Maintain Joy in a Troubled World: Resist the Beast!

Nebuchadnezzar, the man who ruled the ancient world descended into madness when he turned his back on God and denied the true authority over Him. The beast he became, as a result of his prideful choice, is the prototypical warning of the potential future of all human governments that turn their back on God and seek His power as their own. His life is history but it is also, prophecy because the prophesying of human behavior requires only that one know history of how people behave and cast it into the future. People, like all living creatures, are predisposed to certain behavior and they repeat it over and over again. Though thousands of years have passed, rulers are still subject to pride and imaging themselves to be gods.

In the modern world, monarchies are a thing of the past and government now, functions by the efforts of many people. The original thought was to delegate authority through those elected to represent the people and thereby, prevent the corruption of rulers by giving them too much power. The intent was noble and the idea good but people being made both good and evil soon corrupted the system by ceasing to acknowledge that such an idea was founded in the Christian faith. (The ideal of freedom in Western Civilization can’t exist apart from the Bible.)The Beast that rules the world now, is a multi-headed beast with global power that is descending into madness as it attempts to usurp the authority of God. All the world is following this Beast because they are afraid and don’t know how to resist it; and out of fear, they surrender their personal liberties. As each individual surrenders the rights imputed to them, by God, from birth, the Beast gains more power. This greater power feeds the insanity that drives it as the Beast drags the world after him into destruction. All who place their hope in human government have no hope and those who follow him will be like him and share his destiny. Hope lies in resisting the Beast and refusing fear by maintaining the joy found by faith in Jesus.

Resist the Beast and don’t become like him. Acknowledge God as the true authority. Jesus is the King who reigns in lives of believers through conscience and never denies His Father as the ruler of all. Don’t think like the beast and pride-fully, imagine His works as your own. Pride is delusional thinking that leads to greater madness. People, like those in government, are incomplete apart from God and without the imparting of His divine nature; none of us are anything more than another kind of beast. Do not become like the Beast in your thinking and don’t use your hands to serve him. No matter how great the madness of the world, as violence and destruction fills it, remember God’s authority isn’t threatened. He holds it all in His hands and He is working all these things to the good of those who are His in Christ Jesus and who serve His purpose. The Beast must have its day but this day will pass and when it passes, the long-promised Kingdom of Heaven will come. Christ’s righteous rule will put to rest the beastly rule of man-over-man. Those who are Christ’s may enjoy that peace today, as subjects of that Kingdom, while the world rages in fear and hopeless resentment toward the Beast.

Nebuchadnezzar returned to his right-mind when in humility He acknowledged God’s power over him. He experienced complete restoration as the result of his faith. The world that is now firmly in the grip of the multi-headed Beast of today, will also, be restored when Jesus is recognized as the Savior of individual believers and the world. When Jesus returns as the Lion of Judah, the world will be filled with cries of resounding joy!

Daniel: 1-4

The Joyful Christ-Centered Life

It is normal to live with the goal of self-fulfillment, as a reason to get out of bed in the morning and do all that must be done to sustain life. Personal accomplishment is generally sought out through ambition, pleasure, or serving others. Each path offers its unique rewards and we choose according to personal predisposition. If the chosen avenue leads to disappointment, then we follow another road for a while and may even try all three. Ambition may take those who follow this road to heights of power and wealth. Living for personal pleasure is exhilarating in the thrill it promises. Living for others serves the need to be known as altruistic and someone to be admired. However, the flip-side of these rewards is personal devastation, the promise that turns to taunt in the struggle of completing self by the capabilities of self. Power and wealth leave the heart empty and alone. Personal pleasure is fleeting, requires constant feeding, which ends in degradation of self and even others. Living an altruistic lifestyle, leads to co-dependence because the service to others comes from the position of personal need that can’t be satisfied by other people. Serving others out of a need for their recognition results the in loss of identity, and leads to the emotional death of disillusionment. Though it is right to want to live and live to be the best we can be, these common paths don’t lead to the kind of personal fulfillment they offer, they lead away from life and end in death. These three choices appear right but the outcome is all wrong. There is no lasting joy in striving to fill our personal need with self. The end result is the gnawing spiritual and emotional hunger of inner torment.

 A life lived centered upon self is a sad life. Depression is the deep, dark cave of self. An unfathomable cavern where no light can reach and no voice can be heard. The self-centered life is a life of isolation, where everything that person reaches for, in hope of realizing and actualizing purpose vanishes in the vacuum of personal void. Living in a world centered on self is experienced in the weakness of persistent craving that can’t be satisfied by following any path the world offers with the false-promise of self-fulfillment. When spiritual and emotional lack is filled by faith in Jesus, the believer is moved from living in a world centered on self to a world-view centered on Christ. He is as near as self in the heart and mind of the believer but in Him, lies the power to relieve inner isolation and give purpose to those who are lost and drifting in the rushing stream of life. Faith in Jesus is life-saving, life-giving, and life-sustaining. Accepting the gift of eternal life in Jesus is the way to live a joyfully, abundant life. Life centered upon Jesus fills the vacuum of spiritual and emotional need with the power of God, when the Holy Spirit enters in and completes the person who chooses to believe. The starving soul is satiated. The inner hollow becomes the abode of Christ. Ambition turns to dedication, the need for pleasure is met with joyful contentment, and love proceeds from the graceful throne of Mercy that is able to serve others with the kind of divine love that requires no human recognition. When human desire shifts from self to Christ, human want is satisfied as God’s purpose is realized in them and through them.

 Center your heart and mind upon Christ, receive true purpose, and be completed in joy!



Truimphal Joy When Human Hierarchy Falls!

Jesus was born in a barn and by modern standards it would be classified as much less. He was born in a cave, with a floor of hard-packed manure, closed off in the front to keep animals penned in. After birth, Jesus was wrapped in rags and put to sleep in a feed trough. His parents were poor. His dad was a carpenter and had no social status. Jesus was conceived out-of-wedlock and even though Joseph later took Mary as his wife, Jesus was considered illegitimate. No one understood Him as being sired by the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus was stigmatized by the circumstances of His birth, lived in poverty, and enjoyed no special privilege.  He received no special education and by the world’s standards and dictates, He could only dream of becoming a carpenter, by following in Joseph’s footsteps. From the horizontal perspective, there was nothing about Jesus in childhood that indicated the truth of who He is and the impact His life and death would make on the world. In the eyes of those who knew Him as a child, He was nothing and would remain nothing. Jesus was never fully accepted by His ‘legitimate’ siblings and He wasn’t recognized in the community where He was raised. God not only sent His one begotten Son to earth in the form of a man but He was sent as a man who no one would recognize as the promised Messiah. In the hierarchy of His time, there was no place for Jesus, who by human standards was a down-trodden man.

Jesus didn’t define Himself by His circumstance or by what others thought. At the age of twelve, He began to fulfill the mission His true Father gave Him by teaching the Law at the temple. His teaching was astounding and this is when He began to “be about His Father’s business” and follow in the footsteps of His Father God, as well as Joseph. When Jesus began His ministry, in His third decade of life, He abandoned carpentry. He became a homeless man. The man, whom God designated as King of the world, had no place to lay His head at night and depended on His Father to provide Him with food. Yet, when He opened His mouth to speak and teach, God was revealed to those who couldn’t know God without His revelation. His miracles were a living demonstration of God’s love and power. This homeless, unemployed carpenter stirred the ancient world, like no other and soon caught the attention of those of the hierarchy. This man, who was nothing, spoke of God with the kind of authority that people take to heart and are changed by. Because of this, Jesus became a threat to those in power. Those who ruled over others through religion were threatened most of all but they could find no reason to silence Jesus because Jesus spoke only, the truth. They tried to trick Him into saying something that would bring the punishing force of government down on Him, but Jesus didn’t come to be part of earthly kingdoms or seek power within any human hierarchy. Jesus came to do His Father’s Will and not His own. He didn’t want what the world had to offer. Frustrated, these false sons of God, complained to the top leaders in government in an effort to present Jesus as a threat to their power, as well. Pontus Pilate responded by appeasing them, as a political maneuver, a favor given with hopes of keeping peace in the province he ruled. Surely, this nothing-of-a-man couldn’t be a real threat to the powerful men of Rome! Pontus washed his hands of Him and gave the Pharisees their wish, while these arrogant, religious leaders sent whisperers among the people to fill hearts with fear. When the crowd gathered for the traditional release of a prisoner at Passover, they were presented with the choice of freeing Jesus or a murderer. The people, who once marveled at Jesus’ teaching and knew He healed instead of killing and even, brought the dead back to life, gave into their fear of being excluded from the religious hierarchy. They shouted for Jesus to be crucified! Those whom Jesus came to set free participated in his death…

Jesus, born into the world as no one, lived for God as the Son of God and remained true to His divine nature. Jesus didn’t bow to the hierarchy and He didn’t corrupt Himself to play by its rules. When He was crucified, it seemed that the system won, as the system always wins, in crushing another common good man. The proclaimed Messiah crucified, naked on a cross, as a criminal, dead and powerless, first appeared to leave the world as He entered it, as no one. In a world where one must kill in order to eat and live, one who refuses to kill can’t last long. The religious leaders, who manipulated the circumstances of His death, chortled and comforted themselves by believing their chosen view of the world was correct. The station in life they achieved by lying, clawing, gouging, and murdering remained secure. The ultimate, living truth of Jesus no longer threatened to reveal them as the corrupted men of sin that they were. Their contract on Jesus was complete, when Jesus was placed in a tomb and the door sealed. The strange anomaly was past and all things would continue as before…but Jesus didn’t stay dead because Jesus is the true Son of God. Jesus came to life again and He still lives, today. The truth that is Jesus remains a threat to the corrupt and powerful.

Human hierarchies exist by the power of lies, fear, intimidation, and the threat of death. Whether those hierarchies are religious, political, corporate, or criminal, they all operate according to the same core principle that human beings don’t need God and can control their destiny. They all value some more highly than others and power is achieved through human ends. They are the constructs of men ruling over other men in the place of God. This is the world’s system. The same kind of system Jesus knew and we still experience, today. This system is false and an affront to God, the true authority over human beings, Who views all people as equal. In God’s eyes, all people are valuable and possess the potential He imputes to them. That potential is corrupted by the lie of human hierarchy that begins in families and ends at the most powerful seat in the world. Jesus didn’t come to create another hierarchy, another religious system. Jesus came to set this corrupt system on fire by revealing the true nature of His Father and establishing “The Kingdom of Heaven” in the believing hearts of those who recognize Him by His truthful words and life. Though it’s been over two-thousand years, the foundation of His Kingdom is still being completed but I believe, His Kingdom on earth will soon become a physical reality. A day is coming when the world’s system will no longer tolerate those who love Jesus and when they are removed from the world and His Holy Spirit no longer impacts inward change in human beings, the rule of man over man will complete itself. When human beings are allowed to live by human wisdom alone, the hierarchy will descend into violence and topple by its own weight. When the unrighteous kingdom falls, God’s righteous Kingdom will raise up! And Jesus, His Messiah, the One the hierarchy regards as nothing, will reign over the earth. It will be a kingdom ruled directly by God through conscience and not through human hierarchy. There will be the freedom, equality, and peace that all people long for but in this present system are unable to obtain. Those believers, who have longed for this Kingdom and looked for it since ancient times, will shout in triumphant joy when human hierarchy ends and the hope of their faith becomes sight!

The Joy of New Life

“I missed you Grandma! I love you more than I even know!” My heart melts as I snuggle my little grandson close and in pops big brother, “I want to see Grammy!”  Another long, deep hug as chatter rushes like rapid, flowing water. I struggle to snatch the important events, as the details of recent weeks speed past and I notice how much each of them has changed… I’ve changed too and it’s a bit harder for me to keep pace with them but the joy of loving reunion energizes my old bones. Soon I’m up moving, fulfilling the rituals of “A Visit to Grammy’s House” that my grandsons expect. There are Grandpa’s great burgers for dinner and a comforting, warm bath. Next, there’s a movie to watch, while we all snuggle and laugh.

Dinner passes slowly, there’s so much to share! Then dishes are cleared, our movie is chosen, and just as we are about to settle down, my eldest grandson gasps! I look out the window from behind him and see two new-born fawns, as my breath catches too! Quietly, the four of us gather closer to the window and watch until the babies wobble down the side of the ravine and disappear into the brush. I grab the hand of the seven-year-old and whisper, “Let’s go see if they find their mother…” In bare feet, we tip-toe out onto the deck and find that of course, mother is there! We watch in wonder, as they suckle and she nudges them with love. My grandson’s face shines in quiet excitement and awe!Suddenly, the leaves of the cottonwoods quiver, rustle, and release their summer-time-snow; a blizzard in warm summer air. Cotton balls swirling and dancing in twinkling reflection of the spotted coats sported by the infant deer; as if in joyful celebration of these two new, living creatures. The wind, the invisible force swaying the trees and making cotton whirl, reminds me of the invisible, mighty Spirit who animates all living things. I realize that the magic of this moment isn’t an accident but a special gift, a blessing that my Father planned from the beginning, when He founded the earth in love. Then, the birds sing their good night songs as they nestle down and dusk fade into night. My grandson and I turn back inside and each of us re-enters the house, refreshed.

Inside the ritual continues and after the movie comes, “Special Time”, when each child and I spend a few moments alone to discuss the condition of their hearts. I listen with joy and gratitude, as these dear little persons share their happiness, their sadness, new discoveries, and questions about life. Then it’s time for Grammy’s “God songs” and prayers. Seeds of old truth planted in young hearts and realized in those hearts as new. Seeds cultivated and nurtured with love and prayer. Truth sown with hope that they will remember and be guided and strengthened  by it, no matter what the future may bring; a future that may not include me there. I tuck them in and leave the room, physically tired and heavy but also, renewed. Just as when I first met Jesus and the Holy Spirit made my old, tired life new! I thank God for the blessing of my grandchildren and new-born baby deer,  in which the cycle of life is completed, where the alpha and omega meet. When one form fades, a new form rises, and life eternal reigns!

Maintain Joy When Others Judge

Judgmentalism is a codicil of pride and fear. It is expressed anxiety, the hope of being able to control the uncontrollable. Those who judge others do so in the hopes of convincing themselves that whatever their brother or sister is currently suffering can be prevented and they won’t experience it themselves. The judgmental believe they are speaking truth but instead, their pride, fear, and need to control have deceived them into a mental state of denial. Though their words may hold some factual truth, they are devoid of the empathy of common experience and the spiritual insight that combine with facts to form genuine truth. When human beings place themselves in the seat of God to judge others, they succeed in condemning themselves by the spirit of condemnation that embitters them. There is no joy in wrongly perceiving others and taking it upon one’s self to judge them.

Judgmentalism helps no one and those caught up in it are the most helpless of all. The empty-truth by which they measure others proceeds from ignorance of ultimate truth. It isn’t possible for one human being to know the full measure of another person. We can’t know where they’ve been, why they are where they are, or their final destiny. Those things are known only to God. The ground upon which every individual and God stands, is Holy Ground. Those who insert themselves between God and another, to judge them, are trampling Holy Ground. Nothing good from comes from judgmental words and actions; they produce greater suffering and increase hopelessness. To be personally guided by a spirit of judgment is to be possessed by the spirit of the antichrist. Even those who claim the Name of Jesus and pronounce judgment upon others are deceived by the antichrist spirit. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” and when those who claim to be in Jesus pronounce judgment they are speaking and acting in opposition to the One who bought them with His blood! All things opposed to Christ are antichrist and there are many antichrists in the world, today. Some call themselves Christians and their wrong actions suppress the truth and lead others astray. The antichrist seeks to delude the world into denial of the ultimate truth, Jesus; and it is most pleased when the Spirit of Love, Grace, Salvation, Hope, and Joy are replaced by a spirit of judgment and condemnation, of others.

There is no experience less joyous than to live beneath a cloud of judgment. This is spiritual, emotional, and psychological abuse. Often, it comes in the guise of helpfulness from those who claim that if you follow their instructions, you and your life won’t be such a mess. When others set themselves above you and point to themselves as the ideal, beware! These people don’t care much about the suffering of others but want to use others to benefit themselves. By creating an emotional and spiritual fog of Judgmentalism around those who suffer, they are able to hide their true intentions and gain psychological control over hurting people. (Those prey that fall easiest to their tactics often, were raised in a fog of parental judgment.)  By these methods, they gather followers and lift themselves to positions of power. Indeed, believers don’t fight against physical enemies but against the false spirit that lifts controlling people to high positions of power in the world.  Judgmentalism is the enemy of believers and by it the devil disables many who would otherwise, live a spiritually fruitful-abundant life. Judgmentalism suppresses the full truth of Jesus and delivers death.

Maintaining joy when others judge, requires the response of love. Respond to false-judges in the knowledge that God loves you and you love God, then turn to your brother and love him, despite the bad spirit that oppresses and deludes him. Embrace Jesus, who is ultimate truth, and seek relief from human judgment in Him. By living the way Jesus directs us to live and not according to the judgments of others, we are enabled to overcome any judgment pronounced against us by people seeking power and control. Resist the antichrist spirit of judgment by maintaining a straight-ahead-focus on Jesus and the words of judgmental people won’t cause you to turn to the right or the left. Thus, you are maintained in walking the narrow path. No matter how some may wrongly assess you, be guided by the Holy Spirit, accept His admonishment, and walk in the Way with God in joy!

Cryoglobulinemia: The Snow Bird’s Joyful Song

Most don’t think of sixty degree weather as being too cold but I am a snow bird and when the temperature drops below seventy, I need to find a warmer place. I have Cryoglobulinemia and when I don’t stay warm enough my blood, that once ran hot, begins to run cold. It gels, it clots, and it causes my blood vessels, and connective tissue to inflame. The result is pain. The air-conditioning, with cooling relief all long for this time of year, makes my head pound, my vision blur, and my ears ache and ring! I live within a bubble of right-temperature that isolates me from a world that I can see but often not fully enter. I am living in a prison named Cryoglobulinemia. The warden is the thermostat and I’m doing hard time.  I’m sitting on Death Row waiting out the process of pardons and appeals, offered me though medication, until my sentence is complete.

My old, familiar enemy, Death mocks me as he relishes completing the contract Satan has taken out on me. He’s been trying to murder me for a long time. He shadows me, watches me, and then attacks me when my guard is down. He’s been after me since birth and he isn’t happy that I’ve avoided him this long. Following the orders of Satan, he uses his power to oppress and silence me, as he hopes for my final end. It isn’t personal, it’s just business. Satan doesn’t fear me he fears the God I serve. Satan and his faithful servant Death fear Jesus and the good work He does in me and through me. Jesus is a threat to Satan’s power and because I belong to Jesus, I’m a threat to him too. It is enough to distract me from the joy I possess in Jesus and if I let them, these partners in crime will freeze my mind with fear. I turn away; yes, I turn my back on my enemies! And in my spirit, search for Jesus’ face. I focus on that beautiful, kind face, as the present world and the threats of it fade. I come to Him with my fears of mortality and He responds by showing me my eternity.  God’s love pours in, until my heart overflows! Hope is restored and joy surges through me!  I rise above my circumstance and I soar! I don’t take this flight on the small, weak wings of a snow bird; instead, I rise up on eagles wings! Someday, when this broken body completely, fails me, I’ll trade it in for a body even more magnificent than an eagle’s!  I will soar to heights I cannot imagine! As Satan drools in anticipation of my death, I visualize the day when I will meet Jesus in the air! That ultimate day when this future hope I cling to becomes my reality. No more pain, loneliness, sorrow, and no threat of defeat! This promised, glorified condition is the true me, Pam free from sin and sin’s corruption. In my spirit God’s power surges! I cling to Jesus and turn back to face my enemies. I spit them in the eyes! Though they keep me in prison and sentence me to death, I won’t die! When Death makes his final move for me, I’ll reach for Jesus and make my escape into eternal life!

Though my present form crumbles, life will re-emerge and cause a new form to rise; because life is eternal and life cannot die. I don’t belong to material form and death, I belong to Jesus, the first One to rise from death and live! By faith in Him, when I die, He will raise me up to live again. Because Jesus loves me, my song of joy won’t turn hollow due to my disease. I won’t spend many days mourning over the things that I must someday, let go. I will sing no funeral dirge! I sing a joyful song of Jesus and He returns my songs of praise by lighting these prison walls with the light of His glory. My prison cell is transformed and my isolation ends. Jesus puts His arms around me. He keeps me safe and warm. When the numbers of days given me on earth are complete, my song of Jesus will ring into eternity! I am content. I rest in Jesus. I accept my circumstance, as I open my heart to joy!

God Joyfully Blesses Us With Nature

I am joyfully blessed to live within a natural masterpiece, mi tierra madre, New Mexico! The high-desert is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color. At sunrise, the sky lights softly with blues, pinks, and yellow pastels. The landscape wakes slowly and answers by reflecting the radiance of the sky, in tune with the first bird’s song. By noon, color fades to grey beneath a vault of crystal sky, and waits for the clouds to visit to shade and cool the hot ground.  Clouds seldom live long in the clear, dry air. Often, the rain and the sun dance together, turning the atmosphere bright gold! (The same golden light that Coronado saw reflected on adobe walls, when he mistook the pueblos for his famous Seven Cities of Gold.) Sunset is nature’s fiesta muy grande’! The colorful celebration of another beautiful day’s ending! The light fades out, the mesas and mountains shift into deep purple and blue. Night Hawks swoop, soar, and whisper haunting cries, “Speak! Speak!” The planets appear then the stars and the moon. A coyote howls his mournful sound; his brothers’ answer him and happy hunters go yipping into the night. I hear an owl, feel a bat brush past and in the far-distance, a mountain lion screams! I feel small. I am humbled. The joy of wonder washes over me, through me; and I marvel that I too, am a part of this marvelous, living, work-of-art. I am at home. God placed me here and I am integral to this time and place. I am content. In this moment, I know myself and my world as whole.

 I am abundantly, blessed to live in a place so naturally wonderful that I am reminded daily that there is a mighty, powerful, living God! The Master Creator, the only One able to truly, make something from nothing, and make it a majestic wonder! Without one word written or spoken, through His art, He makes Himself known. My heart sings! I rejoice! Before my God, I gratefully kneel…

Healing Joy Lives in the Person of Jesus!

“It is I; don’t be afraid.”~~~~Jesus~~~~~Matthew 6:20b

Life is uncertain and the knowledge of fear is common to all. Some experience such catastrophe in their lives that they live the rest of their life in a constant state of hyper-vigilant fear; induced by the trauma they survived. This kind of fear is rooted in those who experience war, devastating illness, natural catastrophe, violent crime, and child abuse. Life is a dangerous ocean and when its violence rages, no one can overpower it. Those who survive its wrath are forever, changed. No matter how calm the waters on a sunny day, a person who has experienced its raging storms can’t logically, trust the ocean again. They may never experience such a storm again and even, find some success in putting part of their terror-memories behind them but the fear remains, as an over-all emotional state. Fear is the killer of joy and it is the lie that destroys a survivor’s soul. Life lived in fear is living in certain expectation of death, while constantly watching for its next attack.  This is living death, the personal torture and torment described in Dante’s, “Hell”. God doesn’t want any of His children to live in this condition. God desires that none of us should die but instead, turn away from the way we are living, turn to Him, and learn live a better way. Jesus is the Way God wants all of His children to live, not in fear but in the joyful state of abundant life.  God wants all of His children to live in joy and every survivor can be translated from a state of fear into an over-riding sense of joy, when by faith they trust in Jesus.  In Jesus, survivors who step out by faith, by walking over their fear toward Jesus, find relief from constant, debilitating fear.

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”~~~~Jesus~~~~`Matthew 5:39-40

The teachings of Jesus are useful for everyone, as are all the lessons of scripture. However, true inner healing, the by-product of eternal life, is found in the person of Jesus. Jesus apart from faith is only a wise man who lived long ago, who was probably a little crazy because he called himself the Son of God. It is impossible to know the living Jesus if you don’t accept Him as He describes Himself to be and recognize Him as relevant to your life. His teachings are robbed of their power when faith in Him is denied. There is no life in teachings, when applied they can change outward behaviors but there is no eternal life in any teaching. It is the gift offered by Jesus that has the power to replace a trauma survivor’s logical expectation of death, with the true, spiritual expectation of life. True transformational healing takes place when a survivor of trauma recognizes Jesus as the ultimate survivor. He is the only One who died, took His life back, and lived again.  Jesus still lives! He lives eternally with His Father and He lives in the hearts of those who love and trust in Him.  He died for us but He lives for us too! He has the power to rescue all trauma survivors from their constant state of fear; and this rescue begins when they open their hearts to Jesus and believe. By trusting Jesus, experiencing His living presence, and mirroring Him in daily life, survivors (like all believers) begin the process of faith that leads them from constant-watchful-fear into the joyous state of a more abundant life!

I am a survivor of child-abuse and debilitating disease.The words I’ve written above I also, live. I continue to survive the storms of life but in Jesus, I also thrive. In Jesus, my fears are relieved and when I mirror Him in my daily life, no matter my situation, I am enabled to live in a state of joy. I wasn’t magically transported in an instant from fear to joy. My spiritual salvation came in an instant but the process that I embarked upon because of my experience of  salvation, is one worked out in fear and trembling, as God reveals the thoughts, feelings, and actions that need to be changed in me. With each act of obedience there is triumph and I know less fear, as God’s love rushes in. As by faith, God increases my spiritual stature; my state of fear is replaced by joy. Joy leads to contentment, which is the state of an abundant, spiritual life in Christ. There really is healing joy in the person of Jesus!


The Joy of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved

Rejection hurts some more than others but rejection hurts everyone. From birth people seek love and acceptance; it is the deepest human need. Children raised in an environment of love and acceptance will likely, grow up to love and accept themselves. Such a childhood is the ideal and not the norm. Every family is infected with some level of dysfunction. Children grow up with the self-image their parents taught them and reflect their parent’s acceptance or rejection, in how they think about themselves as adults. Parents aren’t the only influence in a child’s life. Other adults with authority and peers also, teach children who they are, by how they receive and treat them.  The way in which a child’s race, social status, and religion are perceived by the community that the child must learn to negotiate also, determines the child’s perceived value of their personal identity.

Few of us enter adulthood confident in our view of self and most of us don’t rightly value ourselves. Like the world around us, we value ourselves according to status and personal accomplishments. According to this system, wrong choices and personal failures decrease our worth and no number of right choices and success can balance the account. As adults, even when fame, fortune, and power are obtained, the need to be fully accepted and fully loved remains. A low self-value creates an emotional vacuum that makes it impossible to rightly value and love others. Naturally, we use the same rule of measure on others as we use against ourselves. No one measures up and we can’t love anyone when we can’t even love ourselves.

In God’s eyes, we are all valuable. There isn’t anyone, no matter what station in life or their achievements that can increase or decrease how He values us. He knows everything about us, even better than we know ourselves and He loves us anyway. His acceptance and love doesn’t include approval of our harmful actions but His love and acceptance, when received by us, is a new beginning. By mirroring God’s right view of ourselves, we are transformed and we learn to live a better way. The bad information we learned about ourselves and others in childhood is replaced with healthy information. Understanding that no one is above us and no one is beneath us, in God’s eyes, allows us to value ourselves and others as equal. When the human system of earned value is discarded and replaced by the view that all are equal before God, love and self-acceptance rush in.  The right view of ourselves empowers us to love others as we love ourselves, in the way all people should be loved. The love and acceptance everyone needs is embodied in the person of Jesus. He is the One who lived to demonstrate how God values His children. Even though by turning away from our Father, we have degraded and devalued one another, God loves us and manifests His full love and acceptance through Jesus the Christ. In Jesus, the deepest human need for acceptance and love is met.

Ref. John 4:1-29– The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Joy Rises! There is No Joy Apart from Love

Love is chained, imprisoned and languishing in dark dungeons of hard human hearts. Love lies near death in these joyless persons, whose wrong desires forged their child-hearts into steel.  The actions necessary for actualizing those desires are the bars, chains, and locks that isolate love. Access to joy is denied as greed, envy, and the lust for power fill the void left in its place. These imposters of joy consume the deceived one with the gnawing need of self-hatred. Hounded by unrecognized spiritual hunger and by seeking to satisfy their hunger with the material world, they become liars, thieves, adulterers, murders, and haters of God. By their delusion, they may find temporary reward in conquests but they will not know love or joy, even if they achieve titles of worldly grandeur. By their abuses they infect the world with hatred. Having become immune to love and granite-like in their inner person, the love poured out on them runs off, puddles, and evaporates. Even if God rains His divine love down on them, they remain unchanged. God is Love and there is no true joy apart from God. There is no joy for those who resist Love. Those who live without Love exist in a state of living-death.

God is Love. He is the Father who seeks out His children, lost in the ebony night of wrong desire, even when they are lost because of their choices. His love for His children is unfathomable and he expressed that divine love by sending His Son, the only Child true to Him, as a sacrifice for children unfaithful to Him. Jesus didn’t just teach love, He lived it by obediently and sacrificially, offering His life so we may live! He made the reality of God’s love known by His death and thereby, became the true, divine light of the world. Jesus lived in truth, died in truth, and rose to live in truth, again. He is the Light of ultimate Truth. This Truth is empowered to melt hearts fabricated of steel when His light shines on each one, personally and denial of their condition dispels. Some preferring the cover of darkness, react by squinting their eyes in response to Light, they grimace and shrieking in pain, turn away! By refusing Truth, they harden their hearts further and should they continue to do so, they will die in the awful state of darkness they’ve taught themselves to trust. Still, there are others who will respond to the divine light that is Jesus, by reaching for Him and clinging to Him, in hopes of living and learning to live a better way. By responding to divine love and divine truth, they receive eternal life and their rescue is permanent. The stony obstinacy caused by the sin in their hearts melts away, replacing it with the Love that is God. For the first time, they experience true joy! This is the joy that is inwardly, birthed when God’s Holy Spirit enters the hearts of those who recognize Jesus and believe. These dear children, tossed on the waves of personal sin and retrieved from the most ink-black night, no longer live alone in the dark. The night is past! Joy rises! Those who trust in Jesus leave the night behind as they become joyous, children of the day!