Unconditional love?

Let me remind you of one unconditional truth, the way you see yourself is in no way an accurate picture of what Christ has done for you.

Sometimes I think that we feel we need permission to love (or even like) ourselves.

We need to get to the place where we love ourselves simply because God loves us.
First however, we have to take what the Bible says and figure out how in the world to apply it in our lives.

We live on self-rejection. One time I was asked if I was happy with the person God made me to be. I answered of course I am, well except for (fill in the blank) , ok maybe I think he could have improved the design a bit.
Instead of delighting in how He created us, we call ourselves ugly, clumsy, fat, dumb and worthless. We beat ourselves up emotionally because we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves. Or should I say that we have let others set for us.
Is it to much to ask to love what I see in the mirror instead of throwing the mirror in the closet where it can never haunt me again? I want to look in the mirror and see what God sees.. That means I have to start seeing myself as I really am, right at this moment. Not after I have finally lost those excess pounds, or fixed my chin, teeth or boobs and am wearing skinny jeans.

When I can look at myself and see the real me and love the real me, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I can base my self worth on my identity in Christ and not on my accomplishments, looks or the job I hold. When I can realize that God loves me for who I am not in spite of who I am. That is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I realize that I do no need to be loved and approved of by virtually every person in my life, only God needs to approve, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.

God offers us unconditional love, through His grace we are saved. However, grace sometimes does not come easily to us simply because of how we have conditioned ourselves to think. We have to start giving ourselves some slack and start believing what God tells us.

Look at Romans 8: 37-39 take a look and breathe in the truth of what can separate us from God’s love. .
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Take a minute and let this verse cloak you in the security of God’s love.

Dottie

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Trials, tribulation, affliction, oppression?

I think one of the hardest things to accept as a Christian is that we are not promised a free ride, there will be trouble, trials and hard times.

When one first hears the good news of the gospel it is very easy to think that hard times are over and the sailing will be easy from here on out.

In fact, the Bible is filled with scripture that tell us we will suffer “a little while”, we will go through trials and tests. It is a given and we can count on it. There will be tribulation, temptation, trouble, affliction and oppression. Rest assured, as a Christina, you will have your crosses to bear.

Now that I have overcast your day with rain and worry, let me apply the sunshine.
Although God will test us, and Satan will tempt us with all kinds of evil, God gives us what we need to resist. Remember that evil desires come from within us, not from God. God supplies the resources we need to send Satan and his temptations running. God supplies the resources we need to stand firm in hard times.

The answers to the trials are found scattered throughout the Bible. Listen to this! Debut 31:8- The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you’ He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid. That brings goosebumps to my body and tears to my eyes. There is no where else you will find a promise like this from someone who has the power God does to back it up. Count on it.

Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep you away. Hallelujah and praise you Father. Promises are one thing and are a dime a dozen in the world we live in. Promises we can count on and live for, that is why we follow our Father.

Joshua 1:9- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you………..where ever you go.

I cannot add a single word to this. It is promised, it is a given. It is available in one place only. Look to God your Father for promises that will not be broken.

Dottie
………………..and so I ride

They Are Watching

Their eyes are on us. They are watching our every move.

There are two groups I can think of. One is those who are not believers and watching our every move so when we fail they can point fingers and use it against God and us. There are also those around us who are hungry for and need God. These people are watching how we act and often imitate what we do because they see us as “good Christians” and want what we have.

My question is what about when we have a bad day, what about when every single thing that can go wrong, does? Not every day here on this earth is paradise; in fact most days are not.

No pressure.

Sometimes (more often than not) my behavior reminds me of what Paul said in Romans. I don’t understand what I do and the things I know I should not be doing…………..I do anyway. There are times that the more I try to be good, the harder it seems and the less it happens.

The thing is living in the world we do, we are going to have tough times. As Christians we have to live by a different standard and very definitely a higher standard.

Without a doubt, it is hard.

When we meet a new acquaintance and they want to know where to go in our town and what to do, how do we answer? We tell them about the best restaurants, the stores that have the most fashionable clothes and good prices, the best fishing hole, an awesome shooting range, the coffee shop with the out of this world coffee, good contractors, dentists, doctors etc.  How often do we mention the church options and invite them to ours, the meaningful new bible study you attend, a family of Christian people who enjoy the same hobby (motorcyclists in my case J)

When we (Christians or not) find ourselves in a position where we vehemently disagree with our neighbors, coworkers, churchgoers, the person next to us in the checkout line, we become warriors of the most brazen sort. Maybe we should become warriors of the prayer sort.

When someone we do not like falls upon hard times, we think to ourselves, well, well, look who finally got what they deserve. Before getting too righteous we should be remembering that we got something precious we did not deserve, do our foes not deserve the same from us?

When we sense the Holy Spirit nudging us to call a friend, take a meal, send a card, share a prayer or stop the person walking by and give them a hug, but we don’t because time is short. You may have just missed the only chance that person has today for comfort and support. You certainly have missed a chance to show that Jesus Christ lives in you.

When we do what is right but not necessarily easy, others notice, a seed is planted and respect grows. When we do what is right maybe a heart is softened just enough to start seeking that which they see in us. When we do what is right God’s Kingdom grows and angels rejoice.

Dottie

……………….and so I ride

 

 

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…………..and so I ride

I ride a motorcycle. My husband rides a motorcycle. I have noticed there is a huge difference in how we approach riding. I cannot speak to the male version of riding for I have never been a man on a bike, but I can speak to my more feminine version of riding a motorcycle.

I ride because:

  • In a world where women are often taken for granted or underestimated, it reminds me I can indeed do whatever I set my mind to.
  • I am more than the sum of my parts, I am beautiful, strong, independent, rebellious, incredibly unique and more than a little adventurous, and I ride a motorcycle.
  • Where society says I can’t, I know I can
  • We all deserve to be given the chance to inspire, to ride is to inspire other women to be the best selves they can be, whatever that may be. It may not involve a motorcycle at all, but riding provides the inspiration to go for more than the ordinary.

As I ride I listen to what is being said, the melody of the motor quiets all that is out of order. To ride is to relax my mind of the stresses that bind and to breathe in the beauty of the connection between the road and the soul.

When I take the time to discover and define what the road and my bike are telling me, I find it is God talking, not nature and not mechanics. He is whispering beauty and truth in every direction. He is wrapping me in the warmth and comfort of a road well-traveled, a road with a destination not found on earth. The only road I need to travel in fact.

It is called meditation on wheels.

It is called finding God in the surroundings He created.

What riding does for me does not end there however. God has allowed me to ride so that I can spread the gospel to those who are the same unique and unconventional individuals that I am. I have the privilege of sharing my hope with those who I probably would not cross paths with in any other way.

It is conventional evangelism in an unconventional way.

For me, riding is more than entertainment, more than stress relief and more than wind in my hair or pure joy and fun. Riding is a way to introduce Christ to those who are hurting and uncomfortable and are hiding from the light because they might not feel worthy. It is sharing Christ with those who might not be comfortable in a traditional church setting but they are comfortable with the freedom and solitude their motorcycle affords them. They are comfortable when they find a kindred spirit.

In the truest sense of the words, riding offers freedom, the kind of freedom that only Jesus can provide.

My ride is defined and exemplified by my desire to go where I am needed, not necessarily where I am comfortable.

I ride for freedom in the truest form of the word.

Dottie

……………………..and so I ride

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Going Home

DadHe is there in times of trouble and times of turmoil. There is lots of scripture to reinforce the fact that this indeed is true. In Deuteronomy it tells us that God Himself goes before us and will fight for us. Psalms showers us with an abundance of the comfort that God offers us. He is our stronghold, our light, and our salvation. He is our confidence and our unfailing love.
Well, I think that I got special training in pursuing the truth of these statements. It is a special kind of agony to watch a loved one wither and leave this earth. To need them here but to want them to go is a pain I wish on no one.
When the hospice nurses tell you to tell them that it is ok to go rest now, that they have your permission to leave and find the light, if you were like me, your first thought was………..no.
Then on second thought I found that an answer of “no” was more for my benefit and not for my Dad. Telling him it was ok to go meant that I had to come to grips with the enormity of what I was losing. But wait a minute, wait just one dog gone minute. Isn’t that discounting totally the enormity of what Dad was gaining?
My Dad is being taken home very, very soon, much to quickly for me. It is easy to get stuck in the sorrow and pain of living without him. I can’t stay in the sorrowful place, I am concentrating on the wrong thing. I can rest assured and celebrate the fact that he is indeed being taken home. The legacy he leaves us is priceless but the prize he is about to gain is irreplaceable, incomparable and precious.
So yes, I whispered those words in my Dad’s ear…………….”it’s ok to go rest now Dad. God is here with us and always will be, He will take care of us. Now you go rest my dear Father, God is waiting for you.”
Dottie

When life gets tough.

I know that it is popular to say that if God brings us to it He will bring us through it, that God will use bad situations for our good and He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. But what about the times you find yourself in a situation that no matter how deep you dig you cannot see the good, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and you feel your strength slipping away under the load? What do we do then?
This morning I am holding onto this verse. 1Peter 1:6-7
6 So be truly glad. [a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
I will go forth with my eyes on Jesus and Jesus only and I will pray.
Father, deliver me from the power of darkness and show me how to shield myself with the armor of your strength. Help me to walk with you daily and to turn my eyes away from those things that are a hindrance to my walk with you.
Deliver me Father from the unhealthy holds that are present in my life, help me to see you as the most important thing in my life. Help me to seek your holy ground.
Create in me a hunger and a thirst for you that is unquenchable; fill me with your knowledge and wisdom. Show me the way I should go and help me to be a doer of your word and not just a hearer of your word.
Create a space in my heart for you and give me an escape for every temptation. Bring me to the calling you have pre-destined me for Father.
Take my heart and heal it, heal my pain and give me vision to see the situation clearly. Show me how to pray, show me how to love, please Lord, just show me how to survive difficult times.
Give me the strength to hand over to you my problems and to leave them in your hands. Heal the hurt within me. Create in me the need to seek you first, nourish my mind and my soul for an intimate relationship with you first.
Help me Father to quit worrying about those things which I have handed over to you. Help me to forget those things that make me crazy, that hinder my walk with you and help me to let you do your job.
I want to walk with you not only daily, but hourly and even minute by minute. I want to share everything with you, the good, the bad and everything in between.
Help me to recognize the lies Satan loves to feed me and help me to hear your voice strong and clear in those times.
God I know that you can do exceedingly and abundantly above all I can think, imagine or ask. I know and believe that you are greater than anything I am facing, you are greater than the pain I am feeling and I truly can do all things with you by my side strengthening me.
When others are throwing hatred and lies at me, things that have no other intent but to hurt me, help me to remember that you alone have the strength I need to stand strong.
Help me to see that emotions lie, it doesn’t matter what I am feeling, you alone are truth. My God, you truly are an awesome God, you are an all-weather God. Thank you for helping me hold on.
Dottie