God says I am accepted…

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 2 Corinthians 8:12

Strongs Definition – to grace, i.e., indue with special honor: —make accepted, be highly favored.

Acceptance is not only crucial, but one of the most important things a person needs in their life. Acceptance gives an individual confidence, power, and a good dose of self-esteem. I personally have struggled on many occasions with craving acceptance. Not just to be apart of something, but on a personal level to feel wanted. Those who accept us want us in their life. Accepted with all our quirkiness, our flaws, our weirdness, our truths, our mistakes, our failures, and in the state they have found us in. With no strings attached. God is no different.

God not only wants us to accept Him as he is, but He accepts us just as we are.  I always thought that I needed to change before God would love and accept me. That accepting God meant quick and drastic change in my personality, and deep shame and regret in my past. This is not true. God accepts us, our sinful nature, our past, our future. We are indued with a special honor in His sight regardless of what our lives have beheld. “Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8We are not just accepted as we are, but also highly favored. We are not at the bottom of the pecking order, but we are at the top. The highest of the high. Beloved, cherished, set on high, and accepted just as we are! What a relief. Today I don’t have to make amends, try to erase all by bad with good deeds. Today I can just be me, take life one day at a time, grow in the knowledge of God one day at a time. And be loved and accepted for just being me!!!

I feel like I need to add a little something else. Being accepted by God also gives us permission to accept ourselves as we are. Whether we are skinny or overweight. Dirty or clean. Weak or Strong. Happy or sad. Struggling or in perfect peace. Feel beautiful or ugly. Have a job or don’t. Have money or poor. Have a clean house or messy. God accepts us just as we are. In that peace we can also do the same for ourselves. Put all these thoughts away, and find joy and peace in knowing there is nothing for you to do, but rest in His love and acceptance of who you are! You are precious to Him, so treat yourself like you are!!

Be Still and know

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Over the last several years I’ve had trouble feeling joy. You know that joy when you are just happy to be alive? The sun feels warmer, the sky is bluer, the bird’s song put a skip in your step kind of joy. So, one day not long ago I started seeking and praying to God for that opportunity to come my way. To make that path clear to me. I knew I needed to make changes in my life, but I wasn’t sure on which path to take. Then out of the blue I was struck with a physical ailment that left me, not overwhelmed, but at peace like I never knew. How could this be, how could this physical pain, that usually sends me into a panic attack for weeks on end, leave me with peace?  

As I struggled through months of physical therapy and the doctors telling me it was just inflammation. I kept going back to the uneasy feeling that I had been struggling with since the previous fall. How do I feel whole, and where is my joy? Something was not adding up with where I was at in my life. I had my hands in so many things, pulling me in so many directions. At one point in time, it was where I needed to be. Yet, right now I knew a change needed to be made. I needed to do something but didn’t know what. Then the same words kept coming to me over and over again, “BE STILL”. What? This cant be! I don’t know how to be still and keep my sanity, my health in check, and my family taken care of! Over the next few months, it came to me again and again, “BE STILL”. Okay, I am going to work on being still.

From there I started slowing down. I cut back on somethings, but found myself digging deeper into others. The peace still did not come. I kept praying, “Lord, please show me and guide me with what you want me to do.” I tried different things, more ministry work and helping others, while still praying and the peace still did not come. Several months had went by and I found myself back in the doctor’s office still in pain. The message was stamped on my body that said, “BE STILL”. Wear and tear and too much use of my dominant, right arm left me in a state of having to slow down. So, from there I still kept pushing forward in prayer asking God to show me what I needed to do. The words, “BE STILL” kept coming to me over and over. This time I started slowing down a little more. I pulled back completely out of many things and concentrated on just a few. I poured my heart and soul into the few things. The peace and joy were getting a little better, but it was still not whole.

With my pain in my shoulder still not getting better, I went back to the doctor again and found that my shoulder was more than just swollen from overuse, but torn this whole time and the only way to help was surgery. As I sat in my car with tears in my eyes, I pleaded with God and asked Him, “what now?” This time I heard, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM YOUR GOD”. Well, I had the be still part started in my mind, and my physical body now was on board without my consent. The next step was to Know that God was my God! How did I do that? So, I started praying again, “Lord, how do I take steps to know, that you are my God?” Over the next few weeks, it became very clear how to know he is God. I had to give it all up! Everything! My hobbies, my business, my work with friends, my church jobs, my worship time, my family time, social media, my food schedule, my sleep schedule, my paint parties, my entire days. From the time I wake up until the time I laid my head down, I had to stop and do nothing but call on his name for my every step. To let him guide my time, my thoughts, my every moment.

You may be asking how I did it, well Gods grace put me into a position where I didn’t have a choice. With surgery on my shoulder of my dominant hand, I could do nothing! Nothing! I sat, and sat, and sat. I had to give it all up and completely rest. What I found was exactly what I needed to be still and know who my God is and what he could do for me. I found rest and peace like no other. I had permission to lay everything down in my life and it was joyful. It took a pressure off of me to conform and be active to a place of rest and total reliance of letting God guide my day. I left it in His hands and He knew exactly what I needed, how much I could handle for the day, and who to bring into my life. I began to trust God in a way I had never trusted before. I no longer felt so much responsibility to work and do for God, but started realizing it was a partnership. It was about me working with Him and letting him be my guide, instead of the pressures of my flesh and the world around me driving me. Yes, I found some happiness with letting my flesh lead the way and making time for God; but when I laid it all down completely, and just stayed still until all the noise of the daily pressures fell away, I found the true meaning of “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”. I found I was overburdened with false responsibility; I was going down a path that no longer served what my spirit needed.

The pressure and judgement that drive us can be so consuming and block out the voice of God in our lives. Have you ever heard of fasting? Well, when I sit back and recall the last year that word came up so many times. I was so busy that I ignored it. I will do that later. I will use that as a last resort. In the end that is exactly what happened. I ended up fasting from all the activities in my life. Some temporary fasting and some permanent while I healed. The only time I have, is time to pray and seek Gods help and guidance. A break from all the noise. A time to quiet the chaos in my mind and pressures of life. Time to just rely and listen to God! That was exactly what I needed. With the noise gone a joy started filling my soul like never before. I can’t remember when I last felt this satisfaction, this peace. Today, I can see how the pressures of this world have driven my actions. It doesn’t mean that I am not still battling my fleshly desires to conform; but I am able to see it more clearly and intercede with a cry out to God. Daily surrender is starting to come more of a habit, and joy and peace or its companions. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or the next week. What I do know is if God is guiding me then it will all be okay!

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: Joel 2:12

God says I am an heir…

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11, 13, 17

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17

To inherit and be an heir. To allot and assign. A recipient, a successor, a beneficiary. These words hold the promise of something to come. Something that will be given.

As an earthly child it means to be given of earthly things, material objects. Given wealth of assets and money. Given of title and position in the family line. These things also hold the promise of something negative. Promises of not being acknowledged at ones passing, as one not worthy of love or acceptance. Left out and not deserving of another’s wealth that would help with financial burdens. Being disregarded like a servant and not counted as one of the family or someone respected and loved. Living under a love that has conditions in order to receive.

Yet, with God we have an inheritance that has no conditions. It is one that is less traditional and full of hope and promise. Promises that have no negative sides. Most exciting is the promise of 2 types of inheritance. Things we obtain when we finish our course and meet the Lord face to face; but also things we will inherit here on earth as believers in God. These things are not material, but spiritual that can affect our lives positively in emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical ways. What a great God we serve! So, what are these things you ask, and how does God see us when we inherit his valuable assets.

God sees us as joint heirs with His son. He sees us as the promised heir. Promises that he guarantees because of His love, fairness, and truth. An inheritance in heavenly places includes Promises of a mansion in heaven that Jesus is preparing for us (John 14:16-18). Promise of reunion with saved loved ones we have already lost from this world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Promise of a life in heaven with no more tears, suffering, or sorrow (Revelations 21:4). Promise of a life in heaven with Him. Promises of rewards for our growth in knowing him and acting it out (Matthew 6:19-20). An inheritance of protection from hell as an eternal resting place. Then he gives us an inheritance as believers on earth. Not that we deserve it, but because of His love for us! He Promises we will have Him, God, as our counselor (Hebrews 6:17). Promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. Promise we can find refuge and strength in Him (Psalm 91). He gave us the seal and promise of the comforter the Holy Spirit( John 14:16-18). He promised to listen to our prayers and do what it best for us (John 14:12-15). He promised an agape love, like we have never known from anyone or anything in this world (John 3:16). He gave us his word, the Bible, as an inheritance to get to know Him better and to have a relationship with him!

God sees us as the promised heirs of all that he has made, all that he has designed, all that he has to give. It is ours and He can’t wait to share it all with us!

God Says I am Adopted…

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:5

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:4-7

To be adopted. For some reason I am struggling to paint this picture today. This is the 3rd draft I have written over many days of praying. So many ways to explain, yet which one is the way the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart. That is not for me to decide, but for him. This is where he led me in my thoughts…

Can you imagine in your mind what it means to be adopted? There are many out there this morning who have been through this process and the joy and struggles it has influenced their lives emotionally, physically, and mentally. For me, I think of the many questions of who wants me? How do I prove myself worthy to be accepted? Am I the right color, sex, personality? Once I am accepted as adequate will I fit in? Will I be cared for, clothed, and taken care of? Will I find safety with my new family? I can’t imagine being in this position. Not many people know this, but I have an adopted sister. My parents adopted her when she was 3 years old. Her great grandmother was raising her and it was more than she could handle and she needed help. After being considered by a couple other families and moved around. My sister came to live and was accepted by my family. The process was long and drawn out. My sister only being 3 didn’t know or understand. She was just in survival mode looking for acceptance and a place to call home.

As sinners lost in this world, I believe that’s how we often feel. I remember before I accepted Christ not just as my savior, but also as the Lord of my life. I was wandering around in survival mode. Looking for acceptance in all the wrong places. Never feeling like I belonged. I was always wondering if I was good enough. Struggling to feel safe. Then I was introduced to this man who did things in an unconventional way. It made me question him and what he stood for, but I also found him to be warmly intriguing. A sense of safety and peace surrounded him; but the most peculiar thing about him was the backward way of his adoption plan.

Instead of me standing in a lineup with other sinners being subjected to judgement and scrutiny, waiting to be chosen. This man was in a lineup with all the avenues of the world. The avenues of what I could be adopted into came in the forms. Relationships, friendships, religion, fame, wealth, community, fads, and social groups. All standing in a line looking bold, beautiful and so enticing with their promises. Then this one small, yet humble person calmly standing and patiently waiting. Every time I accepted one of the other avenues to be adopted in and it don’t work out, I would come back to this line and there he was. Humble, quiet, and peacefully still waiting.

It wasn’t about him choosing me because he would adopt anyone who wanted to be adopted by him. It was about me accepting what he had to offer. His adoption plan wasn’t a temporary one like all the others. It was a permanent one. It was a blind-faith kind of adoption full of love and promise. Yes, it was scary; it was not popular, it was different, it was not as appealing and full of instant gratification as all the other avenues. I needed to feel acceptance now; I didn’t have time to wait. I didn’t want to have to put much effort or time in learning more knowledge about this man, or committing to spending time with him. This is what my body was screaming at me. I had to override that need of “give it to me now” and step into the promise of “slow and steady”. When I accepted the offer that Jesus was giving a whole new world opened up to me. It was in slow motion, but this is what I found.

I found myself adopted into Jesus family. His family was not about singing papers or initiation ceremony. It was a washing and cleansing with blood. Not just any blood, but his blood. The blood of Jesus Christ a free gift. Here I stood as an earthly child covered in the blood of Jesus sacrifice and forgiveness. Blood that was shed freely on the cross had been collected and now used to cover over all souls that accepted and believe in him. This blood is perfect. It wipes away all things negative. No more sin, shame, guilt, ugliness, or scars. All of these things are completely gone and what stands before Him is a child adopted by Jesus and given the same spirit of his son into our hearts. God no longer sees a wanderer looking for a place to belong, but sees his child when he looks at us. Perfect, without blemish. Washed in the power of the blood and part of his family.

Jesus accepted me just as I was no matter who I was, where I came from, what color or sex I was. Most important to me was no matter what I had ever done or what others thought of me this person wanted me. He didn’t just want me; he wanted a relationship with me. He wanted to get to know me. To supply me with all my hearts desires. To love me in a way I had never been loved before. He wanted me to never have to worry about tomorrow, what I was gonna eat next, or whether there would be clothes or a roof over my head. This spirit of his son in my heart let me be forgiven of all my wrong doings and made me clean as the day I was born. God sees his child when he sees me! Oh how blessed and undeserving we are to be given another chance to be born again clean!

God says I am Holy and without blame…

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Philippians 2:15

Have you ever had a pair of holey socks? You know those socks that get a hole in them at the most inopportune time? The hole starts out small and as the day goes on, it gets bigger and bigger. Contingent on where the hole is depends on the struggle you could end up with. The worst-case scenario is a toe constantly struggling all day to keep itself tucked inside the hole. A day wrestling with the uncomfortable feeling. Growing up it was a common joke that if you had a sock with a hole in it, then they were your holy socks. Socks set aside and worn for Sunday worship. The joke, of course, was twofold. The holey versus holy definition. The vision of an imperfect sock being considered holy in a sacred sense makes you want to laugh. A play with words, but a vision we all can associate with.

Who am I to be holy? Me? The older I get the more I feel and look like an old worn-out sock. Full of holes from multiple surgeries, unraveling nerves as the hint of a tight spot. Stretched here and there from running errands, getting groceries, taking the kids to all their activities, or taking on church jobs to fill in all those missing people who are no longer there. Most days I feel useless and overworn, that I am not even worthy to be pulled out and considered suitable for any occasion. Yet God says I am Holy and without blame, how is that even possible? Its possible but its not what we have done, but who He is! As a child of God, an accepted believer in the Savior Jesus Christ, we are holy and without blame in front of our God. So let me paint this picture for you.

Here I am a worthless, worn-out sock. I’ve been through the highways and byways of life. I have been in the trenches under heavy fire. I’ve seen the frontlines of grief and loss. Scared, battered, bruised, stretched, and hung out to dry by friends and family. Then comes along this perfect man. I can see there is something different in him. Everyone stops in awe and respect when he comes by. I am drawn to him and the mystery that surrounds him and I want to know more. Others around me tell me of his story, of his grace, of his perfect spirit. They tell me rescue stories like I have never heard before. Stories of hope, stories of love, and stories of miracles that none can explain. All those stories have one thing in common. Once they each had faith in this perfect man, he came straight to where they lay. Worn-out, in the trenches of life he gently picked them up and washed them clean. Cleaner than the day they were created! They became holy, sacred, and physically pure with a touch of the Master’s hand. The old worn-out sock was gone and in its place was a designer brand with the Lord’s logo on it. Physically pure, morally pure, no holes in sight. Clean without spots, like it’s never been worn. Its color so intense and significant no fault could be found. It was perfect! Gone is the old, and front and center is the new. No longer are they holey, but holy!

When our God sees us, that is what he sees. He sees a new person. Washed clean of all our faults, struggles, imperfections. We are beautiful with the stamp of the Savior fastened securely to our souls. We are His and He is ours. There is no blame that can be found in you. Nothing! We belong with Him and to Him. He can’t deny us! Now if that is what God sees when He looks at me, then I am so thankful that I called out to him when he passed by my way. I am thankful for those that told me of His love, grace, and miracles. I am so thankful that I once was a holey sock, so that I could now be a holy sock!

God says I am chosen…

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9

When I think of being “chosen” I am brought back to the days of a school yard lineup. During recess a group of us who wanted to play baseball would line up. We would choose 2 people to be captains of a team and from there they would take turns choosing from the rest of the group who they wanted to be on their team. One by one names would be called as the captains picked, who they thought were, the best players first. As I stood in line waiting to be chosen, I would pray not to be last. Because last meant you were not qualified to be on a team. Last meant you were just a body to take up space in the outfield. In the outfield the only action you could count on was the fly balls or ground balls that only required catching, running and throwing. Every opportunity you get to catch a ball was a new chance to prove you belonged in the infield. Once you belonged in the infield you could move up in the lineup. The hopes of being chosen first was closer than before. The “in” crowd where most all the action took place and to feel worthy was the goal. Every missed attempt to catch that ball and get it where it needed to go in a timely manner just proved you still belonged where you were. The outside looking in.

If I was to apply that reasoning to being chosen by God then it brings a sense of sadness. Who am I to be chosen. What do I have to do to be considered worthy of God? Does God pick out who is worthy to be saved and who is not? The fact is chosen means something different in the Biblical sense. Chosen in the Bible sense means elect. Not elected as in voted into office, but elect as part of a group. What group is that you ask? The group who has personally “chosen” themselves to accept, believe, and follow Christ. Once you decide on your own with free choice, you are considered the chosen. Part of the elect group that is a part of Gods family. It isn’t about standing on the sidelines waiting to get chosen, or standing in the outfield waiting to prove you are worthy with the next fly ball that comes your way. Gods elect is anyone who has chosen to enter the field of their own accord. Regardless of who they are, where they came from, and what abilities they have. All of this comes together because you personally chose to enter the field and become a part of the team called THE ELECT. What I love the most about this is the view God has from the owner’s box in the stadium.

As God looks down into the stadium, he sees all the souls that have chosen to enter the field. He sees a group of souls that he adored when they were first designed in their mother’s womb. They entered the field on their own free will to chose Him. The team isn’t there because they were forced or dragged in, but from their own choosing they decided to believe in Him. To trust in the Owner of this team. To live with Him forever. To grow with Him. To learn more about Him. To pursue a personal relationship with Him. To face battles together, not only with The Owner, but with a group of believers with one common purpose and goal. God is looking down on a group of Souls that have left their sinful nature they were born into, to conquer life with Him. You chose Him and He is standing there in the owner’s box with overwhelming joy. Joy in your choice, joy in who you are and who you have chosen to be. Joy in the relationship that will come and grow stronger over time. He sees your future and your hope. He sees someone who he has something in common with. Someone to spend eternity with. He sees a family like He never had before. A family that chose Him! He sees you!!

Who does God say I am?

I am sorry I have been MIA for the last month or so. I’ve been struggling with a lot going on personally that I have been dealing with. Back in August, I started out with a 21-day post of who does God say I am. The more I got digging the more things came to light in my own life. I became foggy headed and not able to focus. When this happens, I know that I need to take a step back and wait on the Lord to direct me. Sometimes I may only have to wait a few hours, or days. This time it took much longer. The Holy Spirit slowly helped me see some truths. So, we are going to start over from the beginning on “Who does God says I am?” or better yet… “God says I am _________”.

When I first started this, I went to Pinterest and printed out a list of who God says I am that had a Bible verse for each word. As I began studying, the Holy Spirit did not speak to me through the verses that were given. The verses didn’t line up to a foundational teaching of Who God says I am, but rather verses that just included those words. It was confusing and left me feeling foggy and confused. I decided to stop blogging and truly take the time to search out this information with guidance from the Holy Spirit. So, if you have your Bible, please take it out and mark this passage so you can return to it and do your own study on it. Ephesians chapter 1.

What most amazed me was that I left this study to look at another I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to and they both intertwined. I did not realize this until I started writing this blog today! God was working in me this whole past 2 months in my study time and I didn’t even know it. God works even when you cannot grasp or understand it. That awe that comes when we see it, is Gods way of showing us He is there and it isn’t just by chance or mistake, but part of his divine plan for us!

Ephesians chapter 1.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Within this chapter we find who we are in Christ. How God sees us “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Whether we are Jewish or gentiles, if you acknowledged your sinful state, believe in him and confess it to the Lord in prayer; then you are sealed.  Once sealed you are then seen as the following…

Blessed, chosen, holy and without blame, adopted, accepted, redemption, forgiven, ability for wisdom and prudence, an heir, predestined, and sealed. As we move forward let’s take a look and break down each word God says about us. We will search the truth in Gods word and find out truly How God sees us. In knowing how God sees us, I pray it will bring you to a place of joy and confidence and silence the doubt we struggle with in our minds every day! Let’s get started!

Clink this link to get started! https://bykeripayne.com/2022/08/01/who-does-god-say-i-am-blessed/

God gives us… Joy?

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John15:1-11

Well, I can tell you right now, that joyful is not something my family would say that I am. I don’t even think God is looking at me right now and seeing anything joyful about me! The mundane routine of everyday life often leaves me in a sad state. Conjuring up joy seems to take so much effort and a lot of money these days. Everything cost and the goal to being joyful can only happen outside of my circumstances, or doing things that produce those joyful endorphins, right? What does God see in me that is joyful? Because, I don’t feel it!

Did you know there are 187 verses in the Bible that include the word joy? When reading over each one, I found that 95% of them talked about lifting up our voices with joy. That makes sense to me, because when I am full of joy my first instinct is to sing. My heart is so full that my body just automatically breaks out into song. Not always in tune or with much grace, but it’s almost like I cannot help it. One definition of joy in the Hebrew language means blithesomeness. Say that 3 times real fast. What in the world does blithesomeness mean? Well according to https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/blithesome it means to be so lighthearted that you don’t have a care or worry in the world! Wow! What would that be like to not have a care in the world? Most importantly, how can I obtain that?

In Nehemiah there is a verse that keeps coming to my mind when I think about joy. It’s a verse that is sewn into a quilt my sister-in-law made for me. Nehemiah 8:10… for the joy of the Lord is your strength. This definition of joy means to rejoice. The rejoicing of the Lord is my strength. So, if I was to take these two verses and their meaning and put them together, this is what it would say…

To obtain the joy of blithesomeness and not have a care in the world, I need to take time rejoicing in who God is and what he has done for me. In return it will give me strength. It will not just give me strength; it will sustain my strength! God also gives us the promise in Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy (a shrill cry) cometh in the morning. We will have moments of sorrow, moments of dealing with Gods anger over our sin, but as believers in him, we are favored (accepted) and he finds pleasure in us. This pleasure sustains us and carries us to a place of life. Not life on earth, but life in heaven! What I also love about this is the promise that joy always follows sorrow! Always! It may not seem like the sorrow will end or the plucking away of the dead branches in our lives will every cease, but God promises it will!

Am I joyful? Yes, because today I am going to meditate on all that God has done for me, all that he has brought me through and all that he continues to promise to accomplish in me! Mostly I am going to concentrate on the love He has for me and shows me as I wake up everyday to a fresh start! That makes me joyful! And keeping my faith and trust in Him makes Him delight in Me!

He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Psalm 18:19-23

Finding God’s hidden truths on the Farm

Most people know that I live on a farm. Everyday you never know what will transpire. Every animal has its own sort of personality. Babies come in the spring time, new kinds of animals are added occasionally, and mishaps are bound to happen. With mishaps there is usually an animal involved that has a lot of personality or stubbornness. One particular animal comes to my mind and that is Wild Bill. Wild Bill is a fairly new addition to the farm. He is a goat. I have been after my husband to add a goat or two to our farm family to help keep the briars and shrubs down in the sheep pasture, as the sheep are not so fond of them. I was thinking of a couple of pigmy goats. There are small and cute and the grandbaby and neighborhood kids would love them. They could interact with them and pet on them and it would be so great! Then I got a call one day from the hubs and he said, “I found you a goat, we are going to pick him up this weekend.” To say I was tickled to death is an understatement. I just knew that I had lost this battle with my hubs over getting a goat. “I hate goats,” he often would say. “They are nothing but trouble.” Well in my mind, I was thinking of those cute goats at the petting zoo and how friendly and easy going they seem to be and couldn’t see what the fuss was all about. Then we got Bill. Wild Bill that is! On the first day home we kept wild bill in the barn within the sheep pasture. We do this with all our new animals when we first get them home. We put them in a safe space to calm down, relax, and get used to their new environment and get used to us as well. Then once they are calmer, we will turn them out. By then they are just so glad to be out with other animals, they tend to join in without complaint and we don’t have to worry about them running off! But then we have wild bill. Wild bill has a unique personality. You know the one animal that looks at you sideways when he sees you. You wish you could figure out what he is thinking. With every step you make towards him he steps back one. Every now and then you may get close enough to see his eye color, but that is about as close as you will get. But the one thing I did not count on with wild bill, is his fleshly desire for shrubbery. I knew goats liked shrubs, grass, weeds, trees, and everything green. Yet, wild bill has an over zealous desire for shrubs. Not just any kind of shrubs, but the ones that can only be found on the other side of the fence.

Now, I know what you are thinking. I bet wild bill won’t stay in the fence. Well, that is part of it. You see wild bill will partially stay in the fence while the rest of him is outside the fence eating shrubs. To paint a picture for you let me explain it like this. In our sheep pasture we have a woven wire fence that goes all around it. Woven wire is made into small squares. This fence is to keep predators out. To protect the sheep. Well, as the sheep put their heads within those squares often to reach the greener grass on the other side, they have no horns to get stuck and they can do it without issue. When wild bill does it, he gets his head stuck because of his horns and in a fit of wanting to get his head back in the fenced area, he begins to scream and cry with abandoned for help. A cry we hear all day long as we continually over and over again to rescue wild bill from the trap of the fence. On an average day we would have to go out there and get him unstuck 3 to 5 times a day. No matter how much time he spends stuck and how much he agonizes over the situation, he continues to do it again and again. He never learns. So, my genius hubs, who is the farmer and I am just the farmers wife, has a solution to the problem. He takes a blue pipe, and tapes it to wild bills horns and gives him a crown fit for a pasture king. With this crown being wider than the holes in the fence, wild bill can remain stuck free. His internal desires for greener shrubbery become a distant action and his mind concentrates on what is in front of him and not on the other side of the fence. A crown of humility, yet a saving grace! As, wild bill lost his beautiful crown the other day and I raced to free him again and again, it reminded me of my own fleshly desires and what lengths God goes to not only heed my cry, but protect me from making the same choice over and over again.

Just as wild bill has the fleshly desire for things outside of his circumstance, we as human have those same desire. We each have things we desire that are honest and pure, but we each also have things we desire that are not so honest and pure. These things usually are not good for us. They can distract us from our daily lives, pull us in a direction that is away from Gods will for our lives, and keep us from growing in our daily walk with God. Fleshly desires also keep non-believers from choosing to follow Christ. Their desire to stay with what feels good to them often overclouds the rational mind of what it may be doing to their soul. We live in a society now that caters to instant gratification. The standard of this life, as a whole society, is to look down our noses at people who do not accept the desire of the flesh as a guide to live this life. I was born this way, life is not fair, God does not care because he won’t deliver me. All these statements have become excuses for us to live by our desire and not by the rationality of what our desires can do to us. The time has come that we all must acknowledge this and make a choice to stand for something. To stand firm with what we know is true or give in to our fleshly desires.

I struggle everyday with the desire to stay in my dream world or get up and face reality. For years I would spend it in this dream world sleeping my life away. It brought me good endorphins and wrapped me in a fuzzy blanket of blissfulness. Anytime during the day when reality became too hard, I would whisk myself away in my mind to that far away dream land for a moment of bliss. My fleshly desire to not deal with reality and hard times, left me in this constant state of fleshly desire. It became like an addiction to me. Something to always fall back on so I would not have to face the reality of my circumstances. Until one day, I got deeper and deeper that my dream world could not rescue me anymore. You see, that dream world and that fleshly desire can only serve me for a little while. Then the reality of life has to take over at some time and I have to face the choices I have made. I have to accept my life as it is and acknowledge my fleshly desire, and face it head on. With doing this I can change and grow, and learn how to cope with life in a healthy manner that lines up to my core beliefs. When I fail to acknowledge it my heart and mind become overtaken with my desires and resentment, hate, selfishness take over and there is no place for anything else. It becomes a lifestyle that leads away from truth and surrounds me with the blindness of the lies of my desires.

Just as Wild Bill continues to let himself be consumed with his fleshly desires; he has a farmer father that comes to the rescue. He tries to protect him. He places a crown on his head that others deem as inhumane, yet the ultimate goal is for his safety and protection. You too may be one of those that often lets your desires carry you away to places and circumstances that hinder you from growth. You have a heavenly father that may give you a crown, or a thorn in the flesh to keep you from going back to those dark places that will leave you trapped and empty. Are you gonna claim God as not being fair, as not caring, or are you going to see the truth of the matter and humble yourself to admit your fleshly desires?

Its time we each get off the couch, stop making excuses, and get busy growing in our faith. Start reading our Bibles more, get back in church, get back to fellowshipping with other Christians, continue to stand for what is right in Gods eyes and not conform to our own selfishness and fleshly desires! Without this, our children have no hope! So, parents give them a foundation they can stand on that will stand the tests of life. It may be hard at times to follow but, in the end, it will give them a chance to live victoriously and full of hope!

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:16-17

How to have assurance in the midst of pain?

One sad reality of this life is the fact we will have some pain. I thought that it was possible to live this life without any pain, and the reality is that no matter how you avoid, convince yourself, and control there will be times in your life that you will have pain. Pain in any sense seems to bring out great fear and anxiety in me.  Emotional pain, physical pain, mental pain, spiritual pain all make me feel alone. The one thing that has brought me such great comfort is the assurance that all pain is temporary and that pain can also bring about great opportunities and extreme personal growth. Yet, there was a time when I was not so sure and the never-ending cycle of pain left me battered and bruised and crying out to God with anger. Why? What have I done to deserve this? Why are you mad at me? Why wont you give me some relief? My body was in constant pain, my family and doctors didn’t believe me, my friends were tired of hearing about it and my pastor could only tell me there was a reason that would reveal itself in time. Yet, I was still alone and my prayers felt like they never reached past the ceiling. Fast forward to today, with some of the same pain, but a different outlook that I would never have hoped for in a million years. Today I have assurance!

Assurance of what you may ask? Well, let’s take a quick look at what assurance is and grow from there. Assurance defined in Hebrew is truth itself. Truth about life, truth about circumstance, but as I sat at church last night, our guest preacher said something about assurance that I had never heard before. He asked himself what did assurance look like? What kind of scenario in life would give us assurance, would give us truth? This got my wheels spinning and I haven’t been able to get past this. I just knew I had to share this with you. He was talking about Paul and what assurance he had, but not just Paul, but Paul’s followers. What assurance did they have that they were gonna be okay and their pain and suffering would not be the end of them. The answer was Paul’s life! Not just Paul’s life, but the life of anyone that has suffered or lived with pain or trying circumstance for extended periods of time; but Paul in particular kept coming back to mind and it led me to this scripture…

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Paul’s was…

  1. whipped 5 times with 40 stripes save one
  2. beaten 3 times with a rod
  3. stoned once
  4. shipwrecked 3 times
  5. lost at sea
  6. in constant journey with no safe place to lay his head
  7. in danger in the water
  8. in danger from robbers
  9. in danger from his own neighbors
  10. in danger from other tribes
  11. in danger in the city
  12. in danger in the wilderness
  13. in danger out at sea
  14. in danger from those who preach opposite to his teachings
  15. often depleted of strength and in great pain
  16. insomnia
  17. hunger and thirst
  18. fasting, going without food or drink
  19. cold and naked
  20. constant living without comfort and things
  21. daily trials that arise
  22. responsibility of the churches

Paul here is giving a tally of what he went through as a disciple of Jesus. Not including his times of arrest and imprisonment and his thorn of the flesh . All while sticking to the course of faith in Christ. If Paul can survive with Gods help, and find glory in his tribulations, then this gives me the truth and assurance that I can also. My pain is not just a heavy yoke of bondage around my neck. My pain is a crown of glory that has the assurance of who’s in charge and who will not let me fall. Time as time again as Paul survived, I also, time and time again have come through many trials. Yet, I have not suffered as much as Paul has and He still kept going. I have the assurance today through Paul’s life and ministry that God will see me through and the truth is that with God all things are possible.

I encourage you to cry out today and ask God for help. Ask him to help you, ask him to carry you, be open for him to show you the truth and assurance that what you’re going through is not in vain. That It has a purpose and a reason. Today I find that purpose and reason and that is sharing my story with you. To let you know that you are not alone and that God has not abandoned me and will not abandon you no matter how dark your circumstances are. Have assurance that as a believer in God you too can come out of your struggles victorious and in full blessed assurance of His love for you!