Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Adventure with Me

John 14:20 - In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Acts 17:26-28 - And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'..." 

II Corinthians 12:9-10 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Colossians 2:6-7 - Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 

Dear God, thank. You for all the surprises You bring me each day. Help me keep my eyes and ears open to the great adventure with You. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Search for Me

Deuteronomy 4:29 - But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Psalm 145:20 - The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Dear God, help me to always seek You no matter what day or time it is and no matter what I am going through. I seek You now. Thank You for allowing me to find You and find true love and peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Have You Heard?

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Isaiah 40:28-31 - Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

Isaiah 40:28 - Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

James 4:13-15 - Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Dear God, thank You for the weak expenses and struggles that You have allowed me to have. While others may think it is a bad thing, I do not. I am grateful just to have the opportunity to live another day. Thank You for using my weaknesses to make me stronger. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The God Who Forgives

Genesis 16:7-14 - The angel of the Lord found her by a spring do water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of the Lord also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." SOS he called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. (Ishmael = God hears; Beer-lahai-roi = the well of the Living One who sees me)

Psalm 139:7-10 - Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139:7-10 (ICB) - Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you?...If I rise with the sun in the east, and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me. With your right hand you would hold me.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice you over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Dear God, thank You for always being there and for never leaving my side. Thank You for forgiveness and love so perfect. Thank You for healing and mercy when it is most needed and for comfort and rest when I am so sick. Right now, I am battling a viral infection that apparently so many others are also battling that messes with the sinuses and the eyes. I am now on medicine for my eyes and still taking medicine to break the fever. Please bring healing. The eye doctor said it is a 10-21 day virus and I am opnwo about halfway through it. Please do not let it get worse and please help my eyes to heal with no complications. Thank You, God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Before You Work

Proverbs 16:3 - Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Proverbs 16:3 (ICB) - Depend on the Lord in whatever you do. Then your plans will succeed.

Luke 12:22-26 - And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?..."

Ephesians 6:12 - For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.

Dear God, help me learn to wait before working so I can learn more how to trust You and Your guidance for each and every day. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Light of the Son

Psalm 4:6-8 - There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when there gain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Revelation 21:23 - And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Dear God, how glorious Your light must be! I long for more of it each day. And I can hardly wait to see it in full glory someday in Heaven. Wash over me with Your light every day so I can share it with others. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Autopilot

Psalm 63:5-8 - My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Dear God, help me not go into autopilot. Though some days I may be inclined to do so more than others, particularly when my energy is drained fighting an infection. Help me always be alert enough to not let the devil slip into the pilot's seat. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Messy Days

Psalm 105:4 - Seek The Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 16:33 - "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Dear God, lift me up above the mess of life. Life is beyond messy sometimes! It can be downright revolting. But help me stress less about the mess. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Temple of God

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you."

Psalm 25:14-15 - The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

I Corinthians 3:16 - Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

I Corinthians 3:16 - Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

Dear God, thank You for giving me a means to come to You directly as opposed to having to travel to some far off temple and go through the priests to mediate for me on my behalf to You. Thank You for sending Your Son and giving me Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Open Book

Psalm 139:1-4 - O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

Psalm 139:4 (ICB) - Lord, even before I say a word, you already know what I am going to say.

II Corinthians 5:21 - For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Dear God, thank You for loving me in spite of despite of everything. You do know me like an open book. And I try to always be an open book with others because I do not feel like I should have to hide anything from anyone at any point ever. When people ask me to keep secrets, I clam up because it is so hard to keep those kind of secrets! I prefer being open and honest than being secretive and closed. Thank You, God, for knowing everything about me because sometimes I do not even know myself. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Give Your Loved Ones to Me

Genesis 22:9-12 - When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." 

Genesis 22:12 - Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withhold from me your son, your only son.

Exodus 33:14 - And he said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Dear God, help to trust You with my loved ones and to not idolize them. Help me to entrust them to Your love, protection, mercy, grace, and comfort just as I entrust myself to Your love, protection, mercy, grace, and comfort. Help me learn to balance my love for them with my love for You above all things. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Shout It Out Loud

Isaiah 12:2 - "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation." 

Romans 8:1-2 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of son and death. 

James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Dear God, help me resist that mean old devil who is one of the biggest bullies out there. Give me the strength I need to resist him. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

I've Got Plans for You

I Kings 8:22-24 - Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day."

I Kings 8:23 (NLT) - O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Dear God, You are telling me today that it is okay to be different and that it doesn't matter what other people think. That You sometimes plan for me to stand out from the crowd. I know thos to be true, but apparently this is where that church went wrong. Ginny learned who You designed me to be and encouraged me to find my way in life, YOUR way for me. But she was heartbroken because of how Mikki and Mark treated me. Mikki tried to change me. Not just behaviors or quirks that she didn't like, but who YOU created me to be. And Mark decided to prohibit me from being able to be involved as a member when he realied that I could NOT be changed because I was following the path YOU created for my life. Shame on them. And the thing is Tom refused to understand things until I left to allow time for me to explore things. But now, God, let's explore the fruit of the Spirit again here. Because the other thing I read today is that sometimes You call me to do something that I will not feel ready for but that Your power will make me good enough and brave enough to do. First, let me apply them to Tom and what he did when the conflict arose and he lied and destroyed the friendship instead of seeking reconciliation as You say we are to always do. Did he show love? No. Did he show joy? No. Peace? No. Patience? No. Kindness? No. Goodness? No. Faithfulness? No. Gentleness? No. Self-control? No. Did I? I tried, but even I may have slipped and failed. But because You do call me to more, I will be the one that takes the initiative to reach out to Tom and personally offer him another chance to come into reconciliation. And I will do it as person to person. If, and only if, we can work things out between the two of us, then, and only then, will I reconsider reconciling with his church. But, I will have to be honest. Based on all of my lessons this year, that church may just have to be history. It is too corrupted. It refuses to embrace special needs even though that comprises the majority of the work that Jesus did on earth. And maybe it is not even the whole of it or the whole of its leadership, but the ones who are corrupt and refuse are the ones who are the most vocal there somehow. And that is wrong for them. Corruption occurs when they stifle honest voices. Corruption occurs when the truth is brought to light and they do everything they can to snuff it out. Corruption occurs when a pastor is given TOO MUCH POWER. And sadly, I was NOT the ONLY one who has been hurt by that church because of that corruption. I have met others who crashed and burned because of them, more specifically, because of the pastor there. Oh, God, examine that church and that pastor. And examine my heart as well as I begin to take the first steps toward reconciliation with Tom. Open his heart to the process. And should he desire a third party, open the door for his wife or a mutual friend to participate in the process. Safe territory being his home. Neutral territory being any place that is not the church. God, one last request, now that the AC has been fixed, please do not let me get sick and please keep those without air conditioning cool. It is going to be a HOT one this week in the Deep South! Thank You, God, for the lessons You are teaching me every day. Keep my heart open to them, no matter how hard they might be at times. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The One Who Heals

Psalm 103:1-5 - Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

II Corinthians 12:7-10 - So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

James 4:1-3 - What causes quarrels and what causes fights among You? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Dear God, thank You for giving me autism. Or letting me have autism. Whichever. To those who tried to change me after learning about it, shame on them. To those who rejected me after learning about it, shame on them. As You Yourself say, You will not remove everything that causes hurt, but You will supply us with what we need to deal with the hurts. So I will simply say, thank You. Because autism does not hurt me, it is not something that needs to be taken away. It may cause some grief along the way with those who are too stubborn to see the strength that it presents along with the weaknesses, but thank You for letting me have it. Your grace truly is sufficient for me, and I truly am strong even in my weaknesses. Tom, if you see this, KNOW that. Trust that. Believe that. Because I can forgive you if you ask. And I am still willing to work through reconciliation with you. Thank You, God, for grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

I Am Calling You

Psalm 21:6 - For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

Psalm 37:7 - Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 131:2 - But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Dear God, please let the fountain of joy that You have for me overflow even in the midst of adversities. I am struggling to find joy in the heat with a broken air conditioner. Everything is going so wrong as a result. Fill me again with comfort, peace, and joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Expect the Impossible

Psalm 91:1 - He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1 - He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Revelation 19:1-2 - After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

Dear God, right now I am living on one of the troubles of this world, first world that is. Broken air conditioner. Medical emergencies that arise from the struggle with the heat. This is the worst week for it to be broken. The forecast is HOT. Even the cat is melting. I am definitely not going to forget that I need You right now. This is a struggle between patience and having a meltdown. I am hot and frustrated. My cat is hot and miserable. The dog is used to it but at least she has a house outside and water close and shade where it can be cooler. But the inside is about as hot as the outside now and that is just not right. I need to complete a painting that I have not even been able to start yet because of the sweat. And as it turns out I do have some functioning sweat glands. Thank You for that discovery, God. But God, today, we need help with this situation. Please bring comfort, and soon. My lungs will be grateful. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

One Word

Isaiah 43:1 - But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."

Philippians 2:8-11 - And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11 - At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under there, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Dear God, thank You for Your son and that You are in control. Thank You for only being one word away. I call on You now–Jesus. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Focusing Your Thoughts

Psalm 27:4 - And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 - ...but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (NLT) - Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Dear God, help me to find the excellent and good things You bless me with so I can focus on them rather than on the bad things. Thank You for retraining my the focus of my thoughts. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

The Position of Your Heart

Psalm 32:6 - Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.

Psalm 55:17 - Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 55:17 (NLT) - Morning, noon, and night I cry put in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.

Psalm 62:8 - Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Dear God, thank You for listening no matter when and how I approach You. That is more than I can say for some people. And when I come to You, You are not distracted from me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dear Robin Williams and Zelda, an open letter to them

Dear Robin Williams,

Thank you for all the joy and laughter you brought to so many of us over the years. In spite of and despite of the personal battle you were fighting all that time, you delighted countless fans all over the world. As an alien in "Mork & Mindy," Genie in "Aladdin," a nanny in "Mrs. Doubtfire," a doctor in "Patch Adams," a dad in "RV," a boy who grew too fast in "Jack," a nutty professor in "Flubber," a great teacher in "Dead's Poet Society," and many other roles I may not even know or have never seen. 

Mr. Williams, I am sorry that society failed you miserably. If only there were no stigmas. If only more churches were proactively ministering to and with families like yours and mine and many others who struggle with mental health issues and other special needs instead of demonizing them and insisting that if only we prayed more, repented more, or just had a little more faith than we do. 

Mr. Williams, you will be sorely missed. And I do hope that you are now in a place of oeace and comfort now. You were not a coward and you were not selfish.

Zelda, I never knew you and never really saw you until the media circus, but if you see this, I want you and your brothers and all of your dad's loves to know that you are loved and that we are glad that you chose to share your dad with us on some level. We did not know him the way you did. We only knew what he chose to share with us. And what I saw was a kind man who cared about everyone and everything. I mean, a man who goes out of his way to meet a gorilla who can only use sign language to communicate, rescue dogs, and even raise money for children who battle with cancer must be kind, right? Your father will always be remembered for the joy and the tears he brought to us on the small and the large screens. And he will be sorely missed. I am sorry that there are people out there who ended up bullying you. Stand strong though! Know that God loves you and will comfort you during this time of grief and mourning.

Love in Christ,

Susan

Rock-Solid

Psalm 48:12-14 - Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.

Psalm 102:25-27 - Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

Psalm 102:25-27 (NLT) - Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing....But you are always the same; you will live forever.

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Revelation 1:8 - "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Dear God, thank You for never changing even in the midst of turmoil in the world. I find it amazing that people are still claiming that Christians who commit suicide will not go to heaven. Well, while I find it appalling that a Christian would fall so deep into depression that would push them to that point, I fully understand. And for someone to say that shows that their theology is false and weak. Because the ONE thing that is sure is that YOU are ALWAYS honest. When You say of a person has Jesus in his or her heart, then he or she is guaranteed entrance into heaven, YOU mean it. I still hope and pray that Robin Williams was a Christian. But I do not know. And I might not ever know until it is my turn to enter heaven. Because I simply do not know what was in his heart. I do know that he was very brave to use his talents to bring joy and laughter, and tears and humanity into the world despite of and in spite of his own personal battle. And to help with the grieving process for his family and friends and fans all over the world, it is best at this point to leave people with the knowledge and understanding that he is now no now longer struggling if he was a true believer and had Christ in his heart. And that we can take to the bank. Because as the title of today's devotion states, YOU ARE ROCK-SOLID. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hey God, It's Me, Susan. A theological look at Robin Williams' Death.

So many questions. Questions galore. Was Robin Williams a Christian? Did he have sincere faith in You, God? I hope so. But I am now angry. People on Facebook keep claiming Christians will not go to heaven if they sin before they die. Well, keep on believing that I guess because I am tired of arguing. If Robin Williams was a Christian, I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is now resting with You, God in a state of eternal peace and comfort. If he wasn't, well, I am not going to venture into that because it is my job as a Christian to HOPE that he was. I did do some research this morning though. I looked up whether suicide was unforgivable. The article I found said it wasn't. Matter of fact, it even said that if a man sins and dies of a heart attack but didn't have a chance to say he was sorry, he will still go to heaven as long he was a Christian. That man that said otherwise, is wrong. His theology is wrong. And for the sake of his theology, I hope he doesn't end up in an argument with his wife before he dies or based on his theology, he will be going to hell. I am going to choose to believe the best. God, we are not able to see a another's heart. And we should never put ourselves into the position of condemning someone to hell unless they are absolutely not following Your Word. NEVER. No one knows for sure what the unforgivable sin is, but if we have to ask what it is, then not one of us has come close to committing it. The fact that we even ask what it is means that we are thinking and we are being diligent to not commit it, though from what I learned, a true Christian can never commit it because the Spirit will restrain us from doing so. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Robin and all the costars who consider him a friend. My heart goes out to Zelda who was cyberbullied in the aftermath. She does not deserve that. My heart goes out to Jeff Bridges who plays in The Giver and got so choked up when he asked his thoughts about the news of the death. My heart goes out to Koko who although she is a gorilla feels loss over him as well. My heart goes out to the kids battling cancer that he touched. My heart goes out to the entire world, including me, who have all been impacted by him. God, I miss Genie. And if he is in heaven with You, make sure You give him a giant hug from all of us on earth who have been made a little happier because of his talents. Thank You, God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Enjoy Life!

Matthew 1:23 - "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).

John 10:10-11 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. 

Dear God, it is so hard sometimes to look up and see the rainbows in life. Right now, it is extremely hard in light of the loss of Robin Williams. As I read the title of today's devotion, I said I wish that he had been able to enjoy life more. But he had something wrong with him chemically. And it makes me sad. He lost his battle. He no longer had the strength to finish. But I rest in confidence in the fact that You are omnipotent and sovereign. You predetermined or predestined Robin Williams to return home when he did. The only thing I can pray is that he was a believer and is now resting with You in heaven. His story has brought out the worst on many people though. Just this morning, I read that his daughter left social media because of bullying due to the loss of her dad. It makes no sense. Why attack the family? Did they really have to release the gory details of how he did it? And I also see a lot of "Christians" who are being really judgmental and ignorant about what happened. Some of them are saying that depression is a demon that can be prayed away, that he should have just prayed and repented and he would have been fine, that he committed the unforgivable sin, that he must in hell because he was selfish and took his own life. From what I have learned and from what You have been teaching, those are untruths. Depression is not a demon. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain or a situational upset to the nervous system. Many people struggle with it at some point in their lives. The veteran who now has PTSD. The autistic who is smart and understands that he or she is different, longs to fit in, but still gets rejected no matter how hard he or she tries. The mom after giving birth because her body was literally one with her baby. Depression does not discriminate. Not one of is truly know what was in his heart. While I hope he was a believer, I do not know. But You do. Depression was his special need. Special needs cannot be prayed away. Churches and Christians who believe that are doing more harm than good. And they need to repent. Jesus came to heal the sick and to save the  lost. And You created ALL of us and love us. The unforgivable sin? Do any of us know what that is beyond some kind of blasphemy against the Spirit? No. But I do know it is not suicide. Robin Williams did not commit the unforgivable sin. He did not take the coward's way out or the easy way out. He put on a facade of bravery hiding his own personal battle from the world while bringing it joy and laughter along with the tears and humanity. Some people said he was selfish to take his life. My mom said he may have felt like he was a burden, and did the most unselfish thing possible to release his family from having to worry about him so much. We feel loss. Nowhere near as much as his family and friends. And my heart goes out to them. He was a kind man and so gracious to so many whom he touched and met. Even Koko the gorilla! God, we have a hole in our lives right now, but I hope You are now embracing one of the most influential and inspirational people who has ever been on earth. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to laugh and cry because of Robin Williams. Thank You for the many generations of people who have had the chance to have him in their homes on the screens or see him in the theaters or meet him for not a single person has not somehow been touched by his life. I just wish that depression didn't exist so he could have enjoyed his life more. Help me to always enjoy life no matter what I go through. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Like a Candle

Isaiah 42:2-3 - He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 

Isaiah 54:10 - "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Dear God, I need Your comfort and Your rest. I grow weary right now from many things. Renew me. Thank You for being there and for loving me. God, also comfort the family and close friends of Robin Williams. His death announcement last night was very emotional. Teach people what they need to know when they see the film "The Giver" later this week, which I personally think everyone should do. Jeff Bridges was so choked up when asked about Robin Williams. They said he possibly took his own life. I have not heard much about whether he believed in You, but I hope he did because if he did, then he is now at peace with You instead of hurting and having to battle the monster of depression. His death stands as a reminder of why it is more important now than ever for churches to step up and stop treating mental disorders and other special needs as sins and start actually ministering to people who are struggling with them. There are simply not enough counselors out there. His death stands as a reminder of why it is crucial to remove the barriers and stigmas attached to mental health issues so that people will not be afraid to get the help they need. Men, in particular, tend to believe that needing help is a sign of weakness. I disagree. A man who acknowledges that he needs help and then actually seeks help is showing more strength than a man who doesn't. Because when he does, he is showing that he is honest and open. In this assessment, I see where Tom was a coward because instead of dealing with the conflict as he usually would, he bought lies and spread lies instead of actually talking with me about what happened. When confronted with truth, he took a cop out. But I am called to more. The letter will finally be written this week since I will finally have the time. I saw many people who said Robin Williams took the coward's way out. No, he didn't. He did the last thing he thought was the only option left. His death reminds me of what that pastor's family went through last year with their son. I started to call depression a demon, but quickly changed it to monster for a reason. Calling it a demon is the reason churches have failed when it comes to the special needs ministry arena. Too many churches call the special needs and mental illnesses demons and say, "Well, we can pray over them and pray with them and they will be healed of it." STOP!!!! Churches are doing more damage when they do that than if they just actually minister to and with the people who are challenged and blessed by them. And I am one of the people who was damaged because of the existence of that mentality in a church that was supposed to be safe from abuse and bullying, but ended up being so corrupt that I suffered from abuse and bullying instead. God, how my heart aches because to the extent of having special needs myself and seeing my mom's own struggle with PTSD, I really cannot blame Robin Williams for what he did, if he in fact did take his own life. He will be greatly missed though. He brought us all laughter and tears. "Patch Adams" as the doctor who brought comedy to his patients. "Jack" as the boy who grew into a man too fast. "Aladdin" as Genie. "Mrs. Doubtfire" as a nanny because he just wanted to be able to see his children and be a good dad to them. "Dead Poets Society" as the teacher who made an impact on his students. And many other unforgettable roles. Oh, how how we will be sorely missed. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


What Are You Waiting For?

John 6:37 - All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Ephesians 3:14-19 - For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-17 (CEV) - God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith.

Revelation 22:17 - The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Dear God, thank You for inviting to come to You. Thank You for drawing me to You. Thank You for giving me the Spirit that can help me during the time I spend with You and the entire time I am living and doing. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Use Your Time Wisely

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Ephesians 5:15-16 - Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ICB) - So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise. Live wisely. I mean that you should use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.

Dear God, 1 day=24 hours=1,440 minutes=86,400 seconds. Help me to use my time wisely. Whether it is taking care of myself, taking care of things around the house, or helping others to be able to thrive in the community just like I want to do, help me use my time wisely. Help me to never pass up an opportunity to spend time with You and to never pass up an opportunity to spend time with friends either. If I am healthy, help me to spend some quality time with my friends and spend even more with You. Thank You God for the time that You do give me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Price I Paid

Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) - I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

II Corinthians 5:21 - For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:20-24 - But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to out off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dear God, thank You for clothing me with salvation and righteousness and love and forgiveness. Thank You for paying the great price of clothing me with Your grace and mercy. Oh how the clothing of love flows! Oh how gorgeous and soft the clothing of forgiveness! How warm the clothing of salvation and righteousness! It truly is the only clothing that was made just for me! There is no price tag on it because I can do nothing and I cannot pay enough for it. How majestic Your clothing makes me feel! Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Rock or Sand?

Psalm 42:7 - Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.

Psalm 95:1-2 - Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Matthew 7:24-27 - "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

Matthew 7:24-25 (CEV) - Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.

Dear God, anything that does not agree with Your Word is sand and should not be trusted. God, when people try to say they cannot minister to people with special needs even though that is exactly what Your Son did and commands, then they are are going against Your Word. Often when they say that, they have excuses. Well, that is wrong! When they try to force the person with special needs to change or when they try to treat the person with special needs as though their special needs are sins or they exclude them rather than include them, they are going against Your Word. Oh how foolish they are when they do these things! Thank You for teaching me about rock versus sand. Help me to build upon the solid rock and not upon the sand. Thank You! In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Whys and Hows

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Romans 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1 (NLT) - Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

II Thessalonians 3:16 - Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Dear God, I do wish I could understand all the whys and hows of things, but You are right, no sooner than I might have one set of them figured out, another set pops up throwing me for a tailspin. Help me to trust You more rather than to try to lean on my own understanding of things, just as it says in the Proverbs. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First, You Must Trust Me

Job 13:15 - Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.

Psalm 18:33 - He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.

Psalm 18:33 (ICB) - He makes me like a deer, which does not stumble. He helps me stand on the steep mountains.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 - Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments

Dear God, I want to be like the deer or the goat, sure-footed as can be, on the side of the steep mountain. Help me to remember to trust You more fully with everything, good and bad. Help to not stumble. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Child of the King

Psalm 37:7 - Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; feet not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Romans 8:16-17 - The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:16 (ICB) - And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say that we are God's children.

I Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Dear God, help me to never forget that I am Your child. Help me to always act like Your child. And if I slip, please forgive me. I am sorry for those that act like Your child only on Sundays yet during the week evidence hatefulness and judgment toward those who are less fortunate. Thank You for considering me as one of Your children. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Way

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 

Colossians 4:2 - Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Dear God, today I am glad that You are not only a companion but a guide. Please help me to get through these next 48 hours or so of the time I cannot have my antihistamines. I am really feeling the sick from it and it is a huge struggle to not just break the time by grabbing something. I don't know exactly what Wednesday's appointment will bring. But I know that You will be there. But for now, I need to just rest in today. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sticks and Stones

Proverbs 12:18 - There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 

James 1:19-20 - Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.

Dear God, Help me as I prepare myself to write the words You gave me for the letter to Tom. Help me to keep it short and simple and also to write it in such a way that he will be willing to respond. Maybe I should just tell him that if he wants to know the truth to reach out to me. Just let him know that what he thinks he knows is not what really happened. Tell him briefly the truth. And nothing but the truth. Give him the window to come through for the rest. Offer him the chance to receive forgiveness. His actions were louder than his words. His actions broke my spirit. His actions were hateful. His actions didn't jive with what a Christian should do or even what a Christian is called to do. But I know his actions also didn't line up with how he acted toward me before the conflict arose either. And that is why I have hope that if I write the letter, he will do the right thing and the conversation that needed to happen will happen. Better months later than immediate because at least by now, both of us should have had time to cool off. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Actually, words can be more damaging to the soul. I still carry scars from all the times when damaging words were spoken. Mikki - "If you cannot focus, then maybe you shouldn't come to church at all." Way to infer that my ADHD and my ASD should be used as an excuse for the church to discriminate against me. Tom - "Our attempts to mainstream her have been ineffective." Yeah, because they were not attempts to mainstream. They gave me a document and asked me to sign to allow them to continue to abuse me and discriminate against me! Tom - "We approached things in the wrong way. We were wrong." That was really the best thing and the most accurate thing that Tom said about all of what had happened. That is why I know in my heart that if I give Tom a second chance to come through, he most likely will. Because there is a man in there that does still care. He just needs to know that his young friend is willing to give him that second chance he needs if he is willing to ask for forgiveness. God, You really a God of second chances and third and fourth and fifth and sixth and so forth. So why shouldn't we be as well, if we are Your children? Matter of fact, if we are Your children, then that is exactly how we should be! The only exception is if it is physically unsafe. And Tom knows that is not the case with me. He knew that when he told me that they claimed I was "dangerous." The only reason that those other men at his church see me as "dangerous" is because I am honest to a fault and for some reason, they feel threatened by the truth. Which does not look good for them. If the truth threatens them so much, then they have a problem with corruption. Just like politicians. Oh! Now I understand what my friend who said she was thinking about changing churches because she felt their church has become too political meant! And she is correct. And that may also need to be written to Tom. Because he needs to know. There is a lot he needs to know. That church is going to destroy him and he needs to know so he can make a wise decision before it does if it hasn't already. In the words of Ryan Pittman when he was sharing his testimony, if the church does not have special needs people involved in every aspect of its ministries, then DON'T! In other words, don't go there. And don't let them. He was right. With autism now having a 1 in 68 diagnosis rate for young children, it is time for churches to change to accommodate both children and adults. Sensory rooms, sensory friendly services, inclusion with assistance, inclusion period. These things can work well for autistics, individuals with Down syndrome, and even neurotypicals who just need to refocus and recenter. Sticks and stones can hurt. But words can hurt even more and the lasting effects can take longer to recover from. Thank You God for another valuable lesson. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Gift of Your Time

Psalm 21:6 - For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

Psalm 21:6 (ICB) - You always gave him blessings. You made him glad because you were with him.

Psalm 103:6-14 - The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.mhe does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions form us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

John 7:38 - "Whoeevr believes in me,mas the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"

Dear God, help me to always give You the gift of my time. It is the least I can do considering how much You do and have done for me even though I have not always recognized it. God, I was really moved by the passage in Psalm 103 today. When I write my letter, help me evidence willingness to do just that with Tom. When he receives it and reads it and responds to it, help him to do the same. If he is really one of Your children, he will. Because he always did that before the lies he bought when the conflict arose, the conflict that could have ended differently had he just talked with me like he knew he should have done to start with but did not do. He knew better but he didn't do what he knew he should have done. But I am being called to more, by You, to take the initiative now. Because You have not let me forget and You have melted the bitterness toward him that resulted from what he did. You are not asking me to release him if he fails to show repentance and evidence a desire to be forgiven, but You are asking me to offer him the opportunity and a chance. And that is all a human can do. Willingness is better than nothing at all. It is his choice whether he wants it or not. Thank You God for all that You teach me during our time together. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Friday, August 1, 2014

I Will Never Leave You

Joshua 1:5 - No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 

Joshua 1:5 - No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 49:15-16 - "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me."

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear God, nothing can separate me from Your love. Nothing can separate me from Your love. NOTHING can separate me from Your love. NOTHING can separate me from YOUR love. You will never leave me. You will NEVER leave me. YOU will NEVER leave me. Let those words wash over me like the rain shower with no umbrella around. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
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