• only He can meet the needs of my neediness

    Even the world is familiar with the words self esteem, self acceptance, and self image. We are bombarded with books, seminars and techniques trying to guide us into a healthy place in these areas. To say that finding this "place" is a struggle would be a gross understatement. I believe we can all agree that we have faced many battles in these areas.

    So let's take a closer look at these words-what do they all have in common? All of them revolve around SELF-SELF,SELF,SELF. That's right - the same self we find in selfish, self-absorbed, and self-gratification. All to often I find myself parked right in this very self spot.

    The other day I was involved in a conversation. Now when I say conversation I mean I talk-you talk-I listen- you listen, however this conversation evolved mostly into me listening-and listening-and listening. Let me be quick to say here that very often that is how the Lord lets it work out and I do want to be a good listener. (Most people who know me would agree that I'm a good "talker") but this particular day, I "listened" to the enemy instead. I heard him say, "NO ONE WANTS TO LISTEN TO YOU" and I quite agreed. You all know how this works-one wrong thought that is not taken captive leads to another and another. Around here we call it "stinkin thinkin" anyway, by the end of this barrage of self thoughts I was not in a very good place until I heard that still small voice saying, "Jeanne, why do you always look to others to give you what only I can give?" Don't you love to hear His voice? Even though His words were convicting and they stung, they were said with such love and tenderness, that I started to cry.

    He and He alone knows my struggles with all those "self" words and my desire for approval and acceptance. He also knows that I can never find it in people, no matter how close I am to those people. My Heavenly Father assures me that I am accepted because of Jesus, that I am approved and affirmed because of His work on Calvary and that I am created in His image, not my own.

    There is an old song that says, "Fill My Cup Lord." All to often I take my empty cup and carry it to family members and close friends and hold it up, wanting a drop of approval or acceptance. Jesus says,"No Jeanne, bring that cup to me and I will fill it to overflowing." He also helps me see that only He can meet the needs of my neediness. When I bring that neediness to others, even though I may not say a word, they sense it and it burdens the relationship.

    Am I saying you can never share a good heart to heart with a trusted friend or family member? Of course not! But when we are asking others to build our self-esteem and boost our self-acceptance, we are asking them to give us something that only Jesus can give.

    One more thing the Lord said to me that day went deep into my heart. I heard Him clearly say, "If you want to find victory over this self-esteem-self-acceptance thing, then get your eyes off of SELF and onto Me." "Take that cup and lift it up to Me and always remember that if you are looking for a good listener-look no further."

    just me,

    jeanne

  • how's your "thank tank?"

    Why is it, I ask myself, do I always seem to learn things backwards? Do I have spiritual dyslexia? It would appear so. In 1 Thes. 5:15, God's word tells me to give thanks in everything and I know that means during and after. For me though, all to often I am thankful after the thing is over and I have seen how it all turns out. Anyone out there with me on that one?

    For those of you who are reading this and do not know me, I need to tell you that I am not a new Christian. I have been saved for many years; so I have had many "everythings" come along to practice a thankful spirit. One that comes quickly to mind began last September. My husband started showing signs of a blood clot in his left leg. I could feel myself starting to panic, however the doctor thought it was cellulitis, but ordered a sonogram just to be sure. Whew-my breathing started to calm and it stayed that way until the "strictly procedural sonogram" was taken. It seemed that the doctor was wrong-my husband did have a blood clot or to be more specific a deep vein thrombosis behind the left knee.

    I would like to be able to say that I proceeded to the hospital with a song in my heart and thanksgiving on my lips. Of course, this was not the case. I was terrified, a bit angry, and the only thing forming on my lips was the word WHY? The why was because there was so much that needed to be done and my husband was the one who needed to do it. I kept reminding God that there was a wedding the next day, preaching the day after that and work, work, work for all the days that followed. He kept reminding me that He was well aware of our schedule and that I needed to take a deep breath, calm down, and try being thankful. Well, to my shame, I did not heed the Holy Spirit's promptings. Instead I did just the opposite and thus began one of the darkest times of my spiritual walk.

    I sank into self-pity. That emotion is well named isn't it? It is definitely a pit that you sink down into and each day that you allow this feeling to have power over you, you sink a little deeper.

    My life became an endless parade of trying to figure out the right amount of blood thinner, carrying meals to my immobile husband and trying to keep up with the household. Usually with my spiritual gift of serving, I thrive in circumstances like these. However due to my bad attitude, these tasks became burdens that grew heavier with each passing day. It did not take long before I found myself wanting to get out of this misery. But how? My longsuffering Heavenly Father reminded me of what He had told me in the beginning of my "everything"- be thankful.

    "OK," I thought, "I tried my way-now let's try God's way." Toward the end of Col. 3:15, Paul simply says,"You be thankful." That does not sound like an option but rather an admonition. I think we all understand the thank part of thankful, but what about the ful part of that word. What kind of thanks am I to have? I am to have a thanks that is full-holding as much as possible-having no empty space. Well I have to admit my space was empty. You know, empty like that pit I was talking about a few paragraphs back. The Holy Spirit began prompting me to begin to fill up my "thank tank" and this time I obeyed. The more thanks I put into the tank, the higher I rose out of the self pit. Eph. 5:20 says, "To give thanks always for all things." Amazing how that works -the more thanks I gave, the more freedom and peace I received, until one day I found myself in a good place-The Solid Rock-The Lord Jesus Christ. Now I want to quickly point out that these circumstances of my "everything" did not change for over six months. What changed was me and thankfulness was the key.

    Just last Monday my husband went for a sonogram to see if the blood clot was gone and it was!! After I found out the great news, I took a moment to reflect back over the past six months. I kept thinking that although the blood clot was gone the important lessons I had learned remained.

    None of us can controll our "everythings"-that is in our Sovereign God's hands, but we can control the lessons left behind. We can either respond or react to whatever comes our way and even if we react we can still, by God's grace, benefit and grow from it all. When that happens, even a blood clot can become our friend. When my next "everything" arrives, I want to be on high alert to fill my "thank tank" to completely full-leaving no empty space. Will I? I trust my Heavenly Father for that and ask you to pray for me as I continue to move forward with Christ.

    just me,

    Jeanne

    1 Thess 5:18
    18 In "every thing" give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


  • hope-my favorite word

    I always say that my favorite word is hope. When people ask me why, my only answer is that it is so hopeful. Perhaps my reasoning can be traced back to times when I have felt hopeless and in my estimation there is no worse feeling in the world.

    All of us want to feel hope. Let's face it-when it's rainy, we hope that tomorrow will be sunny. When we are sick, we hope that we will feel better in the morning. When we are hungry, we hope that mom makes a good meal (unless of course, you are the mom:0) ) And when things go from bad to worse, we hope that all will be better soon. And I don't know about you, but it's that hope that keeps me going.

    Someone said that hope is the happy anticipation of good. How does this translate for our Christian walk? We are always quoting Romans 8:28-"and we know that all things work together for good." Isn't hope a huge part of that promise? Why do I say that? Because so often, the "things" that Romans 8:28 talks about are not things we would choose for ourselves. I did not wake up one morning and decide I might enjoy being diagnosed with MS, but God chose this "thing" for me. What keeps me going is the hope I have that God will bring about good from it. With my human eyesight and my human understanding I cannot see how, but I trust my Heavenly Father and hope in His Word, not my ever fluctuating feelings. He is the author of hope, not the subject of it and as long as I keep my eyes on Him, I am hopeful or in other words-"full of hope."

    Some days my soul is not very hopeful. My thoughts go flying in every direction. The Enemy tells me to give up-that nothing good will come out of trials and dark days. It's then that i need something to rein in these thoughts and I find it in hope. Hebrews 6:18-19 calls hope an anchor for the soul. Hope steadies the rocking boat and allows me to get my eyes off the problem and onto the Savior. Paul said in 1Timothy 1:1 that the Lord Jesus Christ is our hope-He is the object and embodiment of our expectation.

    So no matter what a day may bring forth remember, we always have hope. We have the hope of the Gospel, the hope of righteousness, the hope of the resurrection, the hope of the return of Jesus Christ, the hope of our calling and the hope of eternal life-"Christ in you the hope of glory."

    As Christians, there is so much to be hopeful for and never a reason for hopelessness. And by the way, the next time someone ask you a question and you answer with,"I hope so," don't chide yourself for being indecisive. That is a completely Scriptural answer, because hope should always be our favorite word.

    just me,

    Jeanne

  • wait - that word that no one likes to hear

    Wait - that one word that no one likes to hear, but each one of us has to deal with at one time or another. In a world where fast has become a way of life, stopping forward movement seems unacceptable. If we are delayed for even a few minutes, our patience or lack of it grows thinner and thinner. We have become a people who demand instant service and gratification. When you consider all of this, it is easy to understand the huge dilemma we face when the Holy Spirit does not respond immediately to our request, but instead says that one word we do not want to hear- WAIT!!!

    The impatience and irritability we feel when our Wi-Fi does not connect instantly are the same emotions that begin to surface when the Lord says, "Not now, please wait.” How we handle the stress of waiting in everyday life seems to be an indication of how we handle waiting in the spiritual life.

    While we love the words - RUN. CHASE. MOVE. FORWARD. ANSWER. Or more precisely, ANSWER NOW! God seems to love the word – WAIT. No one seemed to understand that better than David. After all wasn't he the one who was anointed to be the King of Israel as a young teenage boy and didn't see the realization of that happening until he was 30 years old? In simple langue, he waited half of his life. No wonder we see the word WAIT used so many times througout the book of Psalms. Not only does David tell us to wait, he tells us how to wait.

    Let's look at a few of these portions of scripture together...

    In Psalms 25: 3, David tells us to wait in faith on the Lord. He reminds the Lord that our enemies are watching as we wait and we do not want to be put to shame. Ouch! David hits the nail on the head - waiting can be humbling. I mean doesn't everyone like to hear about the amazing, miraculous, instant answers to prayer? Who like to hear someone say, "Well actually, I have been waiting half of my life to become King, but I wait in faith on the Lord that it will happen. " Waiting does not come with a timetable.

    After encouraging us to humbly wait in faith, David writes in Psalm 27:14 to have courage while we wait. The key here is realizing that all this waiting will grow us and strengthen us. I've heard it said that waiting is never wasted when we are waiting on the Lord.

    Now David throws us a curve ball. In Psalm 37:7, he tells us to wait patiently. My first response is that waiting in itself draws enough patience, don't you think? But truthfully, if I am asked to wait, it will not profit me one bit if I am impatient and develop an ulcer in the process. No, I need to learn as David did that waiting requires trust and part of trust is patience. One thing I need to bring to your attention is that David says we are to wait patiently for Him, not for it. I need to be willing to wait until my focus is Him and not my wants. Until He is all my eyes can see.

    Moving down to Psalm 37:34, we are encouraged to wait on the Lord and keep His way. In other words, while I am waiting, I am not to become bitter and angry, constantly wondering why the answers will not materialize. Keeping His way will keep my heart soft and tender towards my Father and allow me to grow spiritually.

    David was a wise man and understood how it is in each one of our hearts to want someone to commiserate with us, especially us women. That is one reason for Psalm 62:1. We are to wait silently. Yikes! How that gets to me. Wait silently you say? But I have such a need to express myself! My Heavenly Father understands that but He asks me to express myself. This takes discipline on my part, but I know it will deepen my walk with Him.

    Now we turn to Psalm 69:3. I'm so glad David wrote this one. Why? Because I know that David understood that waiting is not easy, even though it's necessary. You see even David grew weary of crying and I might add not just crocodile tears, but tears that fell until his throat was dry and his eyes were swollen. I can relate, can't you? I love the fact that David did not give up. I read somewhere that there are times that come when we stand to learn the most about God from the situations we understand the least.

    Not to be excluded, Jeremiah told us in Lamentations 3:26 that we should wait quietly. In our Sunday School Class, we have been studying about a gentle, quiet sprit. One thing we have learned is that if we do not have a gentle spirit, indicating the condition of our hearts, we will for sure and certain not have a quiet spirit. Therefore if I am to wait quietly, I had better make the proper adjustments to my heart attitudes. Waiting is certainly easier when my insides are not tied up in knots.

    All right, it's time to bring this to a conclusion. I can hear all of you saying a hearty amen to that! : )

    So what are the benefits of all this waiting?

    Just like waiting in traffic can grow our patience, give us extra time with the Lord or perhaps give us the time we need to send an encouraging text to a sister in Christ, so waiting on the Lord can bless us in more ways than we would ever think possible. One of the most important is found in Isaiah 40:31. As we wait we grow stronger. Perhaps not physically, but spiritually. In fact, Isaiah says we will feel so much stronger that we will soar with eagles, run and not grow tired and walk and never run out of energy. As a person with M.S. that sounds like a dream come true. : )

    No one can tell you how long you may be asked to wait. That's between you and the Lord Jesus. I love the way David puts it in Psalms 130:5-6. It's almost like you can hear him saying it out loud - he is waiting - just like all of us who are in the middle of a long night and cannot wait for the morning to come. But what keeps David and all of us going - look - there it is in verse 5. HOPE. {my favorite word}.

    Paul said it best in Romans 8:24-25, "But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience eagerly wait for it."

    just me,

    Jeanne

  • the best part of our day

    We all know that the Lord should receive the first part of everyday- talking to Him-listening to Him-praising Him, but how should we spend the last part of our day; those moments right before we fall asleep? For me, this time is vital and sets the tone for a good night of rest and also for the following day. I have been told that the Hebrews began the new day the evening before. Scripture seems to verify this when it says,"the evening and the morning were the first day."

    All of us long for a good night of rest -peaceful,sweet sleep. But how is that accomplished? Psalm 4:8 says, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord only makes me dwell in safety." Psalm 127:2b tells us that, "he gives his beloved sleep."

    So often though, when the light goes out, our minds turn on. All the events of the day and more come pouring in and usually with no filter. One thought leads to another and another, and on and on it goes. Something must be done to hit the off switch. For me the best way to handle the flow of worrisome thoughts is to stop them before they begin.

    Now before I continue, I must confess that I am a simple woman; so of course I need a simple plan. And I might add to that confession that I do tend to worry just a bit :o) So here's the way I end my day-

    When I lay my head on my pillow, I feel a closeness to my Heavenly Father that is personal and sweet. Here I know Him in those few moments between lights off and the first seconds of sleep as my Abba Father-dearest daddy. I have heard that we can always and at all times come into our Father's throne room, crawl up onto His lap and tell Him everything that is on our hearts. During this quiet time, I definitely feel that is exactly what is happening. It's as if I can lay my head over on His shoulder. In this sweet spot, I can tell my Abba Father how thankful I am for all that He has blessed me with. I just pour out my gratefulness to Him. For example, I might thank Him for our warm house, the comfortable bed, the pillow I lay my head upon, the food we ate for supper, feet to walk on, new socks to put on these feet, eyes to see my loved ones, a voice to tell them that I love them, hands to work and hands to touch the face of my grandbaby. The praise can go on for as long as my eyes stay open. The point is, that when my heart is filled with gratefulness and praise, there is no room for worry and fear. Instead of dreading "lights out" I look forward to it knowing that it is a time to draw close to my Father. And as you all know so well, My Father never disappoints. He is never too tired to listen-never too busy to take time with me.

    How I start my day is important to me. I need that time, but how I end my day is equally important to me and I would like to think that it is just as important to my Abba Father.

    just me,

    Jeanne

  • The Cross

    The dictionary says that the cross is an upright post used as an instrument of death in ancient times. It is the means by which atonement was made between God and humanity. But to those of us who believe, it is so much more. The way of the cross leads home--to a heavenly home--A home not made by flesh  but a home prepared by God for those who embrace the cross and what God accomplished there. The ground around the cross is level--whosoever will may come and find grace in our time of need. The message of the cross changes us forever. It ushers us into an E ternal kingdom, where we are adopted into a family where God himself is our father and the Lord Jesus Christ is our eldest brother. There we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who have also accepted the message of the cross. Our standing is secure. We can never be disowned or disinherited. And all because of the Cross.

    Many in the world view us as morbid--focusing too much on the bloody cross. But it's just the opposite, we do not focus enough on it. The cares of this world pull our eyes away from the very thing that breaths life into us.  The world cannot understand how death can bring life. How the horrible scars that Jesus bore are beautiful to all of us, not something to run away from but something to run to and something to wholeheartedly embrace. 

    It can be hard to fully comprehend the cross, but that's OK--The disciples did not understand it either. The cross for the Lord Jesus was a place connected with shame and humiliation. It was a criminals cross--A place where He was demeaned and debased.  After we meet Him there He invites us to do something very special---He invites us to take up our own cross and follow Him. But before we obey, we should be fully aware of what is involved. The cross stands as a symbol of circumstances and events in our experience which humbles us, exposes us, and offends our pride. The cross reveals our true sin nature. When Jesus asks us to take up our cross He is asking for us to do so on a daily basis. We are to keep on taking up the cross. When things come at us each day--Big and little things--Big and little hurts--don't be offended by them. Don't avoid them or get angry or get even--but rather welcome them. They will help us crucify the flesh. This is a hard thing to be sure. So hard that the apostle John tells us that many turned  back from following the Lord Jesus at that point.

    Jesus was straightforward about what discipleship was and is about. He wants us to understand that becoming his disciple and taking up our cross will shatter us, change us, and revolutionize us to our very core. But one more thing He wants us to understand is that there is a way to bear our cross--The same way he bore His. And how is that? He looked beyond His cross and saw the joy that awaited Him. Now He has the joy of victory over death and the grave. He has the joy of knowing that he was completely obedient to his Heavenly Father. He has the joy of a glorified body and reigning forever as King of Kings and Lord of lords. And He has the joy of knowing that He has made a way for all those who will believe to come to Heaven with Him. Now He has the joy, but not before the cross. The same is true for us---the joy awaits us but first....the cross!