Being Broken

When you think of the term broken what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Here are some things that came to my mind.

  1. Ruined
  2. Trash
  3. Destroyed
  4. Unusable
  5. Worthless

I could easily list many more things and you might have some of the same things on your list. Yet these are only the negative thought about being broken. Do you like nuts? I love them. To get to the nut you have to break the shell. Some shells are easier to break open than others like sunflower seeds or peanuts. Walnuts or pecans are are not so easy to break open. You need a nutcracker to get to the good part of these nuts, and if you don’t have a nutcracker a hammer works as long as you don’t hit the too hard. It takes effort to break their outer shells to get to the good part that you can eat and enjoy.

So being broken even though painful can lead to something good for you. The process hurts and is not fun. Imagine you are the nut and you can see the nutcracker coming for you. Then you feel trapped in its grip till you crack and break open. Scary thought. Most of us would run from pain if we knew it was going to happen was going to hurt. Yet if we all ran away from the possibility of pain we would cease to exist. Women would not have babies because labor is pain! Life is going to have some very painful moments. Just as a woman who goes from the pain of labor to the joy of holding her newborn baby, life can take your pain and turn it into joy.

Look at the life of Joseph. his brothers hate him and throw him into a pit, and want to kill him. Thankfully one brother suggest they sell him to travelers passing by. Then he is bought as a slave and goes from slave to prisoner. He lived a life under pressure of attack and rejection. Yet in the end he was lifted above his circumstance and placed in a position where he was able to save not only the people in Egypt but his own people. (Look up his story in Genesis.)

Sometimes we have to be broken to get to the good part of ourselves that is hidden deep within.

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

 

 

Today’s thought – March 7, 2017 – Miss, Ma’m, Madame, Lady, Etc…

How many of us today remember being taught to call women by respectful names. I have lived in Texas for almost 20 years now. Calling a woman Ma’m has become second nature to me. Yet I have found many women who hate being called Ma’m or Lady. I personally like being called a lady. To me being a lady is not some uppity snobby woman who wouldn’t know where the kitchen or laundry room is. Being a Lady is being intelligent, well mannered, caring, courteous, and flexible. A lady can pick up a hammer and swing at a nail if she needs to, she can hunt and fish if she likes. Although her beauty may seem delicate she has strength that she does not need to flaunt. She does not look down on others but looks for ways to help those who she can. Her compassion and grace do not make her a door mat, they only compliment what makes her beautiful to begin with. They do not have to wear elegant dresses and have the hair and make up perfect. They are beautiful and shine no matter what their attire is. They are the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends you meet everyday. Some go to work, and others take care of the home. To each other they are equals. They do not need to dominate others or tear another down. They keep away from gossip and do not spread rumors. They do not seek revenge when harmed. They cry when they see others hurting and are not ashamed when they cry because of their own personal pain. She can fit in without changing who she is. She is a Lady.

If you are a woman and someone addresses you by any of these names please do not take offense. You are being shown respect. A little while back a young man I work with called me a b***, I knew that he did not call me this to slander or insult me, it is a term many women call themselves today and even call their friend this. Yet when this young man did this I did not react in anger but firmly told him that he was never to call me by that name again, he of course said he only called me that because that is what he calls all of his friends. I told him that I was not one and would not be called one and that It was being disrespectful to me. We talked about if one wanted to be respected they need to respect others and not even jokingly disrespect another. When we call ourselves demeaning an derogatory names and then get offended when addressed with respect who is the one really in the wrong. There is also those who call themselves names that I will not list here but you know the terms and get outraged if someone else calls them the very same name. It makes no sense what so ever. Names have meanings and words have power, so when we speak negative, insulting, slanderous, and hurtful names even as a joke we are degrading each other and ourselves. You can cry out for equality while disrespecting others or yourself. If you do then you are actually saying that you want to be disrespected. For that is what you are doing to others and to yourself.  Be a real woman and be a lady.

One of my favorite scriptures regarding what a woman can desire to be is Proverbs 31. The Proverbial woman. It was not until years of insomnia that this thought hit me. This woman does not sleep. She is up before everyone else, cares for family and servants, works and cares for her home , and is the last in her house to go to sleep. Yet the one things that she is is respected. She was not complaining to her friends how terrible her life is and how unfair she is treated. She gets what needs to be done and demands nothing in return. She does not whine that she barely got any sleep or that no one helps her. She is caring and compassionate. She has an attitude I wish that I could learn to have. She is definitely a lady in my book.

Proverbs 31:10-31

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10  4 uAn excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than vjewels.

11  The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

12  She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

13  She wseeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

14  She is like the ships of the merchant;

she brings her food from afar.

15  She xrises while it is yet night

and yprovides food for her household

and portions for her maidens.

16  She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

17  She zdresses herself5 with strength

and makes her arms strong.

18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

19  She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

20  She aopens her hand to bthe poor

and reaches out her hands to bthe needy.

21  She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in cscarlet.6

22  She makes dbed coverings for herself;

her clothing is efine linen and fpurple.

23  Her husband is known in gthe gates

when he sits among the elders of the land.

24  She makes hlinen garments and sells them;

she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25  iStrength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

26  She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27  She looks well to the ways of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28  Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

29  Many jwomen have done kexcellently,

but you surpass them all.

30  lCharm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31  Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates.

Criticism verses Loves

Do you realize how critical and judgmental people can be? I know I can be. It is not my intent and it is an area I am working on.I have to take the time to look in the mirror at myself or it is easy for me to argue and become less of a person than those who criticize or judge me.

Have you noticed that we all have some great reasons to pass judgment on each other? We are quick to criticize those in the world for how they live. We even turn on our brothers and sister in Christ. We spread hate and not His love by slandering each other and the we use the excuse of having wisdom and understanding and that we have to expose sin. Yet we do not deal with the sin in our own hearts.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a]but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:12(NKJV)  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

The body of Christ is divided not because of the world but because of our own demanding ways and holding on to the small part of understanding we have. We cling to religion and legalism or we go as far as saying we do not have to obey the law.Jesus said ‘If you love me, you will keep my commands’ He added one command and that was for us to love one another as He loves us. I have been criticized and called a number of names and the sad thing is more than half of those who have done this call themselves Christians. Does this mean I am to hate them? Definitely not! /these people do so out of their own limited way of thinking and that I do not fit their mold of what they want me to be. I am definitely a unique individual. God has taken the broken parts of my life and transformed them into a working vessel He can use. My obedience is to God first. My life is to please God and I do this by living my life in love. I have learned that I will never learn everything there is to learn in my life on this earth. I know in part and I will spend my life seeking God and His instruction. Life can be compared to a puzzle, we all have a piece and we can only see what that piece shows. Then another comes and we are able to put our pieces together and the picture grows. This continues until all the pieces are brought together. What happens if a piece or more turns up missing? The picture cannot be complete. I like to think that Jesus holds those missing pieces waiting for us to work together so He can then finish what He started.

If you look only to find what you do not agree with you will find it every time. It is so easy to find the flaws and wrongs in others. It is even easier to justify your judgment. Remember this though Satan used scripture against Jesus when he was tempting Jesus in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”[b]Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Here are a few things I am turning to work on my own self.

One learning to listen to ALL another has to say as well as how they are saying it because no two people communicate perfectly and even when they are saying the same thing due to lack of understanding and problems communicating they can still fall into a argument disagreeing over something they actually agree upon. If I interrupt or dismiss what they have to say before I have listen to all what they have to say. Another thing is by listening not just hearing I am validating the person and this does not mean I agree but accept that what they have to say is important to them

The next is acknowledging I do not know everything, that what I know is only a small part of all the wisdom God has. For His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. I need a spirit of humility and compassion.

Another thing I contemplate is 1 Corinthians 13 Love does not demand its own way. God gave me free will,  who am I to demand another to see as I see and not allow them to have their own opinion.. What I mean is that I can say what I have to say and another can say what they have to say. If we do not agree I do not need to repeat myself or use every argument I can come up trying to force them into agreement with myself, or to make sure I have been heard. A term a friend taught me some years back is sand paper people and what is even funnier to me is that a majority of my friends fall into this category. The fact that we are friends is that we have learned that we do not have to agree but we respect each other and our different opinions. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different life experiences. Unfortunately the majority of us have lived through one form of abuse or another. How we have developed and healed has been different and at different times in our lives. I would be wrong to tell them they need to be where I am because I had already been there and done that and I know the right way, Yet I would be wrong. How I was hurt and how I was healed is not the same. Similar yes we have both been hurt by abuse but how my abuse effected me is going to be different than how they were affected. The time it takes me to heal is dependent on the degree of my wound and God’s timing.

God is our Judge, Jesus is our Advocate, the Holy Spirit is our Helper, and Satan is our accuser..I have to ask myself am I being any one of these.

Does this mean I do not call sin, sin?  Sin must be addressed and not swept under the rug but I have to ask myself am I trying to help another out of the ditch or am I standing above the one in the ditch kicking dirt down on them burying them with my judgment. Do I get down on my knees with an outstretched arm and help them up. Think about the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’.

None of us are without sin and none of us is perfect but we hypocritically demand others be perfect and agree with us. Where is the love of Jesus in this. He did not choose the elite or highly educated. He chose men who were rough and ones who were even despised by their community. You even have women from backgrounds not acceptable by religious standards. Rahab the harlot,who hides and protects the spies Joshua sent into Canaan.Then Ruth the Moabite who becomes the grandmother of David. The woman who anoints Jesus is despised by those who are with Jesus. The Samaritan woman at the well would not have even been spoken to by the religious. She even tells Jesus if you knew who I am you would not speak to me. Jesus does speak to her and He speaks to her with love.

Man or woman. Adult or child. No matter your race or background  or opinion, Jesus loves you. Can we learn to love each other as He loves us or we continue to justify our actions no matter who we may hurt or keep from coming to know the love and mercy Jesus has for all of us.

 

Bible Study – Cracked Pots

Cracked Pots Bible Study

Cracked Pot

God uses cracked pots / A study in imperfections made perfect
Julie Sheppard

To the world a cracked pot is useless. It is broken and has no purpose. If you were to pour water into it, the water would flow through the cracks. So we can ask how can God use a cracked pot? We look at ourselves and we become our own worst critique. We see all that is wrong. We look at our past and see all of our mistakes. Yet God sees more.
God uses our imperfections and makes us perfect because He is perfect.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
These 2 verses make me think that being a cracked pot is a good thing. Why? Because that I am cracked all that was wrong within me is released and poured out at the feet of my Savior Jesus. It also means that because I am empty He can use this broken vessel to let His love and grace flow not only into me but through me so that what He gives me pours into the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman Matthew 7:37-39Ref — Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8 7:41,42Ref — Mt 18:23-34
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,1 he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,2 but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss,3 but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head,4 but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”5
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;6 go in peace.”7

Here in Matthew you see a woman who had a poor reputation that humbles herself at the feet of Jesus. The tears pouring from her eyes cleansing the feet of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9
3 And being * in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat , there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenarda very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said , Why * was this waste of the ointment made ?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said , Let her alone ; why trouble ye * her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8 She hath done what she * could : she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever * this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she * hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark writes that she broke the box of oil and poured it on the head of Jesus.
Both scriptures mention being poured, but do you see the importance of the box being broken?
It took breaking the box to release the oil it contained.
Now for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us. It is His Light that shines through us. So He uses our imperfections to shine His Light of love through us to reach others who are lost and broken.

Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?

I am not my race and I am not my gender

With so much division and hate in this world this came to me. Some may not like what I have written but here it is.

I am a Christian

I was born a baby girl and grew into a woman. I have lived through many things. I have had good day and many bad days. I was molested and abused. Was this because I was born a girl or that I am half Japanese or an eighth Blackfoot or the rest of the mix German, Irish, and English. I do not think any of that was a contributor to the wrongs I have lived through. Girls are not the only ones who have been molested. Many boys have been molested. So sex does not determine who the victim will be. I have heard that these pedophiles are all homosexual. I have known many homosexuals in my life and not one of them ever hurt a child. The one who molested me was a male.  Even the men who have had boys for their victims are not doing so because they might be gay, it is because they are monsters. They prey on the weak, ones who they can control, manipulate and intimidate. These victims are not chosen because of their race or religion but because like a mouse is prey for a cat that is what I can compare a child who has been a victim to this terrible deed. (As I am writing this I am doing my best not to use profanity not because it is not a profane act but because I do not want to give it power over me anymore.)

Was I molested because of what I wore? I remember when I was growing up and this was back in the 70’s there was a rape case where the rapist was not found guilty because the woman was wearing jeans. I have tried to find this case but the only one I could find is a case in Italy that happened in 1999. Back to what  a victim is wearing. I could walk down the street naked and that does not give anyone permission to rape or molest me. It does not matter what color my skin is or what your skin is if you have been raped or molested it is not because of this. Your attacker is the one who is wrong.

Wrong doings have been happening since Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden because they sinned. Cain killed Abel and many other murders and crimes have been committed. Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Slavery has not been kept to one race. One person or group has always sought power and dominion over another person. People’s lands have been stolen. People have been sold by their own people and this has happened in every country. Men and women have been at war with each other for what seems like forever. God has used women throughout the Bible. It was through Sarah that Abraham would be given the son God had promised. Deborah was not only a woman and a wife but a Judge over Israel. She did not hesitate to go out in battle, and she fought on the front lines. Esther an orphan marries the king and becomes a queen who saves her people. Mary gives birth to Jesus and is there when He is crucified. Anna was a prophetess. The church is called His bride. Women have value but too many have looked for recognition from the world. Demanding their rights they have no problem ending the life of unborn children, stating, ‘My body, my choice.’

I used to read a series of books by Laurel K. Hamilton in which her main character Anita Blake say, ‘Humans are the worst monsters.’ As I look around this world I could easily agree with her. We can blame the devil all we want but it is our choices and our actions. Yes you have suffered at another’s hands, but does that give you a right to hurt another. We spread hate and prejudice like butter on toast. We demand our rights while trampling all over another’s.

One of the best things I have found in Christ is that God does not see me in a limited view determined by man (People, male or female.) He does not limit me to my sex or to my race (as mixed as that is). He sees His child who He loves. A child He sent His Son to die for. A child He adopted into His family because I am special to Him. I am His, I am a Christian. No matter what was done to me or what I have done I am forgiven and I am loved. This is also you, if you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

People See Me Better Than I Am

I was recently told that I was one of the happiest people this person knows. My response was courteous but I deflected the compliment with a response of, ‘No I am far from happy, but I am grateful for the eyes to see God everywhere I look.’ I also said a few other things that I do not recall at this moment. I however just realized that this person was paying me a compliment and I had basically rejected it even though I did not do so consciously.  This is a bad habit of mine that I have had for the majority of my life. Someone compliments me and I say thank you but you are wrong and point out a flaw in me that counters their compliment. I know it is a self defense mechanism to put myself down if even in a joking manner. A beat them to the punch type of attitude.  You can say I gave myself a thick skin by doing this. Trying to dull the pain, before it can actually happen.

The negative view I have had of my own self for too long has to change. No matter what was done to me.  The abuse, betrayals, rejections, abandonment and this list goes on can no longer have a hold on me. To be free of my past I have to stop thinking like that girl who lived through all of this as if I was still living it. A victim or prisoner mentality will only keep me a slave to my past. Yes I have come a very long way in my life and in my relationship with Jesus. I have however held on to the pain and misery of my past in ways that I do not always see.

Today however I see that every time I put myself down or reject a compliment it is because I do not feel worthy or that I am afraid of being hurt again. These are of course only a couple of reasons but no matter what the reason use to be it is time to stop and make some changes. I know these are not changes that I can make on my own but I know Who to turn to. My Creator, and The Potter and I am His clay. He is working on me every day. Turning me into a vessel that will carry His love to others who are hurting and in need of His love. I have worked so hard not to speak negatively of others but have gone on speaking poorly of myself.  I am a daughter of the True King, it is time to remember who He says I am.

 

For those who have complimented me and encouraged me I am sorry for rejecting your affection and grateful for your kindness God bless you. I have also come to realize that you are vessels God is speaking through to me so thank you.

Looking for Love

Looking For Love

We all want to find love. Fairy tales and romance novels fill our heads with fictitious stories of unrealistic love. Harlequin novels and other romance companies have profited off of women who seek love and romance. I think of the song, ’Looking for love in all the wrong places’, and think how true this title is.

Both men and women want to be loved. We try over and over again to find love and some do, but too many of us do not. Failed relationships and marriages ending in divorce are proof that the love we say we find is not lasting or true. We confuse lust with love, and sex which was designed by God for husband and wives has long since been forgotten. I would say in this day in age it would be rare to find a couple who are getting married to both be virgins if either are.

Is it because we are not worthy of being loved? It is more likely that because of our own self worth that we accept what we believe is love or settle for less than true love because we don’t want to grow old alone, or feel obligated to marry. We try to fill the emptiness inside of ourselves with people, possessions, or work and titles, to name just a few things. Yet we fail in finding true love because we are in fact looking for love in all the wrong places.For the only true love is found in Jesus. He loves us perfectly, for He loves us more than His own life.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

A love that is patient and kind. Merciful and forgiving. It holds no grudge or record of your wrongs.  1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because even though I have not achieved this kind of love I know it is real and I strive to love like this more and more each day. Loving without expectation or demands. I am perfectly loved not because I am perfect but because that He is perfect in all things.Look to the One who gave His life for you, as you are. Who has loved you and will always love you. He never fails you, and will never lie to you or cheat on you. He will never abandon you.His love give you life. Passion and lust fade and die but His True Love is eternal.