Callings Will Change You

I do not own this picture. Art by: Klein

I read something recently that began, “Your calling is going to crush you.”

If I weren’t a Christian, and I’d never heard of a calling, or hat statement might intimidate me.

If I weren’t called, that quote might make me wrinkle my forehead and wonder why someone would be liking be crushed by something they chose.

But that’s where information and revelation alter your perspective.

See, when you have no revelation, you might not understand why I do the things I do.

When you have no revelation, you might not grasp the importance of my choices, if my sacrifices, of my disciplines.

Oh, but when you have a revelation, your eyes are open, your heart is refreshed, your soul longs for one more moment, one more taste of that living water you’ve found.

And you’ll do anything to maintain it.

You’ll do anything to keep it.

You’ll do anything to remain in it.

You’ll lay down desires, and expectations, demands and wishes.

Just for another moment.

It’s like finding a new love, but it’s so much more.

It’s like recognizing a new craving, but it’s beyond that.

It’s like getting a glimpse of paradise, but it’s to a greater extent.

If you’ve never experienced the moment, it will be difficult to explain it.

For it’s not a simple piece of knowledge that can be spoken or read about.

You have to fast it.

You have to feel it.

You have to experience the revelation.

Then, you’ll never be the same.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

John 4.10

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.

Psalm 42:1

Faith Based or Religion?

Drafted this on August 17, 2019 after reading several articles of pastors and Christian leaders who had decided to “leave the faith.” This may be old news, per se, but the truth remains the same…

After reading a few articles over the past few weeks, I would like to scream this question to the world… or maybe just make a big billboard for every pastor, lay leader, worship leader, church member and just any person who calls themselves a “Christian!”

What or Who is your faith based upon?

There have been two major articles presented over the past two weeks and countless counter-articles about two Christian leaders who have “fallen from their faith” and have decided the world needs to know it.

Let me give a disclaimer as I begin this post… I understand each of these authors’ claims of feeling doubt, confusion, temptation, anger and loss. I understand their struggle to understand, their struggle to succeed, and their struggle to appease and receive admiration and approval from those around them. So, please, do not read the rest of my post with the perception that I am being cold, calloused or apathetic. I promise you, I am not.

Yet, each time I read these articles, I become amazed, angry, in anguish and eventually, driven to my knees. I am amazed that their “faith” brought them to these conclusions, and I am convinced that each of these men may never have had true faith to begin with, or they have chosen deliberately to walk away from the revelation of their first love.

Please understand, this is not a statement of judgment, but rather, a statement of truth.

If your “faith,” or Christianity, is based in the approval of men and not in the love of Jesus Christ, it really is no faith at all.

If your faith is based in the success that relies on the formulaic affirmation of your pastor, your department leaders or your members, rather than the instruction, wisdom and obedience to the only audience that should be made the main focus (Jesus), than your success has been built on a religion and a group of people whom should never have had rights to that foundation.

This is why I feel so angered by these articles, not necessarily by the faltering of their faith, but more because they have painted a picture of what faith truly is not!

Faith in Christ is a relationship, or at least it should be. It is not all of these things of which each of these men spoke.

It is should never be founded in people, a church, a method, a tradition or an expectation of a performance.

And EVERY time it is, a person will lose his or her faith! Not one time in either of their articles, statements or tweets did they say, “Jesus failed me. Jesus is an awful Lord. Jesus can’t save me, and that’s why I’m falling.” And I believe it’s because they know that wouldn’t be true!

Each of them have forgotten why they got in this thing to begin with, or at least have forgotten For Whom they began. And honestly, I’d like to ask if they actually ever fell in love with Him and the Word He gave us.

Our Christian faith doesn’t come from some man, Some organization, or even from the people who attend that organization, namely the church. If our faith is any faith at all, it comes from the inner struggle of flesh vs. spirit, and our feeding that spirit more. It comes from our seeking scripture, and following up he instructions it gives.

And now, these men have made public statements for all to hear, and many who may be listening will believe because they have similar struggles and feelings and are in a state of confusion, that their faith is nonexistent as well.

 There are so many hurting people in this world and so many people who need direction, encouragement, and just simple discipleship in their faith, and scenarios like these only add to the confusion and miss guidance they already have.

THIS is why I feel so anguished when I read articles like these.

When leaders are deceived and either fall into “blatant sin,” as we watched happen to so many television evangelists in the 90s, or simply “fall away from their faith,” as we are seeing in this current age, it creates a domino effect for those following and/or whose lives simply intersect at that moment in time.

It is disheartening and almost discouraging to watch as, one by one, more struggling Christians choose to follow these falterings either out of agreement to the confusion or out of surrender to, what appears to be, a release of inner tension to keep on the narrow path they have constructed.

I suppose this is what Christ told us would happen.

I suppose, I really should never be surprised, but my heart is still broken every time I read of a great leader falling from their faith, because a leader is someone who has followers, and those followers always suffer in the fallout.

Those followers may even have more followers who suffer, and what about their own families, especially the children who are all impacted?

It is just heartbreaking and, honestly, can become overwhelming, if we do not focus on Him and remember He is still in control!

He is still on His throne, and He still desires us to deepen our relationship with Him, carry on the purpose He has given us, and fill in the gaps where these leaders may leave a void.

This must remain as our ultimate goal, regardless of which leaders fall into temptation and deception.

Instead of staying in my moments of amazement (shock), anger or anguish, I must be driven to my knees in prayer.

We must all be. We must pray for these who have fallen and who are deceived.

Pray for their realization of the blinders they have chosen to put on, because without this revelation, they will never come back to repentance.

Pray for their removal from those who will stumble and fall behind them.

Pray that these followers will receive new leaders who can guide and help them through this storm.

Pray for the indirect impact on those who are already struggling with a faith that is made to cause us to have wonder, amazement and unanswered questions, because of the Author of this faith is Someone of such Deity that He is altogether wonderful and incomprehensible!

Pray for the children of these men and women, of those impacted, and for those indirectly hit and even those who don’t yet believe. Pray that these children find love that is undeniable, grace that is indescribable and an unfailing hope for tomorrow that can only be found in Jesus Christ!

My apologies for the long blog today, but sometimes, things need to be said, and I do hope it might help someone…

Here are just a few Scriptures I have found that might help us along this journey of leadership and faith…

2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Acts 20:28, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it springs all life.

Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

James 3:1, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Luke 12:48b, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Living beautiful is excellent| زیبا زندگی کرد ن بسیار عالی است

“155th story” First published: Aug.13.2020 Mr. Rasti bought some furniture. He hired two men to deliver the furniture to his place. They asked Mr. …

Living beautiful is excellent| زیبا زندگی کرد ن بسیار عالی است

Grief: An Endless Process

When someone dies, it can feel like a tornado hit your heart, and the earth is upside down.

When the funeral comes, it can feel like a relentless brain freeze on a hot summer’s day.

When the gravesite is on the horizon, it can feel like a gut punch, and you wonder why the referee disappeared.

Grief is an endless process.

When the holiday rolls in, it can feel like the time bomb restarted.

When the birthday pops up, it can feel like the helium was stolen too soon.

When the anniversary shows up, it can feel like the promises are shattered and forgotten.

Grief is a wretched thief.

Never sparing. Never resting. Never pausing.

Yet, grief has a process, inviting all to enter.

The invitation stands for reason, for recollection and for redirection.

Grief never heals, but through grief comes healing.

Find it. Accept it. Live through it.

The process will bring completion.

The process will always bring reality to light.

Penned – MG – 5/27/22

Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Stillness

Stillness

http://empress2inspire.blog/2022/01/30/stillness/
— Read on empress2inspire.blog/2022/01/30/stillness/

Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

70 x 7 = Endless

I have come to realize that when Jesus spoke to Peter concerning forgiveness, He wasn’t giving him a cute little math equation to complete. He wasn’t giving him a rule to follow and a number to which to count that solves all those moments when someone hurts you again and again. Jesus wasn’t even giving him a bit to memorize; so, he could add it all up after the offense, and then, somehow magically, as if rubbing your hands together to get a bit of dirt off, all could be resolved and forgiven in a certain situation or relationship.

No, truthfully that’s not how forgiveness works. That may work for some petty argument , one in which you really shouldn’t have started anyway. That might work for those little pokes and prods that spouses or close friends go through simply because of a difference if personalities or because of individual likes and dislikes.

Yeah, those formulas might works for these exchanges…

But when your heart wrenches at the betrayal and lies… when your mind returns to the offense over and over again because the perpetrator has brought the wound so deep… when your very soul is constricted, and it’s hard to take in a cleansing breath because the knife that cut so deep is still wedged between your spine and shoulder blade…

These are the times in life when you have to go back to this Scripture time and again and realize what Christ was saying.

To truly forgive, we don’t just forgive 490x a day, or 490x per person or even per incident. To truly forgive, from the depth of your being, you must forgive 490x per moment that you need to forgive that person.

Because sometimes, the pain is so incredible, and the offender keeps bringing the knife of pain to stab again and again until the pain is so excruciating that it’s suffocating.

That’s when we have to ask God to help us to forgive as He forgave on the cross. That’s when we may have to pray every minute of everyday, “Oh Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!“

Yes, when the pain runs deep, and the wounds seem never ending, our Heavenly Father can and will help us to fight give.

Yet, understand…forgiveness never means perfect reconciliation. As we are not God, and the offender isn’t a spirit being either.

Sometimes, the offense, while forgiven may not be reconcilable. The wound, while healing by His divine hand, may not allow for the sword to be drawn against it again.

Sometimes, broken things stay broken.

Sometimes, cheaters cannot redeem the betrayal. Abusers cannot redeem the abuse. Liars cannot redeem the lies.

Sometimes, forgiveness just doesn’t bring reconciliation…but it can bring peace.

And that is okay.

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Matthew 18:21-22 nkjv

Sometimes, Severing is Survival

Wow. Came across this song tonight and felt it tug on my soul.

Sometimes, severing a relationship, a friendship, a bond, a soul tie is a must.

If simply for survival…

For a life to once again thrive…

Unless, you’ve been to the point of silent pain, irrevocable destruction, or heart wrenching betrayal, this concept may seem foreign, even ludicrous to your ears.

But if you’ve cried yourself to sleep at night over words that were spoken against you…

If you’ve hidden your face in shame for deeds you never committed…

If you’ve stood in utter shock and amazement as one who promised to defend nonchalantly walked away,

or lied to your face,

or spilled slanderous gossip to cause heads to turn…

Then, you might begin to understand.

Sometimes, severing is simple survival.

And healing brings a heart to thrive again.

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Romans 16:17-18 nkjv

“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.

Proverbs 24:1-2 nkjv

“We sever the tie of constraint; the leash that keeps us cohering to someone else’s plan rather than stepping out and realizing our true potential,” says Anthony of the impetus behind the single. (per ccmagazine.com)

*this song nor the quote, I do not own nor possess. Simple google search.

Tuesday’s Treats #206

The Shack (the Waterfront Original)

Location: Fort Walton, Florida

I reviewed this a couple of years ago, but unfortunately, I somehow messed up the actual review, and only half of it got posted…and for whatever reason, WP won’t allow me to go in and fix it! Ugh!

Well, we ate here again the other day; so, now I can give a full review! Yay!

The dockside feel of this restaurant is wonderful! The large windows are latched above from the inside ceiling. The wooden pub style tables and chairs lend themselves to a casual, feel-good atmosphere. The uncovered dock, of course, is the literal “dockside feel” (lol), but we prefer the inside “dockside.”

The day we went, the wind was blowing pretty fiercely, but I just twisted up my hair with a pen, and we rocked it through lunch. It was too good not to enjoy! And if you were sitting on the gulf eating seafood, the wind would probably be worse! The food will fill your belly until you can’t eat anymore, and you’ll want to ask them to roll you to the door.

You can find the wonderful plate pics in my previous review*, as we were starving on this day, and I didn’t even pull out my camera! We ordered the hushpuppies for an appetizer, and let me tell you, if you’re not careful, you’ll fill up on these before your food comes to the table! They are that good! And they’re served with a strawberry butter, which at first thought, sounds like quite an oddity, but oh, it is scrumptious! Also, on the last trip, we had the firecracker shrimp app. Delicious!!

We ordered blackened red fish and blackened mahi mahi, both are served with hush puppies (yeah, we ate more! lol!) and cole slaw. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Everything was delicious, even the cole slaw, and I’m not usually a fan. Oh, I did order a Caesar salad to start as well. It was a bit too heavy on the dressing, but the flavors were oh, so yummy!

We were going to have dessert, but we had just stuffed ourselves to the brim. So, we opted out, but they have several we wanted to try! I was so wanting their key lime pie! Had it last time, and what I remember was delicious!

We will definitely come again when we’re back in the area.

*Note: it appears that the the review link may not open. However, if you go to the search bar of my blog and search “The Waterfront,” the Tuesday’s Treat #139 will appear! How weird!

website

Tuesday’s Treats #189

Country Cupboard Cafe

Location: Dillard, GA

If you’re looking for amazing, homemade desserts or great, southern style vegetables, this is the place to go. They also have amazing pot roast, fried chicken, and basically almost every southern dish you can think of, and the salad bar is incredible. We’ve not had one bad meal here, and we have frequented this restaurant for years.

Recently, we have been eating lunch in another local town, going up to Black Rock Mountain State Park, and then, stopping by here for their delicious desserts. The picture above is not the most eloquent photo of homemade apple pie, as I didn’t get it with a scoop of ice cream, but let me assure you, it tastes just like grandma’s recipe, delicate, flaky crust and all. I could eat this pie just about every day and twice on Sunday. You just don’t find an apple pie very often that is made as delicious as this. My husband loves the French Chocolate silk pie sundae is absolutely amazing. Be prepared. You’ll leave here wishing you hadn’t eaten so much, but definite satisfies you came.

They also have key lime pie, pecan pie, coconut pie, and so many more to list. Everything is homemade; so, you’re not getting a grocery store piece of pie here. No, sir. It’s all freshly baked. They also have an assortment ice cream and fudge; so, your choices for dessert are endless.

They also have a cute little gift shop where you can shop for a few unique items.

I’ve reviewed this restaurant before, but I focused more on the meal offerings; so, I thought I’d review again and give an update on the desserts. 😉

The Sweet Perfume

Be encouraged today… Smell the sweet fragrance of Hope and Grace. 💗

the grizzle grist mill

Over the last month or so, I’ve been trying to get consistent with walking daily through my neighborhood. I’m not crazy consistent, but I’ve definitely done better than before I started. Ha!

Our neighborhood is beautiful, and it has plenty of curves and hills; so, I feel I’m getting quite the workout, and the whole thing, all cul-de-sacs (5) included, is just shy of 1.5 miles. So, I try to make 2 loops, which gives me right at 3 miles. Woohoo!

The weather was absolutely perfect today. The humidity was extremely low, and the temp was maybe in the high seventies by the time I stepped out my front door, right at sunset, to try and get in a full 2 loops of walking before it was too dark. I asked my youngest son to go with me; so, I wouldn’t be by myself, and he wouldn’t be left home…

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