I am in a debate with a friend of mine. I would love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to leave comments.
We need men to be honest in the church.
Yesterday I wrote a post called “His Face Never Changes” in which I called attention to the male tendency to mask our weaknesses by maintaining a calm, cool demeanor. “Never let ’em see you sweat” is the facade that many men use to gain social capital with other men. Unfortunately many Christian perspectives on masculinity do not make a break from this fleshly commitment. The current Christian emphasis does not work toward, or even allow, a ‘gospel vulnerability’ that learns to find strength in weakness (click here to see what I mean). Instead most Christian teaching joins right in, accentuating a kind of “John Wayne/Don Draper” approach to Christianity. Don’t cry. Don’t admit weakness. Don’t admit failure. Never let ’em see you sweat. Get stuff done for the kingdom. Sadly, this works for a while. It is very appealing. It sounds good: Let’s go kick some butt…
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Jeff Goins wrote this excellent book on
to inspire, challenge and guide you
towards living your dream
as a writer or artist.
Some quotes that I found inspiring to me on my writing journey . . .
Whether you’re starting to tackle writing for the first time or a lifelong veteran, rest assured. There is better work you’ve yet to create. If you will make one important choice: Stop writing for accolades, and start writing for passion.
Before others will believe what is true
you’ll have to first believe it yourself.
When you stop writing
for readers’ affections,
your work will affect more people.
Stop waiting for permission and
prepare to do the work.
There are no big breaks.
Only tiny drips of effort that
lead to waves of momentum.
You can purchase this book and learn more about Jeff Goins @ www.youareawriter.com
I have learned so much from his blog post @ www.goinswriter.com
NOTE FROM JOYCE:
*** Don’t forget to come back on May 30th and see my redesigned blog!!!! ***
For the women and men that may still be struggling with healing from a painful past. God Loves You and desperately wants you to know.
As I have shared before, the holidays are tough for me from Halloween through New Year’s Day. I still don’t know why. I feel tense as bedtime approaches, have trouble staying asleep, wrestle with nightmares, and then feel exhausted the next day. Last night, I was praying about all of this, especially for relief from the pressure and emotional pain. Here is what I “saw”…
I was walking in the parking lot of my church toward the church building. I “zoomed out” so I could see myself from the outside, and I was this buff warrior woman, like an Amazon. (Trust me – Nobody would describe me physically like this!!) I had bulging, strong muscles, and…
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Well, I have one for you
in three weeks!!!!
I am changing things up on my blog.
A new look! A different approach!
I am so excited, and can’t wait to share!
I will have some new people to meet.
Come back on May 30th to see what’s NEW.
Sign up to receive updates by email, and you will be notified as soon as I go live!!!
Sign up in the Email Subscription box at the top right under my picture.
I do not spam. I Promise!! If you are not as excited as I am about the changes, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Thank You Crosscards for such a great picture.
Visit www.crosscards.com for great wallpapers & e-cards.
HOPE in the New Year!
The year 2011 is officially behind us now. A brand-new year brings many brand-new possibilities. It is my hope that you see the hope in this New Year. Whatever happened in 2011 is done. You may be dealing with some of the same issues, but there is always hope from God, because He can give you wisdom on how to handle every problem.
I found this great chapter in Psalms this morning. Take a moment soon to read Psalm 86! Here are some great verses from this chapter.
“O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to You whenever I’m in trouble, and You will answer me.”
~ Psalm 86:6-7 NLT
What is your cry for this year?
How do you want to live differently?
Call out to Your Heavenly Father,
and He will hear your urgent cry!
My cry for 2012 is to live in closer fellowship with God so I may be more bold in sharing the Good NEWS to as many as I possibly can. This can be face to face or even through my blog. I am not the only one with this cry in my heart for our nation and all those around the world to turn to Jesus. Check out this video on the main page of their webiste at One Cry , and read their blog!
There are other cries in my heart that are more personal. The most important one is for my fourteen-year-old son to grow close to God and make his faith his own. I know this is a process, but I pray the process starts this year. Whatever your cry may be to get a job, change jobs, to keep your house from foreclosure, to get out of debt, to feed the poor, to go on a mission trip . . cry out to God, and He will hear it. I suggest that you write it out, and surrender it to God. Pray for it daily and watch Him move in your live.
It is my prayer for many of you to join me with the One Cry movement! I will be writing about the movement as I learn more about it too. I am thrilled to see there are so many others with the same cry in their heart. If this is not your specific cry, that is okay. However, I do pray that you will ask God to burden your heart for the lost. That is our primary purpose as believers is to share God’s amazing message with all we can!
Please feel free to share your cry.
I and many others will pray for you.
Have you ever been so wounded or abused by someone whom you swore you would never forgive them?
After talking with a close friend of mine recently, I was thinking about our conversation. Anna (not her real name) is healing from a tragic childhood abuse of the worst kind. Over the past year, she and I have become very close as I have helped her deal with this horrible pain that keeps rearing its ugly head in her life.
Recently, a good friend of Anna’s almost died; Anna was very distraught about her friend. This friend has reached out to Anna just a few months ago. I think it would be good for Anna to work on building some friendships that she has cut off over the years. She fears letting others into her world, because they may hurt her. She has been betrayed by two very close friends. I mentioned not everyone wants to hurt her, and that she is missing out on the friendship and love of others. However, they are missing out on what she can offer them as well. As I was mulling over her fears one day, and through some reading and praying I realized a missing link in Anna’s healing and seeking friendships. Forgiveness . . .
She struggles to forgive the monster who stole her childhood and innocence. I can completely understand. Who would not? However, he is stealing her life now, and he is deceased. She is afraid to live. Her pain doesn’t stop with this one person it seeps into all her relationships. She is on a journey of healing, and will have a story to share with others. There are so many people out there just like her who nobody knows the hell they are living in. She will be their voice one day. God has a plan and a purpose for her, as He does for each of His children.
Here is the connection I made for my friend to complete her healing. She needs to forgive the monster. Not because he deserves it. Not because he is dead. We forgive, because God has called us to forgive everyone as He has forgiven us (Eph 4:32). This will not happen in a moment, but will take time to peel back the layers of pain, grief and sorrow by releasing it to God. Somehow God has designed it when we quit clutching our pain and forgive those who hurt us then our heart is open to love and forgive others. You see my friend is clutching her pain tightly, and has for so long that it hurts to even look at it. Forgiveness looks impossible, because it has become a part of her like having a permanent scar from a gash 20 years ago, but the pain does not go away. However, God has promised us that if we make the decision to forgive – EVEN if the person NEVER asks for it – He will complete the healing process for us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Resoundingly YES! Ask anyone who has forgiven the murderer of their child, the cheating wife or husband, the prodigal son, or the betraying friend, they would tell you the same. It is hard to describe what God does in your heart when you are obedient to forgive. You are able to look at the pain, and not feel the deep wound anymore. The anger is washed away. Joy and love take up residence where all the poison used to reside. You make room for God to fill your heart with His love that spills over into others even the one that has hurt you the most.
For me, I have someone whom I forgave for a horrible thing they did to me a long time ago. I now just feel sorry for them. To be honest, I don’t feel a gush of love for them, but I love them as a part of God’s creation. I don’t know if they have Christ or not. If they do not have the love of Christ in them, they are missing out on so much life!
So Hard to Believe
Corrie ten Boom had a similar excruciating painful experience as my friend. She and her family were severely abused in a German Nazi Concentration Camp. She watched her sister starve to death days before they received freedom. Her family was put in a prison camp for hiding Jews from Hitler’s regime. After her release, and in the midst of healing from all the torture, she spoke at a meeting in Munich, Germany about what she had been through in the camps and about God’s forgiveness.
Afterwards, a former guard came up to her, and said that he had become a Christian recently, and he wanted to personally ask her forgiveness. She remembered him. She remembered being paraded by him naked. He stuck his hand out in an offering of peace and forgiveness. It was all she could do to shake his hand. She knew that she should, but she had this internal battle raging. She finally extended her hand out to shake his and when she did, she could feel the power and presences of God move from her shoulder down to where her hand met his. She had this overwhelming sense of love for the man. The forgiving power of God overwhelmed her. You see she stopped clutching her pain, and could forgive and love through the power of God.
Forgiveness Is . . .
Forgiveness is more about letting go of our right to be hurt, than it is freeing the other person from their responsibility. Forgiveness frees us to love others more deeply. I know it is hard, because there are times that I struggle with it too. When you are repeatedly hurt by the same person for the same thing over and over again, you want to curl up in your corner to have your pain party. Although, that is not what God designed us to do. Unforgiveness holds us in bondage and keeps us from the pure love that God has for us and the love we could share with others. Forgiveness is the key to get out of bondage.
Is there someone you need to forgive today? Maybe you need to forgive yourself and allow God to heal you. We are to be responsible for own actions, but that does not mean we drag that mistake, sin, or pain with us for the rest of our life as penance. This is the beauty of God’s design. His mercy and grace wash away our sin and our pain to open our hearts to be filled with His love. I pray that you allow Him today. Forgive as you have been forgiven by the Almighty Savior and Friend. He will flood you with His love.
This verse below became real to me during a particularly difficult time in my marriage. God revealed to me that He had forgiven me and I needed to forgive my husband just like He forgives me. Talk about a spiritual 2 x 4!