Fathers Day for the fatherless

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Today we celebrate fathers. Fathers by blood, stepfathers, father figures in our lives. For some, there are no fathers in the flesh to celebrate.

When I think of a father I think of a man who provides, protects, and loves you. Some of us have never experienced this in our own lives. So when we come to know God and build a relationship with Him, we look to God to be the father we never had in the flesh

My blood father was absent most of my life. He was unable to be a father due to his battles with himself..

At the age of 10 my mother brought a man into our home who also was unable to be a father. His battles were with anger that revealed itself through violence. He was physically and verbally abusive.

As a child I was a molested by an uncle.

With this, how do I believe that God will be a father to me. And how do I persuade others that He will be a father to them? If God is a protector, why didn’t he protect me from molestation and physical abuse? Can I trust Him? Where was He in the beginning?

I have come to believe that while I was being formed in my mother’s womb He watched to make sure that I had the emotional strength to experience what I did but not. be destroyed. But how can I help someone else to believe that God was being a father while their fathers failed them? What can I say to help them see God as a father?

I have learned that God wants us to come to Him with our hard questions. He already knows our thoughts from afar (Psalms 139:2). So this morning I asked God, “Lord, will you help me to see you as a father even being molested, abused, and raped? How can I give you glory through my story? I want to be able to tell others how You were a father, protector, provider, and lover to me.”

In Luke 22:32 Jesus told Peter, “when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” When God delivers us, heals us, restores us, we are to go do the same to our brothers. I asked these questions so I can share the answer with others. So they can experiance God as their father, provider, protector, lover.

I will share the revelation God shares with me on a future post. Until then, I’m waiting and listening. I do love God and know that He loves me. He has been a father to me. I want to be able to help others experience Him as a father too.

 

PUNISHING THE PRESENT FOR YOUR PAST

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I love how patient and loving God is toward us. We get a glimpse of it when we look at how He dealt with David after he slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah. In 2 Sam 12 God waited for David to confess his sin and then He restored him.

I have experienced church hurt. I thought I had allowed God to heal me completely and was moving on. The Lord has revealed to me that although He has healed me, I have not moved into that healing.

I have been punishing people for things they have never done to me. I’ve been keeping myself at a distance. Telling myself that no one is interested in me. I’m not hurting anyone because no one cares. I have no difference to make, no value to add. I have been deceived by my enemy.

1 Cor 12:18 tells me that God has put each part just where he wants it. In Romans 12:6 we are told that God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. For the body. God has given me gifts, abilities, passions, humor to bless others. I’m cheating the body by isolating myself and not sharing what God has given me. I’m punishing people for things they’ve never done.

Lord, forgive me for withholding Your love for others. Holy Spirit, when old thought patterns arise, quicken me and remind me of God’s word. Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

REMEMBER THE THINGS GOD HAS DONE

Hebrews 10:32 tells us Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.

I remember. It was July 4, 1976, my fifteenth birthday. It happened to have fallen on Sunday. A neighbor boy and his mom kept inviting me to go to church with them. I kept saying “I can’t.” You see, at the time, my mother had a boyfriend living with us, who was abusive and controlling. He had an anger issue as well. Whenever there was something we had to ask his permission for, we had to time it right or it was a “No” with yelling and possible punishment. So the request had to be important to us. He also had bad experiences with a church as a boy, therefore he hated God, church, and church people. I was not interested in possibly making him mad for days to attend church.

well I had to walk past his house every time I went to the neighborhood store or to catch the city bus somewhere. I finally relented and told them I would ask. I to,d God, “If you want me to go to church you’re going to have to get him to say yes”. So I asked and surprisingly he said yes. He didn’t ask a lot of questions or make any stipulations. It was God!

I don’t remember what the message was about. I do remember the joy, peace, and love I felt. The Pastor invited anyone who wanted salvation to come forth. I told the young man and his mom that I would go up next time. I didn’t quite understand what going up meant nor what would happen. They didn’t relent so I gave in. Thank God they didn’t relent. I remember being at home later that day and feeling at peace. My ho e was still filled with anger, abuse,and fear but I didn’t care. I had God. I remained faithful to God and what I understood of Him at the time, even though it meant terrible suffering.

early on the Lord revealed to me that my suffering wasn’t just for me. Someone needed to know that suffering may endure through the night but oh what joy when the morning comes.

Isaiah 46:9 Remeber the things I (the Lord) have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.

Can I encourage you to take some time this weekend to remember some of the great things God has done for you. Lets tell someone about them so they will know how great God is.

 

It’s Time to change my “Self talk”.

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As I was getting ready this morning, fixing my hair, looking in the mirror, I caught myself talking critically to myself. More like thinking critical, judgemental thoughts of myself. “Why can’t you be friendlier?” “You need to be nicer to your husband.” “You need to….” “Why don’t you…..?” On and on and on it went. Then I caught myself. Wow! I am not very nice to myself. It’s time to reject the lies and speak what God has said about me.

Denetta, you are blessed. God was watching over you as you were being formed in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:15). Based on what God said after each day of creation, “It is good.” I believe God said the same after your birth. God chose you to be like his Son. According to Romans 8:30 God has given you right standing with himself. And having given you right standing, he has given you his glory. His favor is on you. His glory is in you. His glory is his essence, his Spirit. It’s time to choose truth over lies. It’s time to change my self talk.

I know that from this point on I have to be intentional with what talk I allow myself to speak to myself. (Sounds funny huh?) Each morning I need to remind myself of what God has said about me. I have to declare that I am loved by God. I love God. I love my husband. I am blessed to be his wife. God has blessed me so I can bless others.

I also have to completely release everyone in my past who may have hurt me, rejected me, or neglected me, and allow the Lord to use the experiances for His Glory. Use it to help me be empathetic toward others. Lord, thank you for allowing me to experience what others have and showing me how I can encourage them.

Then every evening I need to reflect on the day and thank God for His blessings, provisions, protection, and favor.

Lord, I’m asking You to remind me, throughout the day, to think good thoughts of myself, my husband and my life. You are good.

My husband has been kind enough to let me know that although I may say things are fine, my actions don’t necessarily reflect those words. That’s because no matter how hard I try to hide what I think, my thoughts are exposed through my attitude and actions. I’m sure there have been times when you’ve asked someone how they’re doing and they said, “I’m fine” but you knew otherwise. Our self talk will reveal themselves.

You were created in the image of God. That image is “good”. You have been chosen by God to become like his son Jesus. God has given you right standing with Him. He has also given you his glory.

Reject the lies that our enemy has tried to present as truth. Chose to think on what is true.

Sorry I’ve been absent.

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I’m still trying to figure out what I want to accomplish here. What does God want me to do here? My life is not all that exciting. My circle is not that many. How can I add value to someone?

I used to think I had nothing of value to offer the world. But then I realized I was rejecting God’s creation. I had to ask the Lord to forgive me. God created male and female in His image. Then He blessed them. (Gen 1:27-28). God’s assignment to every human being is to be fruitful and multiply.  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fruitful as abundantly productive. Not just producing offsprings but living a productive life. A life that reflects the obedience of the most important commandments in Matt 22:36-39, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Lord, I need and ask you to help me to love myself in a balanced way, so I can love my neighbors. Help me to be patient with myself. Help me show mercy to myself. Teach me how to set myself free of expectations. Then I can be patient with others. Then I can extend mercy to others. Then I can free others from expectations and love them the way You have loved me.

I will start out sharing this journey here. How the Lord changes my heart and opportunities I have to demonstrate God’s love to others.

Let me know if you can relate to my challenge. If you’ve already walked this path please share your experiences. I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

REMEMBER GOD’S MIGHTY ACTS

We are approaching a new year, in a matter of days. Most people look forward to a new year starting, because it means they can leave behind or forget the previous year. We have an opportunity to “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 NLT). But it’s not always good to forget the past.

Psalms 78:4b telling to the generations to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Instead of forgetting what’s behind us,  lets take this time to reflect over 2015 and remind ourselves of the things God has done for us. Did God provide for you in a way only He could? Did He heal you of a physical illness or mental wound? Did you experience favor that only God could have shown you? Remember the mighty works of God!

Psalms 78:7-8 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.

8 Then they will not be like their ancestors-stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

The children of Israel ran into trouble, while in the wilderness, when they forgot to Remember the mighty works of God. Although they had witnessed God’s power, through the 10 plagues, and experienced His love from the parting of the Red Sea, they rebelled and disobeyed God, because they continued to forget.

Psalms 78:9-11 The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their back and fled on the day of battle.

10 They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions.

11  They forgot what he had done-the great wonders he had shown them, 12 the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.

Remind yourself! Remember the great things God has done for you. Was there a time when you found yourself facing and ocean in front of you and enemies pursing from behind? There was no where to go to escape! You were convinced life was over. Suddenly! The ocean or wall in front of you departed and you were led to safety. God personally led you to His destination for you, 2016.

Was there a time when you were need of fresh water? No substitute could quench your thirst. You noticed a rock. Surely that rock can’t provide fresh water! The Lord told you to speak to it. Suddenly! Water flowed from the rock. Fresh water that refreshed you. Remember the mighty works of God!

Instead of forgetting your past, remember God’s mighty works. Let me suggest that you start 2016 with a Favor and Blessings Journal. You could even set a daily appointment on your mobile device and title it “Favor and Blessings”. Set an alert for the appointment, to go off in the evening, to remind you to note how God showed his favor and blessing for you that day.

We need to remember God’s mighty works in our lives and tell the next generation. So they will know God and trust God and obey God for themselves.

YOU WERE NOT AN ACCIDENT. I WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT

PSALMS 139:13-16 (NLT)

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

My mother was 17 years old when she conceived me. It was November of her senior year of high school. She was rebelling toward her parents and got involved with a 20 year old young man. Although my conception was a result of an accident, God was making my inner parts and knitting me together in my mother’s womb.

Whether you were planned, a surprise, or the result of an accident, God made your delicate inner parts. He knit you together while you were in your mother’s womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your  workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.

Lord, help me to believe and agree with this verse. Reveal to me the truth of your marvelous workmanship in me. I confess that I have believed the lies from my enemy, that my past negates your truth. I believe. Help my unbelief!

15  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

Regardless of the circumstances behind our conception, God was watching over us. He wasn’t hiding in shame, disappointment, anger, or rejection. He was watching, overseeing, ordering our forming.

16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

I was not an accident to God. My life was recorded before birth. That life included God. He has never, nor will he ever, forsake me or reject me. His plans always lead to Him.

 

Your Stronger Than You Think

Have you ever asked God, “Lord, why did you allow that to happen to me?” or “God, where are/were You when that happened to me?” I have. I did. I remember one time in particular, when I was 16yrs old. I had been living for God for about 1 1/2 years at that point. My home was filled with anger, fear, threats, and abuse. At that point I had expected God to rescue me and He hadn’t. I was asking God, “Where are You?!!” He led me to read Job but I saw something I had missed all that time.

In Job chapter 1 we’re introduced to Job. He was perfect and upright. He was one who feared God, revered him and stayed away from evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He must have been favored by God. Sons represented God’s blessing. He also had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He was wealthy and honored. The richest person in that area and time.

Well, one day the members of the heavenly court presented themselves before the Lord. Satan came with them. God asked Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” He wasn’t just watching. In 1 Peter 5:18 were warned to Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. That’s why the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?” Job 1:9 Satan replied, “Yes, but Job has a good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. Satan had to get God’s permission to trouble Job.

Wow!!!! The trouble I had experienced growing up and attacks I was experiencing right then, could not happen without God’s permission. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (or troubled) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (trouble) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

You are stronger than you think. Give God your pain, your hurt, and your wound, and allow Him to heal it and show you how to glorify Him through it.

Job held on to the truth that God loved him. Because Job would not let go of that truth, God blessed him with more than he lost.

God loves you. You are stronger than you think.

Do You Love Me More Than These?

I have been hearing this question in my mind and heart, for the past week. But the version I’ve been hearing has been, “Denetta, do you love me more than your fears?” Ouch! Lord, you know I love You. But how much?

In John 20 and 21 chapter we read about the disciples’ response to Jesus death and resurrection. Peter was ashamed because he had denied knowing Jesus after his arrest. Although Jesus had just appeared to them in the room they were hiding in, Peter was still confused and ashamed. I imagine.. Jesus found him hiding! Peter didn’t know where to go from there so he did what he was comfortable doing, fishing. Jesus went where Peter was.

Peter and six other disciples had been fishing all night without success. They had to be exhausted tossing out the nets and pulling them in and throwing them out again. ALL NIGHT! Jesus met their need of fish then fed them, before asking the most powerful question to Peter, that launched him to his destiny.

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Jesus used Peter’s birth name to address him here. Simon needed heaven’s revelation to become ‘Peter’. Jesus is asking me and you, “Do you love me more than your comfortable safe life?” If you do, if I do, Jesus wants me to feed his lambs. Feed his new believers. Encourage, support and pour into them.

Do I love Jesus more than my insecurities? Then take care of his sheep. Use my gifts and passions to build up my brothers and sisters.

Do I love Jesus more than fear of rejection? Then feed His sheep. Teach them God’s Word. Pray for his people. Serve the sheep.

Then I read Paul asking the church in Galatia (5:7-8) You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?

8. It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.

Lord, I am ready to feed your lambs. I am willing to care for your sheep. I will feed your sheep. I offer these words for Your Glory!

GETTING OUT THE BOAT

This past Saturday the women  ministry of the church I’m a member of, had planned a day trip to the Washington Coast. It was a time for each lady to get away and have an opportunity to get to know ladies we wouldn’t have gotten to know after Sunday services.

In times past I would have passed on participating with a function like this. First off, because socializing is like work for me. I’m an introvert who prefers spending time at home reading, than meeting friends for fun. I would feel like I had to, “be on” the entire time. My mind would be stressing about being able to initiate conversation with people I didn’t know. Of course, that was the whole point. Second off, I always felt that my absence wouldn’t be noticed. I’m not a “bubbly” or “charismatic” person. I like to laugh but I’m not a “drawer of people.”

The Lord has a way of getting your attention, stirring your heart to want more, so when the time comes, you’re willing to test your faith and step out of the boat, as you come to Him. Earlier last week I came across an article written by Emily White titled, “Leave Your House, Change Your Life.” How to defeat the “Front Door Syndrome.” She wrote that Richard Sennert, a NYU sociologist, describes our retreat inward by the term “uncooperative”. He means that as we pull away from people in our social lives, we become more isolated and less responsive to others in our work environments and in our communities.

I have been praying asking the Lord to give me eyes to see others the way He sees them and a heart to love like He does. I realize that God answers my prayer as I put myself out there, around the others. Will I trust Him and get out of my boat of comfort?

I had a great time. I had an opportunity to share myself and words of encouragement with several of my sisters. The weather was beautiful. Partly cloudy, slight breeze, and warm. Quite often the Oregon and Washington coast is cloudy, windy, and chilly. It was like the Lord was smiling on us.

Although I got home late and I had an early start to Sunday, it was worth it. As I was getting ready I told the Lord, “I’m ok with being tired because it was worth it. Very memorable.”

Trust the Lord and, “Yes, come” Jesus said. (Matthew 14:29a)

My next post will be about my first Small Group leading next Tuesday. Like Jennie Allen says in her book, Anything, my life is not about me, but about what I will give to others.