A Place of Healing

Journey Pink

Do you want to get well?Can you imagine waiting 38 years to be healed?

The story of the Healing at the Pool in John 5 is a powerful story. It takes me back to the beginning of my healing journey. I remember reading in church about Jesus noticing and approaching the man who had suffered for 38 years.

My heart was pounding. At the time, I was thirty-eight years old.

Then, verse 6 jumped off of the page at me when Jesus asked him: “Do you want to get well?”

Those six words changed everything, and Jesus had my full attention. I didn’t know how to get well but I wanted to try. I just needed to trust Him to show me.

Recently, I read John 5 in the VOICE, and once again verse 6 stood out to me.

Jesus (to the disabled man):  Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?  John 5:6 (VOICE) 

This place…

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Hope for When You Can’t Control Your Tongue

Faith Spilling Over... Into Everyday Life

Hope for when you can't control your tongue

There’s a Salt Water Woman lurking inside of me, and she comes out at the darnedest times. Like last Saturday afternoon when we were driving around White Rock Lake looking for T.P. Hill. For an hour. Friends invited us to a picnic, but my husband, heaven help him, left the directions at home. The GPS went haywire, and we didn’t have the host’s phone number.

Salt Water Woman whined:  “It would have been great to get a phone number.” She used sarcasm: “Hopefully we’ll make it there by nightfall.”

I immediately regretted my words. You see, I don’t want to be a Salt Water Woman. I want to be a Fresh Water Woman.

Hope for fresh water scripture

Have you ever taken a big drink of salty water when you’re dying of thirst? It tastes terrible and makes you sick. In contrast, fresh water tastes great, quenches thirst and brings life.

The Salt Water Woman…

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BLOG IS MOVING

Hello all:

Thank you for your constant encouragement and readership. This blog has (joyously) matured past its current state. I’ve been convicted about making some organizational changes to it as well.

So, beginning now, please find further writings over at: firstandsecondblog.wordpress.com

If you’re interested in what the change is all about, read on here: https://firstandsecondblog.wordpress.com/about-the-author/

When it comes down to it, all of my writing can be nestled under Matthew 22:37-39:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.”

First and Second is a blog that will better unify my faith writing. It is based on unifying in words that which the Lord daily has to work to unify in me and you: the two greatest commandments He gives.

Blog posts on First and Second will be labelled according to the command they primarily focus on. The lines between the commands will likely blur though, as well they should. They’re “alike” for a reason.

It is through the first command that we are able to righteously, humbly, and effectively complete the second command. Through the second command, we get to live out and demonstrate the first.

My prayer is that through this blog, all who know or are just now encountering Christ will be blessed by the unity of His every command and His gracious enabling us to fulfill that which seems impossible, but is possible in Him: true, genuine, unconditional love. Both for the Lord and for His people.

On Jesus’ Team

Photo from: www.huntleyyouthsports.org

A few basic rules to keep in mind as we “press on toward the goal.” Simple and straightforward, I pray these help us work together with our spouses and loved ones to glorify God, “running the good race set before us.

  1. Encourage one another
  2. Strategize according to what is right
  3. Give grace when mistakes are made
  4. Practice doing good even when you’re weary
  5. Point each other to the goal
  6. Hold each other accountable for following the rules of the game
  7. Take extra steps to be present and engaged even when it’s not your job
  8. Listen to the coach together

Gratefully linking up with:  Woman to Woman WednesdayWomen with Intention,TellHisStory,Thought-Provoking Thursday, Missional Women, and DancewithJesus

When Communicating Seems Impossible

Photo from: stevemehta.com

Marriage is a place in which we learn just how difficult the basics of communication really are.

I’ve learned in my marriage that what means one thing to him doesn’t mean the same to me. His use of words is often full of hyperbole and expression, I’m often literal. He says what he thinks, I think about all the different things I say. It’s hard to figure out at times which thing that was said was a decision, and which was just talking. Our lines get crossed.

This isn’t just my marriage.

There are stories of marriages that fall apart because a wife works day and night to make the home perfect and spotless, and, never receiving thanks or compliments, wears herself thin trying to improve it further. Meanwhile, her husband is pleased, but he never expresses it. His displeasure grows, however, as she seems less and less interested in him and more obsessed with the home. They end up in counseling because she feels overworked and underappreciated, and he feels like she doesn’t care about him.

The resulting phrases are familiar to us:

  • “How can you possibly say that? Or think that?”
  • “Haven’t you paid any attention?”
  • “Why didn’t you say so?!”
  • “What do you think I’m doing all this for??”
  • “If you had just…”
  • “That’s not enough. Don’t you know how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?”

When words like these start flying, it’s time to bring in a third party. Or rather, the first party: the Lord.

Ever considered that just like God made you (and the whole world, including your spouse,) He also made language? He made communication in every form. Nonverbal, demonstrative, literal, actual words, in written form. All by His design.

He also designed marriage, with all of its cracks, potholes, and gaping gulfs of “we just aren’t able to connect.” Let Him span all of that. Let Him unite the two of you in such a way that at long last, those impossible communication gaps are bridged.

All others things that we unite in in marriage won’t last. Causes, personality traits, commitments, passions, and hopes will change over time. The Lord will not. All of those little things that get lost between two people as they try to work together are known to the Lord.

Unite in Him.

I’ll say it again, in this rambling, poorly communicated post: unite in Him.

If your words to each other aren’t working: pray. Together. You’ll find that there is more grace, more possibility, and more opportunity to be one when the One who matters gets to speak first.

Gratefully linking up with:  Woman to Woman WednesdayWomen with Intention, TellHisStory,Thought-Provoking Thursday, Missional Women, and DancewithJesus

When Right is Wrong

Photo from: www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com

3 words every spouse (and person, really!) loves to hear: “you were right.”

We like to be right. Many of us like to do the right thing. In fact, our desire to be “right” is so strong and deep that we have opened its meaning up to include ideas like:

  • Do whatever feels right
  • Do whatever seems right
  • Do what is right for me might be wrong for you
  • Do the right kind of wrong

So warped is our idea of righteousness (the word which “right” is the root of) that we can live blissfully ignorant that our idea of right is absolutely wrong. This isn’t just a secular issue eluding functional logic and philosophy.

In our Christian circles, we’ve become deadset on “right” and “wrong.”

Churches divide over “right” and “wrong” decisions, big and small. Marriages end when one person is right and the other wrong. We examine Scripture to determine what we feel is right. In prayer, we sense what is “right” in our hearts. As we listen to and encourage our spouses and loved ones, we make determinations about what is “right” and push for it.

For many of us, pursuing righteousness encroaches on sin. We try to be right in order to:

  • Assuage our fears
  • Earn a good name
  • Prove ourselves trustworthy
  • Make ourselves wise
  • Build up our pride
  • Guide others
  • Get to where we want to be

In all of these things, the goal of being right is ultimately about us. Ourselves, our loved ones, our futures. But righteousness only exists in relation to God. There is no such thing as truly being “right” apart from Him.

Psalm 16:2 tells us that “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

When we separate being right from pleasing God, we diminish the purpose of being right in the first place. We place our goals in the sin of self and this world instead of glorifying Him. As a result, being “right” is no longer a good thing –or a righteous thing.

Often we don’t see righteous as a part of following and glorifying the Lord.

Our twisted concept of righteousness is reward-based. (TWEET THIS!)

We “save ourselves for marriage” because it’s right…because it leads to healthier relationship and whatever other reasoning we’ve been told. We submit to our husbands because it’s right…because of the benefits and the way it makes him feel. We serve others on missions trips because it’s right…AND because we’ve heard so many times that when it’s over, WE are the ones blessed.

It’s not wrong to receive blessings from the Lord, even as rewards. All good gifts do come from God.

But sometimes our idea of being “right” is a lot like the idea of the kid who shapes up right before Christmas so that Santa will think he is “good.” That’s not righteousness.

Hear and recall the words of Romans 3:

“This RIGHTEOUSNESS is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

and all are JUSTIFIED FREELY by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Righteousness is all about our standing with God. It has nothing to do with works, but the position of the heart. Regarding our eternal relationship with God, we are saved. Sealed. Guaranteed because of the grace of Christ.

In regards to our relationship with the Lord right now on earth, we are to be:

filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11.)

The next you want to be right or try to be or do right, remember why it matters at all. Remember that being right is all about the glory and the praise of God.

Is an eternity of close relationship with Him, praising Him, not our reward in heaven? Let it be your reward on earth, too.

….Even when you hear those treasured words: you were right, turn them into praise for the One who gets to determine that truth!

Gratefully linking up with:  Woman to Woman WednesdayWomen with Intention, TellHisStory, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Missional Women, and DancewithJesus

 

What You Don’t Do Counts

Photo from: 8-ball.net

Whether or not you have kids you’ve probably heard about the importance of not crushing little ones’ spirits. The Bible phrases it this way: do not embitter or exasperate your children, or they will become discouraged (Col 3:21, Eph 6:4.)

Though spouses certainly are not to have child/parent relationships, there is an important point made here: our words and attitudes can discourage those we love. We can crush each other’s spirits.

That’s important to remember.

Many of the New Testament teachings on relationships are in the positive. Love one another. Encourage and exhort each other. Lift one another up. Carry each other’s burdens. These call to action statements get us geared up for Godly relationships (Tweet this!)

But we have other options.

We have the ability to work against these commands. We can tear each other down. We can withhold compliments. But our discouragement can be less than intentional.

Have you ever quietly brushed off a loved one when they were in a good mood and you weren’t? Do you know what it feels like to work hard for the sake of a spouse who fails to say thank you –or even look pleased?

Marriage advice books often address issues that result from “inactions” like these. Consider that your silence says something to those around you. The things you fail to appreciate, over and over, can exasperate others. Many small and gentle criticisms make one bitter when compliments are never offered.

Chances are that you don’t mean anything by these inactions. You may not be disapproving, critical, or ungrateful. But God’s Words about loving other are action-oriented for a reason. We all need to see it, hear it, and feel it instead of just believing it all the time.

That transfers to faith, doesn’t it? God blesses with “faith-boosters” all of the time. He times that call just right. He answers that simple prayer tangibly. His gifts are good and exactly what we need. We have reasons to joy and delight in Him. God doesn’t have to do these things, but He chooses too.

Tangible reminders like these don’t diminish our relationship with the Lord or our faith in Him. Instead present, active demonstrations by the Lord in our lives build us up. Follow His example, encouraging one another in the Lord!

It’s a small thing –but ask yourself (or a loved one, if you’re brave!) what you don’t do that they wish you would.  

Linking up with:  Woman to Woman WednesdayWomen with Intention, TellHisStory, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Missional Women, and DancewithJesus