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Living holy and fit both spiritually and physically in today's culture.

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.


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It Didn’t Happen

Have you had something moderately bad happen to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse?  I originally had these thoughts in my former blog, 365 Days of Praising.  At that time My son-in-law had been mildly injured by a wire stretched between two trees.  The danger went unnoticed in the darkening evening.  Afterward, the family realized that a few cuts compared to something worse was worth exclaiming over.   I think those little moments pass us by without much notice on our part.  We dust ourselves off and keep on living, not giving the gift much thought.  I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Go deeper by contemplating the  ultimate rescue and the things that didn’t happen when Jesus made the decision to sacrifice. Jesus deliberately made choices that set forgiveness of sins in motion.  

Jesus didn’t give into temptation in Gethsemane.

He didn’t run from prolonged suffering.  

He didn’t call His army of angels.

He didn’t use His power against humiliation.

He didn’t reject the nails. 

He didn’t go against His Father’s will. 

He didn’t hate the sinner that separated Him from God.

He didn’t hold a grudge against the Apostles for leaving Him.

He didn’t give into the devil.

He didn’t escape that final breath. 

He didn’t stay in the grave. 

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

  Blessings, Alice

I took this background picture when visiting a very ornate church building in Little Rock, Arkansas during one of my sister’s doctorate ceremonies before her graduation.

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There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.


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Two Ways to Bear a Burden

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

Without God

Bearing burdens without God includes lots of fear, stress, anxiety, and plenty of self-pity.  Burdens are heavy y’all.  It’s like the earth’s  gravity has increased and each movement is cumbersome and toiling.  My heart is heavy, my soul is heavy, and I get so tired.  Tired.  Wondering if the heaviness of what I am carrying will squish me right into the earth.  When my youngest son was hit by a Mack type Truck while riding a motorcycle in Cambodia, I was beside myself with fear.  God spared his life.  He survived with a broken pelvis and dented up arm.  But then the fever came.  Sitting in a developing 3rd world hospital was scary enough, but waiting for the fever to break caused me to just about come undone.

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accident that causes us to lose it.  It could be the day to day living in an oppressive situation or the unending absence of an unanswered prayer.  It’s times like these when the enemy loves to lie to God’s children.   I can’t begin to understand God’s will, and why some things happen, but I do know that in life,  God requires us to go through hard times.  It may be for a  moment, or it may be for a season, but some things are just required.

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

With God

My advice for bearing burdens with God, comes from the direct experience of failure.  Wallowing in my fear, I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten so far from God.  I took these measures to reset my faith.  First, I decided to admit my need for help to people who could remind me of scripture and pray over me.  I also found comfort in the promises found in the Word and in the declarations of God’s character…a sure way to fight the lies from the devil.    Sometimes I would fall asleep quoting particularly relevant verses over and over.   I also took deep spiritual comfort in the idea of sharing in Christ’s suffering.  Another way I fought my way to peace was to be grateful.  I made a list and used it when I prayed.  Finally, I admitted to myself that I had a problem with trust.  I begged Jesus to show me how to say “Not my will but Yours.”  (links to scriptures are included)

I love what Oswald Chambers said about burdens:

“Roll thy burden upon the Lord”– you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God…Commit to God “that which He hath given thee”; not fling it off, but put it over onto Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.

There have been time when I have been so distraught that words can’t be formed.  Those final days when my mother lay suffering with ALS were a nightmare….a perfect moment to turn to the Comforter.  Pray to the Holy Spirit ya’ll.  Tell Him to take your groans before the Lord…and He will.

Blessings, Alice

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We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible. My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there


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Look at the Other Book I Found in my Hotel Nightstand

We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.   My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there

We traveled a lot last summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.  I had never seen a Bhagavad Gita before and when Googled, discovered it is one of the Hindu books of scripture.  My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there.  Living in Cambodia where the people predominately follow Buddha and Hindu practices, I’ve discovered that Buddhism as well as Hinduism, are not only predominate religions of southern Asia, but are part of the cultural fabric in which they live…a way of life that has been passed down for centuries.   So I grieved the soul who placed a book of man’s words next to a book of God’s words.

We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.   My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there

Upon reflection, my grief upon seeing these two books side by side has surprisingly been replaced with something else…hope.  Because in America, where zeal for one’s different beliefs promotes discussion, a chance for the name of Jesus to be spoken out loud just might present itself.  A seed just might be planted.  An example just might be set.  Someone just might seek God and if she does, she WILL find.  (a promise from Jesus)  These opportunities are not always available in Asia.  There are no Bibles in hotel nightstands there.

So,  may the one who placed the Bhagavad Gita next to the Bible become curious.  May she pick it up and wonder if there is more to life than endless reincarnations.  May curiosity overcome fear.   May a stiff, unused Bible from a hotel room drawer become her best friend as the living words lead her to Jesus.

When there is a Bible, there’s always hope.  I’m betting that is why the Gideon Society place a Bible in every hotel room to begin with.

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SOMEONE IS...A series about facing trouble with eyes and Bible wide open. SOMEONE IS FROZEN: Everyone loves someone who is spiritually frozen...a statue among the pulse of humanity. For all outward appearances, this one you love has given up on God. So how exactly should we pray for this someone?


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Someone is Frozen

Someone is…  A series about facing trouble with eyes and Bible wide open.

SOMEONE IS...A series about facing trouble with eyes and Bible wide open. SOMEONE IS FROZEN: Everyone loves someone who is spiritually frozen...a statue among the pulse of humanity. For all outward appearances, this one you love has given up on God. So how exactly should we pray for this someone?

Do you love someone who is spiritually frozen…a statue among the pulse of humanity?  Unable to move, life zips around their frozen feet, barely stirring a hair on their head.   Fear, depression, illness, or loss can be a culprit.   The speeding of time and the management of it,  can often cause a person’s spark to dim.  Watching one you love slowly melt into the wallpaper is heart wrenching.

For all outward appearances, this one you love has given up on God.   They have no confidence that they can be anything other than paralyzed, so they sit. We pray and plead for this one we love, perhaps for years upon years.

So how exactly should we pray for this someone?

I recently found a scripture in a book that many don’t commonly read…Nehemiah.  As I dug into the Word,  interested in this man who traveled from captivity in Babylon to coordinate the re-building of the wall in Jerusalem, I discovered a phrase that explained what made him move.  Move.  That’s the word that is missing from our frozen friends y’all, M*O*V*E.  What moved Nehemiah can move the ones you love too.  He says it twice, listen to  this…

“…I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem...”  2:12 NIV

and

”   So my God put it into my heart to…”  7:5 NIV

I have heard Christians say, “God put it into my heart…,” for years but had no idea it started with Nehemiah.  I think it is important to note that this verse does NOT say, “She nagged me so often that I finally gave in.”  The miraculous moving of the Spirit within someone’s heart can only come from God.  I imagine the frozen heart like the hard earth, unable to hold a seed.  So the sower beats, rakes, and subdues the earth until the soil is ready to receive what the sower has to give, just as the heart receives the Spirit’s plan.  Once planted the roots shoot down to the feet and GLORY to GOD… someone is moving.

So how exactly should we pray for this someone?

That God speak into the heart of stone.

That He speak plainly and with force.

That His voice gives the frozen heart courage to move.

And that those who pray trust in the coming miracle.

Trust the sower y’all.

SOMEONE IS...A series about facing trouble with eyes and Bible wide open. SOMEONE IS FROZEN: Everyone loves someone who is spiritually frozen...a statue among the pulse of humanity. For all outward appearances, this one you love has given up on God. So how exactly should we pray for this someone?

 

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Find out about a terrible spiritual struggle I had while I was living in Cambodia that I pray you can use as a parable for your own anxiety.


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When It’s Not a Cobra After All

One of the challenges of living in Cambodia six months out of the year is snakes.  They pop up when you least expect them.  During our first three months of living here, there were several snake sightings in the yard.  I never saw one myself, but the guys living in the dormitory across from my house always said the same thing, it was big…it was black…and it would run away by crawling up the bamboo plants next to the wall.   Beyond the wall of our house is a wild area, perfect for all kinds of critters.  I guess every once in a while the black snake decides to hunt on our side.

So here is the problem.  Two Khmer friends were living on the property, and described the snake by gestures…making their arm go up as if in a striking position.  It also appeared that they were describing a cobra hood.  So naturally I Googled cobras and discovered YES there are cobras in Cambodia.  Thus began the reign of terror in my mind.  One night I was so overcome by my own fears that I cried myself to sleep repeating scripture, Bible by my cheek.  It turns out that the experience I had with the cobra is a perfect metaphor for the anxiety I experience when I don’t trust God.

Find out about a terrible spiritual struggle I had while I was living in Cambodia that I pray you can use as a parable for your own anxiety.

There was a communication gap.

First of all, I never saw the snake myself.  I made hasty assumptions based on my own fear.  This is often the case when life circumstances look grim, I seem to find myself believing the worst.  I jump to conclusions.   The enemy knows me.  He tempts me to abandon ship when the ship is not really sinking.  He tempts me to yell out,  “Master, how can you sleep when the waves and wind are overtaking the boat?”

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea.  And there was a great calm.  Matthew 8:20

I seem to live in a cycle.  PANIC…CRY OUT FOR HELP…GREAT CALM.  Why can’t I ever just skip the first two parts and go straight to great calm?

The facts were less scary.

One day I was by myself inside my house (we have three houses within the walls of our complex), windows open, when the constant bark of our dog Quondo drew my attention to the yard.  I saw a dance going on between Quondo and the black snake.  Quondo would bark, and the snake would rise up as tall as the dog’s head.   Several things I noticed in my excitement:  Each time the snake would take a strike posture, it would quickly turn to flee, it was terrified, and most importantly, I noticed it was NOT a cobra.  But it was big.  So I started yelling for help.  Once Quondo killed the snake, with a little help from a friend with a shovel, I got a good look…a rat snake.

Find out about a terrible spiritual struggle I had while I was living in Cambodia that I pray you can use as a parable for your own anxiety.

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Y’all, I still didn’t like the idea of a snake on the property, but no one was going to die horribly.  I had wasted all those days filled with the possibility of  death when I never even considered that Jesus was in the boat.  To be honest, ALL of my anxious moments in life turn out exactly like this.  I find myself hearing Jesus say,  “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”  My cheeks momentarily heat with shame, and then I enter into the calm of trusting Jesus.  I need to stop assuming the worse.

Snakes in the yard

There evidently is a whole family  of black snakes living on the other side of the wall because the incident above was not the last time I saw a big black snake.  There were several more sightings and more observations on my part.  The biggest surprise to myself was that my fear no longer crippled me.  The day of our big Christmas event arrived.  I went back to my house when I saw the snake drop down out of the tree in front of my house.  I saw the direction he was heading and ran to find Quondo or one of the guys in the house. Everyone was busy, even Quondo. Surprisingly I found myself okay with that.  I was living in the great calm that only can be experienced when Jesus changes a heart.  When someone, like me,  decides to start trusting, even though occasional snakes drop in.

I still don’t like snakes.

Just because I wasn’t overcome with anxiety over the prospect of a snake in the yard, that didn’t make me a snake lover…just watch me run!  In keeping with this analogy, I could say the same thing about things I stress about.  I am learning to trust in Jesus for my safety, but it doesn’t mean I am comfortable going through suffering.   I still don’t like it.  At all.  And that’s okay.  The point is that when the enemy presents a problem that seems like a cobra, I will remember this experience and try not to jump to a conclusion that will debilitate me.

Find out about a terrible spiritual struggle I had while I was living in Cambodia that I pray you can use as a parable for your own anxiety.

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Pictures:  +Quondo my hero.  She keeps the property safe from all intruders.  When we wake up in the morning we often are surprised  with the remains of an animal she has battled in the night.  ++My favorite place in the world,  the Montana ranch where my father grew up.  This is a view of Snake Butte at sunset.  The story goes that my great aunt was visiting from out of town one year when my father was a teenager, and she decided to go to the top of this butte to get some pictures.  What she found on top was a nest of rattlesnakes.  Legend has it that there were hundreds of them…anyway, there was a lot.  My father and grandfather blew them up with dynamite.  At least that’s the story.  Appropriate for my Cambodian snake tale wouldn’t you say?  The name Snake Butte stuck from then on.

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