Question for My Readers

I am working on two writing projects. One is about my life journey ranging from growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and mentally mother, head trauma, a health crisis, and how I came to know Jesus along the way, to where I am now. It is more of a testimony. The other is a bible study guide about living with trauma and how Jesus can help.

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So I am toying with the idea of combing the two into one with the bible study guide being the second part.

Please let me know your reaction. Separate books or combined?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Wants to Free Us from Shame

When Jesus died on cross, he died for our sins so we could be forgiven 100%. That alone is the best news.. There is more that perhaps we do not talk about enough. When Jesus died on the cross, he made the way for us to have a relationship with God. We can be reconciled with God 100%.

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But what about the effects of sins committed against us? What about the shame we might carry in our spirits because of past abuse, neglect, assault etc? Survivors of sins committed against us tend to live with shame.

Isaiah 53:4 says:


Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Any suffering we have endured, Jesus took upon himself on the cross.

Isaiah 53:5 says:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus died for our sins and more than that so we can be made whole.

I love the principle behind Zephaniah 3:19:

At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame.

While that is a direct reference to Israel being brought back from exile, there is a principle to embrace. God will deal with those who have harmed us and will bring us to a place of honor.

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It is not easy to do and therapy and pastoral counseling can help. Releasing someone who has harmed us to God’s hands is a freeing experience for us. God does not want us living with shame because of what others have done to us. He wants to make us whole in him. He wants to give us a new identity as a daughter or son of God.

God wants us to step out of the shadows of shame in live in the light of his love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Bible Study Guide Idea About Trauma

Three years ago I shared a post- Jesus Understands Trauma. I wont go into details in this post about my experience, but wanted to share an idea I have. I am thinking about writing a Bible Study Guide regarding trauma. The focus being on how Jesus understands.

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It will not be intended to replace therapy/counseling. It can be helpful to meet with a therapist who has training and experience working with people who have experienced trauma. I have be benefitting from therapy sessions myself.

Trauma can come from different experiences such as being abused as a child, a struggle with a disease, being in a war etc. The focus of the Bible Study guide will be on Jesus understands and wants to join with us in our healing journey. What do you think?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Rooms

In thinking about rooms in my life and what rooms mean, I wonder what rooms come to mind for my readers. When I think of rooms, to be honest, some rooms evoke pleasant wonderful memories, but some rooms I would prefer to forget and leave millions of miles behind me even though they are etched in my mind.

There was a room that as a child was a place full of dread. It was the room I learned to feel I was less than human. It was the room where I was berated and the room where sleep could be cruelly interrupted by a drunken fist. It was a room that led to me never feeling I really belonged anywhere and would always be less than.

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There were many rooms after that but none that felt like home. Never a room that felt settled for me. Never a room where peace resided until one day, in a room, the light of the world welcomed me.

It was a room in a friend’s house. He had a visitor that day, a young woman. In that room, she told me that God loves me. God loves me? What? I am garbage waiting to be hauled way. God loves me? That room led me to a journey of discovery.

As time went on I learned about the Upper Room where Jesus told his followers one evening before he was crucified that he longed for that time to share the first Lord’s supper with them. That room had great meaning for people like me. Jesus longed for me to know him and to join him too just like his disciples.

I learned about how Jesus taught his disciples that in his father’s house there are many places and that if he goes, it is better for them because if he goes, he will prepare a room for them.

Jesus drew me into his presence in a special secret room for me. It was a prayer room in a church that was filled with his presence and where he taught me that I am not garbage. In that room, I learned how he felt about many things. It was so wonderful that I never wanted to leave that room, but he wanted me to leave that room so I could help others to know about the rooms in his father’s house.

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But some rooms after that were again rooms I dreaded where doctors told me things like my liver and heart were not working well until they found the cause that a pill each day would keep me healthy.

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All of these rooms led me to the room that is so special to me. It is a room that has connected me to the world, a room at my church. In that room people from numerous countries have come for help with English and many have heard about how Jesus wants all to have a room in his father’s house in heaven. Many have come to believe in Jesus in that room. Much laughter has occurred in that room and also some tears. Shared life among diverse cultures has happened in that room. It is this room that I am most fond of in all of my life. This room feels like my home away from home until I reach my final homeroom in The Father’s house thanks to Jesus.

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But those doctors’ rooms came back last year as I went from doctor to doctor to find out once again that I had another autoimmune problem. Such rooms made my blood pressure go up.

The question I try to ask each day is this- Is there room in my heart for Jesus?

What room is special to you? Or is there a room that Jesus can help you overcome as he did me?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

January Is Trafficking Prevention Month

January is Trafficking Prevention Month. It is estimated millions of women and children are trafficked around the world. It is an evil that needs to be combatted.

When I think about what Jesus said about those who harm children in Matthew 18:6

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

it shows how strongly Jesus feels about protecting children. Looking out for those who cannot defend themselves is a theme we see throughout the bible.

Tragically there are powerful forces at work in the trafficking of women and children. CNN producers are under investigation for trafficking, G Maxwell found guilty etc but what concerns me is what is not being done. Who are the men who flew to Epstein’s Island? Nothing has been done to them so far. These are just a few examples that are from headline news, but it is a pervasive evil around the world.

The least we can do is demand of our elected government officials to make stronger mandatory laws and penalties. We can also donate to organizations that rescues victims, intercept victims, or provide help to victims when they are freed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Jesus Understands Scars

When we think of scars. we tend to think of physical scars. I have many of those. But there are also psychological and emotional scars. Jesus understands scars. He suffered for us and still has those scars. He also faced rejection and betrayal. I would like to share the following from an old post of mine from three years ago when I first got going with blogging.

12 scars on my body tell stories of my life. Some are from surgeries like the  scar from an appendectomy when I was 21. Some are small like the small scar next to my left eye from a freak accident while setting up an outdoor activity for kids at church. The tiny scars from arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder in 1990. The scar on my stomach when I was attacked by a dog when I was 12 is symbolic of the upheaval in my youth. The two inch scar on my left hand from a surgery to repair damage when I had a hand injury in 1996 represents my health struggles of the 1990s.

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Scars represent our wounds that have healed. Some heal over correctly but some wounds that ‘heal’ over leave places that will never be the same and sometimes not work well.

But what of the scars from wounds no one can see? The scars from being abused. Scars left from struggling with addiction. Scars left from being victimized. Scars from broken relationships. Some wounds go so deep into our souls that we wonder if they will ever scar over the way physical wounds do when they heal.

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One day Jesus told Thomas to reach out and touch His scars from the nails that pierced his wrists and the scar from the soldiers spear that pierced his side. His scars are still there to show us His love. Having all power, he could have stopped his crucifixion, but His love for us made Him lay down His life for us.

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He says to all of us, “Look at the scars on my wrists and feet. Look at the scar in my side. My scars are for your scars.”

His scars are there because he wants to bring healing to our souls and spirits. His scarred wrists reach out to us saying, “Come to me all who are weary and find rest for your souls”

One day I reached back to his hands extended. I reached back to find rest and healing from my past as the son of an alcoholic father and mother with mental illness. Rest, oh yes rest, from the anger, confusion, doubt caused by my own sinful reactions to life.

The hands on his scarred wrists long to hold our hand and walk in this life with us. Jesus is reaching out to you. Will we take the hand offered in love and friendship offering healing for our souls?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

We Need To Protect Children- How Jesus Feels

When we talk about Jesus, we often focus on his love and compassion. Those are definitely aspects I am very grateful for. But how often do we think about his anger?

I want to take a closer look at a verse I quoted earlier in the week, Mark 10:14:

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

The Greek for indignant gives an idea of annoyed and exasperated.

So the disciples were trying to prevent children from coming to Jesus thinking they were doing the will of Jesus. Jesus was annoyed by this. He was indignant.

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Now think about when he said it would be better for someone who harms a child to have a millstone tied around their neck and tossed into a lake then to face him on the Day of Judgement.

How do you think Jesus feels about child abuse, sex trafficking of children, children being exploited? Angry. Mad. Indignant.

There is a time for righteous indignation and children being harmed is certainly one of those times.

Love for children and anger at abusers who harm children are reasons I am passionate about supporting causes that free children from harm.

So if we want to be like Jesus, anger is appropriate when it comes to issues like child abuse and trafficking of children.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Light in the Darkness- John 1

Have you ever walked down a dimly lit or a dark street at night? It can be a bit scary. In the night there are more crimes committed. It is also easy to stumble and hurt ones self walking in the dark. If we have a light, it makes it so much safer.

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Jesus came into the world that he created. He came to be a light in the darkness of this world. This world is in spiritual darkness. There are various kinds of dangers in the darkness of this world, addiction, abuse, failed relationships, illness, etc.

Jesus came into the world he created to be a light for us, to show us God. In John 1:4 we read:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 

Jesus is the source of life since he is the creator. He came here out of love to reclaim his most precious creation-human beings. We are the most precious part of creation to him. He is the light for all humans.

In John 1:5 we read:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus still shines his light in this world for us. Interesting to me is the word for overcome in Greek- katalmbano using English letters for you- gives a meaning of acquire, grasp, lay hold of. It is a word full of meaning. The darkness has not overcome it, lay hold of it, so it has not and will not conquer the light of Jesus. The darkness has not grasped the light or understood.

Think about how startling it is when all of the sudden someone turns on a light. Our eyes close a bit as we adjust to the light. If we are sleeping and someone suddenly turns on a light to wake us up, we are confused for a bit.

Those in darkness are confused about Jesus. The darkness that has a hold of them cannot overcome the light of Jesus.

Jesus wants us to be children of the light and reach out to those in the darkness. He wants us to shine his light in this world.

If anyone feels trapped by addiction, relationship/family troubles, depression, or anything else, Jesus holds out his hand to you to help you.

Let us who follow Jesus take our light out to a troubled world. Seek out those in need of the hope only Jesus can give.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Freedom from Victimhood

Surviving abuse involves at times an ongoing process of forgiving. By forgiving I mean releasing them to God to be free of victimhood not forgetting. But when the memories come back, what do we do with them. It took time but I have gotten to the point of praying as soon as they come back.

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So this is a raw post but one I felt the Lord leading me to share. As a child, my home was a nightmare at times with a mentally ill mother who played mind games and an alcoholic father. That should be enough said without going into details.

Fast forward to when I was in my early 30s. I began to feel tired and had trouble making it through the day. It continued to get worse as my health declined with my first bout with chronic illness. That first bout was so severe that I was close to multiple organ failure until one day I said something to my doctor that rang a bell for him. He tested me and found I had a dead thyroid.

I spent a over a year recovering from that. When I saw my mother, which was rare, I told her I had a dead thyroid. She asked me what my TSH test number was. I told her. She gleefully and proudly told me hers and walked away. That was when I found out what I had was genetic.

When I told my father after that, he said, “your mother never told you?”

Had I known about the genetic predisposition, I would have asked to be tested every year and could have avoided the nightmare of three years of declining health, over a year recovering, and the process after that of getting my life back together.

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The mind games of my mother and the negligence of my father continued into my adulthood. They have both passed away. Yesterday the memory of that time came back. So I prayed over it. I said to God that I hoped my mother had made her peace with him and thanked him that my father had.

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By doing so, I stepped away from being trapped in victimhood. Jesus wants to set us free. He said so himself. Jesus who is the truth said in John 8:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The truth is that Jesus loves each of us and values us so much that he left heaven to be born as a human baby, so he could grow to be a man and die on the cross for us.

The truth is that God wants us in his family.

There are so many more wonderful truths in the bible to learn. It starts with coming to know Jesus. Then he begins the process of setting us free.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

We Need To Protect The Children

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18.

Those strong words are from Jesus when he spoke about people who harm children.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why I canceled my Netflix due to the movie Cuties in my post We Need to Protect The Children. The cause of protecting children is so important to me. That is why I support Love Justice because Love Justice fights sex trafficking of children and young women.

Human sex trafficking is a terribly horrific crime and one that does not get enough attention by the media. It is estimated 40 million people are enslaved by traffickers in the world.

Trafficking is an issue in the USA and other western countries not just in third world countries.

I would like to share two videos with you. The first is by a victim of child sex trafficking. Her name is Elizabeth. She was victimized by her own mother selling her as a child. She now has a small business making word bracelets and supports an organization that helps child victims.

The second one is by Liz Crokin about President Trump’s war against human trafficking. The reason I am sharing it is not political except to bring attention to the fact that powerful people are involved. Since people in positions of power are involved, we need to pressure our government into action. We need stronger laws against trafficking to make it a Federal Crime with strong mandatory sentences. My hope in sharing the video is simply that perhaps my readers will contact their government representatives about fighting human trafficking.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.