While I still breathe

“Look’, I heard Him say, ‘open up your eyes, notice you’re still breathing, you’re still here upon this Earth.” “So long as you are still breathing the breath that I have given you,’ He continued, ‘your mission here is not done. Look around you in your fraction of the world, look and see the influence, the ministry I set before you everyday. Your sphere of influence is another of My gifts to you. Don’t you understand that your job is not done until you breathe your last breath upon this Earth?”

I was reminded that while Jesus hung there dying on the cross, His breathing labored as He was suffocating and although His purpose mere minutes from being fulfilled, He still saw one last mission, one last Divine appointment here on Earth. He willingly became the only source of comfort to a thief who hung there next to Him upon another cross. Luke 23:43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus gave every last shallow breath within Him, over to the Will of His Father. Jesus truly bore the weight of the world on His shoulders, never once shrinking back into self-pity due to the circumstances and the horror, He found Himself in. He conquered the world! He did not let the world conqueror Him. The torture, the anger, the uncaring, the unforgiving, the vulgar, the evil and the ungratefulness Jesus witnessed and suffered here couldn’t cause His heart to change or tire of doing right. No, even after all the extremes were thrust upon Him and He was shown that the world hated Him, the world didn’t want Him and the world turned their backs upon Him, even though He only loved, taught, fed and healed them, He allowed it not to change Him. As He struggled to breathe, His pure heart remained unchanged, His last prayer still today carries loves echo, for He prayed, Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

I think about all the pain He had to be feeling physically. His body was so brutally beaten and nails pulling on His flesh as He hung from them, all while suffocating. Then I think of the emotional pain, with a kiss, betrayal from one of His closest friends and another of His closest friends denied even knowing Him three times. He never did anyone any harm His entire life. He never lied to anyone, stole from anyone, gossiped about anyone, spread lies about anyone and He never cheated or took advantage of anyone. He healed the sick, taught acceptance and He loved the unlovable. All of this while knowing the plots stewing against Him regularly.

While I sit here meditating on the life that Jesus led, knowing that He was ultimately becoming the one true sacrifice made for the salvation of a people who not only punished Him for the good life that He lived, but they also did not appreciate the sacrifice, they didn’t deserve the sacrifice, and they didn’t want the sacrifice. Still as Jesus went through all that He had gone through from His birth to His resurrection, I know there was at least one name that He was doing it for, someone that could not save herself from her own darkness and sin. One soul helplessly fallen in this fallen world. He knew even then the name of a girl who would one day cry out amidst her pain needing rescued from her enemies, but most of all needing rescued from herself. He chose the nails, the crown of thorns, the mocking spit, the name calling, the betrayals, the flogging, the lots cast for His clothes, the weight of all mankind’s sin, the rejection from Father God and the death on a cross, He chose all this and more for an undeserving, self-seeking, sinful, fallen girl who’s voice would cry out to Him over two thousand years later. And for that one girl way off in the distant future, Jesus said, “yes, I do all this for you.” Then He uttered, “ tetelestoi”! ( It is finished, זה נגמר ). John 19:30 His last words sealing the deal, then He hung His head and died.

As that girl over 2000 years later, I can’t help but be ashamed of myself. I’m finding myself wandering in the desert like the Israelites did for 40 years, partly due to the constant self-pitying and complaining they were addicted (for lack of a better word) to. After all He did for me, how can I justify feeling sorry for myself going through the molding and watering and pruning of my character and my spirit because it feels like harsh trials and tribulations. It’s a win-win situation for me because of His selfless life and death He endured completely and utterly alone, and because He did, I never have to go through my struggles, hurts and sorrows alone. Hebrews 13:6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Now in an effort to echo my Savior’s heart, I too must understand, my work is not done until I breathe my last breath. What have I chose to do with what God has already provided me? When I say I want God’s Will and not my own how often am I happy with what I currently have and how often am I complaining about what I don’t? How long do I live in the present moment where I can feel Him the most and how often am I distracted by regret from the past or to focused on my future goals? How often have I said to God Thy will be done and then make every effort to be the teacher and not the student or The giver not the receiver? If I truly want to be the person God created me to be, if I truly want Him to change my heart and mold me into the person heaven’s gate will recognize and open up for, then understanding what it means to pick up my cross and follow Him, (basically die to self) is necessary. To stop asking what God can do for me like a genie out of a bottle at my beck and call to give me my next wish and instead start asking what God would be willing to allow me to do for Him, understand the blessing is in His willingness to give me a mission that always guarantees change within myself.

So just as David did when he said in Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. I too demand my soul and all that is within me to bless the Lord and His holy name.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you as you seek Him with all your heart.

RIP Daddy

I have been considering my thoughts about this particular blog post to be selfish or self-seeking so I kept stopping myself from writing it. I try very hard to analyze my own motives in an effort to refrain from self-righteous and selfish behavior. Even as I write these words, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me so I don’t gain from them any pity from my readers who’s big hearts may be drawn to feeling sorry for me. However, I feel led to share my very real thoughts and emotions over the circumstances I now find myself in the midst of. I knew it was coming I watched as it drew closer and closer. I allowed myself to feel hope and I wouldn’t allow myself to dwell on any possibility that could shatter the hope within me, so I had every opportunity to prepare myself for what I knew was going to happen but instead I refuse to face it. Then ready or not the inevitable took its rightful place and here I am in a kind of dream-like state of all-consuming disbelief and in the in-escapable knowing, I think it’s almost like shock yet I am cognitively and rationally still very much here. I know God’s Word says, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 but we do not want you to be uninformed, Brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. I have not lost hope and I’m not angry. I don’t feel like a victim of life’s hardships. Still I ask myself, what’s wrong with you? Everybody goes through this at some point in their lives. And it’s not like it was a shock or surprise, he was 79 years old after all and because of his heart he already lived long past the doctors estimates. I guess even those who are given time to prepare for this, still find they were not prepared or ready when the time finally came. Not long ago I was sitting by his bedside and he said to me, “please don’t be mad or hate me because I don’t want to be here anymore”. I was shocked to hear such words from the man I considered to be strong, proud, honest, rock solid and unbreakable. He couldn’t wait to meet Jesus he said. I smiled at him and said, “Daddy I couldn’t be mad or hate you for that, if I had a choice I would rather be in heaven with Jesus too”. They say it’s rather common for girls to be daddy’s girls. As common as daddy’s girls may be, I wonder if every daddy’s girl feels as though they are the exceptionally rare kind of daddy’s girls? I want to say, “no you don’t understand, I’m not the average daddy’s girl, it’s much, much, more than that, so much more special. There is no statistic for the special bond that daddy and I had. Daddy was my mentor, my safe place, my protector, my wise counsel, my most honest critic, my disciplinary, my preacher, my hero and my friend. He taught me how to defend myself, he always went to battle for me when an authority over me wouldn’t listen. Like the time he told the school principal and school counselor to put boxing gloves on me and the girl who had been harassing me for over a year and then put us in the gym until we work out our differences. Speechless at first, one finally spoke up and said we can’t do that Mr. Anderson! In which my dad replied then don’t call me when my daughter kicks that girl’s butt in self-defense! He told them he would guarantee that his daughter wouldn’t start the fight but she had better finish it and he didn’t want to hear a thing from the school about it. He taught me on the way home that most the fight was in the mind so I needed to intimidate her by staring her down while putting down my books slowly taking off my jacket my watch my rings etc. wait until she came at me and then take her down. He was absolutely right and it just so happened that so many had seen the fight, not one person picked on me the rest of that year. Another time my science teacher wouldn’t let me bring my Bible to class to show there is another view on how we all came into existence. I told him I believe in creation and won’t answer test questions or write essay stating evolution is fact. He said he would have to flunk me. My dad agreed with my viewpoint so once again he went to school. This time I didn’t get to hear what my dad had to say but I was told my Bible is welcome in class and we would also look at creation as a possibility of how we came to exist. I remember growing up bragging about having the coolest dad in the world. Until high school anyway. Once I hit 13 I didn’t think anyone understood me. Boy did I put my parents through some heartaches. A stage in my life I am not proud of. I never thought I knew everything or even more than my parents. I knew my parents were wise and experienced I just didn’t think they understood me at all. They sure tried, oh how I hated disappointing dad. I can still feel the impact my emotions had on changing the naivety of how I saw my dad the day I found out he wasn’t perfect. He was human and could make mistakes too. I think how I felt at that moment is interestingly similar to how I am feeling now. Crushed but not broken, disbelieving yet understanding, unavoidably knowing and still unchanging in my respect and adoration of the man. My mind drifts to the time I had major surgery and spent a week and a half in the hospital. Daddy came every morning as my husband left for work and he would read the Bible to me, walk the halls with me, watch TV with me and nap with me until my husband arrived after work in the evening. He would leave for the night but always return the next day. The entire time I was in the hospital he was by my side. Music was a common love between us and daddy sure love those old church hymns. We sang at church, at the ministry we worked for, and all our big family get-togethers were karaoke parties in reality! It became somewhat of a tradition. Daddy never held back when I asked for his opinion of a new song I was working on. Even when he knew my feelings could be hurt he was honest. He was just as honest when asked about my writings. I always wanted his opinion because I knew he would be truthful not sparing my feelings with sugar-coated confusing answers that never seemed to directly answer whether it was good or needed work. I have come to believe, that as a direct result of who my daddy was as head of the family and as a father to me, I more easily understood what the word of God meant in being adopted into God’s family thus gifted with the right to call God Abba, Father. Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” I can imagine some girls having difficulty seeing Father God as dad if they either never had a dad around or if the didn’t have a gentle, loving dad in their lives. I can’t always say that I felt my dad was gentle and there we’re often battles while growing up. The thing is I can’t seem to remember very many bad times. Daddy gave me the tools to understand and have faith in a loving, merciful, gentle, patient, good and kind Father God just by being everything a dad is supposed to be for me. Over the years I have found myself praising God and thanking him repeatedly for blessing me with my dad. For quite a few years he would tell me that I was the one that would take over the Bible classes and Ministry part of the company we worked for once he was ready to retire. I always told him oh no, no, no I’m not a preacher, I’m not learned enough or skilled enough and I don’t know enough of the Bible. He refused to give up on me and he insisted that I come and sit in on his classes. He mentored me on how to teach, the kind of Heart one needs to effectively minister to people, all the responsibilities that we take on as we minister to people and that we must understand our duty to be accountable to them. I would watch daddy as he ministered to people, as he sat by their hospital beds, as he went out of his way to pick them up, drop them off, to assist them in any way he could, sometimes even staying the night at the facility they were staying at just so they would be comfortable. I don’t know how many times he was woken up in the middle of the night and in moments heading all the way to work because somebody needed something or their heater went out, etc. Daddy I’m going to miss you so much. This life, this world feels empty and I just don’t know how to live it without you. The superhero isn’t supposed to die. They may get battle scars and deep wounds but they heal and always come back. What happens when the superhero dies? When there’s no one there to protect and keep watch? What is going to happen to my world? I want to scream, cry, throw something, sleep, mostly I want to go to heaven too. Knowing daddy is in his Fathers Glory, pain free, sorrow free, resting in the peace and Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, doesn’t make it so easy that the heartache eases. No not even a little. I am so happy for dad. I’m just selfishly sad for me. I’m in a dark- light existence now and I don’t know, will it last forever? This life is not appealing as everything now seems dull and bland. How do you tell your heart to say goodbye?
Daddy I know your in heaven,
and I know your finally at peace,
wish you could send a little,
peace down here to me,
daddy I feel all alone now,
I find it really hard to breathe,
dark light is all around me,
making it hard to see clearly,
daddy have you seen Jesus,
I bet He made you feel right at home,
I bet its warm there in God’s presence,
here everyday just seems so cold,
even though I miss you daddy,
I would never pray you back,
this fallen world can seem so heavy,
you had your fair share of that,
you ran your race fought the fight,
you sure held on with all your might,
drawing strength from the love that you have inside,
daddy I wish I could hold your hand again,
see your smile and hear you laughing,
oh what I would give to just hug you tight,
you finished your race,
now I have to finish mine,
daddy will you think of me some,
as you walk golden streets in heaven,
could you send some prayers my way,
that might help me make it through the day,
oh daddy what’s it like to sing,
with legion of angels accompanying,
I can almost hear the majesty,
daddy could you sing one for me

Battle of wills

If I cannot humble myself to God’s will, with complete surrender and sacrifice of my own ways, needs and desires, then it is foolishness to believe myself a vessel of servitude, reflecting God’s goodness, love and mercy unto others. If I need things my way and in my timing He will step aside and allow me to act like a spoiled princess. At this point, I am then operating according to my own belief, understanding and strength. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) Says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. He will not try things my way which is limited to my understanding of the world because it’s measure is based on the amount of world I have experienced. Therefore my experience is not even a grain of sand held up beside the size of Earth in comparison to His understanding. No He will not join me in doing what I want, but He will allow me the freedom to choose selfishness over sacrifice. As I linger in my own understanding, living life my way, He stands ready to pick right back up where we left off as soon as my temper tantrum subsides and my realization kicks in of his understanding and my understanding are as an ant to the size of the universe. While operating in my own understanding, belief and strength my life is experienced accordingly. If I see something sad I may react over emotionally and when I feel angry I may permanently damage relationships by my emotionally unrestrained actions and words. All of which God will patiently allow as he gently and persistently calls me back to the safety of his arms and the faith in His ability to guide me in the right way. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.— Proverbs 12:15(NASB) If I want to decide what’s good for me, what I desire most and demand my rights, Father God will step aside and let me live by what I think and feel is best for me no matter how tiny my best may be in comparison to his best for me. When I insist on doing what I think is right, best, fair, etc. I am then operating within my own strength and abilities. Physical pain may become worse or even unbearable, relationships suffer as emotions become heightened and I start to think my suffering for the sake of others goes unappreciated. Fatigue sets in and time disappears without a trace. My to do’s pile high while my sleep is scarce. Although I may try with all my might, I will fail miserably at portraying The Fruit of His Spirit in my life during this time. Operating in my own understanding and strength will eventually lead me right back to a place of desperation much like where I had started from. What may look to me like a good; thing, way, word, service, etc., is not always good. And how often have I really checked my true motive? See one of the absolute hardest things to do is pay close attention to how we are operating from the inside and what really motivates our actions and decisions. Often coming to realize the natural, almost habitual way we unthinkingly are led by selfish motivation, seems we’re always in some way looking out for ourselves. Sure we can be more then willing to help those we love along the way and even truly sacrifice for them. But if we stopped to look within our own hearts, unbiased, open to truth, would we find out we lie even to ourselves? If our heart is what Father God judges, doesn’t it stand to reason then that we should know what’s in there for him to judge? So many of us avoid even a slight glance into our own hearts because we know that we never cleaned up all the shattered pieces we shoved in there over and over again from past trauma pain and sorrow. We habitually keep shoving the broken pieces back in there deciding we will get to it after the pain eases a little. Our reasoning that we need to be prepared and ready before we go there is why so many of us just never go there. James 4:8-10(NASB) tells us, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. How long will we wander in the wilderness of our testing before we open our eyes to what needs changing within us? Sometimes we linger in the wilderness, heavy with the burden of the trial, never seeing the light of our breakthrough that leads to our promised blessing. We cannot overcome a wrong attitude, a wrong behavior, or a wrong pattern of thought while we are still trying to justify it. Once we lay down our crown with complete surrender, He promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. “— Psalm 32:8 (NASB) And He tells us, For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB) And remember friends, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. — Philippians 2:13(NASB) Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek him with all your heart.

Hearts wax cold part 2

Part two
Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42-44 (amp) Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me: yet not my will, but always yours be done. And there appeared to Him an Angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit. And being in agony of mind, He prayed all the more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.
So distressed at what He knew was to come, in knowing how much He would suffer to fulfill His purpose that He sweat blood.
I don’t believe Jesus actually felt like going through what He knew was coming; from the soldiers placing a crown of thorns upon His head and mocking Him, to their spitting on Him. From the flogging that tore most of His flesh from His bones to falling under the weight of the cross they made Him carry, then pushing through a hate filled mob of the very same people He was struggling to save. From the nails in His feet and hands as they hung Him on the cross meant to slowly cause His death through suffocation, to the soldiers casting lots for His clothes, gambling at His feet in boredom, waiting for Him to die so they could go home. From the ungrateful name calling and betrayal by those He was willfully and obediently suffering to save to the moment our sin separated Him for the first and last time in all eternity from His Father as all the wicked ugliness of our sin cut Him off from His very own Father just before He died completely and utterly alone.
All of this while also knowing the most painful and darkest time was still to come. A time that would most likely make everything He endured up to this point seem like a cake walk in comparison. Even the splintering wood from the cross tearing and scraping across exposed nerve endings from what little flesh remained upon His back while struggling to make it to the place they intended to carry out His undeserved execution, dulled in comparison to what torment awaited Him still.
From His arrest to the cross Jesus was brutally tortured and Tormented. Yet even all He went through during that time wouldn’t hold a candle to what He would go through from His death to His resurrection. Jesus also suffered in hell where the demons and Satan himself tormented Him unceasingly. Can you picture Satan, telling Him that He failed? Taunting Him saying, “just look around you Jesus, your in hell because your Father hates you. You failed Him and now you’re here for all eternity.” See all of Jesus life on Earth He was never separate from the Father. They were together always. So much so that when the woman who suffered 12 years from a bleeding disorder in Luke chapter 8 touched Jesus cloak, He felt the power go out of him.  Luke 8:45-46(amp) we read, “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it and Peter said, “Master this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” but Jesus said, “someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” How close would you have to be with Father God everyday to know when a little bit of power leaves you? How in tuned to Father God He had been. Now in hell, He was cut off from His Father. Hell, a place void of all the attributes of God, hungrily awaits new tenants to invoke the worst suffering and pain upon with no hope of escape. Father God is not there for it’s the one place He did not create but chose to allow all those who rejected Him with their free will to create by their choosing existence without Him. James 1:17 (amp) tells us, whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. Think for just a moment about good things, like the smell of fresh cut roses, the feel of a cool breeze on a hot summer day, a glass of ice cold water quenching your thirst, the warmth of the sun on your face, the majestic beauty of the mountains you see off in the distance. And then what about the good things we take for granted or we don’t notice because they’ve always just been, like the air we breathe, the way our body fights off diseases daily, how our legs carry us around and our minds can rationalize thoughts. Imagine a place void of all good things and then add to it Satan and demons who hate us with such passion being unrestrained from causing us the worst imaginable pain. Lastly once there, the knowing there is no escape and you cannot die. Jesus endured this place absent His Father to pay our debt so we don’t have to ever go there and so we never have to be apart from Father God because of our sin.
No, Jesus was not by any means looking forward to this impending suffering as He prayed there in the garden sweating drops of blood.
Jesus didn’t necessarily feel a want to do what He was about to do, He was called to do it by Father God in Heaven. Jesus knew Father God’s Will is all knowing and perfect with only our best interest in mind. He knew no matter how hard it may seem at the time, it would only be a season of pain and hurt sacrificed for an eternity in Paradise for all those He loves.
I can only imagine the Love Father God has for us knowing He had to endure the painful, deeply piercing plea for help from His one and only Son. The innocent, faithful, sinless Son in whom He was well pleased was crying out for any other way to be made known. I can almost depict tears silently falling from God’s face as He listened to His amazing, obedient, perfect son ask Him if there was any other way. What could be worse than having to watch your beloved son in agony because of His knowing the extent of suffering He would soon endure in order to fulfil his purpose. And the heartache in knowing you cannot help or He would fail at His own purpose.
No, He was obedient to Father God regardless of His fleshly feelings and no matter the suffering He had to endure in the flesh physically, emotionally or psychologically. He never questioned Father God’s understanding or ways. He willingly and obediently loved us without selfish hesitation and bore upon Himself the cost of all mankind’s evil hearts and sinfulness against Creator God.
Although He prayed, mentally and emotionally distressed, with sweat drops of blood, that this cup could be taken from him and he would not have to bear all the pain and suffering of the entire human race, He still did not choose to allow His own feelings or His rights as to the fact He was innocent and undeserving of the punishment to sway His decision of what God’s Will truly was.
No Jesus surrendered His emotional and mental stress about what He was about to endure to the Will of God. He loved us though we were undeserving so much so that He paid the price of our sinfulness for us without even a thought or possibility of us repaying Him for doing so.
Although repaying Him for what He has done for us is impossible, to be a true follower of Christ we are to echo His heart in how we treat others and how we surrender to the will of Father God in every aspect of our lives.
Romans 12:9-10(amp) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, love is not what the world would have us believe. Love is what Jesus did. I have chosen to rebuke the “LIE” and believe the truth. Love is not what I feel, Love is what I do for others despite my feelings and despite what I think is fair. I choose to echo the Heart of Jesus and act in love while having faith that Father God will restore the hearts of myself and those in my sphere of influence to genuine Agape love.
Maybe God is calling you to do the same,
Until next time, may Father God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with all your heart.