Thank You

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Recently, had a friend tell me that her upbringing was very strict and for that reason she was not strict with her kids.  I told her, my upbringing was very strict but I was making all the same mistakes my parents made because even though they were terrible parents we all turned out to be pretty good people.

That was tongue in cheek.

My parents are great people and yes, they were strict and although my siblings and I are not perfect and have not led perfectly righteous lives, none of us have been arrested or jailed (I know for me that this was a result of prayer and the sheer grace of God because it could have gone differently), all of us gave our hearts to Jesus, all of us married men who we met in church, we all attend and serve in our churches, we take our children to church, we are good citizens, we obey the law,  we are all good friends, we love each other and are only mildly dysfunctional (anyone who says they aren’t dysfunctional or who seems like they aren’t…they are likely extremely dysfunctional…choose your crazy).

I decided to rear my children in a similar strict fashion as my parents.

Now my parents tell me I am being “too strict”.  I laugh on the inside because they don’t remember when we were young.  My mom had to have been super strict…her house was always clean ; immaculate and she had three kids and a daycare. I have two kids and can’t seem to keep my floor clean.

Several weeks ago my parents got on my case about the boy.  My dad, who was really scary when I was little was telling me to dial it back.  (All the grand kids are a little scared of him…I think it’s the deep voice).  I had a few choice words which I kept to myself.  I did take to prayer.  What my family thinks is important but what God thinks is most important.  As I prayed, God impressed upon me how gracious my parents are.  For you see, they love my son.  My son is adopted and there are some people who might not love him as much as they do  because he isn’t a “biological” grandchild; not my family.  When we adopted him, they adopted him.  That’s the kind of people they are.

So if I am strict, it’s okay. Because one thing my parents taught me (and this is what made the biggest difference) is prayer.  Yes, I am strict and I also pray for myself (to be a godly parent) and I pray for my kids (I hope they miss some of the land minds I stepped on).

My dad reads my blog so I want to take this opportunity once again to say, “Thank you”.  Please tell mom.

Thank you for being the best parents you could be.  Thank you for trying.  Thank you for praying.  Thank you for not giving up.  Thank you.

Your opportunity

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many people read my previous post about being Good ground.  Here is your opportunity to get in on the action.  

You can read about and donate to the cause here.  This is a Go Fund Me account.  it is setup so only the Branham Family can withdrawal the funds.  None of these funds go to me. All funds go directly to the Family.  

Thank you dear readers.  Have a blessed Monday! 

Being Good Ground

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Things have been busier than usual.  I wanted to post a little blog.

Most of my readers know that we are foster parents. We have close friends who are also foster parents. Because they are foster parents I cannot give too many details but I will share what I can.

This couple also serves in our church…in fact, they both gave up paid positions at another church in order to help plant our church.  They now serve as volunteers and took secular jobs in order to provide for their family.

They have fostered children for over 4 years and have adopted two children out of fostercare.  The children they adopted were the two youngest in a sibling group of six.  They had fostered the sibling group of six for nearly 2 years before adopting the two youngest.  Last year they took a boy the same age as their two who they had fostered briefly a few years ago.  Then they began fostering his new born brother.  That means they had four children six and under.

They have maintained a relationship with the bio mom of their adopted children and they have had visits with the children and their siblings.  They found out this summer the family was in some trouble so the siblings came and visited them several times.

Maintaining a relationship with bio families is a tough thing for adoptive parents and it can be confusing for adopted children. Most adoptive parents do not often agree to such terms when adopting.  Agreements made with bio families are not generally legally binding as the adoptive parent has the right to determine who has access to their children.

I could not find any statistics but just considering the families we have worked with I would say around 40% of children who are reunified with their bio family end up back in foster care (feel free to comment if anyone finds actual statistics) .  In Texas, when a child returns to foster care the first people the caseworker contacts is the previous placement for that child to see if the child or children can return to a familiar environment.

Our friends received a call a few days ago asking if they could take in the siblings as they were being removed from their mother’s custody; four more children over night and two of those are young teenagers!

Due to some crazy circumstances going on with our foster care agency, the state has placed an intake hold on all homes licenses through our agency.  The bio mom, signed over temporary rights to her children to our friends.  This is called a “fictitious kinship foster” (I know, we have done this…we have also been a kinship foster home).  What this means is, our friends’ family nearly doubled over night but with no additional income.  The state does not reimbursing kinship foster parents for taking children into their homes.  The timing was not great. School is about to start and now they have seven school age children. That is a lot of school supplies.

Last week, I helped them out with some child care.  While I was there I found out that they were in a big bind.  My dear friend was not complaining or fearful just sharing that they were struggling.  Earlier in the week I had brought cereal and milk over.  And she was telling me how much that had helped her out.  Then she told me about buying several loaves of bread and bologna.  She was waiting for a check to come in which I was sure wasn’t going to arrive for five to seven days.  I didn’t express my concern but I was concerned.

The more I thought about how committed they have been to serve in our church and their commitment to these children the more I wanted to help them in some way.  My plan was to get a few of our church family members to give $5 to $25 and get them a gift card to a local grocery store.  God is so awesome.  His plan is so much better than ours. I texted our pastor asking for permission to do this.  He said that would be fine and that the church would also give.  I sent the email to about six families in our church at 9:17 a.m. on Friday.  By 3:30 p.m. over $400 worth of groceries had been delivered to their home.  One of our friends was at the store and she shared the situation with the checker and a stranger pulled out $100 and gave it to her to help our friends out.  On Saturday another $200+ worth of groceries and gift cards (for gas) had arrived.  Yes, my dear friend cried when they showed up with the groceries.  She has seriously been blown away by the kindness and support of our church family.  On Friday evening we had dinner with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and shared with them how awesomely God answered this need through His people.  Well, my sister-in-law called me the next day and asked the ages and grades of the children.  This morning she had left a bad of school supplies, trash bags, paper plates (every foster family knows the importance of paper plates) and Clorox Wipes.  When I took the items over today, my friend almost cried again.  She said, “I just used our last trash bag today”.  The “God thing” about this is my sister-in-law had decided to just do the school supplies but accidently left the trash bags in her buggy so she went ahead and purchased them thinking we might use them at our house but we have two boxes and one that wasn’t even opened yet.  We didn’t need them so she sent them to our friends.  She has met our friends but she doesn’t really know them.   Keep in mind, I had not even had an opportunity yet to bless them yet.  I was going to get them a gas card but they had already received one.  I was able to kidnap my friend today and she said one of her six year olds had out grown all his jeans and she wanted to get him a pair for school (starting tomorrow) so we went  Old Navy.  They were having BOGO on jeans  We ended up getting four pairs of jeans for about $30.  That’s pretty awesome in case you didn’t know.  My family was able to take care that.  I was determined to get to sow into my friend’s life.

Why?

Glad you asked. My church family made me cry when I found out how generous and giving they were being.  On Friday, I realized they were about to arrive and overwhelm our friends with love so I let my friend know that I had sent out an email.  It wasn’t done in any way to embarrass them.  I know what it is like to have only bread, eggs, peanut butter and jelly in my pantry….and that was when I was single.  I know what it is like to have my electricity turned off.  I know how scared I felt when I was single…the idea of not having enough food for my babies…well that is a desperate feeling.  Our friends understand  that we love them and just wanted to help.

This morning at church my friends told me how help had been arriving since Friday.  My friend’s husband (who is also my dear friend), hugged me and told me “I’m not going to cry” which made me cry.  All I could say is what I felt…”This is what happens when you are good ground.”  People who do not even know you want to sow into you and your family.  Not only that a while back, my family and I were broke (we were “not going out to eat this week broke” NOT “we have no food at all broke”) and my friend gave me $20 and sent the Hubs and I too the movies.  These friends are generous.  They are generous with everyone.  They live a generosity as a lifestyle.  They would give you the shirt off their backs!  Seriously.  They blessed us with $20 and they reaped 40 fold.  That is good ground.

More items were brought to church today.  One family. who is in their own financial bind, brought several loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly.  They sowed a seed. I am waiting with great anticipation to hear about what God does in this family!

Another family asked if they could help and our friends told them we are good on everything except fresh produce.  That family brought bags of produce and veggies over this afternoon.

When I arrived this afternoon, my friend gave me a tour.  Her pantry was full, both fridges and freezers were full.


  
Their cup runneth over.

These people faithfully give to our church, to others, they serve in worship ministry, small group ministry and taking in fatherless children.  They are the real deal.  When they have a need, God is the real deal.  This is how the Body of Christ is suppose to work. When the need arises, we rise up to meet it.

All of my church family who gave, you know who you are, Thank you.  Nothing you do is unseen.  God sees and He is going to bless you.  You can NEVER, EVER, EVER out give God.  I’m just saying!

Hinds Feet on High Places

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Our church, City Chapel has been reading Hinds Feet on High Places.  This past Sunday, I was asked to sit on a panel to discuss the book and how it has applied to my life.

The panel had several people on it and we didn’t have much time to share.  I didn’t get to really go into all I’ve been getting out of the book, I thought I would share my thoughts with you all.

First to describe the book to you…it is the story about a girl named, “Much-afraid” who give her life to a shepherd who leads her on journey into the mountains to change her name.  She is accompanied by Sorrow and Suffering and is pursued by characters such as Craven fear, pride, self-pity, bitterness and resentment.  She must go travel through the wilderness, through the forest, through mist and through storms to get to the mountain range.

I will try to describe some of the situations in the book and what I got out of it.  Before that…I want to point out that some of book I found a little dark for lack of a better word.

The Shepherd sent Much-afraid off with Sorrow and Suffering.  I do NOT believe that Sorrow and Suffering are from God.  I believe God is good and can use anything that happens in our life good.  (Romans 8:28).  God didn’t send destruction upon Job…the enemy did and God believed that Job was good for the fight so He allowed it.  Also, God blesses and brings no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22).  Because there is sin in the world, we will at times have sorrow and at times will suffer but let’s not blame that on God.  I haven’t finished the book yet and I’m hoping that her companions really have different names and it was all some twist in the book…I doubt that is going to happen.

As I have been reading the book, I haven’t really loved Much-afraid.  She has kind of annoyed me.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt been Much-afraid at some time in my life.  I believe that I would have found me annoying during that time in my life.

1.  At the beginning of the journey, the Shepherd tells Much-afraid that she can call on Him and He will be there.  As the story unfolds,  Much-afraid only calls on the Shepherd occasionally usually when her situation was dire or she had run out of her own strength. This was frustrating.  The Shepherd put no limit on how often she could call for Him but she rarely did.  I wanted to yell at her to just call Him…all the time.  I too have used God as my last resort rather the first resort.  It’s not enough to call on the Lord only when you have a need.  It’s time to walk with Him daily.  Much-afraid could have called on the Shepherd every morning…it was a missed opportunity.

2. Much-afraid has these characters following her on her journey.  They are Pride, self-pity, bitterness, resentment.  They keep coming around.  She can’t cover her ears because she is holding hands with Sorrow and Suffering.  (See how none of this sounds like a happy adventure?)  She listens to them rather than remembering the promises of the Shepherd.  She has a cycle.  We all have cycles we go through.  I have had bouts of depression in my life…like” can’t get out of my bed for days” depression or maybe more accurately, “don’t leave my house” depression.  Most of the time, I can recognize when I’m falling into this cycle.  Two times, God has sent people to my house to break the cycle.  Both were friends who were insistent that  get dressed and go with them.  Seriously, it’s good to surround yourself with godly people who will push you.  The second time around was when I had a miscarriage.  I stayed in bed for three days, watched British serial killer tv series on Netflix one right after the other and took prescribed pain killers to try to kill my over-whelming sadness.  Our friends, the Branhams came from where they were living (about 30 miles away) and refused to leave until I got up, showered and had dinner with them.  I don’t remember what we did but my friend Suzy made me shower, get out of bed and go somewhere.  I realize during that time I was fighting depression and major hormone changes. Still, there are times when I don’t want to get out of bed and I start watching some crazy crime drama on Netflix….it’s a cycle. I have to be aware of it and I have to start throwing rocks at it. Here is the truth.  Those “characters” are demons.  Once the enemy figures out how to get a foot in the door of your life, He will send the same little imps to try to wiggle in.  If it’s fear that you fight, you have to guard against fear.  If it’s laziness that stops you from doing what God has directed you to do, then you have to fight the laziness.  Fight!  I still fight against depression some times, these days I recognize the signs sooner rather than later.  These days, I can choose not to linger and not to give in.  We all have cycles that we need to recognize and fight against.  Call it by name and cast it out in Jesus name.

3. In the book, Much-afraid whines a lot about the journey.  She wants to be on the mountain headed to the high places.  She finally gets into foothills of the mountains and climbs to a spot where she believes she will be setting foot on the mountain only to find there is a kind of canyon between her and the mountain; a deep chasm.  At this place, she has a moment of choice…to throw in the towel or keep going.  We all have this moment.  Some people have these moments more than once…the moment of “Is this the life I want?”.  In the book, she thinks about her life without the Shepherd and how empty and alone she would be.  She thinks about how if she were void of the love for the Shepherd her life would be dead.  Here is the thing…the love of Christ is what makes us alive.  We can go back to being dead but we will always know how it felt to be fully alive. Once you have lived, going back to being dead…well, you know too much…once you have been alive, being dead again is nearly impossible…you will always know what you know.  I’ve had a couple of these moments.  I’ve told God,” I love Jesus but I can’t do this anymore.” To which He replied, “What are you going to do?”  and I answered ridiculous things like, “I’m going to hide out and just do what I want to do.”  He would answer, “Ok.  Let me know how that works for you.”.  The truth is, I couldn’t just go on with my life like before….I know too much.  To know and not act accordingly is just as frustrating to our lives as not getting to the place we believe God has shown us He is taking us.  You can’t give up…you know too much too.  Which all leads to number 4.

4.  God gives us dreams and then asks us to burn them upon an alter.  Throughout the story, Much-afraid builds alters and burns things…like her will.  It has been my experience that God will even require you to give back to Him the dreams He has given you.  He will give you a dream…a destination; a picture in your mind’s eye something.  He wants you to dream big.  He wants to put desires in you that are so big they are scary.  He wants to put dreams in you that bigger than anything you can do on your own.  He can and will do BIG things.  Even though, He gave you the dream, at some point He will require you to give the dream back to Him.  This is especially true if you begin making the dream the point; an idol.  It’s never about the dream…it’s always about the Dreamgiver.  When the dream becomes the goal rather the Dreamgiver being the goal then it will be required.  It’s okay.  Give it back to Him.  The truth is, we take the dream and we build all our ideas around it and how we think it will look or how we think the experience should be and God says, “That’s not My plan.”  Our expectations get all crazy and then when it doesn’t happen the way we imagine we are disappointed. When God ask you for the dream, give it back to Him.  The secret is, He will return it to you better than what you imagined.

I would love to hear what you got out of the book….

Blessings

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The Hubs loses his keys…often…not as often as he used to.  After we were married I installed a key hook in our house…keys go there.  If he doesn’t hang his keys up then they are lost.  We invent “treasure hunts” for the kids to find his keys, his glasses, his wedding ring, and occasionally his wallet.  But the key thing…well, this week he lost his keys and his spare key to his vehicle and of course it didn’t become a priority to find them until he needed to go to work. Always with the keys.

The funny part about this, if there is a funny part (for me anyway…I find myself telling my family that God didn’t place me on the earth to find their things), is our last name means ‘keys”.

Yes, we’ve known this for years.  We believe there is a spiritual significance to this that ties into our God-given purpose.  We are called to unlock things.

Today, I’m want to help you unlock blessings in your life.

Several years ago someone gave us some financial advise.  I don’t remember what the advise was.  I don’t remember because I didn’t take the advise.  I didn’t take it because the person giving the advise was not enjoying financial freedom in their life.  They were giving me advise that they either had not followed, didn’t really believe in or it could have been bad advise.  Not sure.  The point is, I told the Hubs, we are going to get our financial advise from the Bible or from Christians who are financially successful.  This made sense to me.

This past year, we have been working with the boy to memorize scripture.  He memorized his first scripture when he was about 3 years old.  We still repeat it.  II Timothy  1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  We have signs for it and are teaching it to our baby. We decided to take on a summer project.  For the summer, the Boy is memorizing Psalm 1.  He is half way through.  He has memorized first three scriptures.  Yes, I’m totally bribing him.  When he can quote it to me without my help, we will take him to Chuck E. Cheese.  I’m getting the Word into my kids whatever it takes…he want’s to go to Chuck E. Cheese…it’s his currency so that’s what we are doing.

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Every day I  am reading this and I begin seriously contemplating it.  I’m meditating on it.  God showed me one day that I’ve been “sitting in the seat of the scornful”.  To scorn is “a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval: harsh criticism that shows a lack of respect or approval for someone or something” (According to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scorn) I began consider this.

Then I thought, wow, (I realize this is pretty obvious but I memorized this passage in 6th grade and It took 30 years for me to have an “ah-ha” moment), “If we want to have a blessed life the Bible tells us right here what to do”.

I don’t want to be scornful of anyone but how many of us have taken our counsel from sinners?  How many of us have sat in counsel with sinners rather than seeking the advise of believers?

Stop asking Oprah what to do.  She isn’t a Christian (that I know of).  Stop getting advise from people named Jenner and Kardashian (seriously, I’m not going to be scornful here…but seriously).  Maybe it’s not Oprah any more..maybe it’s your neighbor or your hair stylist or someone whose blog you read.  Stop asking people who do not know Jesus for advise.  It’s not godly counsel. Young people, stop asking for advise from people because they are “popular” or “hot” or whatever…ask yourself, “Are they godly?  Do they know Jesus and will their advise be based on the Word of God.”

How many of  us maintain close relationships with people are sinners?  I’m talking about people who know they are sinning and are unrepentant and who are NOT going to stop sinning.  We are hanging out on their path with them.  This is how young men end up going to prison when they were simple in the car with someone who is selling drugs.  Seriously, if someone is breaking the law, and they are not going to stop, and you know it and you still hang out with them…then you are positioning yourself in the path of sinners.  You cannot spend all your time with sinners and not become one.  I can tell you from experience, if your close friends are sinning (and they know it) they will minimize and justify until it’s okay for you too.  Besides…when the police start arresting people…they aren’t going to be asking you if were participating…they arrest everyone and it MIGHT get sorted out later.

If you want to be blessed…this is Psalm 1 revamped….stop getting advise from ungodly people (I don’t care if they have a PHD in “wisdom”…true wisdom comes from God), stop hanging out with sinners and criminals and stop disrespecting and criticizing everything and everyone.  Cut it out.  If you do these things, then you will be successful, you will bear fruit, you will be well watered and everything you do will prosper.

There you go.

Just Sayin’….Let’s Start Praying

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fear

A few days ago, I had a call out of the blue.  The person began telling me how he had lived his life in fear.  Fear isn’t really my thing.  If you are a believer and you play the “What if…” game (What if this happens?  What if that happens?) then you usually come back to God.  Yet, Christians struggle with fear.

As I talked to my friend, I quoted Craig Groeschel, “What you fear reveals what you value the most and where you trust God the least.”  It’s not necessarily a bad thing…it reveals.  After quoting Pastor Groeschel, I went ahead and looked for the message.  You can watch one of his messages on fear here. I watched the message at 1 a.m.  (I’m sure the Hubs loved that) because I do not like to post things I haven’t read/listened to all the way through.

I remembered a message we listened to on our recent trip (we listened to lots of podcast while driving).  The message was from Candace Johnson and it was one of Bethel’s Sermons of the week.  She told the story of  an a foreign trip her husband took the first year of their marriage.  He was asked to take the trip when someone else had to drop out.  They were praying about it and they became convinced if he went that he would die.  They were panicking.  Eventually, they called pastor friends of their, Kris and Kathy Vallotton.  She said they listened and then Kris asked a simple question, “Does God usually speak to you in fear?”  Of course the answer was, “No”.  The Bible says, “Perfect love casts down fear”. Jesus is perfect love….Jesus doesn’t use fear to motivate us, He uses love.

How many of us listen to fear rather than the voice of God?

Then the ruling by the Supreme Court came out and many Christians began to deal in fear.

I started wondering…what are we afraid of?  Are we afraid that people who do not believe the same as us are going to “take over” the US?  Too late.  We should have been thinking about that for the last 25 years.  Much of what I saw/read went back to the Old Testament and quoting scriptures about God leaving the unrighteous nation.  The law has never stopped anyone from living unrighteous lives.  People who want to sin are going to sin.

Laws against abortion will not stop abortion.  The Church must begin to pray for the hearts of mothers to be turned to God.

We will not legislate people out of sin.

If we want a righteous, godly nation then we have to two do two things…1. As Christians we must become righteous and godly.  2. We must reach our nation with the gospel.  People need a change of heart, not a change of law. Until the heart of the people turns to God, do not expect change to happen.

Our war has never been against people or even political regimes. Our battle is in the heavens.

The church has failed. We have focused on eradicating poverty, changing laws and making church relevant.  We could have and should have been praying for our nation.

When prayer ceases in a nation this is what we end up with.

I think many Christians are concerned that if God is “against” the United States then we will no longer be “blessed”.  Do we think that God will abandon the nation at the expense of His children, the faithful?  That’s not who He is.  God is still on the throne.  He is still good.

There is a call once again to pray for our nation.  There is a call once again to NOT give way to fear but trust God.

This past week the enemy was able to sow fear into believers all around this nation.  He was able to do this in mass.  In fear, believers wrote and said many things that revealed hate.  The enemy sowed fear and hate spewed forth.  The fear only revealed, it didn’t make.

Now we know.

We also found out that there are many Christians that are easily swayed by popular culture.  People were posting rainbows all over the internet and celebrating a win.  I’m not sure if people are sincerely in support of the ruling or if they are just jumping on the band wagon.  It was confusing.

Then there was hate spewed from all sides.  If you spoke out against the ruling you were labeled a bigot.  If you said nothing people assumed you were for it or they assumed you are against it.  Sharp words were exchanged on all sides.

We found out that it is fine to express opinions supporting the Gay/Lesbian agenda but free speech isn’t for those who are not in support of it.  The idea that we are only allowed to speak freely if our opinion is popular is very UnAmerican.  That is where I start becoming concerned.  I’m concerned that the rights that our country were built on that I am allowed to speak freely about my beliefs and freely practice my religion are in jeopardy.  And it does look like that is where we are headed as a nation if somethings do not change.

The enemy may have gained some footing in this battle but the war isn’t over.

We have been fighting the wrong things.  We have fought against people when we should have been calling on the name of the Lord.

We have to stop being afraid of people and what they can do to us.

We have to stop allowing FEAR to be our driving force.  We have to stop giving fear any leeway in our lives. Fear lies.  Fear misleads.

Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks NOT in the counsel of the ungodly”  Why are we taking counsel from fear? We are righteous.  Want to be blessed?  Counsel with the godly.  Counsel with the Great counselor.

Just saying….

Let’s start praying

Let’s start praying FOR something and not against something.

Let’s start praying for the Holy Spirit to flood our nation.  Let’s begin praying for a spiritual awakening in the United States.  We have prayed and sent missionaries around the world all the while neglecting our own land.  It’s time to evangelize AMERICA.  It’s time for the United States to encounter a loving, living God.

Alone??

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NO!

I would estimate that I went through two thirds of my life believing I was alone.  I also believed I was not understood.  In hindsight, both of these idea’s were sown by the enemy and perpetuated by me.

In my experience, in speaking with, counseling, praying for and ministering too prophetic people and especially those who were prophetic in childhood, intense feelings of being “different” caused intense feelings of loneliness.

The Hubs stole a joke our pastor told and retold it on our last trip.  A man went into a small grocery store to do some shopping.  He noticed a bird.  And the bird started talking to him.  It was pretty impressive because the bird started calling him over.  “Hey you, come here”  The man was intrigued.  He approached the bird and the bird looked him in the eye and said, “You are a stupid bag of crap” (Insert any insult here).  The man was taken back.  What kind of store was this.  He asked to speak to management and told the owner what the bird had said.  The owner said, “I’ll take care of it”.  He took the bird into the back room and the feather’s flew.  The customer could hear swkaking and punching and carrying on.  The customer leaves and the next day he returns.  There is the bird, sitting in his cage.  He looks like he’s missing some feathers.  The bird calls the customer over again and the customer is just waiting to hear what the bird will say this time.  The bird says, “You know”.

The Hubs made the point that the enemy doesn’t have to follow us around lying to us but rather he sows a little lie and then we repeat it to ourselves until we believe it and respond to it.

My lie was “you are different, you don’t fit in.  People do not understand you. You are alone.  You you will always be alone. Don’t expect people to like you.”  The crazy part of the lie is…I’ve always had lots of friends.  I’m very friendly.  Yet, I felt alone.  I felt misunderstood.  I felt that people didn’t like me.

I remember telling someone that if I walk into a room and everyone greets me, hugs me and adores me except for one person, it bugs me.  I will try to find out why they don’t like me.  I will assume I offended them.  I will work to try to win them over.

It is foolishness.  For one, it is self-centered…all about “me”. “Why don’t they like me?”  Maybe they it’s them.  Maybe they don’t like people.  Maybe they are shy.  Maybe they didn’t see me.  Who cares?  Everyone doesn’t have to like me.

In our quest for freedom and healing, I have rejected the lie that I am alone.  I have rejected the lie that I’m different than everyone else.  I’m not that different; everyone wants to feel accepted and understood.

How did I start thinking about this?  We went to a gathering a while back and there were some little boys at the event.  They all know each other and my son knows one or two of them.  Of course, I am concerned about my son fitting in and getting along with kids his age.  We have many friends and do many activities with other homeschooling families.  He isn’t around kids his own age all day, every day.  As I watched, the boys who knew each other were playing games and having fun.  They didn’t really ask him to participate or include him.  It bothered me.  However, he didn’t even notice.  He was off having fun on his own.  Eventually, he joined in with something they were doing.   He has some friends that come over occasionally.  There are two boys that when they are together they do not always include him.  I asked him if they were nice.  The only time he said, “No” is when they pushed or hit him.  To my son, being hit or pushed makes them not nice.  He doesn’t notice not being included.  That’s my thing.  I’m working hard to not make that his thing.

When God created the universe He declared it all good with one exception.  That was man being alone.  God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone.

It is no wonder that this is an area where the enemy often comes in.  I know in this, I am not alone.  There are many of you who also feel different and also feel alone.  It’s no surprise that the enemy tells us these lies to isolate us from others.  We have to chose to reject the lie and to join up with other believers.  The reason attending church and small groups is important is because in community the lies are uncovered, truth is revealed and healing happens.

We have to make a choice to NOT be alone.  We have to reach out.  We have to join in.  We have to decide that most people are NOT against us and most people are NOT rejecting us.  The expectation of rejection leads us to wounded people who reject us…the expectation of rejection become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Decide to think better of people.

Someone told me recently that we didn’t like each other when we met.  I didn’t say anything but I liked her.  I didn’t meet her and think, “I don’t like you”.  Her experience was that I didn’t like her.  Why?  Because that was her expectation.  I liked her.  I’m not sure why she thought otherwise.  I didn’t fall all over her with kissing up…but I don’t do that.  I’m not one to extend false or exaggerated words of affirmation…perhaps that is why she thought I didn’t like her.

Expecting the worst in others is a pretty good indicator that you are wounded and need healing.

Word.

Seriously, I am not saying that to be mean.  I’m not minimizing that you have been mistreated and wounded.  It’s time to seek the Lord for your healing.  We do not have time to maintain the regrets of our past.  It’s time to get healed and move forward.

You aren’t alone.  You aren’t alone in life.  You aren’t alone in your situation.  Someone out there has walked a similar road and gotten their healing.  Someone has survived and been healed of much worse.  Don’t worry about lost time.  God has a way of restoring all of that.

Let’s go!