November 7, 2013

The Work of OUR Hands

This journey we are all on,"just living our life" as some say, is where the majority of our focus is spent.  Obviously, these conversations will be continuing long after each of us have moved beyond these days we are traveling; because we did not start them, we joined in with an ongoing conversation.  This life is no more than the jaunt within our eternal sojourn.  I truly, prayerfully wish that we could perceive the deep relief which should accompany such a mind set.
We have been pondering peace: God's peace, the peace Christ called "My peace".  When we do not choose to keep His peace; we choose to do the comforting our self....our way. We live in a society which takes pride in doing things "Our Way"; we give accolades as if people are incredibly original.  God reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun and that while He did create each of us uniquely and individually, all things are common to each of us corporately. 
Coming full circle with our conversations over the past few weeks, today we are speaking about denial.  This is not going deep, for obvious reasons.  I simply desire for each of us to have some information enabling us to discern our ways - with out condemnation.  Denial is a survival mechanism.  It is in place to help us bear up under perceived pain or threats to our psyche, in order to find comfort.  Some individuals have chosen this tool and become so proficient with their skills set, that they are no longer even aware when it is being employed.  The reason it can become a favored "go to" item is because it temporarily helps this person bear up under perceived pain and have a bit of comfort, even if it causes larger destruction down the road.  Usually it is chosen as a protector of the persons well being when anxiety, conflict or trauma producing situations are thought to be ensuing.
 As we have been studying the ways we slight God of His rightful place as protector over us, I was reminded of the women contrasted in Proverb 14:1:
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down .....with her OWN hands.
 How often are we in denial that the wreckage of our moments is by others, God or "an act of God" tearing down our is by the strength of "Our own Hands!".  During our discussions about the House of Cards we touched on this same topic; remember this:
 A little golden nugget about emotions:  They build a house of cards around the one real piece of the puzzle which they are concealing.  We build these false images layer upon layer to protect the vulnerable piece; as well as our stage presence.  Often, we really do not realize we do this.  We might catch a glimpse of it, but it passes so quickly we believe it is the masquerade.  Then every once in awhile, God will gently allow the winds of change to blow toward your magnificent construction and hit …just one card……and quickly they all collapse into a one dimensional array.
 We will be building up from these thought, but today - If only for today, may we BE people of peace: extending peace, keeping peace, abiding in peace.
 And maybe.....just maybe, as far as it depends on us many people will get a glimpse of something so beyond our natural human form that they will HAVE to take pause and ponder about GOD.
At least, that is my hope; if only for this one day :)
©Candace 2013, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, ™

November 4, 2013

Are You Asking The Right Questions by Kerry Skinner

Psalms 23:2 ~He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

Dear Sojourner,

It is a difficult life we are asked to live at times. To grow in liberty, awareness of His good please toward us and to not use our freedom to harm our self or others can be hard to comprehend at times. We are humans, created to use our complex brains to create new ideas, analyze, discern and yet give away some of the very things most precious to us;  whether metaphorical or physical.  So of course we have questions.........

During my studies, Kerry Skinner's material had some sturdy thoughts which I felt may help someone.  It is posted below.


Have you ever asked the wrong question? Maybe you thought you needed the answer to a certain question, but you found out when you received the answer that it was not what you hoped the answer would be. You may have asked legitimate questions but those questions were not relevant to the situation. It is easy to ask the wrong questions.The Psalmist wrote and asked many questions about life.

 In Psalm 44:1, the writers reflect back on days of old for their source of help. They were headed in the wrong direction as they reflected on the past: “…our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old."

1.. Looking to the past for your answer may throw you off course.

Many Christians look to the past to seek an answer for their present day life. It may sound like this, “God, I made a great commitment to You ten years ago. That was the greatest year of my Christian growth. I am depending on my past experience to get me through today.” It is wonderful you had growth ten years ago, but focusing on the past throws you off course. “Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, AMP). You must be refreshed day by day!

2. Looking to God guides you to the right perspective.

It was not by their sword that brought them victory–it was by God’s right hand that they were delivered. Can we depend upon our physical strength, willingness, and might to accomplish Kingdom work? Absolutely not.

I don’t trust my mind, power, nor my will to get through today. Our position, money, skills, talents, and abilities will not bring satisfaction to life. No matter how much you attain, it is never enough. Do we depend on God? Surely we would not say, “God, move over to the side, I’m in control of this day.” But, what you do next will reveal whether you believe more in self than God.

We must live by the power and the name of Christ. He will trample our foes. It is only through His strength that we go forward! Maybe you need the freshness you once experienced  with God. Look to God and He will guide you to have the right perspective. God’s presence gives a sense of being loved.

Isn’t it more important to see the love of God more than any kind of physical manifestation? The love of God is what revives your spirit! When you are in the midst of a crisis, wouldn’t you rather see the love of your family than receive a physical gift from someone? Wouldn’t you rather feel love and acceptance? Of course.

They had the right perspective–God had delivered them. But, right after seeing the hand of God they were about to ask the wrong question. This is so easy to do. We misapply truth sometimes because we are so desperate to find out what can help us–now! Our focus moves away from relationship to solutions. But, when you know God loves you, your perspective on life helps you ask the right questions.

3. You either give into God for everything or you give into self.

The people had the right perspective by acknowledging that God gave them victory over their enemies. They even said they would praise God all day long. Then here it comes, “But…You have cast us off and put us to shame, and You do not go out with our armies” (Psalm 44:8, NKJV).

To praise God for everything or to complain that things weren’t going their way–that was the question. They had to choose God for everything or they had to chose themselves. That choice must be faced every day. It’s a miserable life for a Christian to try to go with God part of the time and the rest of the time to proceed in your own strength. You can do it a while. But how long can you keep it up and have real peace?

In verse 9 they said, “But You have cast us off and put us to shame, and You do not go out with our armies.” Have you ever made those kind of statements? “God you are blessing others, but you’re not blessing me!” This sounds like a disgruntled person, doesn’t it? Ever been that way before?

4. Doing the Right Thing–But Things Are Getting Worse!

“…because of the enemy and the avenger.All this has come upon us; but we have not forgotten You, nor have we dealt falsely with Your covenant” (Psalm 44:17, NKJV).

If you are ashamed because your enemies seem to be gaining a victory, then the focus is not on God, it is on your performance! Why would you be ashamed when your enemies are overcoming you if you are doing the right thing? Do you believe that God’s people can do right things and things not go well for them? Absolutely!

God may not deliver you out of your trouble, but he will deliver you through your trouble. God had an unfailing love for them even in the midst of their trouble. The people said their heart had not turned against God and their feet had not strayed from His path. Yet, they asked, “Why are we being crushed. Why is this happening?”

I have asked that question–but it is the wrong question. When you listen to the answer from God, you realize that your focus must change. The key to the answer is in verse 22, “Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). That is the key! The right question is, “Are you going to live for Christ no matter what?”

If you are persecuted for righteousness sake, it will bring joy not sadness. If you are suffering, please make sure that it is for righteousness sake. God will come to the rescue at the proper time. His timing is not always our timing. It is for His sake that we must be willing to go through anything. That is the proper perspective. Stay with God and trust Him for every moment of every day. We must trust God for each moment. We must be willing to face death all day long. Death to what? Death to self. Put aside self and trust completely in God. You must go all the way for God or all the way for you. Without God we are nothing. Without Christ, we have no physical strength. We are a simple breath away from eternity. Our minds and wills are weak. The sooner we come to understand that, the quicker our relief comes over the weakness of our flesh. Exalting Christ results in death to self and an abundant and full life in Him.

We must trust in God’s unfailing love so that before the crisis comes we recognize our strength is in Him!