Accepting Bridges, Instead of Walls

Quotefancy-1722319-3840x2160

God has called us to build bridges and not walls.  The whole story of Christ’s life, testifies to this.  During his ministry, Jesus broke down many walls of separation.

For example:

  • Jesus was a Judean Refugee living in Egypt.  (What if Egypt had built a wall?)
  • Jesus had many women disciples. (Gender Wall)
  • Jesus praised the Samaritans, whom the Jews considered dogs. (Race Wall)
  • Jesus spent his time with sinners, instead of the religious. (Religion Wall)
  • Jesus admonishes the poor, instead of the rich. (Status Wall)
  • Jesus proclaimed Grace instead of Law. (Rule/Regulation Wall)

Jesus leveled the playing field, where all are equal, and He calls us to do the same.

For He is our peace.  He has made us both one body, and has broken down the hostile, dividing wall between us.  Ephesians 2:14

 

Daily Prompt: Acceptance

 

Advertisements

My Soul To Take

imagesJUPFRQ19
Painting by Florence Kroger

 

Oh, that God would mold this clay,

nothing but dust, dirt and decay!

And yet, in me, He saw some worth;

He sent his Son, from Heaven to Earth.

To lay down his life, upon the cross,

to thirst, and bleed, and suffer loss.

And so for me, His Glory awaits;

one day I’ll walk, through pearly gates.

So nothing to fear, because I am free;

His rod and His staff, they comfort me.

The shadow of death, there is no escape,

But God’s in the valley, my soul, to take.

***

As a tiny girl, often, my mom and I, prayed the prayer, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”  I was always comforted by this bedtime ritual.  As an adult, when I think on the memory, I find I am blessed just as much now, as I was then; perhaps even more.  Thus was the inspiration for this poem.

“Mama, thank you for the foundations of strength you’ve given me.  I am a better woman because of you.”

now i lay me down

(Daily prompt: Luck)

Luck has nothing to do with my spiritual life.  It is orchestrated by the hand of God.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd

When, blessings like a river, swarm.

the-lord-is-my-shepherd-lg

“The Lord is my shepherd.”  And thus begins Psalm 23.

King David is the author of Psalm 23; however, as much as we Christians would like to believe, David was not the first to pen the idea of God as shepherd.

History tells us, this metaphor, of comparing god to shepherd, was common place within the Eastern world.  For example:

  • There was a song written about Marduk, patron deity of the city of Babylon, during the early 18th Century BC, describing his care for the weak like a “benevolent shepherd.”  
  • Another song written of Shamash, Mesopotamian sun-god, proclaims, “You shepherd all living creatures, together, you are the herdsman, above and below.”
  • Hammurabi (c.1750 BC) claimed kingship by providing “the people with pastures and watering places, having settled them in peaceful abodes.”
  • A phrase, which closely parallels Psalm 23, was found inscribed upon ancient Samaritan text and it reads,  “A man’s personal god is a shepherd who finds pasturage for him.  Let him lead him like sheep to the grass they can eat.”

Some Christians, learning of this, may feel it weakens David’s writing, but I feel quite the opposite.  I’m sure David, a learned man, was aware of such comparisons; therefore, when he chose to liken his God to that of a shepherd, he, in essence, was elevating his God, Yahweh, above all other gods.

David spent many of his younger years, tending his father’s sheep.  The book of II Samuel, speaks of two incidents where David had to kill a lion and a bear in order to protect the fold.  David understood the lambs were vulnerable, and without his protection, they would most likely die.  Knowing this fact, when he wrote Psalm 23, he visions himself to a lamb, that is dependent upon the shepherd, and for David, this shepherd could only be Yahweh.  David humbled himself, and placed his entire well-being, within the hands of God.

I love how David makes Psalm 23 personal.  He could have written, “The Lord is a shepherd” and that would have been true, but instead he writes “The Lord is ‘my’ Shepherd.”  By that simple two letter word, David sheds light upon his close relationship to God.

I believe when we read Psalm 23, God desires of us, to make it personal.  He wants each of us to slip our identity within this passage, and when we do, this ancient scripture becomes alive.  We like, David, can proclaim a personal relationship with God, and when we are able to do that, God Himself walks with us.

Oh, what peace and joy this brings!

My Daily Prayer:

Lord, you are my Shepherd.  You care about everything in my life, even unto the minutest detail.  Help me today to ponder this thought.

When I’m tired, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will feel rest.  When I’m afraid, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your protection.  When I am lonely, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your presence.  When I am guilty, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your forgiveness.  When I’m down upon myself, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know I’m enough.  When I feel unloved, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your love.  And in that time, when I face death, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and I will know comfort and peace.

Lord, thank you for this day, you have made for me.  Help me to live it, with my hand in yours.  Help me, to be a blessing, to those you bring to my path.

In the name of Jesus, my savior, I make these requests.  Amen

***

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  — Jesus

When blessings, like a river, swarm

.

(Information about comparisons of gods to shepherd was taken from the NIV Study Bible)

 

 

 

 

 

Grace is Found in Hues of Gray

img_5432

Recently, I had a family member express concern for my soul.  Their reason?  I’m a lesbian.

Now, first of all, I realize their concern is an expression of love, but I also know, they fear if they fail to warn me, then my blood will stain their hands, at the great white throne of God’s judgement.  I know this because, I too, once held to such belief.  I am aware of the almost unbearable pain this causes, and it makes me sad.

After a lifetime of being taught this, it ceases to be an opinion, and becomes a way of life, which is extremely hard to escape.  Everything in life, is governed by the philosophy of black and white, cut and dry, leaving no room for debate. There are no hues of grays, it’s either wrong or right, irregardless of what modern technology or science proves different.

For example, I Corinthians 6:9-10 names a long list of characters who have no hope of heaven.  Listed among these, of course, are homosexuals, but also listed are people who covet, adulterers, thieves and drunkards.  There’s a significantly longer list, found in Romans chapter 1, and it contains, people who envy, people who gossip, people who are proud, and even people who are disobedient to their parents.

May I be so bold as to say, everyone in the world, falls somewhere within these categories.  So, if taken literally, no one, it seems, should ever make it to the pearly gates, but that, my friends, is the point; and this point, is often missed because the reader becomes side tracked by the mention of the “sin” of homosexuality.

The point is, no one, absolutely no one, is worthy of Gods Kingdom.  To stress this, Paul in the same book writes, “There is no one righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned…”

Thankfully, the book of Romans doesn’t end upon this dire note, but instead it points the reader to one person:  Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ, and what he means to all of mankind, is the sole emphasis of the whole book of Romans.  If you read the whole book, instead of picking scripture here and there, the conclusion is made that we are all “… justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith without the deed of the law.”

Now, having written all of the above, I am aware there are arguments to be made.  My fundamental and evangelical friends pose some valid questions about homosexuality and sin in general.  I truly want to address these; however, that is another blog for another time.  To be honest, more than a blog post…a series.

In closing, I just want to say, as a gay-christian, (no oxymoron) I choose to live by grace.  Grace is a world of unanswered questions; a world full of wonder that drives us to seek answers. We become scrappy Christians, who wrestle and grapple to find answers, but at the end of the day, we still have to say, “I don’t know” and because of grace, that is okay.  Grace is, not knowing the answers while resting in peace.

In the past, the accusations, from well-meaning Christians-family and friends-would anger me and set me on the defensive.  I would think, “How dare they judge my relationship with God?”  That’s not, so much, my reaction anymore, instead, I am saddened by the fear, I know they feel.  I wish, there were a way, to draw back the curtains of my soul, so all concerned, could witness my relationship with God.  This, I know, is the only thing that would lay such fears to rest.

 

Obvious Mercy

A Conversation with God 8/25/16

14022211_10210950374180323_4311657546455747167_n
Gracie, hoping more spaghetti squash seeds fall to the floor.

Me:  Well God, I woke up this morning to three big piles and a puddle.  Had to steam mop the floors-of which- I finished the living room, kitchen, dining room, and hallway-ALL- before 7:30 this morning!

God:  Some days are definitely better than others, but…

Me:  Yeah, and some nights are better than others too!  Gracie barked most of the night.  I had to get up and take her outside at least 3 times…  pfhh…probably more than that…I don’t know, Lord…I kinda lost count.  Corinne and have nick-named her Monster.

God:  During those times, whisper my name and…

Me:  Well, I kind’a recollect s…s..saying your name, but… it may n..not have come out as reverently as I would have liked…I’m sorry, Lord.

God:  Lisa, because of my Son, you are forgiven and I will think of it no more.  Remember when I said, “As far as the east is from the west, that far have I removed your transgressions…?”

Me:  Yes Lord, I remember King David writing that.  He sure had a load of sins…huh, Lord…?

God:  None less than yours…

Me:  Yes Lord…I’m sorry.

God:  You see, Lisa, it’s not about the sins you commit-sin is sin-and all have sinned.  The most important “take away” here is that Jesus died and rose again, and because of that your sins are forgiven.  I would much rather you dwell upon Christ and what he’s done, than upon all the mistakes and “bad things” you’ve done.  My mercy is gracious and plentiful, and I want this to be obvious and personal for everyone.

Me:  Lord, thank you for your mercy.

God:  It makes me happy to forgive my children and my arms are always open….regardless of what they’ve done.

Me:  (bows head)  Dear Lord, what a wonderful thing Jesus did for me.  Thank you, my Jesus and please help my mind to rest upon You all day today.

God:  I will help you, Lisa…remember my Spirit goes everywhere you go.  That means I am an ever-present help…ask you shall receive.

Me:  Thank you, God.   Um…God….

God:  Yes Lisa?

Me:  It sure is a lot of work taking care of a puppy.  Do you think I could, maybe…um…lose some weight?

God:  Hmmm…not if you keep eating the muffins that are meant for the  JMU students.

Me:  Oops…guess you saw that the other night…

God:  Remember, I –am- with you always.  (God smiles)

***

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

Psalms 103:8-17

***

Written for participation of today’s daily prompt:  Obvious

 

A Quiet Place

A Conversation with God 8/18/16

IMG_3789
Beth, my daughter, looking out over the Shenandoah Valley.

Me:  God, my world is too noisy…sometimes I just want to go to the moon!

God:  You don’t have to go all the way to the moon…just rest in your quiet place, it’s always waiting for you.

Me:  I would but I don’t know the way.

God:  Well, that’s the beauty of it, you don’t have to go anywhere because it goes everywhere with you.  You’re always standing by the door.  Just open the door and walk inside.

Me:  Huh…?

God:  My presence is the resting place and your awareness is the door.  When you become aware of My presence, in any given moment, there is peace and an extra boost of energy to carry you through.

Me:  God, it’s so incredible that YOU, the God who created all, lives inside me.

God:  I know it’s hard for your human mind to understand, so don’t even try…just rest in knowing, with me, all things are possible.

Me:  Thank you Lord.

God:  Faith is the key that opens your door of awareness.  Believe me and I will meet you there.  In our secret place you’ll rest in the coolness of my shadow.  I will gather you as a mother hen gathers her chicks and you will rest under my wings.

Me:  What if there’s no time?

God:  Even in the briefest of moments I will give you strength…just say my name and know I’m there.  Quote my word in your mind, that always helps too.

Me:  Thank you, Lord.

God:  Remember, you’ll need many rests through out your day.  So, open the door and come inside, often.

***

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…
 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge.  (Psalms 91:1,4)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”  (Mark 10:27)

Yes Lord…but…I’m Gay

A Conversation with God 8/11/2016

p54b

 

Me:  God, as I tarried in your garden, I heard the words of a verse that has given me comfort for many years.

God:  And what words are they, my child?

Me:  They go something like this… “…everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and those who come to Me I will by no means cast out.”

God:  Ah yes…I remember exactly when they were first spoken.  My Son was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum the very day after he had fed a great multitude of people some fish and bread.

(God pauses in thought)

God:  Seems like yesterday…

Me:  Uhm…I’m not quite sure when He said it, but those words have meant a lot to me in my life, even from early on.

God:  Tell me, child…how have they comforted you?

Me:   Well, sometimes I feel I’m not good enough…I mean, it seems I mess up all the time.

God:  All my children stumble…you are no different.

Me:  Yes, Lord…but…I’m gay…

God:  I know all things, my child.

Me:  Uhm…yes Lord but I’ve struggled with being gay since a little girl.  I kept it a secret from my family because I thought they wouldn’t love me if they knew.

God:  That could well be the case with man but with Me, there are no secrets and with Me there are no limits to my love.  I love you with an everlasting love.  I have called you, Lisa and in faith you came to me and believed.  Neither I nor Jesus will ever cast you away…and no one can ever pluck you from my hand.  My Son’s words were true thousands of years ago and they remain true today.  Trust me.

Me:  Yes, Lord…but…I’m gay…

God:  Lisa, I knew it before you knew it and still my words beckon you to come and drink freely from the water of Life.

Me:  Yes, but others say…

God:  But, what do I say?

Me:  I know Lord…but…

God:  My child, I called you and you came.  Remember my words, “Whosoever, shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”  Lisa, whosoever means you, too.  Nothing can ever separate you from my Love.

Me:  God, can it really be that simple?

God:  I made it simple because I want all to come to me.  I loved the whole world so much that I gave my only Son, Jesus, and whoever believes in Him will never perish; instead, they will live forever.  Lisa, Jesus paid a heavy price to secure your salvation and because of what He sacrificed I will never no never turn you or anyone else away.

Me:  Lord, how can I even begin to thank you.

God:  Well, I never grow weary of your thanksgivings and praises.  They make me happy.  So go, live your life in grace and share the good news of my love with everyone.  ALL are welcome…no ifs, ands or buts.

(God smiles)

Me:  Lord, take my life and let it be all for you and for your glory.  Glory to you forever!

***

And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.  John 6:37

 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

Maybe the Third Cup’s the Charm!

A Conversation with God 8/10/2016

IMG_5304

Me:  Good morning, Lord.

God:  Good morning, Lisa.  How are you feeling today?

Me:  Well, I’m on my second cup of coffee so I’m feeling better.  I was a bit stressed at first.

God:  Tell me about it.

Me:  Well, Gracie woke me up at 3 am needing to pee…which is okay because I’d rather that than having to wash the pad in her crate.  I’ve already had to do it twice this week and it’s only Wednesday!  I let the girls out-Danica, Dolly, and Gracie-before 6 am and when it was time to go inside, Gracie saw me and shot off, like a bullet from a gun, in the opposite direction.  She barks like a crab, chases the cats and chews the walls.  Just thinking about it makes me want a third cup of coffee!

[God chuckles]

God:  It’s true, all babies of any kind can be quite the handful.

Me:  (smiling) I still love her, though…

God:  Stress will come to you in many various forms.  It can be annoying, challenging or out right debilitating.  Meet it head on…whether it be large or small.  Don’t deny its existence but acknowledge it.  Naming the problem makes it manageable and solvable. And always…always talk to me about it, for I am interested in every facet of your life.

Me:  Thank you, God.  Sometimes it seems the silliest things get under my skin.

God:  And such is life, my child.  Bring it to me-silly or not-and I will help you refocus and then you will see it through My eyes.  I will renew your mind and then you’ll be able to put things into proper perspective.  Even when the outer man is tired the inner man can be on vacation.

(God smiles)

Me:  God, you never make me feel stupid…You always seem to understand…thank you for that…

God:  I know what it’s like to be human.  I left my throne, descended in the form of man and walked this earth for 33 years; so you can rest assured, Lisa, I do understand.

Me:  Thank you, again Lord.  I love you.

God:  I love you too, Lisa.

God:  And…Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  Crabs don’t really bark.  (God smiles and winks)

***

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… John 1:1,14

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind… Ephesians 4:23

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

That is why we never give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.  We have small troubles for a while now, but these troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles. So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever.  II Corinthians 4:16-18 (ERV)

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things.  Philippians 4:8

(Daily Prompt:  Maybe)

Celebrate Life with Kindness

A Conversation with God 8/9/2016

Tibicen_linnei

Me:  Lord, the cicadas sure have been loud this year.

God:  Yes they have…and do you know why?

Me:  No, Lord.  Why?

God:  Well, you see, in 1999, a brood of cicadas hatched and burrowed beneath the ground to feast upon root tissue.  It took 17 years but finally they matured and this year the millions emerged from the ground to begin their mating cycle.  It’s possible, and even likely, there to be a million of my little creatures per square acre; and with so many, it’s no wonder the Shenandoah Valley resounded loudly their serenade.

(God smiles and chuckles)

Me:  Wow, God…that’s just amazing!  I love how diverse your creatures are!

God:  Yes, I do enjoy diversity.

Me:  Lord…

God:  Yes

Me:  Gracie…she’s my little Golden Retriever puppy…

God:  Yes, I know Gracie.

(God smiles)

Me:  Well, just yesterday she scampered inside with something hanging out of her mouth. After close inspection I realized it was a cicada bug.  I tried coaxing it from her but was only successful with the top half of its little body.  Gracie ate the other half.  Then she sat on her haunches, looked at me as if to say, “Okay mama, fork it over!”

God:  Such is the cycle of life, my child.

Me:  Yes Lord, but it made me kind of  sad…I’ve always liked cicadas, even as kid.

God:  You sure did!  I remember you, pigtails flying, scavenging the neighborhood for their exoskeletons.  (God chuckles)  I also seem to recall the time you found some sort of cocoon during the cold of winter.  Not knowing what it was you stuffed in your coat pocket and kept playing.

praying-mantis-facts

Me:  Yes!  I remember that!  I played outside for as long as I could stand the cold and then went inside to warm myself by our wood-burning heater.  I laid my cocoon treasure on the bookshelf beside the heater and went into the kitchen to make a sandwich.  Later I went back to get my cocoon and found the bookcase crawling with hundreds of baby praying mantises!

 

(I pause…lost in the nostalgia)

You know, Lord…I really do like the way you created the praying mantis.  They look wise and somehow…kind of… ancient.

God:   Yes, they are amazing creatures as is all life.  Life is precious…very precious…for it is a gift only I can give.  So go out today and enjoy my world …celebrate life…all life!

Me:  I will Lord.  I will be mindful of your people and all of your creatures.

God: Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  Remember, the way to celebrate life is to be kind to life.

Me:  Yes, Lord

***

Psalms 104

He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.

They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.

By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.

He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.
The high hills are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.

He appointed the moon for seasons;
The sun knows its going down.

You make darkness, and it is night,
In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.

The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.

When the sun rises, they gather together
And lie down in their dens.

Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening.

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.

The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.

There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.

These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.

What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.

You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.

He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord.

May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

 

The Luxury of His Power

A Conversation with God 8/8/2016

 

Me:  God, I’m so tired of looking fat.  me and rm  glasses

God:  Talk to me about it.

Me:  Well, most of the time I feel okay about it and then I catch a reflection of myself in a mirror or a store-front glass…I see myself as others must see me… and then, just like that [snaps fingers] my whole mood changes and I feel bad the rest of the day.  I look so ugly.

God:  You are My dear child…made in My image so there is no way possible you could ever be ugly.  I have children who’ve been burnt with fire, scarred with acid, malformed from a bullet or deformed from birth, and not a single one is ugly.  They are My precious children and are beautiful in My sight.

Me:  I’m sorry Lord…I guess what I’m really trying to say is I don’t feel good about myself.

God:  Don’t be sorry, My child for such are the feelings of humans.  Feeling bad about yourself and being ugly are two different things.  As I said before, no child of mine is ugly for I have a purpose for each and everyone.  I put them exactly where they are-in life- to be an inspiration and a light to all those around.  They are my vessels filled with my Spirit.

(God pauses…)

You, Lisa, are My vessel and I actually live inside your physical form.  I can use you to change the world if you would be but my willing.

Me:  Yes, Lord, I will be your vessel; please use me as you see fit.

God:  Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  I makes me sad when you feel bad about yourself.  I want you to feel like the beautiful creation you are.

Me:  I’m sorry Lord…I don’t want to make you sad.

God:  Oh my child, don’t be sorry.  Come to me and let me help you with these feelings.  I am always eager to help my children.

Me:  Oh God, I so need your help!  I’ve tried over and over again to eat better and to exercise but I always…ALWAYS…screw it up!

God:  Any task you undertake is a journey of many steps, and like all journeys there will be ups and downs, and curves in the road with bumps and potholes scattered about.  And know this, Lisa, no matter how hard you try, eventually you’re bound to stumble over some of these obstacles.  That will always be the case as long as you inhabit your physical body.

Me:  Well…that’s kind of depressing, Lord.

God:  The key is to realize you are MORE than the physical.  You have the luxury of My Power  inside of you.  My Power, that has changed and recreated my children through the centuries.  Once, this Power, raised my only Son from death and the grave.  YOU, Lisa…YOU have access to the very same Power!

Me:  Wow, Lord, when you put it that way I feel like a superhero!

God:  And so you are!  The key is to tap into that Power.

Me:  But…how Lord?  Please tell me how…

God:  Through prayer and faith in Me.  You see, Lisa…the truth of the matter is this:  You will fall and you will “mess-up,” as you say, and when you do your first instinct will be to berate, kick yourself and entertain thoughts of giving up.  Don’t listen to these lies! Instead, say My Name.  There is Power in My Name!  Forgive yourself, call out to Me and I will help you up; and then press on.  Press on and don’t look back!

Me:  Thank you, Lord.  You make me feel strong…You make me believe I can do it!

God:  You can do it and I will help you!

God:  And…Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  When you go to Planet Fitness today… (God pauses and winks)…kick butt…

***

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 …forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 6:16

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  Mark 5:34

 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  II Corinthians 4:7

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.  II Corinthians 12:9-10

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31