Lessons Worth Re-Learning

This is my journey that the LORD Jesus Christ has taken me on in my life. So don't be surprised, this is a Christian site written by a Christian. Most of us have lived our Christian lives such that if we bloomed where we were planted, we'd be mushrooms in a cave! If you would like to subscribe to this blog, please send me an e-mail.

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Location: Farmington, New Mexico, United States

I am just like everyone else: I make it one day at a time with a little bit of humor. The Word of God is a fire in my heart that burns all the way down to my bones and I cannot hold it back. Jeremiah 20:9

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am Sojourner

May 1995

My citizenship is in Heaven now; I am just a Sojourner here, because my faith in Jesus Christ has changed me. I am to be holy because He is Holy.

I received this when God saved me from depression and kept me from dying but I woke up a new creation that night. The old Linda died, I am His now.

Galatians 2:20 (my wording) I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ the Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in this body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Savior, who loved me and gave up His life for me.

Philippians 3:20 (NKJV) “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NKJV) “These all died in faith, not having received the promises (the Hebrews of old), but having seen them afar off (in the future) were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Ephesians 2:13-22 (NKJV) “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the LORD, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:13-19 (NKJV) “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is Holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

1 Peter 2:9-14 (NKJV) "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore, submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the LORD’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good."

Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV) “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

Titus 2:1-15 (NKJV) “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters (bosses), to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back (talking back), not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Who I Am (or rather, Who Am I?)

I am nobody. Most importantly, I am nobody special. I don’t like talking about myself, and I’m not going to go into a lot of history about how I think I got this way. I can sugarcoat the truth to make it more palatable, but I have learned through life experiences to confront it. The blunt truth is, I was an unwanted baby. My mother didn’t want any more babies, and she was experienced at self-abortions. (So she claimed.) She had her own problems that began a long time before I came on the scene. But the Lord in His infinite mercy prevented her from aborting me. The Lord has a purpose and a plan for me and each one of us, even before we are born.

Psalm 139:14-17 (NKJV) “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”

God gives us a precious personality when we are conceived. What life experiences we have, how we choose to react to them, what we choose to remember about those experiences, and learn from them molds and shapes who we become. It really doesn’t matter what happened, we can’t change the past. All we can do is decide whether or not to do that again, or to forgive the other person, or just decide that today I’m going to do the best I can with the Lord’s help.

It is sufficient to know that I had a rough time growing up and that it left me with some personal and social handicaps even though I was born-again January 1973 when I was 22 years old. Depression is one of them. I also have low self-esteem, shyness, worry, perfectionism, self-centeredness, unrealistic expectations for myself, and feelings of failure, inadequacy, and worthlessness. If you are reading this, you may recognize some of these things in yourself as well. I know that the times in my life when I allow myself to get too busy with family or work or just life, and let my devotion time slip by, I struggle more. Prayer and Bible study keep things in perspective. I feel it keeps me in God’s lap.

Depression can be triggered by any one of a number of things or all of them. The time of year can be a catalyst because of different levels of sunshine and temperatures. Or it can be caused by close proximities to holidays and special occasions.

The sin in my life is also a catalyst. Unforgiven sin causes death both spiritually and physically.

Romans 5:12 (NKJV) “Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –“

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

James 1:14-15 (NKJV) “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

I must not allow myself to believe that my sin condition is worst than anybody else’s. Constant comparisons to other people are hopeless paths that lead to depression, even those I think are better than me: financially, morally, spiritually, intellectually, etc. Jesus still died for my sin. I must never trivialize that.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Romans 3:10-18 (NKJV) “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable, there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb, with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:23 (my wording) For we have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God. But we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that Jesus Christ bought for us. The Word of God is the great equalizer.

When human relationships let me down, God is reminding me of where I should be getting my ‘atta-boys’. That would be from Him. He looks over me jealously with no apologies.
If God can raise up: a prostitute like Rahab, a drunk like Noah, a murderer like Moses, a satanist like Simon, or a religious bigot like Saul, there is hope for me! But there is a price: “Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31

Depression can be described as a pity-party with Me, Myself, and I. It is a black hole into self. It is caused by a doubt of self, which is a camouflage of doubt in God. Because He created me. He chose me. Doubt by nature is unbelief. Unbelief is sin. The Good News of the Gospel Of Christ is God’s Love, God’s Plans, God’s Provisions, and God’s Rewards.

I get frustrated because I used to have a mind like a steel trap and would learn anything very quickly. Lately, I am very forgetful. I forget people, events, especially scriptures. I’ll be reading and start to cry because I’ll read a scripture I used to know like the back of my hand and I had forgotten it. This happens all the time now. But you know, that drives me to stay in the Word, because it’s just as fresh and relevant today as the day He breathed it.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void [without results], but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

I get frustrated because in many small ways I can see my body failing. Some of it is age, some, who knows? God knows. And all He promises me is today. I don’t know if I have tomorrow.

2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV) “We are confident, yes, well pleased to rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

I want to stay dependent on God, not myself.

Many times I feel so worthless that I feel I handicap the Body of Christ. Well, and if I am so handicapped, I am especially loved by my Father because I am a ‘special’ child which places me closest to His heart. And I want to be a child in my Daddy’s lap.
“for of such is the Kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16 (NKJV)

I struggle with incredible feelings of failure, low self-esteem, inadequacy, and worthlessness. Truth is, God created me just the way I am. I am His child, and He loves me. If I sing, it’s because He has put a song in my heart and I sound beautiful to Him. As for my physical or mental weaknesses, He knows what He created me for and to do. He expects nothing else. The unrealistic expectations are from me.

Psalm 73:26 (TLB) “ My health fails; my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; He is mine forever!”

I’m not good with people. I’d rather be a hermit in a cave than socialize. I’m not competitive and I’m not very assertive. People like to play this ‘better than you’ game. Smarter, stronger, better, holier. If you don’t like to play the game, people assert themselves above you or don’t associate with you. And I get caught up in it, too, just to make myself seem better. I wish I didn’t. Because no matter how good I think I am, there’s always someone out there who either is or thinks they are better than me. God is the one who loves people, and He is the one who has placed a love in my heart for people, even when I do forget their names. He knows who they are, and He died for them anyway.

I worry too much. “What if this?”, or “What about that?”. Did I do this right, or did I say the wrong thing? Truth is, God is in control. There are no coincidences and no surprises to Him. He knows what my thoughts are and what I’m going to say or do. (Psalm 139) It’s my job to live for Him and seek Him in all things. What He wants from me is a closer walk with Him.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV) “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets . . .”

I may not be a great orator and I am not to worry about how or what I should speak. For it will be given to me in that hour what I should speak. For it is not me who speaks, but the Spirit of my Father who speaks in me. Matthew 10:19-20 (NKJV)

I may not have a beautiful voice, but “[God] has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God” Psalm 40:3 (NKJV)

My common sense may make sense only to me, but I belong to Jesus Christ and He is my wisdom from God.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV) “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God . . .”

James 1:5 (NKJV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

I may be forgetful, but so is He.

Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV) “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins”
No matter what anyone else thinks or even what I think about myself, I will be bold because He goes with me.

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV) “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 27:1 (NKJV) “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
And don’t forget, John 3:30 (NKJV) “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

I didn’t write this book to elevate myself in any way. I compiled these messages to help myself. God gave me these scriptures and lessons to help me with my own depression. No message or scripture is for private use only though. I also have come to believe that God wants me to help the Body of Christ. Our Dear Lord can use each and every one of us if we will just submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to guide us.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NKJV) "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base [insignificant] things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’"

All of my accomplishments are less than nothing, just filthy rags compared to Him. My prayer is to be so submitted to Him and to the Holy Spirit that I can speak that one word to that one person at just the right time, for His glory. My life will then be a success.

Let my eyes be fixed on the hope that cannot fail.
Let my life be set where the hammer meets the nail.
Place my feet where the rubber meets the road.
Shape my heart to please Your eyes alone.
That I may live my life where the chisel meets the stone.

- 4Him, “Chisel Meets the Stone”