Battle Scars

Within God’s love, your scars heal and you will know peace.

As I was sitting on the bench outside this morning, I noticed an old scar on my right knee, which I have had since I was about eight years old.  I vaguely remember how it happened.  I was playing outside, fell onto the driveway, and a bit of loose glass tore a gash into my skin.  I cried, no,  I wailed while my mother cleansed it with iodine and covered it with gauze to keep it clean.  After awhile, the scar healed into the shape of an eye, a small white slit,  and to this day it remains the same. 

Have the issues in life dealt you a hard blow, left you bruised and caused you great pain?  Have you healed, and how long did it take to heal?  Have you fallen and been left scarred?  I am not talking about the physical body but your internal spirit.  What has scarred you internally?  Here are some emotional issues or adhesions that may leave internal scars.  Perhaps you recognize the source of your wound?

  • Shame
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling unloved
  • Hopelessness
  • Divorce
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Financial burdens
  • Fear

Your adhesion may not even be listed above, but yet your spirit caused you to react to the pain.  Scars are the body’s attempt to heal itself quickly so that it can return to normalcy.  At times the body cannot heal the adhesion fully, in fact, it may not be able to completely restore the damage.  That is why the scar tissue stands out for others to see.  We heal poorly and the scar reminds us that we were hurt in action.  Did you know that some scars will cause pain long afterwards?  The pain is still within the tissue and will cause distress on occasion. 

If your internal scars are still causing you spiritual grief, you may be reacting by covering it up through destructive actions.  Withdrawal, overeating, anger, drugs, alcohol, improper sexual desires and acts, depression, etc. are all symptoms of your scar’s pain. 

I discovered scar tissue is poorly supplied with blood and that is why the new tissue is pale in comparison to the skin around it.  Then, I reflected upon the fact that when Christ restores our spirit, it is well supplied by His blood and the wound is wholly restored.  When a body is healthy, internal adhesions will sometimes go unnoticed because the body will repair itself well.  Similarly, when we are in tune with Christ, our body is healthy and wounds will not leave scars in our spirit. 

I do not try to cover my physical scar, it reminds me that time heals all things.  It reminds me that adhesions cause deep wounds and pain, but washing it clean and covering it with care begins the healing process. When people ask me about my eye-shaped scar, I tell them that it’s an old battle scar just for fun.  And then I tell them the real story,  letting them know it reminds me time heals all things, but most importantly how God was with me through the entire healing process.  I think my sweet Lord left that unusually shaped scar on my knee to remind me of His constant love and care over me.   The following verse reminds me that sometimes scars, like memorials, can be used to share how God works, even through hardship and pain.  It builds our faith. 

“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones (scars) mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD.  When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  These stones (scars) are to be a memorial to the people of Israel (you) forever”  Joshua 4:6-7  (NIV)

Dear friend, if you have suffered a wound and the scar is still inside, ask God to heal you from the inside out.  He will send his sweet Holy Spirit to anoint it with pure oil from above and cause it to heal.  Be patient.  Have faith. You can heal from this pain. It may take time but it will heal, and the scar will disappear. (John 8:32)

 Blessings,

Dee

Fight or Flight?

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition… Hebrews 10: 39a

The human brain is designed to detect fear and danger and responds without our conscious participation.  For instance, you hear a loud noise nearby and before you can even blink , this sensory information has passed to your brain (the amygdala to be exact) for processing and response.  If it feels it’s threatening then it will jump-start your “fight or flight” response.  You will either decide to run or to remain where you are. 

I have been in situations where I have felt like fleeing and taking refuge within the confines of my mind.  My mind fills with fear, my heart beats rapidly and my knees almost buckle underneath me.  Having to deal with conflict is not an easy task.  Don’t you wish you could just blink and have it all disappear?  I seek for advice and hope that someone will

Be Strong In The Lord! (source: thetorchonline.com)

be able to relieve me of having to face my fears alone.  But, I sing a hollow song, and only hear the echo from afar coming back empty to my ears.

Fighting back, or standing up for what you know is right, takes practice and experience.  Psalms 118: 5 states, “Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, he answered.  God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid.” When we are backed up against the wall, then it is we cry out to God.  Out of desperation we seek his counsel and help.  And he hears us, coming to our aid.   Friends, why does it take us so long to realize that our battles need not be fought alone?   Our “giants” are real and they taunt us through their knowledge of us.  They know that we are accustomed to reacting a certain way to their threats.  We run and hide. 

I was reading the accounts of Joshua and how he faced battles in settling the promised land.  He and the people with him faced their enemies with confidence as they conquered the territory.  In fact, their enemies had heard of them and feared them greatly.  The Israelites were confident in their strength because they knew God’s power and trusted in his word.  They had experienced God’s mighty power in crossing the sea, being fed in the desert and receiving water in a barren land.  They knew him well.   There was nothing that God would not do for them in helping to establish themselves within a new land.

Our natural tendency to any threatening action is to run.  It takes a courageous person to stay and fight.  Courage is facing your fears even when you feel like fleeing.  One of my favorite bible chapters is Psalms 91 because it speaks of God’s protection of those who trust in him.  “..that’s right, he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.  His huge outstretched arms protect you — under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.  Fear nothing …. ” (MSG Bible).   (I can almost hear a large booming voice speaking this to me from a mountaintop!) I know that it is true for I have experienced his strength when I had none. 

The more you face your fears, the stronger you will become.  Constant fear in itself is a lack of faith in God.  God says that perfect love casts out fear.  I love  the scene in the movie Lord of  The Rings where the princess stands her ground against the dragon.  You can see the fear in her eyes but she continues to face the dragon, sword and shield in hand.  As the dragon lashes out, she cuts off its head.  She watches it roll off to the side, surprised that she actually killed the beast.   This is reality.  We face our fears head on and when the victory is ours we faint back with a sigh of surprised relief.  I often wonder if God has a good laugh on us (in a good way… he does have a sense of humor!). 

Friends, when you face a challenge …. face it with God’s power within you!  Stand and fight.  You will be victorious. 

Blessings,

Dee

Never give up!

The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.  Col. 1:5 (MSG Bible)

jr carmax studio artist; wallpaper

 Erme and I were just talking about fulfilling our purpose  (dreams & goals) in life. We believe that each of us is called to a mission that no one else can fulfill.  Yes, if we abandon our goal, someone else may be able to take over and complete it for us, but it may not be the same as if we had performed the work ourselves.

At times we would rather give up and allow things to pass on from our hands.  We have been in the battle so long that our hope is weak and our heart is broken.  We have scars on our bodies and bloodied faces.  The forces that keep coming at us are relentless and seem to grow stronger each time we confront them.  The promise of victory is no longer as vivid in our minds as before.  What is the use?  It seems like an elusive dream.

Erme shared a story with me about a friend of hers who has muscular dystrophy.  Each morning, despite her chronic pain and muscle loss,  this woman gets out of bed rejoicing because God has granted her another day in which to fulfill her purpose.  “He has need of me!”, is her daily inspiration.  She expressed how the enemy whispers every morning in her ear, “Just end it all.  It would be so much easier.”   And she admits it is a constant battle of the mind fighting the option to overdose on her pills.   Her word to everyone is to never give up, “Get up, dress up and get going.  God has need of you today!”

“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created.  For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels — everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.”  Col. 1:15-18 (MSG Bible)

God’s original purpose was for us to reflect His love and glory to others.  We are to flavor our world and keep it from spoiling.  Our mission is to walk forward boldly each day knowing that we are accomplishing His divine will for men.  We are representative of ALL HE IS to others.  Showing them that with God all things are possible (Luke 1:37).  If we give up, then others may lose hope, give up and fall away. 

It is not an easy mission.  It is one that requires a strong spirit, mind and body.  It requires being able to see beyond the present circumstances to the victory beyond.  It requires those who have been knocked down to get up once again.  Why?  Because Christ did this for us and continues to do it for us every single moment of our lives.  His love is so deep for us that He enters into spiritual battles on our behalf so that we will not fall away.  The Father desires to dwell within us, to be one with us.  And as we become one with Him, we will see and understand His purpose. 

This is how much God loved the world:  He gave his Son, His one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need to be destroyed; by believing Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  John 3: 16 (MSG Bible)

Isn’t this a worthy cause to fulfill?  Never give up…. the Father has need of you today!

Blessings,

Dee

Suddenly, Returning to Egypt Seems Like a Good Idea!

Retreat is often a consideration just before reaching your mountaintop. Don't give up!

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them— Egyptians! Coming at them!

   They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'” Exodus 14: 10-12; Message Bible

The Israelites had just left Egypt for the Promised Land in this passage.  They were looking forward to what Moses said the Lord had in store for them.  Freedom, abundant life, plentiful food and safe dwelling places were all the wonderful changes coming in their new life.  They were promised God’s protection and His strength as they journeyed, and so they moved forward with anticipation; forsaking all and leaving the comfort of their former homes. 

Similarly, we have been promised these blessings as we take on the Lord’s commandments in our life.  We committed to following Him and forsook all in order to inherit His blessings upon our lives.  Oh, it is a great promise and one that we heard with such excitement; and thus, we vowed we would not forsake the path, come what may. 

And then we faced our first problem on our journey out of Egypt.  One that left us questioning ourselves, “Did I hear Him wrong?”  And we thought He had abandoned us and left us open, easy prey to the enemy.  We ran around in circles, throwing up our hands and crying out in pain, “Why, Lord, why have you allowed this in my life?  What have I done to deserve such treatment from your hand?  It would have been better for me to have remained the way I was than to have accepted your way of life!”   Suddenly, returning to Egypt seems like a good idea! When the enemy seems bigger than life and He’s coming at you from behind with all his army — you just want to run!  Your knees buckle, you freeze in your tracks and all you can do is cry out for dear life!

Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.  God will fight the battle for you.  Exodus 14: 13-14, Message Bible

When you reach the point where you want to turn back, the point where you think your former path was easier living, and want to just give up: cry out to God.   He will come to your rescue.  He will personally deal with your enemy, your problems, and remove them from your life.  From my experience, I have turned back and found that the old way did not provide any relief.   It only made my life more complicated and left me feeling guilty.  Guilty and sorry!  Sorry that I had given up so quickly, and guilty that I had found comfort in my old ways.  But, I think He knew this would happen.  I believe God allowed me to digress because he knew that  I would become a much wiser person for the wear upon returning. 

However, my friend, we are trying to establish our path forward without having to suffer the pains of abandonment,  and taking a detour that will only cause you extra mileage in your journey.  Learn a lesson from my experience: it doesn’t pay to return to Egypt!  Especially when you are so close to the promised land.

But the people you redeemed,
      you led in merciful love;
   You guided them under your protection
      to your holy pasture.

Exodus 14:12-13; Message Bible

After God delivered them from their enemy they sang a victory song to Him.  They acknowledged that He had guided and protected them with His mighty hand on the path to the promised land.   After you have traveled the long, hard road and arrived at your destination (your victory), then you can look back and see where it was He guided you through the perils of your journey.  Sing a song of praise, dance up a storm, laugh with joy; for He has delivered you from your problem and from being overtaken.

 Remember, when you feel like there is no way out and that you are going to fall into the enemy’s hands, cry out to God!  He will hear you and deliver you every time.  It’s His promise!

Be blessed in your walk today,

Dee

 

Order My Steps, Lord.

While out walking the other day, I came across  this new stop sign in our neighborhood.  Apparently, there had been a few accidents at this corner involving cars crossing the road and turning left.  People had a slight problem seeing traffic coming from the left, and were taken by surprise by an oncoming vehicle.  This new sign provides good direction and will keep cars from colliding in the future.

I thought about this posting on the way home and came to the realization that God often does this for me.  I start out, moving forward, until I come to a stop.  This stop is a halt to my path, at times a warning.  Then, I must ask, “Is it safe to continue on this path, or should I change directions?”  I always get clear instruction as to the “right” path to take.  He states, “Don’t go to the left, you will be taken by surprise!” 

One of my favorite verses is Psalms 37: 23 and 24:

The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his (her) way.  Though he (or she) fall, he (or she) shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him (or her) with His hand.

I have an older version of  Living Bible, called The Way, published by Campus Crusade for Christ, and I like its version as well:

The steps of good men (women) are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with His hand. 

This version reminds of the time I watched my son take his first steps. It was so awesome!  For weeks he had been holding onto furniture and stepping along using  the edges to walk.  He would smile and wave his hand around as if in celebration of this great accomplishment.  When he discovered that he could let go and walk, he was so ecstatic and beamed his delight with this new freedom.  I was delighted to watch him walk!

I also remember watching him take his first steps cautiously, swaying a little at times as he stood up, and then he would take off walking while concentrating on the direction he wanted to go.   Sometimes, we would have to stop him and redirect his path so that he would not injure himself.  And, sometimes he fell and I would have to help him back up.

In the same manner, the Lord directs my daily path.  He watches me walk and keeps an eye out for the dangerous crossings in my life.  With every step I take, I must consider what His Word would have me to do.  And, sometimes I sway as I stand, waiting for His direction.   I must not take a step forward without His leading, I desire his guidance through his Word.

As we walk in faith, we some times lose our balance and fall. We may then be embarrassed, confused, angered or just take it all in stride.  We usually just get back up and continue walking forward.   The verse above states that, “if they fall it isn’t fatal”, be assured, my friend, you will fall down once in a while in your Christian walk; but it will not end there.  Did you hear what the Psalmist said?: … for the Lord holds them with his hand.  How awesome is that?  Your Lord will not let you walk alone, he will not let you walk out into dangerous traffic, and even if you misread Him and do get sideswiped … He is there to grab your hand and pull you up!

Let’s take a poll:

Would you rather?:

  1. Walk alone and take my chances.
  2. Walk blindfolded on my daily walk, taking my chances.
  3. Walk with someone who can help order and guide my steps?

I am guessing that most of us would choose #3 and rather have someone help us in our daily walk.  When you, being a good (faithful or righteous)  man or woman, ask God to order your steps what you are asking Him is, “Lord,  keep me safe, keep me focused and help me to walk before you.  May my walk be pleasing to you.” 

Psalms 120: 33 reads, “guide me with your laws so that I will not be overcome by evil.”  God’s laws are meant to protect us from harm, not to restrain our walk.  He keeps us from fatal mistakes, he keeps us from those things that would destroy our faith in Him.  It is this loving Father, who watches your every step, that holds your hand, that will not allow you to be left all alone standing in the middle of a crossroad.  If you fall, he will dry your tears, dust you off and with his loving hand, pick you up.   He has you in his hand, beloved. You are always in his sight!

There is so much more I would love to share on asking God to direct your steps, but my friend, it is your privilege to pursue this prayer and walk.  I encourage you to meditate upon this thought, upon His Word, so that you will understand the great plans he has for your life.

Be blessed in your walk today,

Dee

Why Pray?

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning.  Psalm 130:5,6

Like many others, I pray at bedtime.  A few days ago, I was reviewing the many prayer requests I listed on behalf of others and myself. I heaved a sigh and thought, why pray?  It just hit me that I was repetitive in my prayers before God each night. Hadn’t he already heard these prayers and acted on them?  And, what about the prayers I say each morning such as ask ing  God to give us direction, to protect us from harm, to give us opportunity to witness?  I just wondered why we have to mention our requests every night?  It wasn’t as if I considered it hopeless, I really wanted to know the reason.

I got my answer quicker than I thought. I was actually surprised at the Holy Spirit’s response which came immediately after I had stated “why pray?”.  I have learned that when you ask a question of God, no matter how deep or trivial, He does listen and respond.  It’s just that this evening I wasn’t really talking to Him.  I was just reflecting on God’s order of prayer to myself.   Jeremiah 29:12 states, “Then shall you call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you”.  He was listening.

He asked me, “What season is it?”  I answered, “Winter”.  He then said that all things follow a certain order such as the sun rising and setting.  He followed this stating something profound, “Time was made for man so that he remains focused.  I have your prayers before me”.  It was a simple statement, but that was all I needed to hear to teach me the reason why we pray continuously about certain requests.  1 Kings 8:59a states, “And let these words that I’ve prayed in the presence of God be always right there before Him, day and night, so that He’ll do what is right for me.. (MSG)” .   My friend, once you have made your request to Him — He has those prayers before Him.  Really, there is no need to repeat ourselves again. 

So, why do we pray every day with the same requests?  I am not talking about those prayers we mention and know in our hearts that they are answered or prayers during times of immediate need.  This is faith. I am talking about those prayers we say on behalf of family, friends, work,  church, or nation. For example, I pray each night for the protection of all my children, that their dreams will be directed by God and that they will have a peaceful sleep.  I pray each morning that my steps will lead me to a higher understanding of His will for me and others.  These are the prayers that keep us focused. 

God doesn’t need a calendar to keep track of when to answer prayer.  Heaven is a different dimension where things happen on another plane.  Here on earth, we must keep watch on over the things that matter to us on a daily basis.  (By the way, what matters to us matters to Him.  See Matthew 6: 25-34).  As we pray daily we renew our hearts and realign our minds in accordance to God’s plan.  It keeps us focused.  I hope this blog helps lead you to a better understanding of how prayer works.  Pray daily, often and always. 

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Walking through foggy places …

Faith is walking forward even though the view is foggy.

Growing up in Indiana you were guaranteed a certain number of school delays due to fog.  This was great for us kids.  We would go outside and run through the mist enjoying the soft wet cloud cover.  As you grew up the reality of foggy danger set in and suddenly, it was not such a welcome to your day.  Once I remember traveling back home with my family to visit my parents in Indiana and we hit fog about an hour from their home.  The further we traveled the darker and more dense the cloud cover became.   We were going forward at a rate of 5 miles per hour and praying for safety. The headlights were no help as they only caused a glare.  We hoped we would not run into someone ahead or worse …  that some careless driver would come from behind at a high-speed and hit us. 
Today we have fog here in Florida.  What a surprise.  I haven’t seen fog this thick in years but nevertheless, here it is.  It reminded me of the fear I experienced driving through fog back home.  I asked myself what was the real fear of not being able to see what’s ahead? 
I am a person who plans ahead.  I must have all my ducks in a row, all my files organized, my day planned or I will not be able to function properly.  Sometimes I drive my husband crazy with my planning. Before I drive any place new, I get on the internet and locate it on the map, print out the directions  and I take my GPS with me.  Am I too structured?  Maybe.  However, I’ve learned through the years the secret of overcoming “fear of the unknown”. 
I read in Hebrews 11, “by an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going.”  (MSG)  This was Moses, the great leader, making a decision to go forward even though he couldn’t see what was ahead.  He knew the one that called him was leading him to a better place.  A place of peace and abundance of life.  It wasn’t easy but he obeyed and followed.
In life our journey goes along curvy, bumpy, low and high places.  Most of the time we see clearly or at least can see what’s coming at us from a distance.  When the path becomes cloudy, we experience panic, frustration, fear and loneliness.  If we put our trust in “the One no eye can see” we will see beyond the fog.  He promises to guide us through to the other side where the sun shines brightly.  He knows what is beyond the fog and going through the fog builds our trust in Him. 
As I look outdoors, I can see the fog has lifted and a bright spot of blue appears in the distance.  I’ve had many foggy days, spiritually speaking, and some are more faith-filled than others but I’ve learned that He never leaves me in the fog.