JARS OF CLAY

Early this morning I was reading from one of my Beth Moore devotional books. She was sharing about how we as finite beings with frail human flesh can have the mind of Christ. That we can have his thoughts if we are so willing to yield our flesh to follow His Spirit versus our own carnal choices. This led me down a whole other path of not only can we have the mind of Christ but we house the very spirit of God within us. He dwells within us His jars of clay!

II Timothy says this, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.” ESV. The meaning of the word honor is to value as precious, it is treated with dignity. The meaning of dishonor is to disgrace something or allow it to become vile, shameful.

As Christ followers we have a choice how we live our lives. We can forget what God has done and choose our own way if we so desire but we need to consider the immense responsibility we have to live our lives as shining witnesses because Jesus changed our lives. We can bring honor to Him by living our lives as living, breathing stories for people to read each day. We walk around with Jesus on the inside of us and that should be visible to those around us.

Or we can choose to live a life that is dishonorable. We can convince ourselves that we can contaminate our vessel and live for ourselves and nobody else. We can disgrace the precious Spirit of God that lives in us and live only for ourselves but is it worth it? After all that Jesus has done why become a vessel of dishonor. Why become a container for trash when the Spirit of the living God brought you out of darkness to be the light to a dying world?

Jars of clay can all look the same on the outside but the honor or dishonor given to the vessel is determined by what the vessel is filled with. How amazing that we as fragile human flesh can house the King of Kings in our spirits. We can walk around as kings, queens, and priests if we will honor our vessels or we can allow our vessels to dry up and become a waste can for all the ungodly things we were delivered from.

The incredible miracle that Jesus came as flesh to live in flesh by his Spirit is beyond my understanding. But this one thing I know I was a broken and shattered clay pot that Jesus put back together. He took every chard of clay and molded it into a vessel that would be better than it was before. He poured Himself inside of me and said, “Go, let my light shine from your jar of clay and bring honor to my name.”

You may still have a few scratches or dings in your jar just like me but that’s okay because He still uses cracked pots! So go forth and be a cracked pot for Jesus!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

God Is Not Withholding, He Is Waiting

How many of us have been in a holding pattern sometime in our life as we wait to for an answer to prayer? The waiting can be gut wrenching at times. It is especially difficult when it is something that we want it so much we can taste it! I know that feeling all too well.

Recently I became very aware that my desires for my two grown sons became more of an obsession than just prayers I brought before the Lord. God began to speak to me that my heart had become tangled up with my hopes for their future that it had a stranglehold on me. I had linked the vision of my future with whether or not my desires for their lives came to fruition. God spoke to my spirit a couple of weeks ago and reminded me that my view of my future could not be linked to whether my dreams and desires for them came to pass. I was missing out on the things God wanted for me now because I was obsessed with the what if’s in their futures. I had to repent and lay it all down.

All of this happened just before our women’s retreat last weekend. This brought such a peace and freedom to me that it had me pumped up for our fun weekend. During a scheduled thirty minute quiet time Saturday afternoon I went out to sit and listen to what the Lord wanted to say to me. I was reminded of the of the verse in Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is our sun and shield. He gives grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” He let me know that He was NOT withholding, He was waiting!

All of us who are parents can relate to this. How many times did we have to wait to fulfill the wishes of our children because it was not time yet. We were not withholding because the time was not for then but later. They did not see the wisdom in that but as parents we surely did.

So when we are puzzled by delays we all have to be reminded that our God is a good God and He does not withhold good things from us He is simply waiting for the right time. Most certainly God will not slight us and give us something that we did not ask for anymore than a good earthly father would do that to his child.  Luke 11:11-13 says, “You fathers-if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for any egg, do you give the a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”  Jesus was simply teaching his disciples that He would honor their persistence in wanting to know how to pray and have an intimate life with Him. He told them all they had to do is ask. However, we must wait on God’s timing.

If you are waiting remember God sees the whole picture and we see one small single camera shot that limits our view. God is good and He is well able to take care of our needs, dreams and longings. So when you seem to be drowning in the ocean of what if’s and why’s just stop, look and listen. You may find, as did I, that you were all tangled up in something of your own making and God is waiting for you to remove yourself so that He can do what only He can do. Isn’t it amazing how simple it is when we take our hands off a situation?

To leave you on a very encouraging note let me share the very good news I received when I returned from my retreat last weekend. Our oldest son who has been living with us for a long time due to his job situation, finances, etc,. was finally able to get approved for a mortgage a couple of months ago. But the best news of all was that while I was on my retreat he found a house and his offer was accepted by the seller with no counter offer. He is closing before November 30th! When I released my unhealthy grip on the dreams I had it created an environment of freedom and things began to move in a very positive direction. Now we have one miracle down for him and two more to go. I am anticipating several breakthroughs for him because I obeyed God.

So be encouraged. If you find yourself in a holding pattern and have discovered how unproductive it is then release your grip on your dreams and God will provide a ram in the thicket at just the right time. The best is yet to come!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Puzzle Pieces

My husband and I started a jigsaw puzzle last weekend. We are still putting pieces that look similar in different piles to make it a little easier to locate different areas of the picture. We now have the border completed and we are continuing to fill in each piece. It can be so daunting sometimes.

There is also another scenario that can be daunting to each of us and that is when the circumstances of our life don’t seem to fall in place quite like we had anticipated. I certainly have become aware of this in my own life due to a dream I have had for approximately the last seven years or so. I am turning 65 in two weeks and I really wanted my grown sons to be married by now and for me to have become a Mimi, Granny or Nana by now. I have wanted it so deeply that I became consumed with it. It is not that wanting those things is bad but what if my dreams and desires are not God’s plan for my sons? I began to link my future happiness to whether or not that dream became a reality in their lives.

This past week a friend and I sat down in my family room and discussed my circumstances and through prayer together I was able to see more clearly that I had misplaced my passion for the good things I have in my life for something that may never come to pass. I was missing out on God’s plan for me because I was frustrated over a piece of a puzzle that did not fit!

I actually began to see how it is just like working a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes we become obsessed with that ONE piece and we cannot rest until we find it. But we end up wasting lots of time looking for a piece that is still hidden while you can be filling in the puzzle with pieces that we do have. It is kind of like missing the forest for the trees. And most of the time if we will simply step back and look at the picture from a distance we can begin to see how things fall together. Before long the pieces reveal a wonderful end result and we enjoyed the process.

I have made a commitment to release my dreams on an altar. It is not easy. It hurts!! But God has always directed my steps. I know the voice of God and I also recognize the voice of the enemy of my soul too. Today I am choosing not to force puzzle pieces into a place where they don’t belong. God says that if we “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

I feel a little like Abraham walking up the mountain with his son Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice. All the while hurting on the inside but trusting that God knew what He was doing. When Abraham made the choice to obey, God provided the answer. There was a ram in the thicket! I have a God who loves me and he delights in me daily simply because I am his daughter. So for now I am going to enjoy the rest of the journey and watch the future unfold with peace and hope instead of anxiety and grief.

So remember that we all make plans but God directs our steps! And you know what I think I may become a volunteer in the nursery with the sweet little babies where I can give some love and snuggles! Sure sounds like a good idea.

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Saint or Sinner?

Perhaps I have your attention already when you saw the title of this blog. Saint or sinner? Are you nervous just thinking about it? I wonder if the first thought that came to you was “Oh, yes I am a sinner for sure!” You are already concerned that if you even dare think the opposite that you have dug yourself into a deeper hole because of your arrogance. Well, let me share some good news with you. If you have acknowledged your need for a Savior, recognized that you can do nothing on your own to bridge the broken relationship between you and God, you chose to believe that Jesus was the sacrifice for your sin through His death on the Cross then you had a heart change!

Your name changed from sinner to saint! Okay, don’t have a heart attack or anything like that but the truth is your identity has changed.  The word “saint” is derived from the Greek verb (hagiazo) whose basic meaning is “to set apart,” “sanctify,” or “make holy,”. When you became a Christian your name changed. God recognizes that your spirit man is now occupied by His Holy Spirit and you are sealed until the day of redemption which is when we are forever changed when we get our resurrected bodies. When God sees us He sees the blood and sees a new creation!

In the Isaiah 1:18 the scriptures says this, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” So if in the Old Covenant an offering presented on the altar once a year can cause our sins to be covered how much more for a believer today. We truly have an everlasting covenant and a sacrifice for sin that is everlasting! “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20.

Does this now mean that you never make a wrong choice? Does this mean when you choose your way over God’s way you change from saint to sinner? Of course not! Your identity does not change because your behavior does. You are still in process. This process is called sanctification which is the daily habit of devoting your life for the pleasure of the Lord. Your heart and life belong to Jesus and your purpose is to become more and more like him until your days are complete on earth.

Your spirit is completely clean but the walking out of your salvation is your part. Your old habits, thoughts and choices are changed as you make choices in line with salvation. “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT.

It is not arrogant to say you are not a sinner. You were a sinner but now you are a child of God, a new creation! Now work out your own salvation. “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philipians 2:12-13. NLT. Now, it is your job to read your Bible, spend time in prayer, gather with other believers and make choices that are pleasing to the Lord. He loves you and He will empower you by His Spirit to walk out your salvation.

We are saved by grace not by anything we did. It was the amazing gift of God sending Jesus as the payment for our sin to redeem us and then to dwell in us as we do life here on earth as His kids. We have had a heart change and we are no longer a sinners but saints! So in complete humility let us remember that without Him we can do nothing!

 

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Is September 23, 2017 Our Doomsday?

Well, are you all ready for the planet named Nibiru to collide with the earth this Saturday? A self-proclaimed numerologist David Meade says it is so. Well, if you are so inclined to believe that our doomsday is this Saturday, September 23rd. I surely hope you are ready! Truthfully, if indeed this Saturday is truly the end of the world as we know it I would say that it is time to make a choice.  Jesus or not Jesus? Do you believe in heaven and hell? Do you realize that there is one path to heaven? One path and one path only! Buddha won’t cut it, Allah won’t be enough, your favorite Shaman is not the answer.  Jesus is the only answer. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. If heaven is where you hope to spend eternity then you have to choose to go there. You have to make a decision that you alone are not good enough to make it into heaven. You are not perfect and you need a savior. There was a great separation between God and man and Jesus gave His life so that you and I would not have to spend eternity without him. The choice is yours! I hope you will choose Jesus. I hope you choose Jesus whether Saturday is doomsday or not. He is worthy of the choice and He is the only answer to the darkness in every man’s heart.

Now concerning Saturday. If it is the last day I spend on earth I will be ready! If tomorrow is really the day before doomsday here is my plan. I have one client in the morning, then I must drive out to Collierville, Tennessee to return a cleaning product to a client that I accidentally put in my cleaning caddy, run by the tax collector’s office to make an address change and then I am done with errands. Then I suppose I will finish my chores around the house, have all my clothes washed and put away. take a quick shower because I surely don’t want to meet Jesus smelling bad. Then I think Mike and I will go out to eat dinner and have all the bad things to eat that I normally stay away from. I may have pasta, lots of carbs, and a least two desserts. Oh yeah and have a Pyro’s Pyroccino to top the night off! Hey, since it is my last day on the planet I plan on going out in style! Oh yeah I hope I can drink coffee in heaven too.

Do I have a contingency plan? Yes, I do! If I am still here on Sunday morning then I will keep doing what I have been doing for most of my days since 1970. I will rise early in the morning ready for another day loving Jesus. I will live my life worthy of being a Christian. I will do the best job I can for my clients, being a wife, mom, friend and Christian. I will live here on this earth but look toward heaven with expectation. Yes, Jesus did say He was coming back to earth one day but contrary to the false teachings of those who say they know when we will not know that day. The Bible says “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” Matthew 24:35-36.

So, you can go to sleep Friday night expecting earth’s last day is Saturday but before you do take inventory of your life. Make sure your heart belongs to Jesus. I have no doubt that when I go to sleep Friday night my destination is heaven. I hope you do to! And for all those who wake up terribly disappointed if that doomsday did not come you should be thankful that you have one more day to turn you heart towards heaven. What Jesus really wants is a love relationship with you not a fear relationship. If a threat of doomsday causes someone to consider Jesus that is great but He wants us to come because we are truly wanting a heart change and we desire to live our lives as a living testimony of God’s amazing grace.

I tell you one thing I do want to see on Sunday morning if we are still here, and I expect we will, is a news conference from David Meade saying…….oops I was wrong! It is the least he could do. Let the false prophet be exposed and all those who follow him realize when someone says they know the day and hour of earth’s final day they are WRONG! But there will be signs in the heavens and Jesus will break through the eastern sky. “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.” I Corinthians 15:52. Yes, what a glorious day His return will be! We wait in hope for our heavenly home. Come Lord Jesus come!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

 

 

We’re Not Beggars in the Presence of the King

Yesterday as I was driving to a client”s house I had my Sirius XM turned on to the Christian music station The Message. I was listening to a song when suddenly I heard the words “Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of the King.” I opened my mouth and said quite loudly “NO I’M NOT!” I certainly mean no disrespect but as a Christian I am not a beggar and neither are you. I understand that not all Christians have a revelation of what happened when Jesus said “It is finished!” A lot of churches do not teach the finished work of Christ. They still communicate our great unworthiness to approach God. However, that is contrary to scripture.

Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” He took down the dividing wall that separated us when he died on the Cross. Then when we accepted Christ as our savior our positional relationship changed. We went from being alienated from God and we became his child. We are no longer slaves but friends. “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me”. John 15:15.  A beggar is not brought into the loop of being a close friend who is told all the family business but we are as children of God. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs.” Romans 8:17.

You and I don’t crawl to the throne of God with an attitude of shame and unworthiness once we are redeemed.  We come with confidence as his children. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”. Heb. 4:16. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is one of love and trust. We don’t hang down our heads when we approach our Daddy God like a beggar would but we come to him like a child to a loving, giving daddy. Yes, the attitude of our heart is humility when we approach but we come with confidence because of what He has done for us. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Gal. 4:4-7.

I want you to understand we are not arrogant and proud because we did not do anything to deserve the gift of grace provided to us through Christ. But when we  declared our need for a savior and asked Jesus to be our Lord we changed addresses. We were slaves whose freedom was purchased by the blood of Jesus and we became his kids. There is a song by Bethel Music called No Longer Slaves. One of the verses says “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” Yes, that is what we are! We have all the benefits our Heavenly Father has given to us through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. We are loved, we are free, we have the key to the throne room and we can come with a humble heart but with a spirit of confidence knowing we are not beggars in the presence of our King!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Does Your Trust Have Borders?

There is a song by Hillsong United called Oceans. There is a chorus in the song that says “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” I have heard so many different views on the message of the words in this chorus. But what has been gnawing at me is this; I think we can be super spiritual many times when we sing this song in our corporate gatherings but for most of us our faith has borders. Many times BIG borders. We have drawn a line in the sand that says this is as far as we can go. We can trust as long as what we are trusting God for is something we see and understand.

The definition of trust is firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. We say that we trust God but when the boat starts rocking and the waves begin to appear we begin to question God’s ability to deliver. We begin to think He is not reliable because trouble has come our way and disturbed the peace we were experiencing. The odd thing about trust is it must be tested! You don’t learn how to trust when everything is running perfectly smooth. Life has a way of presenting us all with opportunity to live out what we sing about on Sunday mornings or when we are singing along with the worship song as we are driving down the road. In a moment life can take a turn and this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Is your faith without borders?

In Genesis 12 we have a story of Abram. He was minding his own business and all of a sudden God spoke, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

Wow! Life is interrupted. Absolutely no forewarning and his life is going to change. We read that Abram departed as the Lord instructed. What, no arguments? No, “Hey wait a minute things are going just fine around here, Lord and how do I know I can trust You?” He departed……no borders! I am pretty sure I would have had a conversation that would have been full of questions and concerns. But we know the story. Time and time again Abram was tested and he trusted. He had to have the test to learn to trust.

Moses had a pretty cushy life being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. He never had need of anything. Never suffered lack. Next thing you know he has to flee his country, lives in the desert as a runaway Egyptian whom would become the deliverer of his real family the Hebrews. In Hebrews 11:27 we read, “It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” He did not understand it all but he put his trust in the God he could not see.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We cannot even rehearse for an interruption in our life that may occur. We have no plan for the things of life that can happen. Will our trust have borders? Have we not yet learned through the trials we have already endured that God is trustworthy, reliable, and more than capable to take us through? If we want to walk upon the waters there can be no borders. We must allow the water to cross that line in the sand and wash it away. We must do as Peter did and when Jesus calls us to step out into unknown, untested waters that we will not drown. Has He not kept us afloat before? Will He not do it again? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He changes not!

His arms reach across the line that we create when we take that first step. When that step of faith occurs He has a grip on our hand and He proves to us each and every time that our faith in Him makes us stronger. That border around your trust may be there for many reasons but God is bigger than your reason. He can keep you in the storm of loss, grief, fear and even death. You can trust Him without borders. Take that first step and you will most assuredly find Him there!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Hate Is Like Kudzu

For those of us who live in the southern region of the United States we are quite familiar with the kudzu vine. It is everywhere!  Kudzu is called “The vine that ate the south.” How true this is. It is a prolific plant.

Kudzu was introduced into the United States in the late 1880’s. The Civilian Conservation Corp wanted to use it as a preventive measure for soil erosion during the dust bowl. So the Asian plant had its full introduction in the U. S. However, after World War 2 there was a huge boll weevil infestation and consequently a failure of the cotton crop.  This crop failure caused farmers to abandon their crops which allowed the kudzu vine to take over. It grew far faster than they could kill it. Today there are approximately 7,400,000 acres of this green vine in the south.

In recent weeks we have seen such horrible acts of violence in our nation. The fierce animosity between political parties, conservatives versus liberals, blacks against whites, left against right. It has become the north against the south and the civil war has been over 150 years!! I have not seen this type of disdain and out right hate since the mid sixties. I liken this prolific attitude of hate like the kudzu vine. Once it starts to grow it consumes everything.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” NLT . Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” ESV.  Surely, we are seeing this vindictive, self-entitled, hate spewing culture grow like the detested green vine that ate the South! Martin Luther King was correct when he said, “Hate can’t drive out hate, only love can do that!”

I do know that if a person has not reconciled in their heart their personal need for Jesus Christ they do not have the capacity to love like Jesus. However, they can choose right over wrong, being kind over being rude, and simply doing unto others what you would like them to do you. It is just simple respect and courtesy.

The division that we have seen displayed in our nation in scenario after scenario plastered on every tv screen, internet story, twitter, Facebook is shameful! It is sickening to see this side of humanity. Hate like the kudzu vine will choke out everything that is good. When left unchecked it will take over and it will take something greater to stop it. That something greater is LOVE!  Love for God and love for each other.

Since the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Harvey the nation’s focus has been diverted from tearing down statues, cancelling federally noted holidays and throwing nearly everything that offends you under the bus because you disagree with it. The pictures have been people helping people regardless of their color, politics and opinions. Who cares if they are left, right, moderate, conservative, pro Trump, pro Clinton, east coast, west coast. They are men and women reaching out to help those in need. When your drowning in the water you don’t ask about their beliefs your reach up and say “thank you!”

My heart has been so deeply touched by what I see going on in Texas and I am heartbroken as well. I don’t want to see such destruction. As always though when things subside we will most likely see the stupid side of humanity return. People acting out their hatred through their actions. If only they could see that they are the problem not the solution. We accomplish more with reason than irrational thinking and we always win when we choose love over hate.

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

 

 

 

 

God Is Faithful Even In Your Darkness

I have been reading a book called SOZO…..Save, Healed, Delivered. Sozo is a Greek word meaning to make well, to be whole in body, soul and spirit. This is what Jesus came to do for us at the Cross. But unfortunately there are far too many people to count, due to horrible events in their past, who find it very difficult to experience real victory in their everyday life. They have deep hurts they have never shared from their past that leave them bound and weighted down with shame, blame and rejection. Perhaps you are one of those people or you know someone who is.

I was one of those people many years ago. I want you to know that you do not have to stay where you are because God is able to deliver you if you are willing to ask for help. I did and I have never been the same since.

I became a Christian in 1970. Yes I was born again and snatched out of darkness into the light. However, the trauma I had experienced from age 6 to 16 had never been dealt with. I was doing discipleship classes, going to church, reading my Bible but I was dragging around a chain called a spirit of rejection that hindered me from walking in complete freedom. I felt unwanted, was always seeking approval of others, easily offended and I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. All of these things manifested in my life as a direct result of the trauma I had experienced before becoming a Christian.

As some of you may already know I had a very emotionally absent father and an abusive alcoholic mother. I was the first-born and became the responsible “adult” at age 8 when my sister was born because my mom delegated that responsibility to me. I became her part-time bar tender and the object of her rage. I was rarely commended for much, hardly remember special daughter/daddy moments and cried many nights because I felt so unloved.

But the day I gave my heart to Jesus on June 10, 1970 for the first time I knew I was loved! Yes, my spirit became brand new but my soul was all jacked up. I had bags of trash attached to my poor soul that I carried around until 1989. After being a Christian for 19 years I became more and more aware that I was not healthy emotionally. I finally got so desperate that I sought help from one of my elder’s wife. You may not believe or understand much about the types of spirits that can oppress and torment someone as a Christian but let me assure you they can and do! I am a walking example of someone who was set free from rejection because I sought help. In the den of my friend’s house we prayed and the Holy Spirit revealed how my past childhood had wounded me so desperately in my soul that rejection had me bound. She prayed, she took authority over that stinking demon of rejection and that chain snapped!! I had a real physical reaction when it broke. I almost felt sick at my stomach. It was as if something was yanked out of my soul! I even have the date marked in my Bible and these words were written…”Set free from many bondages-a new Marilyn will emerge. June 29, 1989″  This day was as important as the day my spirit was born again.

I came out of a lot of darkness. I hid what happened behind the walls of my house. I was embarrassed for people to know that my mom was an abusive drunk, that she attempted twice to kill herself, my dad was a weak, depressed man, that I was beaten until I had swollen belt marks all over my legs and that I was afraid. These things destroyed me during those ten years. My behavior before becoming a Christian was a loud cry for help. I was promiscuous but still a virgin, drinking under age, getting into trouble in school and crying out for someone to notice me. I was a messed up young girl for sure.

As I look back on those years from 1958 to 1968 I am not tormented. Even in the darkness of those years God was watching over me. He was protecting me. He was faithful. He had a great plan for me to meet Jesus! He gave me little glimpses of His love through my best friend Karen’s dad Mr. V and my ninth grade Home Economics teacher before I even knew Him. I may not have had the childhood many of my friends had but I am a testimony of the amazing grace of God. He picked this girl up out of the miry clay and set her feet upon a Rock and put a new song in her heart! I am free!

Maybe you are in your thirties, forties, fifties or sixties? It is NEVER too late to get free. There is a song called Break Every Chain that I love to hear and sing because He has broken those chains off me. He can break those chains from you too. Don’t continue on the path of bondage. Aren’t you ready for freedom? Make the decision to do something about it. Seek help, there is deliverance from every bondage. Remember John 10:10 says, “The thief comes but to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they might have life and life more abundantly.” The enemy of your soul wants you dragging those chains the rest of your life. It is time to be set free! A new you will emerge.

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

 

 

A House Divided

I am so very stunned at the current turmoil in our nation! We live in the greatest country on the planet, the United States of America. But we are not united. We are a divided country in ways I have not seen since 1960. What are we doing? We are destroying ourselves from within. What has happened to civility and common sense? I guess it has been thrown out the window with all the other decent behavior we were taught to display as civilized people.

Our nation was born out of a desire to leave tyranny and oppression behind. It was founded in hope. Even though it was founded in hope for a bright future it was founded by flawed people. Our colonies evolved into what eventually became our young country with the signing of our Declaration of Independence in 1776. Our founding fathers and signers of our Declaration of Independence were flawed human beings. They were products of their past as are we. Their heritage was from England and I dare say as much as they tried to remove themselves from the tentacles of the past it was not completely accomplished. Nonetheless they came together to form a nation unlike any ever birthed before and with that acknowledging certain rights given to them by their Creator. They believed all men were created equal and given certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Now fast forward to August 18, 2017. We are here 241 years later watching our nation destruct around us. We may be participants in its division by our own hasty judgments. It is easy to jump on the activist train. Admit it we all  want to join in the voices we most bear witness with. But is it promoting an agenda that is dangerous and divisive? I would say yes! In 1850 Sam Houston said “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.” He said this before Abraham Lincoln said it in 1858. We all have rights to our own persuasions but when we are adding fuel to the fire that rages around us perhaps we should be more tempered in our verbal participation. Most especially for those of us who have been drenched in our Redeemer’s blood! We are held to a standard that is higher. Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” NLT

All of this hate speech, violence, and animosity over our past history will not change the past. I agree that unrighteous things have been done since history began. Are we going to uproot every statue, destroy every structure, tear off every sign that is contrary to our convictions?  Are we going to rush the steps of Congress and overthrow Senators and Representatives we do not agree with? Is the next move in America a coup? Are we going to act out of the parameters of the laws of this country because we are offended? What will you do?

I do not know a lot about my heritage. My dad’s grandparents on his father’s side were from Germany. Maybe there is some embarrassing skeletons somewhere. My mother was adopted. Her birth mother supposedly was from Jonesboro. Perhaps her family had connections with southern plantation owners and that is a part of my heritage. Maybe I have mixed race heritage? I would not mind. But maybe you would look at me differently if that was the case. What if someone in my unknown family was a slave owner? Maybe I would be placed into that basket of deplorables Hillary Clinton was addressing if that was the case.

Slavery was and is wrong! Plantation owners raping young black girls was wrong! Whites saying they are superior was and is wrong! The KKK was and is wrong! We have a heart problem and it is racism and it works both ways. It is time to lay our weapons down. I may not have walked the streets during the civil rights movement but Martin Luther King’s dream is not what is happening today. He said, “I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream-one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream….Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963).

Let’s reconcile history to what is was. Leave it as history whether bad or good. We can find inequality and evil in much of what lies behind us but I believe we would be a better people and a better nation if we would look ahead to the future and how we can be an agent for peace and unity. We will accomplish so much more joining together than we ever will apart. Let freedom ring in this great nation……….one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn