusive, neglectful, selfish, with no self control. Either jumping from relationship to relationship or ending up in an abusive relationship of our own. Then others who grew up in these types of homes worked harder to get away from this life and made a good life for themselves.
So whether your home was good, loving and stable or it was broken and unstable it did affect the choices you made, and the relationships you formed. For some the effect was positive and we made the best choices and learned to live happy and productive lives, but still have difficulties trusting people, and honoring your parent may seem like it is not worth the effort.
So why is this command repeated throughout the Bible? Right now it I see it as a reflection of how we are to relate to God. He is called our Heavenly Father. Yet how we relate to our earthly parents effects how we relate to Him. Even the people who have the loving and nurturing parents can still have difficulty relating to Him. Not because they had a hard life, they had wonderful childhoods, so good they cannot see beyond their parents. Yet for a large number of us who grew up abused, abandoned, neglected, etc… we have difficulties seeing a loving Heavenly Father when we got stuck with jerks for parents. You may wonder how He could love you and stick you with parents who were going to hurt you? I cannot answer for Him but I will say He did not take away their free will, and He is not responsible for their actions. They chose how they lived and how they treated others. The other thing I want to tell you is that, no matter what you lived through, both good and bad He was always there and He still is. Which reminds me of a song that even thinking about still brings tears to my eyes? “A Sad Little Girl” Look it up and listen to it, if you have never listened to it before. It will tell you about how in the darkest time of this little girl’s life Jesus was there for her.
So how can we honor and respect our Heavenly Father when we do not honor or respect our parents here on earth? We can’t. Honoring and respecting anyone does not mean we have to be there door mat or punching bag. We do not have to allow ourselves to be abused in anyway. Like the old saying goes, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right.’ Just because they have done you wrong does not mean you have to return wrong for wrong. Some ways we can honor or respect the parents who failed at being good parents is by not speaking in hateful or hurtful words about them or to them. This does not mean you have to pretend like they never did anything to hurt you, and you can share what has been done to you because this is your testimony. Just speak the truth without hate or bitterness. For those of you who think this is impossible remember this verse.’ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I also want to let you know that I have not perfected this in my own life but I am putting in the effort, and doing as the Apostle Paul said, ‘ I have not yet finished the race but I press forward until I reach the goal.’
For me to have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father I am going to have to work on the relationships with the parents I have here. This includes the relationship with my mother who is no longer alive. Just because she is gone the relationship we had still plays a major role in my relationship with Christ.

Questions to think about;

What does honor and respect mean to you?

Do you have problems trusting people, and does this go back to your childhood?

How do you see yourself?

Are you depressed, angry, or are you happy and and at peace with yourself?

Have your need to forgive your parents?

Have you forgiven yourself?

Right Relations / March 10, 2018

I have not been writing much here lately. I have not wanted to write just to write. Waiting for inspiration and direction from God, because He always gives me the best stuff to share, and to learn from as He speaks to me. So I have taken my break and gotten busy doing a few other things and working on some older projects and working on illustrating a story for a friend. Well I guess break time is over because He has given me my next writing project and lesson which I will be sharing here as I make progress in writing what He is teaching me. So here is my first installment. Be kind because this is a rough draft and is only the introduction, but please leave your comments and share your thoughts with me.

Right Relationships

What is a relation? It is how we relate to one another. We all have relationships. The first relationship we have is with our parents. This begins before we are born. Nice and safe, in our mothers’ womb, we grow hearing her heartbeat. Then the day comes when we enter into the world and can then be held by her. Most of us had both a mother and a father, but there are some of us who only had our mother to welcome us into this world. We then have our grandparents, and then there are brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and cousins. The list of people goes on to include friends, and neighbors. The list of relationships we have continued to grow as we grow. There are those we form in our neighborhoods, our schools, work and church. Then the most important relationship we have is with God, our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
So what is a right relation? Are there wrong relationships? Does not God love us all? I will answer the last question, and that is yes God loves each and every one of us. He loves us so much, He sent His Son to die for us, so that we could have a relationship with Him.
Recently I felt Him prompting me to write about relationships. So here I am beginning my own personal journey on getting to the true heart of relationships. You see God did not create us for religion. He created us to have a relationship with Him. Then sin entered the picture and came between us. Sin divides us, not only from Him but from our Creator. He did not give up on wanting a relationship with us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. He was not going to let sin steal us from Him. He could have given up on us, and started over once Adam and Eve committed the first sin, but He didn’t. He spoke to them both and told them how their lives were going to be and that they had to leave His garden. Thankfully He didn’t stop there; He also told them that through a woman He would redeem man. Then He let the serpent know that his days were numbered and that the one He was going to send would crush his head.(Read Genesis and the fall of man and John 3:16.)
Father and Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him before He came to our world. He knew He would be rejected, ridiculed, beaten and finally crucified, but this did not stop God’s master plan to redeem His creation. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die so that we would not perish but have everlasting life if we will believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Seems like an easy choice for us all to do, right? Then how is it that so many people refuse to do this, or only say the words but then continue living as we always have? Never really knowing the love of Christ, or what it means to truly receive Him into our hearts.
In scripture we will find that we cannot love the world and Jesus at the same time. It tells us we cannot serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. So how do we learn how to have a real relationship with Him?
One thing I am going to be discussing is how all of our relationships effect how we relate to God our Heavenly Father.
I hope you will be patient with me as I share my journey and what jesus has to teach me about relationships.