New


Well, I am but a sheep that tries
To pull the truth out from the lies
To listen to my Shepherd’s voice
I have no choice (have no choice)
.
If I follow & believe, then no man can
Pluck me out of his mighty hand
If I follow & believe, then my future
Is secure (is secure)
.
Dead to this age
That chapter’s done
Let’s turn the page (to a…)
.
A New Life of sacrifice
A new mind, set upon the truth (x2)
.
bridge:
Aren’t you so – grateful
How’s he’s so – faithful
How he’s brought you – so far
(But refuses to) leave you the way you are
.
Pre-Chorus
Chorus
.
Lord I wanna live a… (2 drum beats) NEW LIFE of sacrifice
Give me a… (2 drum beats) NEW MIND, set upon your truth
Set upon your truth,
Set upon your truth,
Set upon your… (2 drum beats)
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A Bray Say… conversation about heaven

So what does God do up there all day? Sit in his chair and play video games?

-No silly. I don’t know…the Bible doesn’t say exactly. I guess he listens to prayers, heals people, speaks to us though his Holy Spirit, and pretty much controls everything…

… (we talk some more about sin, the sea of forgetfulness & God not counting our sin against us when we repent)…

Adam & Eve had it perfect. Everything was fine. Until they put clothes on.

-They put clothes on cause they were ashamed. Everything was different after that. Because of their sin, we all have the tendency to sin & feel ashamed & Satan tries to make us think wrong thoughts about ourselves.

I’ve done that before, and he even tried to make me think some stuff about myself that wasn’t true and then make me think that God was the one telling me that.

-Yeah, he does that. But don’t you believe it. God would never tell you you’re stupid, or a jerk or anything else, especially after you’ve asked him for forgiveness for something. If you hear that, know that it is always Satan.

I hate Satan.

-Me too. Ya know, before Adam & Eve believed Satan about that fruit & sinned, the world was perfect. We’ll never experience anything like that kind of perfect world again until we get to heaven.

There’s gold everywhere there. I think I’ll cut a big chunk out of a street when I get there and chuck it down to earth for the miners.

Will we all be like the same?

– I think we’ll have the same spirit, but we’ll have glorified bodies. I think we’ll be able to even walk through walls.

Coooool…

I call robbing a bank!

 

Holiness & Anger

Two words that don’t seem likely to go hand-in-hand. I’ve been thinking lately about holiness. I used to think of it more like perfection. But now I think of it more like a glass of water that is continually being poured through a filtering system to get the impurities out. It’s the result of being set apart for a divine purpose. A love & a striving for all that is holy, or of God. Remember that song by Sonic Flood? It went:

“Holiness, Holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness, Holiness is what you want from me…So, take my heart and form it. Take my mind and transform it. Take my will and conform it. To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord. ”

What a fantastic prayer.  Dictionary.com puts it this way:

Holiness

Ho”li*ness\, n. [AS. h[=a]lignes.]

1. The state or quality of being holy; perfect moral integrity or purity; freedom from sin; sanctity; innocence.

2. The state of being hallowed, or consecrated to God or to his worship; sacredness.

But QUESTION: How can anyone love or strive for holiness without hating that which is not holy? Enter, Anger. That’s why Jesus turned the tables twice in the sacred temple. Greed, abuse & manipulation were inhabiting the house of a holy God.  His Son was not about to sit quietly and let it go on.

In a country, even a world that is becoming increasingly and uncomfortably comfortable with the ideal of “embracing tolerance”, can I just suggest that Jesus was not a tolerant Man? Intolerant of sin, that is. Lemme break it down like it’s in my head – in James it reads that to him who knows something is wrong and does it anyway…and to him who knows what is right and does not do it…to him, this is sin. We are not to identify neil-anderson1ourselves as sinners (according to author & spiritual warrior, Neil Anderson who backs it up by scripture), but as saints who sin. I struggle with sin every day. Lately it’s been laziness, a judgmental spirit, idolizing other things above God…& more. I hate that my sin separates me from & angers & saddens the God I love.  But if we’re to strive for holiness, then sin, as defined above, should anger & sadden us too! It directly opposes everything we stand for as its deceit craftily drives a wedge between us and our amazing Creator.

A Heavy Burden for People we Love

I believe that God has placed a heavy burden in the heart of each one of his people. Different burdens, of course, for different people. Some may have a strong desire to reach out to women who’ve had abortions. Some are brokenhearted & feel empathetic toward pregnant teens. Some have a burden for abused or neglected children. Some want to reach out to homosexuals. Some, like me, for prisoners…

If we have been given a burden for a people, then we gotta start expressing some anger. Not toward these people, but toward the sin that has affected their lives, whether they’re engaging in it or are they are affected by someone else’s sin. Let anger come out in prayer… or why not give in financial support for a cause to fight against suffering?!

See Sin for What it is – DEATH

We can’t just sit around & let sin infiltrate our lives! We can’t just let it continue to seep through the cracks of society and affect those we love. If we love them & they are open to truth in love, let’s keep them accountable. The Bible is clear: a sinful lifestyle’s price is death, even if you once professed Jesus as Lord. And God would have no one die. He wants all of us to be in constant self-examination, in a state of humble repentance, and have eternal life.

angry

So if you’re pissed off about something you hear about or see on the evening news, don’t just sit & squirm in your overstuffed sofa. Don’t turn the channel. Listen to what bothers you and volunteer and pray for those people! God did not give you a burden for them for you to ignore it or become bitter. Not that everything that bothers you, you should have a burden for. But I’m thinkin’ we should all just ask God to reveal what it is – what certain sins or sinful lifestyles make us deeply sad – what cause will we uplift, what people will we support- and do it with a holy anger.

Ask for the courage to go out & turn some tables of your own.

shoplift a heavy burden

it was a rush. my mind would go a hundred miles an hour (to keep up with my heart) as i walked the isles of the store. it could be any store…or house. it could be any thing. lipstick, underwear, a toy for my son, a ring, a birthday gift, a grape, a coke…you get the idea. my objective was to try & find a way to get out of that store without paying for it…without a soul noticing it was gone. it was kind of a ‘lets see how far i can push the limits’ game i played. the anxiety was actually exciting while i shopped. maybe since i never really went thru a drinkin’ & druggin’ phase, this was my version of a “high” i missed out on. the pinnacle was always at checkout. i thought if i got past checkout, i’d probably be safe…beyond suspicion. sometimes i’d use coy conversation & flattery to distract the cashier. i was dang good.

rolling cameras, electronic machines, magnetic strips, return policies ~ i thought i could beat them all. for example, if i got hungry, i’d head over to the protein bar section, open one up, eat it slowly while i ‘shopped’, as to not seem paranoid & then leave the wrapper on the bottom of the cart at check out. if they asked, i’d say, ‘oh, that’s just garbage’. a thief and a liar.

sometimes i’d be at home, bored w/an overdrawn bank account & have an intense desire to shop…or should i say, attain something new. once the urge got in my brain, it was like nothin’ could stop me. i’d take little items easy to hide in my purse. if i didn’t have the money (i read shoplifting rarely has to do with the lack of money), i’d think, ‘there’s got to be somethin’ around the house i can return. then w/that cash or credit, i can buy something else.’ i’d frantically search the house for items or search my purse for a good receipt & then look for an item listed on it. in essence, i used the socially acceptable & legal right to return things, so as to justify it. i’d take back all kinds of things i’d had for up to 9 months, clothes worn & washed countless times…i’d literally break things, un-stitch a hem to make it seem defective, even hot-glue a plastic price-tag loop back onto a garment so it looked never worn.

one time i even returned a dress jacket i gave to my husband for his birthday. it had a small rip in the armpit & i made it bigger, stating it was defective. originally i paid $29. @ fred meyer…& i got credit for it, but not before several cashiers looked at it with an ‘oh my god.’ examining me & then the botched receipt (another trick i was fond of ~ i’d make the purchase date illegible w/water stains or just just rip it). they had a small debate team meeting as i stood there with a long line of people behind me. yeah, it was embarrassing. am i really writing all this? my gosh, it still is. but at the time, all that was worth a $13. gift card to me so i could get something new. to this day i can’t believe it ‘worked’. in fact, to this day, i can’t believe i was never caught.

i watched a dr. phil called, ‘can’t stop stealing’. i completely related to this woman. only she’d been arrested 4 or 5 times & was still addicted. he basically used her kids’ innocence & the threat of prison to scare & shame her into accepting the gift of cognitive therapy he offered to pay for “in her own home town”.

it was far from a message of grace & forgiveness. now that’s a real gift.

i thought getting caught just one time would break me. the sheer humiliation of being hauled off in from of my toddler while he waits for his daddy to come for him…or the thought of being handcuffed in public…it still scares me. but that’s not what helped me stop. dr. phil’s guest made me feel less alone in my addiction, but that wasn’t it either.

i read that confessing something to God with your mouth – it cleanses & saves you. confessing it to someone close you can trust is what starts the healing process. i believed that. i finally told my husband last year, then later my mom, that i had struggled with this compulsion for several years. like food addicts who have to eat to live & are therefore continually faced w/temptation to overeat as they stand in front of their fridge, i had to shop for necessities & groceries weekly. the temptation was always there.

but after confessing to God & someone who could hold me immediately accountable, my urges to “lift” started…lifting. when i’m tempted to steal (yeah, i’m still tempted), i ask myself, ‘self, why!?! do u need that? what kind of example are u setting? would it be worth getting caught? do u think you’re more special or entitled than others who actually pay? get over your…self.’ or i’ll just say a simple prayer for the strength i need; recalling that there’s One who promises to supply all my needs, when i need them. sometimes i don’t do either, & end up taking something anyway. the last thing i can remember lifting was a birthday card that played ‘who let the dogs out’ when you opened it. angel had used it as entertainment while @ wal mart, even during self-check out. that was 3 or 4 months ago.

i’ve been thinkin’ about it lately. my reasons for doin’ it & for me, it comes down to three things ~ not trusting God nearly enough, refusing to die to my selfish desires, & clutching a perverted sense of self-entitlement.

today as i type this, i am nearly free of that issue. not because i tried hard, faithfully attended a 12-step klepto program, or was caught in the act. instead, thank God grace was poured out on me.

before it got worse, i was shown in my heart how confession & reliance {on strength greater than my own} can join forces to really change a person ~ from the inside out.

does the blood of Jesus cover the blood of suicide?

thanks, dad, for your permission to write about gramma.

my gramma was so wonderful to be around. she was kind, always had a hug. she loved “the peoples’ court’ and ‘hee-haw’ and ‘mama’s family’. we used to camp with her in her pop-up at wallowa lake & roller skate on her wood floor. she nursed my first bee sting i got (in my belly button) while lounging in a hammock in her backyard. she baked us a bunny shaped coconutty cake every easter. she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind & boy, could she be blunt (i got that gene). she doted on her weiner dog, trudy (sister to ours) was devoted to the Lord & loved her husband. she lost grampa ted after over 50 years of marriage. that next year brought with it the greatest test of endurance.

emotional stress turned physical & chemicals in her brain started getting off-balance. no one knew her depression had gotten severe. no one knew about the thoughts. not the cuban refugee family she took in to her home, not her pastor, not even her two sons. they would’ve removed the guns from the home.

i was called with the request to drive to her house as “there had been an accident”. i pulled up in my white vw jetta & my mom held me & told me then…gramma was gone. i was confused. i sat on top my car hood with my knees up to my chin & rocked back & forth. there was no accident. she’d stripped her life from herself probably not b/c she wanted to die, but b/c she no longer wanted to live…and in doing so, stripped her life from everyone else who loved her. the tears just streamed as i watched her pastor & the elders haul off the carpet they’d ripped out of that tiny room. i’m just glad it was dark out. i’m even more grateful i wasn’t the one to discover her. i loved my gramma & respected her. i honor her even today. i just wish she was still with me & i could share my life & family with her, like we do w/rick’s grandmas (that seems like a selfish reason, doesn’t it). she sure loved family. there are so many great memories i can recount, that the awful details are usually overshadowed in my mind…

but for the sake of discussion, honest reflection, & hopefully peace to a reader who’s lost someone this way, let’s bring the topic out into the light.

do people who do this go to heaven? to seek some answers (cause i know i have far from all the answers), i went to the Bible, God’s Word. it says that to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord, and there are so many that display his abounding mercy…but i didn’t take much comfort in this passage: he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. ~ 1 Corintians 3:15-17.

this is the only place in the Bible where it refers to what may be suicide, although, it doesn’t even state it as such, specifically. no where else in the Word {Christians’ one & only true source of God-breathed, Holy Spirit inspired ancient text} does it state or even imply that suicide in & of itself, is a sin worthy of eternal damnation…an unpardonable sin. sheesh, even in judges 16:28-30, samson is granted by God the strength to do this. suicide, if unpardonable, would be not just mentioned as such, but woven throughout text.

i know from experience about the kind of God i serve. i don’t care if people call me biased or subjective. everyone of us is, really. God is just & merciful & kind. he is the essence & exemplification of love. he reaches to us beyond the point of our carnal death & gives us a chance to be judged, for the good, bad & ugly. not one of his kids will escape accountability. committing suicide? yeah, that too. they’ll have to answer for it to their Creator himself. sin cannot go unpunished. it was his life to make, & his to take, in his time. but for him to ‘sentence’ hell because of this would be unjust & uncharacteristic.

our lives are so valuable…often underestimated…& extremely important to God! read Psalm 139. to me, suicide can be the ultimate act of selfishness…but i think our Father looks beyond the sin at the time of death, & sees what mere man cannot: the whole person, their lifestyle, their love for him. he takes into account their suffering from mental illness or severe depression & applies the blood of his Son, Jesus to that final sin. so what if they aren’t alive to ask for it!?! his grace reaches beyond that technicality. his grace always looks at the heart.

his blood is not partial. it does not flow down our hearts full of sin avoiding a few choice acts. it cleanses all. that’s why i love to sing songs about it. the suffering & the blood of Jesus is worth squat if we humans can determine that some sins it does not cover (“how could he forgive a child molester or murderer?” “how could he forgive one who doesn’t ask for it because they’re dead now?”), & some it does cover. what if i’m saved, (i’ll use a lame example for lack of time) i’m driving & completely envying the person driving next to me. i end up rubber-neckin’ & crashing into a pole & i die? would a gracious God just look at my last sin of envy & say to me at the throne, ‘well in spite of your life of obedience & humility and your heart of love toward me & toward the least of these, you never repented of that last sin…so, since the wages of sin is death…’

absurd. that clearly goes completely against his character displayed throughout the entire Bible.

we all tend to ‘heirarchy’ the wrong we commit to help us feel better about our ‘little pet sins’, but to God, it is what it is ≈ that which separates us from him, and calls for a perfect atonement. envy, greed, suicide, homosexuality (sexual sin is different, but not worse to God. see 1 corinthians 6:18-20), disobedience, slander, drunkenness…you name it, it’s all sin. if we live this way, refusing to acknowledge/accept Christ’s atonement, it is serious business (see 1 corinthians 6:9-11).

the Word states there is o n e sin that’s unforgivable, unpardonable & results in hell: blaspheming the Holy Spirit ~ (my paraphrase: completely & permanently denying Christ, even after you know the truth in your spirit). this may seem contradictory to the scripture above naming many sins that can lead to eternal separation from God, but this one refers to a blanket statement, covering all of those listed, as examples. hell is for the unrepentant of heart that denies Christ. anyone who has guilt for their sin, confesses with humility & repents…(“such WERE some of you” oh, please don’t miss that part!)…he is immediately restored to right standing with God. my heart leaps for joy to read this again.

Christ words on this sin can be read in mark 3:22-30 & matthew 12:30-33 . dr. henry morris & author & theologian, dr. f.f. bruce shed some further light on that ‘unpardonable’ sin ~ to read their insights on the subject, click here (but come back!).

so yeah, i’m biased here. i miss her. but not so biased, i’m blind. i have faith (evidence of what i can’t see) that the saved don’t have to worry about heaven vs. hell when they die. they are free of every pain in their new bodies, enjoying the gift of eternal life. in my humble opinion, this is the bottom line: whether it was a life of a Christian taken by God in his timing, by someone else or by their own hand, that life…that blood is covered by the blood of their Savior. period.

oh…my gramma’s name?

grace.

now, as for whether or not we know if someone’s really saved before they die?! …well, that’s a topic for another day. i’m way past my wordcount on this one, but i’d loooove to read any comments on today’s.