I just finished watching one of my favorite shows. OK, don’t judge me, I like to watch Criminal Minds. Are there any other fans out there?
Anyway, this episode, Dr. Spencer Reid had to reveal some struggles he had to an unsub. For those of you who watch the show, you know the relationship he has with his mom and the back story. At the end of the show, after the bad guy was caught, Morgan (another character in the show) gave Reid a hug, and during the hug he said, “You know…” and he didn’t have to finish the sentence because Reid knew what he was saying. Reid, who does not like the close contacts of hugs, then embraced the hug and comfort of a friend. For that moment, he was able to be safely vulnerable.
I like hugs. I didn’t always. Because a person does have to place themselves in a certain vulnerable position to receive a hug. I am talking about real hugs, not the meet and greet and sideway hugs we give on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t until years ago when God started to heal my heart that I would really embrace a hug. I don’t think I am wrong in saying that Hugs are a gift from God.
According to an article written by Erica Cirino, in Healthline, there are benefits to hugs.
1. Hugs reduce stress by showing you support
2. Hugs may protect you against illness
3. Hugs may boost your heart health
4. Hugs can make you happier
5. Hugs help reduce your fears
6. Hugs may help reduce your pain
7. Hugs help you communicate with others
The article goes on to suggest that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth. Is it any wonder why God said it is not good for man to be alone?
But what do we do if we are alone and we have no one to hug?
Sometimes it seems like we must be super spiritual and have an answer for everything. As if it is a weakness to admit we are running on empty, feeling alone, and in need. Shew, I am guilty of giving the “Well, let me answer you in Bible verses,” kind of help. And while scripture does hold all the answers to every question we have, sometimes we just need a hug.
What if you don’t have the emotional energy to praise your way through it? And for whatever reason, you don’t have someone to give you a hug. Sometimes you just need a hug; not advice or opinion, just a hug.
There was a time in my life when I was going through a rough time. It was a matter of the heart and I was struggling with depression from a broken heart. I didn’t have the energy to turn on the worship music and worship my way out of it. I didn’t have the strength to praise my way out of it. Even though I knew the Word, my mouth couldn’t open to speak my way out of it. Have you ever been there?
I knew God was with me, because I believed His Word, but I felt so alone. It was during my darkest time that I experienced Psalm 34:18 up close and personal.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He delivers those whose spirits have been crushed.
At night, when I would go to bed, I would hold my Bible to my chest and hug it as I fell asleep. Don’t misunderstand me, to me it was like I was hugging Jesus. The Lord knew I was hurting. My hug spoke what my words could not.
Can I just tell you what the Lords hug feels like? It feels like peace. It feels like hope. It feels like love.
Yes, I believe hugs are a gift from God. If you have no one to give you a hug, I encourage you to open your heart and let the One who created the hug, and is the BEST HUG GIVER, to hug you with His presence through the Holy Spirit, where no words are necessary.
Believe me, His hug will comfort and heal you and the benefits are eternal.
Be Free & Stay Free
Aloneness does not have to be loneliness. A person can be alone and not be lonely. A person can be surrounded by people and be lonely.
Are you suffering loneliness?
In the heat of loneliness, you may be tempted to take matters into your own hands and make foolish choices. I speak from experience and if I can help you to avoid the mistakes I’ve made, then try this instead:
1. Step outside of yourself. Look around you, the world is filled with lonely people, serve them.
a) Visit nursing homes and/or shut-ins
b) Volunteer with soup kitchens/homeless shelters
c) Find a cause and champion it.
d) Care for the widows and orphans
2. Develop yourself. Take a class. Read books. Learn a new skill. Teach a new skill to someone else.
3. Make healthy choices. What we eat does impact how we feel. Eat healthy! Stay away from sugars and processed foods. Drink plenty of water. If you are not sure how to do this, then speak to a nutritionist, join a health group, there are plenty of resources out there to help you.
4. Set goals and then take steps to reach them.
5. Take yourself out. Do you like to dine out? Don’t be afraid to do it alone. Do you like to go to the movies? Get a ticket and popcorn and go. Don’t let the fact you are alone stop you from enjoying life.
6. Exercise! Get those endorphins flowing. It’s good for you!
7. Get outside! Fresh air and sunshine does wonders. Take a walk, ride a bike, go to a park, be around nature.
8. Watch your self-talk. Be careful what you say to yourself. What you say, you are.
9. Reach out to others. If you are a woman, call a female friend and make arrangements to get together. If you are a man, then call a male friend and make arrangements to get together. Surround yourself with uplifting people and avoid negative talk.
10. And finally, the MOST important arsenal against loneliness is your relationship with God. If you know Him and acknowledge Him, then you are never truly alone, because He is ALWAYS with you.
It is not good for us to be alone, God knows this, He created us for relationship. The most important relationship you can have is with your Heavenly Father. His Spirit will comfort you in your alone times and He is more than enough. If He can speak to Elijah in a cave, Jonah in the belly of a whale, Moses on the mountain, John in the womb, Joseph in his dreams, and Lazarus in the tomb, then don’t you think He is able to speak to you where you are? Quiet yourself and listen for His voice. Then you will know you are not alone, and loneliness is a feeling you do not have to succumb to.
For more on what to do to help in the times of aloneness click here.
Be Free & Stay Free
Do you want to know the secret to “finding” a good man who will be an honorable husband? You might be surprised to learn that finding doesn’t always begin with searching.
Ladies, a lot can be learned looking at the life of Ruth. (click here)
Ruth didn’t find Boaz because she was searching for him. She was not out looking for a husband. She was serving. She was a woman of integrity and moral character. She was caring for her widowed mother-in-law who was also her mentor. She submitted herself to the care and wisdom of Naomi, her mother-in-law.
She didn’t look for Boaz, Boaz took notice of her. It was not her beauty that first caught Boaz’s attention, although I am sure she was beautiful. Boaz was much older than Ruth, so as an honorable man, he looked at her as more of a “daughter,” than a “possible lover.” Do you hear what I am saying, ladies? He saw a young woman working in his field, minding her own business, not posing with seductive allure. She was probably a sweaty mess, because she was working in a field. Her focus was not on looking cute or getting attention; her focus was on her mission, to do what she could to help her mother-in-law, and this is what caught Boaz’s attention.
Boaz noticed her and didn’t know who she was until he asked.
I am going to pause here. Let this drive home for you. When you are a woman of integrity, with good character, AND favored by God, then you will not have to go out and “find your man.” God, Himself, will direct him to you.
Too many women, (and I will admit I have been guilty of this before, too) set their sights on a man who seems to flip the bill for what they want and then do everything to get their attention and manipulate circumstances to put them in their life. Unfortunately, the result is a lot of heartache that could have been prevented if they had just waited on God, and in the waiting worked out their own call and serve.
A woman who knows who she is and her own value. Or to be more direct…a woman who knows her identity in Christ and the value He has placed on her, will not seek a man to rescue her, because she will not need to be rescued if she is under the covering of her Father. She will know she is royalty, because her Father is the King, and she will wait and allow her Father to present her to the man who is worthy of His daughter.
When Boaz noticed her and inquired who she was, the report he received about her was good. I imagine he already heard of Ruth, because he is a relative of Naomi and when Naomi came home and brought the young woman with her, word traveled. Nothing negative could be said about Ruth, she stayed close to Naomi. She didn’t go into town and make a reputation for herself. She didn’t say, “I’m gonna go out and find me a husband to take care of us.” She wasn’t found in bars, on dating sites, posting selfies on social media with the pucker lips and cleavage advertising her availability. No, she was a woman of integrity, moral character, and good reputation.Of course, a man, such as Boaz, a Godly man, will take notice of her and want to extend covering and care for her.
A Godly man will protect a woman’s purity, integrity, and reputation. He will first acknowledge the woman as a daughter of God and will treat and respect her as such. He can see beauty, but the beauty inside of her is what he will respect and seek to preserve and cause no injury to. Of course, this does not mean he is blind to the physical beauty, but he will not be ruled by lust and self-gratification.
So, Ladies, if you want to find him, quit looking for him. Position yourself for him by preparing yourself. Because a Godly man wants a Godly woman. A man with a purpose will not waste his time with a woman who is unable to be a helpmeet to fulfill his God given purpose. Just as you were created by God and for God, so was he, and it is not his role to “fix you” or make you “whole.” No man is your savior, you have only One Savior, and His name is Jesus.
Any man who is not submitted to the Lordship of God, is NOT a safe man. If you keep looking for a man, you will find a man, but I can assure you, the man you find will be beneath the man God will bring to you. Our vision can be short sighted. Our vision can also be clouded by past experiences and unrealistic expectations. Don’t you know that God knows you and knows what your needs are, better than you? Do you not know how much your Father God wants only His best for you? If you want God’s best for you, then give Him your best. Submit yourself to Him.
In your waiting, let this be a season of preparation.
1. Draw close to God. Use this time to seek and worship Him. Let God romance your heart. He is after all the Bridegroom. Read your Bible daily, pray always, and acknowledge His presence. In so doing He will minister healing to your heart, He will steady your mind, and He will give clarity to your vision. In short, He will transform you into the image of Jesus.
2. Serve. Volunteer and help others.
3. Stay connected in the local church body. Develop Godly friendships with other women.
4. Find a mentor, an older woman in the faith, a spiritual mother.
5. Take care of your body and health. Break any unhealthy addictions. Eat healthy. Stay active.
6. Be faithful with what God has given you. Use all your gifts and talents to honor Him and bring Him glory.
You may say, “Lord, what about me?” He says, “Daughter, look to Me.”
Be Free & Stay Free
If you are being hit from every side, I want to encourage you to not give up. Hold fast, my brothers and sisters. Do not cower and retreat, but press in. Do not get sidetracked with substitutes to distract you, but cling to Jesus as if your life depends on it… because it does. And not only your life, but the life of those in your household, and those around you.
The sky and the earth (the universe, the world) will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; for it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth.
Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man. Luke 21:33-36
Be Free & Stay Free
Eddie James sings it right. We need His rain! God help us, heal our land, turn our hearts back to You. I pray that as you listen to this you will sing, too. I pray your song becomes a prayer. We need an awakening.
O’ God, forgive us.
These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Matthew 15:8
Call us to repentance, Holy Spirit. Hear our cry!
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Let it be so.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams. Acts 2:17
Open the floodgates of heaven!
I especially appreciate that we celebrate the birth of our Savior at the end of the year. No matter the struggle we may have endured during the fist eleven months, we can end the final month with the reminder that we are never alone, for Emmanuel, God is with us!
Christmas is my favorite time of year. This is the time of year when families come together, Christmas music fills the airwaves with glad tidings, homes are decorated with lights, kitchens are warm with baking, and nostalgia of Christmas past lends to the hope of Christmas present.
Every Christmas Eve I turn the lights out, save the tree lights, and I breathe in the peacefulness of the evening. The living room is illuminated with the warm glow of tree lights, twinkling and reflecting off the ornaments I have collected over the years; each one unique and carries a memory.
My favorite are the ones that were handmade by my children. The untrained eye may not recognize the preciousness of each ornament, but this mothers eye sees the love each ornament represents. The smudges of paint and excess glue are reminders of pure love, joy, and the glowing face of my children. I hold each one in my hand and I remember. It is this hodgepodge, mismatched, and sometimes misshaped, tree trimmings that I cherish the most.
In many ways we are like the hodgepodge of handcrafted ornaments. Each one of us crafted by our Fathers hand, fearfully and wonderfully made in His very image. With great care and detail He created us and He cherishes us. And like the worn ornaments on my tree, we have somewhere, along the way, lost our luster; our shine. Yet, that doesn’t make us any less precious in the eyes of the Father.
My children are grown now, but I still hang their ornaments on the tree. Some of them are really showing their age and should be retired, but I can’t bring myself to pack them away. I suppose, by holding on to them, I keep the memories alive a little while longer. And maybe, just maybe, it keeps a part of my children home with me. Of course, I understand not everyone shares my appreciation for my old handmade ornaments, so I gently place them deep into the tree, just enough so I can still see them.
I wonder how many of us sometimes feel like the old ornaments? Once shiny and new, full of sparkle, vying for the front of the tree to reflect the lights, but now shrinking back into the shadows of what used to be.
Life can do that, ya know. Ups and downs and ups and downs and ups and downs, until it feels like you are going down for the count. You hold things deep inside; every broken promise, cruel word, rejection, abuse, heartbreak, loss. The shell you wrap yourself in becomes hard and you determine to be untouchable. That is called self protection.
Or maybe you have done or said some things you are ashamed of. It started off as a little thing, a slip up here, a slide there, and then before you know it you can hardly recognize yourself anymore. Of course this is compounded by the lies you have to tell to cover your tracks. Then you start hearing the voice in your head that tells you really blew it this time. Even though you want to make it right, the more you try the deeper the hole you dig. You give up because you can’t do it yourself, you can’t make right the wrongs, you can’t clean the filth you feel, you can;t shake off the guilt and the shame, no matter how hard you try. And you are right, you can’t.
But there is good news!
The Bible tells us that long before He formed us in our mothers womb, God knew us! It’s true! Click here to read it for yourself. In the hands of our Maker, Creator, Father, we were created to shine! Our omniscient God knew we would lose our luster and drift from Him. So, He, Himself, made a way for us. This is why we celebrate Christmas!
Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel—which, when translated, means, God with us. Matthew 1:23
Do you understand what this means? It means God came down for us! Our God, our Heavenly Father, came down to us in the flesh and dwelt among us for 33 years as a man. He was born of a virgin and died on a cross. You see, we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but He came to die for us.
More Good News!
The grave could not hold Him, death was defeated!
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 5But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Beloved, our minds can not comprehend the love God has for us. For God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
I may not be able to make my ornaments look new, as much as I would like to, but even so… I will continue to display them on my tree with love.
But YOU, Beloved, you are a new creation! In the Fathers hands you are made to sparkle! Let your light shine, because your light is HIM! And know that when He looks upon you, He smiles, His heartbeat is you and NOTHING can change that!
This Christmas let your gift be you, all of you. Take time to thank Him for the greatest gift of all, His Son, Jesus!
Be Free & Stay Free
Yes, we are living in troubled days. Everywhere we look we see evidence of fallen man. Jesus said that Satan is the god of this world, and we see his fruit everywhere; hate, fear, and death.
How do we keep from getting sucked in to the pit with the rest of the world?
How do we keep our hope in the face of hopelessness?
How do we love when we are hated?
The quick and easy answer would be to pray. And yes, we should pray, but what about when we are so heavy laden, hurt, angry, sad, alone, abused, empty, afraid, blue, and if I can be honest… how about when we are just tired of hearing our own voice and see no change around us? What then?
The world is spinning fast, time is but a vapor, and time is short, and nothing is within our control. We can not control another person or what is going on around us. BUT! There is one thing we can control… ourselves. We can take control of our thoughts and our responses. Then instead of being reactive, we can be proactive.
So, again, how do we do that?
We shift our focus!
A broken hallelujah will be made whole. In your brokenness, offer a hallelujah and He will answer.
“Hallel” means to boast or to brag on, to make a show, even to the point of looking ridiculous.
“Jah” is the short form of the name for God.
What do we tell our children to do when there is a fire? Stop! Drop! And Roll!
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to [the abundance of] His greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flute.
Praise Him with resounding cymbals;
Praise Him with loud cymbals.
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
So I encourage you… No! I challenge you! Shut the world out, turn the news off, lay down the paper, hang the phone up, shut down the computer, and Stop! Drop to your knees, lift your arms, open your mouth, and let the praises roll!
You can’t change the world, but God can. You may not be able to change your circumstance, but God can. You may be waist deep in what the world calls despair, but He promises if you focus on Him, praise Him for His goodness, trust Him, give it ALL to Him, when you rise you will rise refreshed and strengthened.
He is still God, He is still on His throne, He has not left you and He never will. Don’t let the world steal your peace. Shift your focus.
Be Free & Stay Free
This post is to those who follow Christ; those who are called by His Name, and for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.
Do NOT get side tracked by the pettines that is distracting you. There is very real battle going on and many are falling away; chasing their own tails because the enemy has come in, undetected, and are causing warriors to engage in trivial arguments over offenses to distract from the source of the problem. Men and women of God who were once on fire and bold, are now hiding behind their doors and have allowed their voice to be silent; they have forgotten their first love.
Are we more concerned and focused on the mud on the carpet instead of the thief who has tracked the mud through our house? While we run around cleaning up his mess, sweeping it under the rug, he has moved on to kill, steal, and destroy. Like ostriches, we hide our heads, convincing ourselves if we do not see him then he is not there. We pull our feet under the blankets so the monster under the bed will not grab them, instead of just turning on the light.
Do NOT be a slacker, with slothful ease, when it is time to pick up our weapons. We MUST hold the arms of our President up. We MUST intercede for our nation. We MUST go to bat for souls. We MUST stand and we MUST resist! It is time to choose a side, come out of hiding, and be brave!
But I have this [charge] against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and she teaches and misleads My bond-servants so that they commit [acts of sexual] immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent [to change her inner self and her sinful way of thinking], but she has no desire to repent of her immorality and refuses to do so. Listen carefully, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her [I will bring] into great anguish, unless they repent of her deeds.” -Revelation 2:20-22
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14
So when Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked down from the [upper] window. As Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, “Is it well, Zimri, your master’s murderer?” Then Jehu raised his face toward the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” And two or three officials looked down at him.
And he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her underfoot. When he came in, he ate and drank, and said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” They went to bury her, but they found nothing left of her except the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. So they returned and told Jehu. Then he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke through His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel. The corpse of Jezebel will be like dung on the surface of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, “This is Jezebel.”’” 2 Kings 9:30-37
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!
Jesus is coming quickly and His reward is with Him! Are you ready?
Don’t be fooled! This is not just “politics,” this is an attack against Christianity, against the people of God. This is demonic! Look around you! Jesus told us what to look for as a sign of His return and a person has to be blind to not see the signs!
He who testifies and affirms these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. -Revelation 22:20
Be Free & Stay Free
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
You love evil more than good,
And falsehood more than speaking what is right. Selah.
You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
But God will break you down forever;
He will take you away and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.
The righteous will see it and fear, And will [scoffingly] laugh, saying,
“Look, [this is] the man who would not make God his strength [his stronghold and fortress], But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
Taking refuge in his wealth.”
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust [confidently] in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
I will thank You forever, because You have done it, [You have rescued me and kept me safe].
I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.
Be Free & Stay Free
I read an article in CBN News and I have to share it with you, as a warning, and for encouragement to finish the race that is laid out before us.
“A United Methodist Church pastor has caused controversy after stating that Christians can support the marital union of homosexuals without betraying the word of God.”
All of the alarm bells are going off! Wake up, wake up, wake up!
Choose this day who you will serve (Joshua 25:15). You can not, as Christians, support something that is clearly against Gods Word without betraying the Word of God. It is NOT possible!
“Hamilton believes United Methodist churches must come together now and rediscover the faith that unites them. He does, however, believe that individual church parishes should be allowed to determine where they stand on this most sensitive theological issue. So, he helped set up the group “Uniting Methodists” to encourage local churches to claim autonomy over these pastoral matters.” Let us not fool ourselves, as Hamilton is greatly deceived, the autonomy he seeks is a separation from Truth.
Bottom line… you are for God or you are not. There is no middle ground and no compromise. All or Nothing, Hot or Cold, Life or Death, For or Against…
We are to be a light in the world; not bring the world into the church. It is love to speak truth and it is love to care for souls; even to the point of death. The world is lost, they are dying and facing eternal death, and we will be held accountable if we withhold truth.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith that is the sum of Christian belief that was given verbally to believers]. For certain people have crept in unnoticed [just as if they were sneaking in by a side door]. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)
Jesus said, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error] For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many.” And He also said, “At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold.” See Matthew 24)
And the Lord said, “The outcry [of the sin] of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see whether they have acted [as vilely and wickedly] as the outcry which has come to Me [indicates]; and if not, I will know.” (See Genesis 18)
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city [since it rejected the Messiah’s messenger]. (Matthew 10:15)
Stay alert! Stay awake! Do not be deceived!
Be Free & Stay Free