“It’s A God Thing, Honey!”

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live.
Yet, it is not I, but it is Christ who lives inside of me.
And the life I live in this body I live by 
the faith of the Son of God
who loves me and gave himself for me.

Looking At It All Wrong: A Confused Young Man

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When I was younger so much younger than today, I sometimes had a skewed view of healthy/holy spirituality. When I read this passage in Galatians 2:20,  I would view the Apostle Paul with admiration because I thought of him as such a surrendered guy that he actually believed he was crucified with Christ. I thought to myself, “WOW! Now that is a holy man.” I had such a wrong view of this passage. My viewpoint was that I had to get to the state of walking so perfectly worthy with the Lord that I could one day possibly hope to be so godly that I was indeed crucified with Christ.  I felt that being crucified with Christ applied to the exceptional holy few. I embraced the idea that being crucified with Christ was something I had to work hard at obtaining.  I was so wrong.

 REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD!
LOVING IT!

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Loving It!

What I am about to say is REALLY GOOD: Anyone who has turned from their sins, denied their old way of living, and who has taken up the cross of Christ to follow Jesus was, is,  and evermore shall be crucified with Christ! Don’t you just love this?  I am talking about God’s viewpoint children of God! I don’t have to be good enough to qualify. And it gets better! Not only did we and our sins die on that cross, we are now fully alive! Because Jesus lives, we also now live! The human spirit, the part of us that makes us God conscious, which died when our first ancestors sinned, and when we first sinned, came back to life right inside of the core of our being. Our spirit once again became and becomes central to our eternal make up! We became “reborn” or “born again!” We passed from death unto life! We can now actually walk with God daily. It still gets better! The life we now live in this old body we live by faith… not our works. You guessed it. It gets even more better! I really like this translation because the faith that makes this miracle  occur is Jesus own faith! We actually live by the faith of the Son of God! One more “it gets better!!!” Jesus’ motivation is extremely clear. He makes all this happen because he actually loves us and gave himself for us! He proved it!  Most of us know that there is no greater love than to lay down a life for a friend. (Check out what Jesus said in John 15:13) He did this for us individually. And he did this for all of us collectively. No child of God is left out! Wahoo! Praise The Lord!

It’s A God Thing Honey!” Della Reese.

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Years ago the secular critics seemed to try to  doom the TV series Touched by an Angel before it even was viewed on TV.  Yup! Before anyone ever saw one show, they gave it horrible reviews; nevertheless,  the show took off and was highly successful. The critics were surprised. So, they interviewed a key figure behind this shows’ success — Della Reese. They asked her, given that the critics didn’t give Touched by an Angel a chance, they wanted to know, “why did Touched by an Angel succeed?” She told them, “It’s a God thing honey!” All that I am very happily sharing with you in today’s web log is a “God Thing Honey.” And it has very little to do with whether or not you feel worthy.  None of us are. God simply makes all of this happen! We just let go and let God take over.

I am hoping you get what I am saying: God’s viewpoint is that being crucified with Christ is a God thing for each one of us and everyone of us! Do you want to actually be crucified with Christ? Let it happen to you because it’s a God thing! Do you want to be more alive that you could imagine?  Surrender your life to Jesus because it’s a God thing! Do you want daily fellowship with God? Get ready for a heavenly holy hug, because it’s a God thing! Do you want Christ, the very Son of God, in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit? Open up your heart to him because it’s a God thing!  Do you want to be in love with the very lover of your soul? Choose love because God is love, God is in love with you, and God’s experienced love is also very much a God thing! Are you unsure about how to make all this happen?  Neither you nor I make this happen. God makes it happen because it is a “God thing honey!” It is God’s will to work all this out in you and me and through you and me.  I know we hear this so much that it doesn’t thrill us, but it should! This is a God thing because God loves you and me,  and He gave himself for you and me!

Be Blessed.

Chaplain Mac

The Triple The Plus

I AM

The Way

The Truth

The Life

No one comes to God the Father except through me.
Jesus – John 14:6

Things have gotten muddled with a whole bunch of people who report they are a part of the Church. It seems that a  number of Clergy, and some laity, believe that Jesus is only one of the ways to God. His truth is the truth as He, Jesus, sees it, and that life can also be found in multiple ways; therefore, they also, by extension,  disbelieve the ultimate and final word that Jesus speaks when He claims the NO ONE can actually even get to God the Father without coming through Him.

Here is what is wrong with this quicksand philosophy: First, if all of what Jesus says here is NOT true, then anyone who says it is not true has to believe that Jesus is NOT telling the truth. Second, If he is not telling the truth, then he is a deceiver. To say this more bluntly, Jesus has to be a liar, if He is not telling the truth.  In  our culture a liar is defined as one who habitually lies. In the verse above their are at least three lies, and then a summary lie, if Jesus is not to be taken seriously. That seems fairly habitual … four lies in a few seconds. Third, this then speaks to Jesus character. If Jesus is a liar, where else is he morally deficient? Fourth, if He is morally deficient, He cannot be the sinless Savior of the world.

Hey This Some Very Strong Language

Now, reader, you may think I am using some very strong language. Yet, the Apostle John,  who wrote this verse, also wrote 1 John 5:10. This says, “He who does not believe God calls God a liar because he does not believe the record God gave of His Son.” God’s record of His Son, Jesus, is what Jesus makes clear regarding the triple “The” promises. These promises are solid, and they are true.

Why Not?

Why not use some firm language? If indeed there is only one path to God, as there is, should I not share the map. If there is only one absolute truth flowing from the very throne of God to bring us hope, peace and salvation, should I not tell it? If life is found –and only found — in one place, should I not share this eternal life fountain of youth with you. And if there is no other way to the Father, but I pointed you to some other ways, what kind of a man would I be?  I would be pure evil. And evil is live spelled backwards. I choose to share the words of life with you so that you can live.

Please follow the way. Please live by the truth. Please receive the truth. Run to the Father through Jesus. You will extremely glad that you did.

Chaplain Mac

Crashing – Burning – Forgiving

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Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32

Letting Go of Control and Forgiving

No one can control what others believe, think, feel, want or do. To try to control such behavior will only leave us less than peaceful. Leave  trying to control people to God,  through Jesus.  For He is Lord of All. God is the one “who works out everything and brings everything into conformity with the purpose of His will.” No one else can do this. (See Ephesians 1:11 NIV)  Indeed, it is best to “let go and let God.” Then, God will bring healing, hope and help to your life and mine if we intentionally choose to forgive.

Planting – Reaping – Forgiving

Each human eventually will reap the harvest of the life seeds each one plants.  God simply expects us to do the right thing, even when no one else is looking. If we let Him, God will  guide us in the hard choices. You and I  will then receive back a harvest of what is best.  This may mean cutting someone loose to be free to experience the consequences of their behavior … even if the consequences are pain filled. Allowing them to live by their free choice will free you. In turn, the released ones, will learn a whole lot more from what happens to them, hopefully, than from anything you or I may say.

For example, in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15: 11-32,) The father, while being merciful and forgiving, had to painfully let his son “crash and burn” before God could get this son to a place where he, the son,  could get his life back. It may seem strange, but sometimes this is precisely how God brings a person to where they can actually be made free by God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.

It’s not your responsibility, nor is it mine, to control people. But it is clear that miracles can occur, and lives can change for the better, even eternally, as a result of the power of sharing forgiveness.

God Bless You.

Chaplain Mac

 

The Perfect Person

The Sad Part of Being A “Ten” Doesn’t Include The Heart

Back in the day when I was quite a bit younger, the movie industry declared a certain attractive female “The Perfect Ten.” Her name is Bo Derek. You generations nexters can google the name to get an understanding of what I am saying. Her perfection was demonstrated by a video of her coming out of a body of water in a one piece, but very revealing swimsuit, and she did indeed look very attractive. Sadly, it didn’t take long before people were getting measured by the number ten. This meant the evaluated person was perfect, if they were given a “10” by their judges regarding their physical attributes. 

Similarly, at the olympic games, female gymnast, who were also appearing physically perfect, were beginning to accomplish what was once considered impossible: They scored a perfect 10 over and over again. The sad part of all this judgment was that no one was looking at the heart of these gymnast or anyone else being judged using a physical ruler. Even the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and others rockers coming after him,  while looking every bit of a Ten, in the prime of life, had things going on inside that tore at the heart of their inner sense of well being. Authentic perfection, when based on outward packaging, doesn’t really seem to be anywhere around. And the physical begins to fall away and decay. This kind of perfection is nothing like the perfect person I am blogging about today. Indeed, it has very little to do with a person being perfect.

Describing The Perfect Person

The actual perfect person might be tall. They might be short. They might be average height. They might have blue eyes, brown eyes or hazel eyes. Big ears could be connected to the side of the head of this perfect person. Or those ears could be small and close to the head. The perfect person could have a big ole nose or a little bitty one. Their nose could be wide, not wide or pointed. They might even be a little portly around the middle, or they may be athletically gymnast strong or a long distance runner who is fleet of foot. The actual perfect person could have physical challenges, mental challenges, or not very many challenges at all. The perfect person could be of any race or socioeconomic group. The actual perfect person might wear just the right makeup or wear no makeup at all. All the “normal” things we attribute to perfection have virtually nothing to do with what makes a person perfect.  And their perfection comes not from anything they have done or do or ever could do. Actually, the perfect person’s perfection comes from something that happened centuries or even millennia before they were born. 

Here is How to Become Perfect

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Did you notice this scripture/picture to the left? Take some time to check it out, if you want to be perfect. This actually reveals the ancient secret regarding how a person is made perfect? After reading it, do you see that you can be a perfect person, and even I can be a perfect person. God actually makes people perfect in His eyes. Who are they? They are people God has perfected “forever,” and they are people who are “sanctified.” So, how does a person become sanctified in order for God to view them as perfect? Again, “It’s a God thing honey!” At this point it has little to do with the person themself. Back up a few verses to Hebrews 10:10. Here we see that “We have been sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once and for all.” Who are the “we?” The “we” are the people who have been redeemed. That is everyone of their sins are forgiven. See Hebrews 9:12.

Do you see the pattern here? We really only have one responsibility, and that is to simply turn our lives, by faith, over to Christ Jesus. He gave Himself willingly as a sin “offering” to take away all our sins.  We turn from our breaking of God’s law (sinning habitually) to Christ Jesus as our Savior, Redeemer, Sanctifier an our Perfector. To say this another way, we are forgiven, which leads to sanctification — being made holy in God’s sight and set apart for holy use, which leads to God declaring us  perfect in God’s sight, and then, if you read a little farther, you will see God Almighty transforms us to be more like him. That is to say, He writes his laws on our hearts, and he places them in our minds.”

To Be Clear

Let’s be clear and then close this one out: When God makes you perfect in His sight, surrounding people may not see you any differently. Or if they do notice some changes in you, they may like it or not. Some will even dislike it. But “they” don’t get to be the “decider” about who is perfect and who is not perfect. God does all the deciding that needs to be done. And once you have opened your heart to the God of the Universe, through His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God declares you perfect in “His sight.” And that is the only viewpoint that matters.

Have a great day.

God Bless You
Chaplain Mac

The Unpopularity of Successful Light Shining

       Just Thinking:
Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world … “ 

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God doesn’t call The Body of Christ (His authentic Church) to be popular. God does NOT call us to join the world in it’s darkness.  He calls us to obediently be the light of the world and shine His light. He does so in order that those who want to come out of the darkness, and into God’s light, will be drawn to God to experience faith in Jesus the Christ; and as a result, they too can shine and share in the wonderful  Gift of Eternal Life. In other words, they will also be able join the family of God: And they will also be able to fully share life with The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit daily and forever! 

Standing Out

Needless to say, Christ-Followers might just stand out a bit as we shine on … brothers and sisters. It really is okay to demonstrate a daily, sacred and different kind of life. Light chases away darkness. It is a fact that,  if we are the light of the world, we will indeed be different from the darkness that enslaves folks to bondage to sin and death. Being God’s light might even feel a bit uncomfortable as we navigate the world around us; nevertheless, let’s covenant with God and each other, one day at a time, to be a light shining, life giving, healthy and holy kind of different. Let’s agree with our Creator, and one another,  to daily surrender to our Creator. Let’s do so in order that the Creator can cause us can shine on anyway. Those who receive this light will be eternally grateful.

God Bless You,

Chaplain Mac

Creator’s Makeover: The God Affect

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Long, long ago, and far, far away, God spoke to an ancient Prophet. His name is Jeremiah. Jeremiah actually did hear God speaking to him, and he heard God tell him to go down to the Potter’s house. Well, this Prophet, had a habit of obeying God. So, he listened to what God told him. When he got there, he saw the Potter with his pottery on the wheel. He professionally shaped it, but then the pottery became marred in the potter’s hand; therefore, the Potter started all over and recreated it, and he did so in whatever formed pleased him … whatever pleased the Potter. The pottery, on the other hand, had only one thing to do. It just sat there while the Potter worked his miracle of creativity. It’s only responsibility was to sit there in the Potter’s hands and do nothing else. ( Jeremiah 18: 1-4)

Check Out What God Said Next

Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
“Oh house of Israel, cannot I not do with you as the Potter does?”
Declares the LORD.
“Like clay in the hand of the Potter, 
so are you in my hand. O house of Israel.”

The points are poignant, powerful and potent. God, has His hands on Israel. He has His hands on all of Creation. God has His hands on you and me. And if you read the rest of the Potter’s house story, you will see God is expressing in clear, and NO uncertain terms, that He  controls Creation, the nations, and controls you and me. Paul tells us that God is “working out everything according to THE plan, and bringing everything into conformity with the purpose of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11) Sin (trying to live independent of God and breaking his law) corrupted or “marred” it all in the Creator’s hands, but God is not finished yet; and God is not finished with you or me, even when we might just make a mess of things.

Jesus and Paul

Jesus and Paul have something to say about this: First Jesus tells us how God wants to work all this out in us: He tells us  the thief –Satan– comes to “kill, steal and destroy.” In other words, from the outset, Satan came to cause God’s creation(s) to be marred and scarred, and he did succeed; however, he didn’t win because Jesus said of himself,  “I have come to give you life, and to give you a life that is full.” He is talking about eternal life, which means a life shared with God forever. Second, Paul explains that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new CREATION. The old has gone, and the new has come.”

Needless to say, God wants to turn our scars in something eternally better. He wants to make us entirely new for living right here on planet Earth, and to prepare us for beyond the grave; He requires us, however, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God as a spiritual act of worship, and He does so that we won’t be conformed to the world but be transformed… (See Romans 12:2) In other words we must surrender to our Creator … the Potter of our lives. We must daily yield to the life giver, life changer and the Creator.

I guess what I am trying to say here is this is the time to surrender and receive a 2018 spiritually based makeover. No, it’s not time for resolutions. It’s time to yield to God’s eternal life giving transforming solutions. It’s time to put ourselves in God’s hands to do with us whatever God wants to do with us as he forms us, come what may, into little brother’s and sisters of Jesus who are created to be just like him. (See Romans 8:28 & 29) It’s time to begin the New Year with a Pray/Song. I hope you will daily pray it as your own:

Have Your own way, Lord, have Your own way.
Your are the Potter. I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Your will,
As I wait here yielded and still.

Have Your own way, Lord, have Your own way.
Search me and try me, Master today.
Make me whiter than snow, Lord, wash me by the blood of Jesus, just now…
As in Your presence I humbly bow.

Have Your own way, Lord, have your own way.
Wounded, by sin, and weary, help me I pray.
Power all power, surely is thine.
Touch me! Heal me! Savior Divine.

Have Your own way, Lord, have Your own way.
Hold over my being absolute sway.
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit until
Everyone can see
Christ only
Always
Living in me.

Wherever you are in the world today, may you have a blessed and newly created New Year.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

FINAL BENEDICTIN: 2017

Benediction and Final Greetings For 2017: 
I hope you receive this for yourself.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing HIS will, and may HE work in us what is pleasing to HIM, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever! Amen.

The Power of Spiritual Bankruptcy.

Blessed are the poor in spirit.
For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
Jesus

     How can there be power in being spiritually bankrupt? Well there isn’t any power whatsoever in being spiritual bankrupt in an of itself. The power comes when we realize we are spiritually bankrupt,  and then we humble ourselves before God, turn from our sin to God and admit just how lost we are without him. The blessing, transformation and the freedom come from surrendering to Jesus by faith.  When we do this, we are well on our way to a transformed life.

Becoming Enslaved

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Many, who are enslaved by sin, learned this the hard way: As Jesus says, “If you commit yourself to sin (a sinful lifestyle,) you become enslaved to that sin.” (John 8:34.) The lives of millions of people across the earth validate this very important truth. Many times it comes with only the taking of one drink, that becomes two, that becomes ten, that becomes a habitual clinging to a bottle until a person is lost in a stupor and depression.  Or it begins with the click of a mouse on an elicit website. This grabs hold of a healthy passion and makes it unhealthy/unholy. Then a habit forms  that seemingly takes the clicker over and the one doing the clicking. Or it starts with one bet, two bets, three bets, four or more until a family finds it’s finances on the edge. Sexual behavior, outside the healthy and holy state of marriage, has driven some to a place where they will have non-marital sex, adulterous sex, homosexual sex, pedophilia and other sexual sins. I even hear people who justify this behavior by saying, “I cannot change.” And rather than admit spiritual bankruptcy, which will begin the journey toward transformation and freedom, they simply become slaves of their passions. Some die of any number of sexually transmitted diseases or they become ill and infect others. Food seems to get a pass in our culture; however, it also can enslave a person to the point of destroying one’s health.

Who’s Fault Is It?
Or What Is At Fault?

     For one thing, it is not God’s fault! God doesn’t cause all this pain and suffering! Sin — a word removed from our vocabulary —  enslaving sin,  committed again and again,  causes this. Generations pass this enslavement from to another. Or bondage to not doing the right thing repeatedly,  to maintain a public persona,  will enslave a person big time. This is a form of “the sin of omission.”  In the Apostle Paul’s day, he called this enslavement “wanting to please man more than God.” This too is bondage making soul blinding sin! Closely related to this is telling half truths,  while omitting the whole truth. This too will enslave a person,  and their family, to the bondage of not even knowing when they — or their spouse — are lying. Indeed, omitting the truth,  by telling people what you think they need to know for you to be “right, ” look good or to get what you want, will also enslave the committer of omission sins. A person will certainly be entrapped, and even injure other innocent people, as they live their hypocrisy legacy by saying one thing from their life’s pulpit, and yet they do another. Eventually they will have their dark reward. Consequently,  the culprit is the individual committing to sin, and sin then takes them over. It really does chain them in bondage.  Then their deadly enslavement will one day leave them alienated from God; yet, God would help them be liberated, if the recognize for themselves that they are the spiritually bankrupt person they have come to be.

Cannot Handle The Truth

This is what Jesus is telling us in John 8: 32-36, and he is also attempting to teach religious people who would not hear this or could not hear this. They simply could not handle the truth.  They even got angry at Jesus for offering them freedom; nevertheless, all of us need to get honest regarding our chains. We need to  know that admitting we are powerless to break our chains is the absolute unadulterated truth that will set us free. Jesus is the truth. When we admit this truth of our spiritual bankruptcy to him, the Lord sets us free, and we are free indeed. (John 8:36.) The blessing comes, and the Kingdom of Heaven becomes ours! Freedom in Christ becomes ours! Liberation from bondage to sin and death becomes ours! Yes indeed, we are indeed free indeed! And this is such a real blessing for the “poor in spirit!” This is such a blessing for those of us who can admit our spiritual bankruptcy! But first each one must actually honestly admit we need help.

Why not receive the power of admitting what God and we already know? Why not recognize that what Jesus said is true: “Apart from me you can do no-thing.” Why not come alive and be blessed by recognizing that each one of us, when we admit our spiritual bankruptcy, one day at a time, can also testify to the unquestionable, life transforming truth, that “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” 

Be blessed today.  Acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy. Be forgiven. Be transformed. Be God’s own recipient of The Kingdom of Heaven.

Chaplain Mac

 

JOY (Jesus Occupying You)

Joy To The World The Lord Has Come

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Many people, as you all have seen from my last several posts, are going through grief; however, even so we are told that this is a time of JOY. And I believe it is. One of the reasons many are not experiencing Joy is because of their relationship with the joy giver. They simply don’t understand the concept of being intimate with the Joy Maker. They do tend to confuse joy and happiness as being the same thing, and nothing can be further from the truth. It may surprise you that there are actually people who are living through some very unhappy times who have JOY in their hearts. How can this be?
     I am glad you asked: First let me say that my definition of JOY comes in an acrostic of these three letters.  Some of you have heard me say this before.  J = Jesus. O = occupies. Y= YOU. When Jesus occupies you, he promises that he and the Father will come and live in your heart.  Your heart will be the home of Jesus via his Holy Spirit. Jesus says it this way, “If a man loves me, he will keep my Word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Now, before any feminist get riled up, please remember that, since the first verses of the Bible, the word “Man” speaks of both “male and female.” At any rate, Joy comes to occupy us, and we are in an intimate relationship that is secure.
     How do I know it is secure? I do so because he promises us “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will am with you always even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20 & Hebrews 13:5.) He also tells us that, “I give you eternal life — a life that is shared with God forever — and no one can snatch you out of my hands.” Paul agrees to this in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 where he says, “It is God who makes us to stand firm in Christ. He has anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and he has given us his Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” So, when Jesus occupies you, and he occupies me, you can count on a secure residence of God in us.  Just thinking about this alone for a while, brings joy to my heart. But there is more.
     The second thing that is important to know is that we are talking about more than being safe from abandonment. We are talking about real intimacy with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Most of us long for intimacy. I mean most of us long for closeness with another. I am talking about more than sex here. When he says that he is with us alway, he means in every way, all the way and all the time.
     Mere words don’t really say it, but if you will consider Psalm 139 prayerfully, and look at each part, you will get a bit of a grasp of how J-O-Y Works. This Psalm tells us that God knows everything about us: He watches over us when we get up, go out, come back in and lay down.  He knows what we are thinking before we begin thinking any thought at all.  He knows our words before they pass through our lips. His hands are on us in such a way that he surrounds us with his presence and his love. As David tells us, it is to wonderful for us to  grasp. Wherever we go, God has gone before us guiding us and holding on tight to us, even if we go to the other side of the sea or oceans.  I know when I went to Korea he  was already there, as he was in Europe.  He sees us even if we are lost in the dark. He is the one who knit our DNA  together in our mother’s womb.  He even knew our unformed body. His precious thoughts about each one of us outnumber the grains of sand. 
     In other words, every second of every moment of every hour of everyday, once we invite Jesus into our lives, we have J.O.Y. We have Jesus occupying us. We are never ever ever alone. We are never lost because he has found us!  Come what may, he is here for us and with us, even if we don’t feel his presence … even before our first cup of coffee or other breakfast beverage. He is always in our lives. He is making us new creations where the old has gone and the new has come. Because he journeys with us, we are what we are by the grace of God. We can become better than we are because God made him, who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us that we might BECOME the righteous person God will make us to be. (See 1 Corinthians 15:10 & 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21) He is the Shepherd who causes us to lack no good thing and all the other special relationship promises of Psalm 23.
     So, open up to Jesus and have J.O.Y. (Jesus Occupying You.) Receive him and let him empower you to be a child of God. Walk with him, as he desires to walk with you. Abide with him as he and the Father will definitely make their home in you via the Holy Spirit.  Yes, you may face some challenging times, but you can practice his presence in you all the time because you indeed do have Jesus Occupying you.
God Bless You
Chaplain Mac

Grieving With Jesus #6 Acceptance

Getting Back On Track

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Today, as I write this blog, I am remembering the death of my Dad. I love that man, and like all children with their parents, I had some issues with him over the years. Yet, I became free as both he and I manned up, worked through our issues, forgave each other and demonstrated real love for each other.  Though he is now in heaven, I still love him deeply, and I admire him more than many sons can imagine; yet, years after his  death, some grief finds it’s way into my life. My Mom passed further back in the past; yet, I have similar experiences with this special person in my life. Losses of the present trigger the grief process a little, but I am at a place where it does not nearly impact my life as much as it did during those days of his  or her passing. Acceptance of each of their home goings is more a part of my life; therefore, I am on track, but sometimes I get off track even today.

Surprises of Grief

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Before I get too far along on this last stage, I think it is important to realize that, while these stages of grieving like Jesus are neatly written in order,  it may mildly astonish you that, when grieving,  we can jump to different places in the grief journey. We can be in this stage of acceptance, and then a new loss can send us all the way back to shock or anger or depression. Or we could get into bargaining.  We might even be surprised by this because we  thought we had “dealt with this.”

“Stepping on a Heart.”

  • Image result for a picture of stepping on a heart

I had this happen to me today as I was “accepting” my Dad not being here: I was actually feeling nostalgic. I was feeling warm inside, as I remembered him,  and all of the sudden,  I was surprised by a picture on facebook, and it reminded me of what my Dad had as a  parent, grandparent, and a great grandparent, that can never be mine. It also reminded me of a wise saying: One thing he taught me, and the rest of my siblings is, “When children are small they step on your feet, and when they are grown, they step on your heart.” Our  children have heard me say this before.  There are many ways this can happen. And one of the most painful heart stompings comes when a parent loses a child to death. Indeed, this really steps on a parent’s heart. It’s not the child’s fault, but the heart is broken nonetheless.

Needless to say, my Dad didn’t invent this saying. It was not original with him. I don’t know who shared these thoughts first, but It seems this saying has been around for a long while. Since the generations keep sharing this, there must be an element of truth in it. I do hope the upcoming generations  learn this. There is a need for each one  to know this because life moves more rapidly than I could have ever imagined. Life will throw things at you that you cannot dream about. The decades slip quickly through the hourglass of time, and each generation is not far from learning this vital lesson themselves.

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Well today this old heart was stomped on extremely hard. My emotions became raw.  I was in some real pain! Why? This is so because I thought of my Dad, I grieved his loss again as I continue to grieve these losses of today. I guess they all got mixed up together.

What I am trying to say is this: While acceptance is important, and a genuine part of grief, grief is fluid. And we would do ourselves a big favor “going with the flow” of this free flowing journey of grief. Resisting it or trying to stop it would only be detrimental. The challenge, therefore, is to enjoy the acceptance, but also be willing to be flexible. One triggering event changes things and new griefs enter our lives.

A Thumbnail Sketch of Jesus Acceptance

  1. Peter was told by Jesus that he would deny him three times. Do y’all remember this story? I do, and I remember Peter’s response.
  2. Though Peter said he would not deny Jesus, he did indeed deny Jesus three times. Peter really stepped on Jesus’ heart. For all intents and purposes, Peter abandoned Jesus at the worst possible time. Though we won’t get into the weeds on this, Peter started his own grief process. But Jesus was really grieved because he knew, first,  Peter would reject him despite all Peter’s denial. Second, Peter’s arrogance was hurtful. Third, Jesus grieved losing Peter as well. You may have experienced this kind of Jesus grief with all its elements. Being rejected, abused by arrogant behavior and the loss of the ones rejecting you is quite common in our society today.
  3. Sometime later — three separate times — Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (Jesus,) and each time Peter did indeed express his love for Jesus. Jesus used these three separate incidents — of asking about and receiving assurances of love — to forgive Peter three times. Even in grief, forgiving others is essential to our well being and the well being of all concerned.
  4. Jesus, of course, grieved Peter’s three denials. But during these moments of acceptance, there came the settling of grief for Jesus and Peter. Jesus forgiveness helped bring the final stage of grief. The resurrected Jesus, of course, was in total acceptance by this time. He had already navigated the entire grief process through all that he had experienced  up to and during the Cross experience. But real healing also came into Peter’s life for his failure. At this stage of acceptance, all lives involved were changed in a positive fashion.

There are usually layers or levels to our own way of finding acceptance that the grief process provides. Multiple griefs may need processing. Surfing each one’s different grief wave is necessary. What is even more important is to know that Jesus understands your grief and my grief because he grieved, and he can help us through the entirety of the grief process to a place of acceptance. Yielding to Jesus’ divine help can change all lives concerned for the better. If we ask his help, he will help us through to the other side of this healing grief journey.

I hope you experience good grief during this holiday season. I hope you don’t walk alone, but that you truly allow the Lord to be like a shepherd to you, and let him journey with you through the valley of the shadow. He has gone before you.  He will go with you, and he will help you get to the other side.

Merry Christmas! Or at least be blessed by this sacred season as you experience God’s grace in your time of need.

Chaplain Mac