Believing is not easy . . . is it?

Jesus Appears to Thomas

John 20:24–29 (NIV)

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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Hear my cries – My Lord, My God!!

I want to ask you, or maybe you are God.  I am not sur who you are, but I want to ask.  Is it ok to have some self-pity?  I wrote in a previous blog things just seem to continuously get worse; the bumps get higher the obstacles larger.  I know, this is where one digs in and keeps their faith to God and I have, but the bumps have only gotten worse.

I screwed up – so much, not like one might think, but I guess opportunities, something went wrong.  

I got a chance, a friend of mine worked for a small company and he got me a job working there.  It seemed ok for a while, but there was something not right; however, because of issues I had in my life, he grew weary, the owner, and let me go suddenly.  

I ended up in a homeless shelter and that I was working so hard to go well, but with a blink of an eye, something go said that was not the truth and without a word to the wise, a word to defend myself, I was out of it – on the streets.  I spent my first night inside an old empty outhouse.

Somethings did workout, I got a job and was able to get my car legalized and tagged so I could drive it.  I was so happy; however, things have not really uplifted from then.  

My car leaks water and I have to make sure I fill it up with water almost every day; I have not had the money to get it fixed.  My car is not running well the engine idles rough.  My battery, it used to be if I used the auxiliary, it would short out my battery and thus could not start it in the morning.  So, I changed to just turning on the ignition for a moment and the car radio would stay on for 10 minutes and I would do that several times, but now that is causing my battery to die.  My tire, my left front tire has a leak, not the tire, but the rim has rim rot in it thus I have to get a new rim.  I have to make sure the tire is not low.  I walked out of McDonald’s one day and my rear left tire was low, don’t know why.  Glad I had some of that liquid tire sealer on me, so I was not trapped.  The steering, it is showing signs of being tired, I am getting float in the steering – it scares me from time-to-time.  It’s not significant, but makes me want to get it fixed, but don’t have the money.  

Therefore, I am balancing having no place to lay my head but in my car, I live at work, the library and spend my nights at McDonald’s parking lot or Wal-Mart parking lot.  

Not having enough money for my car is causing me worry, so I applied to Amazon, which pays a couple dollars more an hour and guarantees 40 hours.  Therefore, what happens, I went and played some basketball, not even that hard or long, and it bent my knees out of shape, so badly, I cannot walk very far without causing severe pain.  Therefore, I cannot even work any warehouse job because I cannot move far or quickly. 

I went to the ER, because I have no medical, they gave me some “strong” anti-inflammatory and told me to go home.  I am praying I will be able to make my next shift, but as of today, it is not looking that great.  My knee is a little better, but not so much, so I am thinking Thursday will be a breeze.  Therefore, I have to figure out how to get to a primary doctor to get my knees checked out.  I also have to figure out how to provide gas and food for myself.  I do not have income.  

That’s what I mean when the speed bumps come up and the corners sharper, every time I turn around have having to juggle some sort of crisis, and I am tired, I am tired.  I can handle some, but not all of these and for so long.  Ever since 2008, have been trying to get on my feet and nothing, just nothing has come up.  I promised my children I would be there for them and I am failing – failing – failing.  God Help Me Please!!

 

 

 

You Of weak Faith . . .

When should we doubt our faith in God? The answer is never right. . .regardless of where we are or what has happened; whether we think God should of answered our prayers or not, our faith SHOULD not waiver, but are you like me and it does. Does it get thinner as life challenges get thicker?

I can think of a few stories in the Bible where faith was tested. The first one of course is with Joseph. His brothers sold him to be a slave. He rose to prominence, then was thrown back into prison, not once did the Bible record his rant of anger, if he ever had one. The other is of course, JOB. A detialed story of his drama, but never lost faith.

I also think of David, here he was promised to be King, yet he was stalked by his King for years and years, yet truly had done nothing to deserve it, other than Saul being jealous of David.

When, as I do now, not feeling confident in the future, not feeling deserving of what is to come, not because I don’t deserve good things to come, it’s because I feel stuck with where I am and therfore, am not doing enough to get out. I grow confused and bewildered, but then I come back to my love and faith in Jesus Christ.

I grow weary because of what I am missing, but in the end, it is not of this world I am to be of, but the next. But, right now, I don’t feel as though I am doing either any honors. So, if you happen to read this, simply put in a prayer for me, a prayer that I will hear God’s words and I will be obedient and I will be able to serve both worlds in recognition of my Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ. God Bless and Amen!

Jesus Calms the Storm

Matthew 8:23–27 (NIV)

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Matthew 16:5–12 (NIV)

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Job 7:14

How I am feeling right now, scared, this word is not used in the NIV Bible and only once in the ESV Bible JOB 7:14.  In verses 11, he talks about how he wants to express his hurt and the bitterness of it.  And they, his friends want to scare him with visions, those that would scare him to death, than life.  He speaks of how he is being tested at every moment and won’t they leave him alone.

 

I am scared, things have happened to me and they have not gotten better.  In so many ways, if I was to tell you all, I am sure many of you would be like JOB’s friends and not in a bad way.  But, I know myself and ask myself, how am I still in this situation, why have I not improved and that acknowledgement and understanding makes me even more scared.

 

The realization is I cannot do it by myself and I have accepted that and relied on God.  Yet, I wake up each morning with eagerness, faith, love and hope, yet I go to bed each night knowing, I am in the same circumstances I have been.  I don’t feel one day closer to a solution, in fact, as each day goes by, I have started to feel, I am one day further away from one.  Like a current taking you away from the shore, but you can see the shore, the people on the shore, the fun, delight and happiness of them all.  I can’t scream out, I cannot seem to swim in, I am naked to the current and it scares me.

 

I have put it in God’s hand, I have prayed and prayed, and hoped and prayed.  I get exhausted, not from praying, but from the tunnel getting darker.  More things go wrong, more speed bumps to go over, more corners to go around, more ditches to climb out of.  I know, God did not promise me a Rose Garden, I accept that, but I know he answers prayers and it is my hope, his use of me is not to live isolated as I am.  That the speed bumps will become less an the corners less sharp and some events, any events go well. 

 

I have been stripped of so much, been given a lot too, but my life is nothing of value, at least to me.  And I don’t see how I have value to God, because living isolated does nothing to give to him.  I hope God still has a plan for me, and if his plan is for me to be where I am, I like Job, don’t really want to weather it, I am scared.

 

I don’t tell you, because I am scared.  Because there is really nothing you can do.  Telling me what to do is like telling an overweight person to eat less or exercise more, and most of us, have tried.  You can’t do anything – you can only hope and pray that SOMETHING comes up, someone decides to throw me a bone. Yet, I don’t share all that hope.  I sent out over 2000 requests for being a trainer, not one person responded back with, yes we have something, or we viewed your resume on LinkedIn and we have something for you, not one.  This makes me even more scared, because there has to be something I am doing wrong, but I don’t know and that scares me too. 

 

I am scared God does not hear me, I am scared I will not ever be a significant part of my children’s life, I am scared that I have wasted this life, that it amounts to no more than an empty seat in an arena. 

 

I question my faith, but sometimes, it just seems like I have not heard from God, I know God is in my boat, and maybe like the disciples, I have little faith.  But, they – the disciples were scared and afraid and Jesus was there, I have to admit or ask, is Jesus here with me? 

 

I guess I have provided value, without having value, then nothing would have been taken from me, so I guess I had the value of having something.  Maybe those that took it did not have value, so they stole it to have their own value.  It’s false value though, you stole it.  It’s like stealing a million dollars and saying you are a millionaire and laughing at the people you stole it from – even be willing to lend of it back to them with interest.

 

My feelings are not without merit.  All the disciples did not lead lives of luxury.  They all left immediately whatever responsibilities they had and followed Jesus, only to be persecuted throughout their lives and die violently.  But, they also had value, they did not sit idly, they spread the word of Jesus, the Good News.  I think if I was being used like that, my fear, being scared would not be developed.  That’s it in a nutshell, I feel scared because I don’t feel like I am adding value – to anyone. 

 

I heard on the radio from a Pastor, he dared those listening to pray for God to use us, he dared us to pray so, I have and I pray he will.  God Bless!

 

Job 7:11–21 (ESV)

11  “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

12  Am I the sea, or a sea monster,

that you set a guard over me?

13  When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,

my couch will ease my complaint,’

14  then you scare me with dreams

and terrify me with visions,

15  so that I would choose strangling

and death rather than my bones.

16  I loathe my life; I would not live forever.

Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.

17  What is man, that you make so much of him,

and that you set your heart on him,

18  visit him every morning

and test him every moment?

19  How long will you not look away from me,

nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?

20  If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?

Why have you made me your mark?

Why have I become a burden to you?

21  Why do you not pardon my transgression

and take away my iniquity?

For now I shall lie in the earth;

you will seek me, but I shall not be.”

The First Beast

Revelation 13:1–10 (ESV)

The First Beast

13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10  If anyone is to be taken captive,

to captivity he goes;

if anyone is to be slain with the sword,

with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Verses 1–10
The apostle, standing on the shore, saw a savage beast rise out of the sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness’ sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon. It was set up by the devil, and supported by him. The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan idolatry; and the healing of the wound, introducing popish idolatry, the same in substance, only in a new dress, but which as effectually answers the devil’s design. The world admired its power, policy and success. They paid honour and subjection to the devil and his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy, requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs to God alone. Yet the devil’s power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.

Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Re 13:1.

Definition of a Disciple . . .

1 Corinthians 4:8–13 (ESV)

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

 

Verses 7–13
We have no reason to be proud; all we have, or are, or do, that is good, is owing to the free and rich grace of God. A sinner snatched from destruction by sovereign grace alone, must be very absurd and inconsistent, if proud of the free gifts of God. St. Paul sets forth his own circumstances, ver. 9 Allusion is made to the cruel spectacles in the Roman games; where men were forced to cut one another to pieces, to divert the people; and where the victor did not escape with his life, though he should destroy his adversary, but was only kept for another combat, and must be killed at last. The thought that many eyes are upon believers, when struggling with difficulties or temptations, should encourage constancy and patience. “We are weak, but ye are strong.” All Christians are not alike exposed. Some suffer greater hardships than others. The apostle enters into particulars of their sufferings. And how glorious the charity and devotion that carried them through all these hardships! They suffered in their persons and characters as the worst and vilest of men; as the very dirt of the world, that was to be swept away: nay, as the offscouring of all things, the dross of all things. And every one who would be faithful in Christ Jesus, must be prepared for poverty and contempt. Whatever the disciples of Christ suffer from men, they must follow the example, and fulfil the will and precepts of their Lord. They must be content, with him and for him, to be despised and abused. It is much better to be rejected, despised, and ill used, as St. Paul was, than to have the good opinion and favour of the world. Though cast off by the world as vile, yet we may be precious to God, gathered up with his own hand, and placed upon his throne.Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 1 Co 4:7.

Gifts of Grace . . . What is yours?

Romans 12:3–8 (ESV)

Gifts of Grace

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Verses 3–8
Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Centre of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretence of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come.

 

Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Ro 12:3.