Through The Fire

I used to have this nightmare that terrified me years ago, where I was surrounded by fire, covered in blood, and being attacked by something I could not see. Recently God revealed to me that it was not a nightmare, which I would argue until He gave me understanding. He told me that even though I was surrounded by fire I was not being burned. The blood that covered me was not my own, but His Son’s blood which was protecting me. Even though I was being attacked, that I did not die, but stood firm. That the fire kept the enemy from destroying me, and that it was His Spirit that surrounded me. This inspired this painting.

Through The Fire by Julie Sheppard

Which I hope inspires hope for those who are going through their own fiery trials, or nightmares.

Notes message of love/January 11, 2021

Notes message of love/January 11, 2021

The lyrics ‘You don’t know what it’s like, to love somebody, the way I love you’, keep running through my head. It is like God is singing to me, telling me that He loves me and at the same time letting me know I do not understand the depth of His love.

I have always enjoyed how God has spoken to me over the years the closer I have come to knowing God. The closer I become to Him, the more I hear and see Him.(My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow Me. John 10:27)

As I have been focusing my studies on the scriptures about His love, the clearer His voice has become to me. It is not a new to me that no one can put God in a box. He is bigger and greater than we can imagine. Religion and traditions try to put Him into a box, but He is not found only in a building on Sunday morning, or by keeping religious traditions. All this has done is build walls that have separated us from knowing His love and who He truly is. I often think about the conversation between God and Moses, when God told Moses to go back to Egypt and lead God’s people to freedom.(Exodus chpt. 3)Moses asks God who he should say sent him, and God tells Moses to say ‘I Am That I Am has sent me to you’. Simple and straight to the point, ‘I Am’ is the One sending Moses to lead His people to freedom. The problem Moses faced was not with God but with the fact that the people including Pharaoh did not know God.

Unfortunately this is still a problem today. Even I do not know God the way I should. People may know His name, go to church and even serve without truly knowing Him. He speaks through His prophets, ministers, teachers, disciples, and Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Yet many do not listen. They have heard His Word spoken and read the scriptures, but like seeds on rocky ground the seeds of His Word did not get the chance to take root in their hearts, or like seeds that did get planted and did begin to grow were choked out by the weeds of this world. So either the seed does not get a chance to grow or it dies because the world and all of its’ problems smother it and it dies. Either way the seed does not grow and produce fruit.(Matt.13:20-22)

God has never stopped loving us. He still speaks to us today, and is waiting for us to listen to Him. His arms reaching out to us, wanting to embrace us. He longs for us to choose Him over the world, and to become one with Him. He wants you to know Him and to know His love, He is an open book waiting for you, inviting you to come in. Once you begin to know Him you will know His voice and hear Him speaking to you. It is time now for us to want to know Him on a personal life changing level. To want Him more than anything else in our lives. To let His love grow and flow through us. Then when people see us they see Him. Then His love can reach others through us.

Notes on message on love /Jan 6, 2021

Notes on message on love /Jan 6, 2021

1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.(ESV)

We are only capable of love because God loved us first. Without God there is no love. Desire, affection, and passion are often used to describe love, but when you read 1 Corinthians 13 these words are not found in what God says love is. Those are only feelings, and they change with the wind and the waves. They are not stable, and you cannot build on them. They can make you feel good, but then they fade and can turn into pain. Pain turns into resentment, bitterness and hate, which then turn into actions that hurt others and the damage continues.

So then how can we love, if our knowledge of love is from the world and not God? My answer is that we can’t. Just because we call something love, does not make it love. we have all heard of knock off designs. They look like the original but they cost less. Just because someone put a label on it saying it was an original but they got you a deal so it cost less. Ye it is nothing more than an imitation of the real thing. Yet you got a deal right? It barely cost you half of the cost of the real thing, but you have a poor quality imitation of the real thing. God’s love number one is real, and number two it cost Him everything. Yet there are a lot of imposters in the world all around us. They say and do things in the name of God but they do not have His love, and these are the ones Jesus tells them to go/depart(Matthew 7:23/Luke13:27) His love when it gets deep down in you like a seed planted in good soil. It grows and produces His fruit. You can see the changes in a person who has the Love of God in them. Love changes a person. It may look like the change starts on the outward appearance, but it is on the inside where the real change begins.

Questions:

Will you allow God today to plant His love in you?

Will you allow His love to grow in you? Will you allow His love to change you?

Will you allow His love to be seen?

Call To Prayer / Who are you listening to?

Call To Prayer / Who are you listening to?

We pray to God, and we make our requests, petitions for provision, protection, healing, and the list goes on. Then we wait to hear His answer. Yet, are we listening to God, when it comes to the answer? Do we hear His answer and because we do not like it, so we go to a friend, a minister, a teacher, etc… looking for the answer we want to hear? Maybe we grow impatient because the answer does not come through in our timing and someone comes with an answer but it is not from God, but it sounds nice so we believe it is.

It feels like my life has been nothing but a battlefield at times. I have heard people tell me all the wrong I must be doing for God to be punishing me, and that my faith must be weak because if it was stronger I would have been healed already, etc… These are just a couple of examples of voices I had listened to in the past. Well meaning people who thought they were helping, but were not. Listening to them I doubted myself and I doubted God, and this kept the embers of anger burning within me. Angry with the world, and angry with myself, and even angry with God. I learned with time that God was not punishing me, and the He forgave me and loves me. He was not the author of my pain and suffering. My faith had not been weak but actually growing stronger with each trial I faced, because I did not walk away but clung to Him with all of my life. I may stumble but I get back up, and what ever I have done in my past is in the past, He does not hold it against me, but it can be used to teach others of His amazing love.

Recently a friend and I prayed over my current situation, and including the request for a new job that would be better than my current one, from which I am on leave because of a workplace injury, which has limited my use of my right arm. The very next morning I received a call, which I thought was to confirm my Dr. appointment, but was for a job interview. I was so happy to get called for an interview, I thought it had been an answer to prayer. The door to that job was immediately shut, which before would have depressed me, but this time I felt peace. I heard Him tell me that He has better in store for me, and that right now I need to just rest and be healed. When I told my friend that I did not get the job she had been so sure the enemy had stolen it from me. God then gave me this to share with her, ‘Not everything that looks like a blessing is a blessing or even from Him. Curses can be disguised as a blessing, just like some blessings do not look like a blessing at first. I could have been discouraged when the door to this job closed, but the peace He gave me let me know that it was for my best. So the answer was no to it, but it was also that He has better, I just need to wait and recover from my recent injury.

We may not always like what He has to say to us. If we are stubborn and dismiss what He is saying we will not have peace. He will always do right by you, and never do anything to harm you, nor will he give you anything that will harm you. We do have to choose to listen to Him if we want to receive what He has for us.

God bless and protect you, in Jesus name, amen.

WORDS / If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

One thing told to me when I was growing up was, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut.’ I know this phrase is also said in other terms, but they all boil down to this message; Be careful what you speak, the damage your words can do cannot be undone.

People today are so quick to slander each other for such a wide variety of reasons, I won’t bother to start that list. I will talk today of my own self. As some of you may have noticed I have not been posting here for a while. This past year has thrown some painful pitches my way, and some of my earlier posts I talked about how pain can effect us. For me one thing it leads me to is anger, and not a righteous anger. It is an anger that can lead to mass destruction. I can do more damage with my tongue than with my fist.

So I had slowly been isolating myself, which is a terrible thing to do. Yet fear of what I would do in my anger helped me to justify becoming a hermit again. Since I had not had very many nice things to say, I just started shutting myself away from the world. Yet that did not keep me from thinking words of hate and destruction which in other words are curses. No sooner had I thought them or said them aloud, even though I am home alone, I knew that what I was doing was wrong and would have to quickly repent. Yet the thoughts and words still lingered in my mind.

So I have been having this inner battle, that if you saw me in person you would not see this struggle. I do know how to put on the right mask when necessary. I try hard to keep my dark battles to myself and only let those who I feel I truly can trust know of these battles. Which I thank God for blessing me with these close friends who love me unconditionally and do not condemn me when I falter, and so I can confide in them.

Yet this struggle has not left me blind to the fact that I how can I be of help to others if I am home alone licking my wounds, and living in fear? It is out in the fields where the laborers should be, and I have been hiding in my own little cave like David hiding from Saul, or Elijah hiding from Jezebel. Like Elijah hiding in his cave, God has reminded me that I need to get back out there and do what he has called me to do, and not stay hidden in the safety of my home. Which in all honesty is not so safe when you have to battle your personal demons alone because you have hidden yourself.

One assignment He had given me a while back, that I had put off on the back burner so to speak is to unite His body in prayer. I had one excuse after another pop up as either obstacles or rejection to this idea, for various reasons. Yet I have heard Him say it is not over yet, so get back up and keep trying. Now the most current obstacle I have faced is organizing a public gathering for people to gather in prayer because the current problems with the Covid 19. I was reminded that I still have a way to unite my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus in prayer here, and that this would actually reach more people, than if I had organized a prayer meeting for the area in which I live.

Our prayers are to include more than just our family, friends, church, and needs of those we are personally connected to, but to cover this earth with prayer, and for every need to be met and most important, for His will to be done. My next blog will speak more of this assignment and will include how I started making prayer boards.

I hope you will join me in this assignment, and if there are any prayer requests for anyone, ministry organizations, etc… please share those requests here and we can pray together.

P.S. I am sorry that this post started on one topic and led to another, but prayers are words that can do such good, and that is what I have to get back to. Speaking words of life.

Do You Listen? / June 18, 2019

(In this post I have included the original post, but as I read it again I heard God speak to me and tell me that it was unfinished. So The bold print is from the original.)
When your children do not listen to you and disobey you do you get upset? Of course you do. I do not know of any parents that does not care when their child does something wrong. As a parent you have rules you expect your children to follow those rules. There are the things you want them to do, and the things you do not want them to do. When they break your rules you discipline them. So why is it that when God tells us to do something or not do something we like to argue with Him, or we go ahead and do the thing He has told us not to do? He is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children. As we want our children to listen to us we need to listen to God our Father and not argue with Him and do what we know pleases Him. We are not to talk back or tell Him what to do. We do not tolerate this with our own children, so why is it that we think we can do this with God? 

Growing up, talking back to any adult was not allowed, and you definitely did not talk back to my father, unless you wanted a beating. Yet are there times when we do this with God, our Heavenly Father? Do we make demands and tell Him what to do? I think we have become spoiled children at times. We have used prayer as a one-way street, with a list of demands and wants. A combination of a shopping list and a to do list.

When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He had included, ‘Thy will be done’ in His example of how to pray, and what we today call the ‘Lord’s prayer’ (Matthew 3:9-13). Later while praying in Gethsemane, He again said in prayer, ‘Not my will but Thine be done’. In both instances, Jesus the Son of God does not make demands but prayed for the will of God to be done.

It is not our own will that we should be seeking but His. How can we know His will? Let us not only hear what He tells us, but listen. Remember that prayer is communicating with God. He is not your personal genie granting you what ever you wish, He is our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from you, but He also wants for you to listen to what He has to say. He is not your ATM machine where you put your membership card in so you can take something out. Stop for a moment and give Him your time and attention. Listen to His voice.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John 10:27-28 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Mark 4:24 ESV And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; (2) keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; (3) bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

It is only in your mind

It is only in your mind

1.It is only in your mind.
2.You are just seeing things.
3. Hearing voices?

The list above all happen in your head, Like get your head on straight, meaning straighten out your way of thinking. The land of imagination is found in your mind. Creativity comes from your mind not your hands. Even scripture tells us to take every thought captive, and put on the helmet of salvation. So much power is in your mind.  I think that without imagination it is difficult for a person to believe in a God who loves us. Loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us. Think about it. If you are a parent, you would sacrifice your life for your child. You however would not sacrifice your child for any reason, and definitely not for people who hate you. But that is what God has done for us. Hard to believe isn’t it.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
It is only in your mind – you must believe. Sin starts as a thought before it becomes an act and belief is a thought that can lead you to salvation. Believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
You are seeing things – He will open your eyes to see more clearly. Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.
Hearing voices? – Do you hear Him calling you? John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Josh 2:11 Hearing this has melted our heart, neither has there remained any more spirit in any man because of you, for the LORD your God is God above in the heavens and in the earth beneath.
If you have not already done this, I pray that you open your eyes to see the true love of The Father, an open your ears to hear Him calling you. Then open your mind to believe Jesus is the Son of God and receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Growing but not learning

It is sad you can grow up in a house and learn nothing of your own heritage. I know that this is how I was raised. I know little of my mothers family history other that I am descendant of Samurai and from Okinawa. My mother while growing up refused to take the Japanese classes. So she was not able to teach me to read or write Japanese as I growing up. Even though my father got custody of me and my brother, I learned little to nothing of his side of my family. I was 20 years old before I knew that grandfather I grew up with was my step grandfather. As looked at a picture of my real grandfather I was asked if I knew who this man was.  There is a list of other things I grew up not knowing. So why I am I discussing these things? We can be raised in our family home and still not learn one thing about our heritage. Now those of us who have been adopted into God’s family, how many of us really know our heritage?

baby-me-n-mom

1 Corinthians 3:6  I planted the seed in your hearts and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.

2 Peter 3:18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Ephesians 3:17-19  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

1 Peter 2:2  like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

Ephesians 4:15  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Who do you serve? Who do you live for?

Joshua 24:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

How many of us profess with our lips ‘Jesus is Lord’, but continue to live willfully against His commands? We say, ‘Sorry God, forgive me.’, but we do not even try to turn away from the sins we are committing. We rebel against His commands and continue to live selfish unrepentant lives.

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

His grace is not a license for us to continue to live in sin.

Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

When we repent and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, who we were is not who we are to be. we are new creations in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

None of us are without sin. We repent and turn from the sins we commit and we hold fast to His Word and show Him we love Him by keeping His commands. No excuses can erase any wrong we continue to commit.

Romans 6:15-18

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

He will not force you to obey Him. It is your choice. He has given freewill to each of us to choose for ourselves how we live and who we live for.

So I ask, ‘Who do you serve, and who do you live for?

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

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?