Friday, May 19, 2017


Think about why professional athletes need coaching? To stay on top of their game, they MUST be accountable to someone who knows their strengths and weaknesses. A mentor or coach builds a relationship of TRUST while expecting a positive mental attitude, a physical exercise routine, and a team spirit. Improved performance comes from a person dedicated to a team, and to what the coach demands. Inside an effective mentor/coach relationship, both parties are acutely aware of strengths and weaknesses. Corrections are sandwiched with encouragements in order to increase ones potential spiritually, physically or financially. WHO you are in Christ, is what makes you set apart, for His purposes.  WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery,  Trust God, do NOT be afraid.  WHEN temptation haunts you, speak aloud God's word to destroy and banish the voice that is NOT from God.  WHERE there are choices to make, make the one that honors God.  You will never regret that decision.  WHY things happen will never be certain. Hold on to your FAITH in God, and in His plan for you.  Before you enter into such a dynamic growing relationship with God, and your special accountability partner of choice... it is wise to ask yourself these important questions and write out the answers: Where have I been? Where am I going physically, spiritually and emotionally? IF I do not change
my habits, my ways...where will I be in 3 years? In five years?  For things to change I must thoughts, my ways, my habits. A good mentor/accountability partner will know IF you are being honest, and IF you are not, they will be the SALT and LIGHT you need and call you on your stuff.  Taking a moral inventory requires us to be authentically honest with ourself and then to our accountability partner. We MUST place our HOPE in GOD and NOT in our mate, our sponsor, our accountability partner.  REMEMBER this TRUTH:  People will fail you.  Your expectations will not always be met.  Your heart will be broken by people, NOT GOD.  Only GOD is consistently GOOD and only His plan never fails.  We MUST choose to TRUST GOD, no matter how often our plans fail.  We MUST commit to NOT quit, no matter how many times our circumstances shift away from what we WANT.  What we NEED is different than what we WANT.  We will face trials and a CRISIS of BELIEF along our journey.  We will be required to make adjustments in our thinking to follow God's plan to prosper us. People MUST give themselves a check up from the neck up.  "EXAMINE MY MIND and HEART O' GOD and reveal to me anything in my thinking, in my ways that does NOT honor You."   AMEN!  The relationship with any accountability partner is based on TRUST.  Both must agree that whatever is shared, stays private. All information shared is honored as sacred. Our coach has the right to call us on our hesitations, and our excuses. Introspection keeps our motives pure and keeps us in the growing mode. After all, doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results defines INSANITY. Patience and commitment are critical in order to grow. Remember if you are not growing, your are decaying. Leaders read and they journal where they are physically, spiritually and mentally. Open, honest communication with self and your mentor is essential. It requires sharing feelings, thoughts, new ideas and changes. Select someone you admire and respect and schedule a time to ASK THEM to be your mentor. A "getting to know you" meeting will take at least two hours. One sitting for rapport and trust building is NOT sufficient, but it is a great start. Being straightforward and transparent will be in your best interest. Eventually you and your mentor can write a simple agreed contract which includes regular monthly/or weekly meetings. Prior to this mentor meeting make a list of where you feel you need encouragement and help. This will become a working document for you and your mentor, which can be revised and changed over time. It will give your mentor a guideline and a view of you, providing accountability and a record of your progress. Family members and friends may NOT be considered the best mentors as many have a pre-conceived idea of what you are capable of. Some of our biggest cheerleaders and critics have been family members. If you are looking to develop a model in which to measure growth, make lifestyle changes, or even be transformed by the renewing of your mind and spirit, it is suggested to find someone who is older than yourself and someone who has already achieved what your are hoping to obtain. Someone with the same energy level, someone who shares similar interests, someone who you will look forward to spending time with. Accountability partners can be sought for accelerated learning, increasing faith, improving a skill, or developing a hobby such as, photography, gardening, fishing, golfing,
arts, or exercise. Your carefully chosen accountability partner will be there to listen, pray for you, and offer suggestions for a change. You will be the one who will need to keep the communication line open and make changes as they fit in your life. Your mentor will be the one who will question your motives and challenge your complaints. Good questions to be asked are: "How are you going to handle that?" or "What would you do?"  "When do you plan to execute your firm decision?"  Coaches draw on their past experiences and share their expertise, however, the ultimate decision you make is all up to you.  You will always be responsible for your choices, good or bad. Meet together once a month, or twice a week. Decide and agree on the first Wednesday of the month or agree according to what feels comfortable for all concerned.  Make it enjoyable and celebrate your growth together.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


In 1884 Mark Twain's first lines of Huck Finn read: "You don't know about me without readin a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by a Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.” Mr. Twain thought highly of his intellect, even boasting that he told the truth mainly. One of his readers, a Miss Olivia Langdon attended church twice weekly and she was a devoted Christian when Mark Twain came to court her in the 1800's.  As Mark was a well known outspoken critic of religion, Olivia's parents were openly disgruntled when she accepted Mark's proposal of marriage. The young woman believed that by association her husband's heart would soften towards Jesus. Soon after they wed, Mark took part in family prayers and Bible reading. However, over time, Mark Twain's skepticism about matters of faith, hardened his heart and eventually, his wife changed, and also withdrew from her beliefs. He was quoted to say this to his young wife:
"Livy, you may keep this up if you want to, but I must ask you to excuse me from it. It is making me a hypocrite. I do not believe in the Bible; it contradicts my reason." Time passes and Livy becomes depressed over a friends death. Her husband encourages her "Livy, why don't you lean on your Christian faith, certainly that will help you get past your grief." Olivia replies "I can't Mark, I haven't any." God is not an old fuddy duddy when He warns us to not marry those who do not share faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Read Genesis 1:1-27 and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth and give you understanding of what our Creator, Redeemer, Spirit is saying in regard to our relationship to the ONE GOD.  The Amplified Bible reads: "God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of
July 2014 in Sonora
God He created him; male and female He created them."  God said "let us" --- Who was in the "us"? The King James Version of the Bible: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness
Let us not rely on our intellect to interpret God's living Word, but let us be wise and ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Gen 1:2 NIV ~ And God said....and His Spirit filled living Word created all that there is. God expects us to believe in the full Deity, Power and Authority of His Godhead. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with ALL wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the MYSTERY of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment---to bring ALL things in heaven and earth together under ONE head, even Christ." Ephesians 1:7-10 What God says about His Son when He brought His first-born into the world, God said, "In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; they will all wear out like a garment....
but You remain the same, and Your years will never end." Hebrews 1:10 NIV ~ "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the Builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself."  Hebrews 3:3 ~ The Lord's most beloved disciple wrote these Holy Spirit filled words "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning." John 1:1 --- God said the Word was God, and that He, the Word was with God in the beginning.  God also said "He was in the world, and though the world was MADE through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him."  John 1:10 --- God came face to face with Mark Twain and even as Mark read these words in the Bible, Mark did not recognize Jesus as God, and Mark chose his REASON over the wisdom of God found in the holy scriptures.  Let us not make the same mistake as Mark Twain and deny or profane the Name of God.
"He has a name written on Him that no one but He Himself knows.  He is dressed in a robe dripped in blood and His name is the Word of God." Revelation 9:12-13 ~ As humans who attend church, pray and worship, we will remain empty and wanting unless we return to God, our Father, Jesus our Lord, and submit to His ever present Holy Spirit. God said "I am in Him, He is in Me, and you are "in Christ".  We are not separate when we accept what God says as the ultimate Truth.  Mark Twain relied on what he thought, his human reasoning, and without the Holy Spirit, unfortunately, Mark and his wife were led astray and failed to "get it", to understand Who Jesus Christ is. Jesus is the Word of God, He spoke as God and created the world.

Friday, May 5, 2017


When the big question "Why was I born?" emerges from within, it is a time for significant endings and new beginnings!  It is a place in the road of our journey that can make us feel disoriented as we straddle our past and consider our possible future. This dot on our timeline can make anyone feel heavy, and depressed or melancholy.  When we feel stuck and unable to make decisions about which way to travel, it is time to STOP and BE STILL and LISTEN to the voice within.  Our wise elder, the inner teacher, the Holy Spirit, may be asking us to slow down and turn inward so we can take stock of what is working, what is not? How do we respond to the opinions of others?  Do we adjust ourselves to adapt to public opinion, or do we make adjustments to hold on to our belief in what God says about us?  How do we honor our priorities, commitments,
responsibilities, and boundaries?  Who do we consult when making long-term goals?   Have we examined how our belief systems? Are the stories that we tell about ourselves and the world about the miracle of our redemption?  Do we consider how our words and silent thoughts affect our current reality? Are the stories we tell useful? Do we hold captive every thought and align our thoughts with Christ, and His plan for us?  A PRAYER: Lord help each of us grow as bored with our vocalized victim stories as everyone around us already has!”  YES, it is time to shed the skin of our old sad self like the caterpillar did! Stilled out of pure boredom with all that the world had to offer, the caterpillar released his old life, his adolescent memories and surrendered his entire body and mind.  Then God created a brand new creature with wings that can fly above the world’s ways, and get a FRESH God sized perspective of our glorious short LIFE on earth, and our valid HOPE for eternity without pain or struggles!
Our heavenly Father's opinion of us is that He is pleased with His creation and He takes great pleasure in us. We must reclaim this truth and the authority of Christ within us.  We must BELIEVE that God will FINISH what He started in us! We must inhabit the truth that God equipped us to handle whatever task He assigns to us!   Let use our wings of faith to experience our pre-destined life at its best. Our death-of-self and rebirth into a new creature “in Christ” is our separation from a previous world view, and into God’s plan. Our radical break from the lie, from our old and tired self portraits accelerates our ongoing wave of renewal! It is in the “little things” that we witness change in us.  It is in the daily details that
we notice, moment by moment, that we are living an enriched, thriving and changed life. In the face of the current overwhelming planetary crisis, we can choose to start now, and begin small, to start fresh wherever we are. As set apart people, we gladly turn away from what has never worked, to embrace God’s way. This does not mean that LIFE will become easier! We will meet opposition, we will struggle, and we will be victorious even in the midst of chaos. Small efforts make significant differences in our own communities.  Instead of trying to change the world, as transformed people with renewed minds…we confidently contribute on a small scale and know that God is using us to make huge impacts on one watching person at a time. We are faced with many choices while living on earth, however, there are only two eternal choices. Pastor Rick Warren, author of a "Purpose Driven Life" gives us a look at our two eternal choices. CLICK this link and ENJOY Rick Warren's reality check, a living Word from God, and His loving opinion of WHY we should choose His way.  The Reality of Hell, Part 1

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Scholar's Atheist

Quote from "Surprised by Joy" the autobiography by CS Lewis.  "I was at this time living, like so many a whirl of contradictions.  I maintained that God did NOT exist.  I was very angry with God for NOT existing.  I was equally angry with Him for creating a world."  CS Lewis considered Christianity nothing more than a myth.  He was an Oxford scholar, a respected teacher with profound things to say. He held two degrees from his university and also taught at Cambridge. CS prized the creative imagination and as an academic, his lectures stimulated reason and much thought among his students. He was a literary critic, a tremendous historian and a satirical humorist who was fun to hang out with. "The things that I assert most rigorously and with such vigor, are the very things that I resisted long and accepted late."  His highly intelligent argumentative skills allotted him frequent triumph in verbal debates. CS was a complex man who was gravely affected by his mother's battle with cancer and early death.  At the age of nine, the tragic loss of his mother stiffened his heart against belief in a
benevolent God.  CS believed that there was no God worthy of praise because of all the unnecessary cruelty, agony and pain contained by humans affected by war and death. His unanswered prayer for his mother's life proved that billions of weeping prayers were pointlessly directed to the absolute void of a merciful, loving God.  CS Lewis was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  His boyhood library shelves were filled with fantastical books of mythology. After romps with his brother through the rich green landscape of Ireland, CS would retire to his room to draw pictures that matched his fantasy characters. At the young age of 19 ... CS found himself in France on the front lines of World War 1. Many men under his command were blown to bits and his best friend was killed in a fierce combat.  Resolved to keep his promise, CS took care of his deceased friends mother and sister after the war. His mind was filled with the haunting question of WHY? Is life and death so random?  After his father died in 1929, CS purchased a home in Britain just three miles from his work on Oxford campus.  His alcoholic brother came to live with him shortly after moving in. For
30 years CS taught, lectured and immensely enjoyed his walks and talks with other outstanding intellects. He loved the life of the mind and became close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. Together over a pint at the local university pub called the "Eagle and Child", CS and Tolkien agreed that as there was massive amounts of inadequately fulfilling literature at the university, that they would begin to write things that would satisfy their souls. They initiated a club called the "Inklings" and their members included prolific intellects such as Owen Barfield, Neville Calkhill, and Hugo Deisen. They both began to write mythical fantasy with a morality beyond prejudices commonly held by opposing beliefs regarding religion and politics.  They met weekly at the pub, or in their respective homes to drink, socialize and read aloud samplings with welcomed and revered criticism.  The process of honing their written words among the great minds of the day, enabled the finished work of CS and Tolkien to appeal to a wide range of peoples.  Fifty years later, their inspired writings have touched the
hearts of young and old.  Millions of copies of their books have been sold and both became legends at the box office by movie goers across the globe.  "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and " The Lord of the Rings" are indeed timeless works of great literature gone viral. To be infected by their highly contagious virus of hope for more, the series entitled "The Chronicles of Narnia" and sequels of hits for more of "The Lord of the Rings" is a testament to the thirst of the soul for knowledge that good prevails over evil.  People do celebrate the victory in these wonder filled visual triumphs. After years of believing that Christianity was a beautifully spun lie, at the wise age of 33, CS was introduced to a book entitled "Everlasting Man" by Chesterson. He had long resisted believing in Jesus and after many hours debating with Tolkien, CS became a believer because of his identification of God in the glorious theater of nature, in science and in his innate compulsion to know the truth. His satirical account of letters between the author of evil and his earthbound helper became an over night sensation.  "The Screwtape Letters" became a best-seller.  A revolutionary book in the 1920's, it rattled the souls of his peers and became the most talked about writing among his students, and eventually it was a worldwide must read. Screwtape (the devil) gives Wormwood (the temptor) detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith in people while promoting healthy pleasures. In Screwtape's advice, individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good.
Because CS Lewis served on the faculty at Oxford University, and as his published works caused such a scandal, the University board was unable to convince him to be silent about his faith, so they simply denied this literary giant the title of Professor.   CS Lewis was baptized at birth in the Church of Ireland, but denied Jesus for 32 years.  God used his close friend Tolkien to water the seed of faith and CS became a ordinary layman of the Church of England.  CS credits the Holy Spirit for the content and impact of his children's books.  His wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him worldwide acclaim. Later CS published a book entitled "Mere Christianity" which was a compilation of his popular radio broadcasts. In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior.
Joy died at the age of 45, just four years after they were married.  Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday on November 22,1963, in the same hour that President John F Kennedy was assassinated.  When it comes to faith in God, it is an ongoing personal choice to be made.  It is a relationship with a very real and unseen Supreme Being. Only God can aptly answer the question of why?  His ways are not our ways, and History, is indeed His story. When we are faced with the harshest of realities here on earth, we must pay careful attention to who and what we are listening to.  Intellectuals live in their minds, but a relationship with God requires trust, it requires faith in the unknown, in the unseen department of the heart.  If you have suffered great loss, or a prolonged illness, read the book of John in the Bible, then read CS Lewis book entitled "The Problem of Pain". Herein a picture of his beloved wife Joy.
We choose to listen to the voice of indisputable Truth or the voice of the great Liar...CS Lewis challenged the miracles of Jesus "You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."  Who do we trust?  "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture....the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming...If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm....I was young, now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken....Wait for the Lord and keep His way...The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble." The book of psalms was written by a young musician who trusted in God and became King.  Psalm 37

Monday, May 1, 2017


Crowds were drawn in great numbers to hear what this 2nd century holy hippie named John had to say.  JB was not into fashion, his hair was matted into dreadlocks; he wore camel hair skins and ate locusts and wild honey.  He had grown up with the Essenes, in an outdoor commune. It was a sect of society that were known to be rigid in their abstinence of all worldly pleasures.  John the Baptist (JB) lived under the Old Testament law, and the severe restraints of the Essenes. In his commune, the human appetite for anything that may corrupt the spiritual goal of purity was denied. They adamantly practiced celibacy and willful poverty. When he was 30, JB began preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."  To the dismay of King Herod, many were moved by JB’s spirit filled words.  Throngs of people were confessing their sins and getting baptized by JB in the Jordon River.
When JB encountered many of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the two other major sects of the time, JB screamed “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” With fire blazing from the eyes of this crazed looking hippy, he shouted at them “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves ‘We have Abraham as our father’. I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." Anticipating the return of the Messiah, JB persisted “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." JB painted the picture of the Messiah returning like The Terminator, using a huge blow torch on all sinners. JB stands his ground proclaiming " I baptize you with water for repentance, But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” This history recorded in a letter written by Matthew, chapter 3. King Herod feared the great influence JB had over the people of Jerusalem and all throughout the province of Judea.  Feeling insecure, King Herod had JB arrested and imprisoned for two years in the dungeon of a castle called Macherus.  It
was a fortified hilltop palace which is located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan River on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. Before JB was imprisoned he greeted the Messiah asking Him “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and JB saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:11-17 ~ So now imagine our JB, a strict Old Testament Jew, raised by the Essenes, sitting alone in a dark prison when he suddenly gets highly agitated upon learning that Jesus has served wine at a wedding, that he healed folks on a Sunday, and that Jesus was seen in a bar talking with sinners, and that He spoke to a prostitute! JB was extremely rattled and he actually questioned the divinity of Christ!
“When JB in prison heard what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Jesus replied “Go back and report to JB what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the GOOD NEWS is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”  Jesus baffles John’s disciples by asking them “What did you go out to see?  A man dressed in fine clothes? A Prophet?  Yes, I tell you more than a Prophet.  JB is the one about whom it is written: “I will send my messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.”  I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Matthew 11:2-16 ~ Man judges by appearances, but our holy God judges us by the content of our hearts.
John the Baptist was highly influenced by the Essenes, of Judea.  The Essenes were stoic and rigidly performed cleansing rituals prior to writing the name of God, Yahweh.  The Essenes were a sect of Second Temple Judaism that flourished in the 2nd century BCE. They were much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees who were the other two major sects at the time. They lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism which is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing very high spiritual goals. Many religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity still advocate strict restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The Essenes rigidly practiced voluntary poverty, daily immersion and celibacy. 
As the forerunner of Jesus, JB lived with great expectation for the return of the Messiah. God had anointed JB in his mother’s womb. When Elizabeth was pregnant with JB and her niece Mary arrived pregnant with Jesus, JB flipped in Liz’s womb, recognizing Jesus Christ as God, his Creator. Zechariah's wife, mentioned in the New Testament as Elizabeth, was barren and therefore the birth of a child seemed impossible. As a gift from God, Zechariah was given a son by the name of "Yaḥya", (John) a name specially chosen for this child alone. In accordance with Zechariah's prayer, God created John and Jesus in the womb, and they were born 6 months apart. God's purpose was to use His two creations to bring the GOOD NEWS message of our Father God, into New Testament times.  The High Priests of Israel had corrupted the truth. This is according to exegesis, which includes the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. JB was also identified by the prophet Elijah.  According to 2 Kings 2:1-11, Elijah defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the Canaanite god Baal, which was considered as idol worship.  Elijah raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up "by a whirlwind."  In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord,"  making Elijah a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. According to Flavius JosephusMacherus is the location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist. According to the chronology of the Bible, JB's infamous execution took place following his imprisonment of 2 years, shortly after the Passover.

Flying Waves - Kiwido FUN exercise

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Who never departs from us, Who never ceases to surprise us, Who is everywhere we are, Who gives us courage, Who is always available 24/7, Who is always for us never against us, Who consistently issues us mercy and grace, Who is extravagantly patient with us, Who intercedes in prayer for us, Who squeezes are broken hearts with tenderness, Who is trustworthy no matter who else may deceive us, Who is absolutely reliable to give us wisdom and guidance, Who knows all our secrets and loves us unconditionally, Who replenishes our strength, Who is our constant supplier of all good things, Who knows our needs before we ask, Who fills our emptiness with everlasting love, Who teaches with authority Who God is, Who is pure, praiseworthy and exceptionally excellent in all ways, all the time, Who can you be certain is listening always, Who forgives and forgets completely all our offenses, Who is the Person who knows you more intimately than any human being?????????? He was delivered into you supernaturally when you believed that Jesus is Lord, the King of kings. 
After you surrendered your heart and life to Jesus Christ, this One holy and divine being immediately took up residence in you. He resides and abides in you!  Our most holy and loving Father, our all knowing Jesus masterfully made it possible by delivering the promised Holy Spirit into us.  We have invited Him in to counsel, to guide and to change us.  He enables us to personally embrace the real Truth of Who Jesus Christ is.  The Holy Spirit is NOT a dissipating puff of smoke or a passing feeling...but He is our omnipresent Counselor Who enables us to experience God Himself, Who is always at work "in" us and for us!  A blessing prayer for YOU! I bless your spirit to rise above circumstances and allow the transformation that only Jesus can bring.  Our greatest weapon against the Liar is the Almighty Word of God.  I bless you with a confident and playful life that engages your family and others.  I bless your spirit with a hunger for God's living Word and a supernatural relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I bless your spirit with the freedom to believe and trust God over all the restrictions and beliefs circulating in this world.  I bless your spirit to fly high above what is seen,  with illumined eyes that perceive the unseen and majestic holy presence of God in all situations.  I bless you in the the transforming power of Jesus Chist, the King of kings, in Whom there is absolute liberty from fear and JOY unspeakable.  AMEN

Friday, April 28, 2017

Imagine Your Last Breath

Imagine entering into the holy Presence of God.  Imagine that you were very sick for a long while and you closed your eyes and woke up in heaven!  Or, just imagine that you were enjoying the day like you had not in a long while, and suddenly you lose your breath. A deep sharp pain in your chest causes you to drop cold to the floor and then your spirit rises with several surprises "look down there, that is my body on the ground...and I am floating up into a brilliant Light and I feel calm, warmly embraced, deeply comforted, genuinely treasured, softly nurtured, absolutely understood, dearly cherished, completely forgiven, totally honored, happily welcomed, instantly perfected, and unconditionally loved ALL at once! God told us in His living word "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" Now, just imagine, that without hesitation or any regret your sense of self dissolves
as your soul is enveloped by the Light of the world, and you are aware of Jesus more than ever before. Imagine standing submerged in His Presence while knowing Jesus and experiencing God so powerfully that you fall to your knees in a state of genuine worship.  Imagine all thoughts and feelings as a human melting into the brilliance of His glory.  Imagine having all your questions answered without asking. Imagine experiencing God's promises fulfilled as your soul is filled with unprecedented peace.  Imagine feeling "at home" for the first time in your life while feeling "safe" and "free" to live eternally in the unequaled beauty and unmatched Love of God. How compassionate of my Father to lead me to the words to write about my son Jason's experience as he took his last breath.  Our heavenly Father loves us, He knows us and He provides all that we need to be comforted in this world. A song we sang at church today: “There’s a Peace I've come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail, there is an anchor for my soul
and I can say “it is well”.  Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed, the victory is won.  He is risen from the dead.  And I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrows, no more pain.  I will rise on eagles’ wings, before my God, fall on my knees, and rise, I will rise.  There is a day that is drawing near, when this darkness breaks to light, and the shadows disappear…and my faith shall be my eyes, and I hear the voice of many angels sing, “worthy is the Lamb” And I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.  I will rise on eagles’ wings, before my God, fall on my knees.  And rise, I will rise.”  Chris Tomlin lyrics “I will Rise” -- In the book 'Jesus is Calling' on April 20, 2016 the day of Jason's last breath it is written:"Do NOT be afraid, for I am with you.  Hear Me saying Peace, be still to your inquiring and restless heart.  No matter what happens, I will never leave you or forsake you.  Let this assurance soak into your mind and heart, until you overflow with Joy. The media relentlessly proclaims bad news, but the Good News is that I came to give you eternal Life in Me. Let Scripture saturate your mind and heart, and you will walk steadily into your ultimate destination. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:16

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Once upon a time, in the midst of a self-made-mid-life crisis, when my frustrations and delusions overwhelmed me, I had a slight glimpse of truth, a heart exposing revelation. That in my campaign to change people, I trampled over boundaries as I pridefully criticized world leaders, my family, friends and the church! Denial kept me blind to my foolish attempts to control people and my environment.  My world of contempt ended when I realized that I was not God and my only option was to surrender my will to His will. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." 1 Corin 10:12 -  In 1997, as I sat in a church in Santa Cruz, I began comparing the joy and peace I witnessed in others, with the sad truth that I was not happy.  I could not stop the tears!  Who was this woman named Grace that Pastor Chip Ingram was talking about?  I so wanted what they all seemed to have, but at that time, I was unable to be healed, because of my stiff necked DENIAL.  Wishing I could be anybody else, my heart silently grieved, and my happy-all-is-well-in-my-soul mask finally cracked.
My fake smile began to pucker under the pressure to APPEAR perfect. "Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor." Jesus went on to say "Happy are the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, and those who mourn." His sermon on the mount certainly shed much needed light on the foolishness of my ways. The prison of DENIAL had me locked behind the bars of obsessive thinking!  Whose thoughts had I been churning?  Furious thoughts tossed back and forth in my head like a heated tennis match.  "The world should, my mate should, my kid should, the church should, that government should, that politicians should, and that God should change His silent, patient ways and just fix it! "  These demanding thoughts were NOT from God!  God is forgiving and He issues grace daily, whether I recognize and receive it or not. His mercy is new every morning, and His grace was sufficient to save a wretch like me!  What a NUISANCE I was to myself and everyone around me!  Because I "shoulded" all over God, and all over everyone else, I had to admit that
I was the creator of strife in each relationship, including the chasm I caused between the One true and Holy God. In retrospect, my deepest despair was in the trouble I had in accepting and loving others as they are...and the world as it is... as Jesus does..... and NOT as I demand. People who are in DENIAL, want what they want, and they deceive themselves in thinking that they have the ability to change others, and the world, according to their will, ways and perfect preferences. As an overly critical person, for way too long I DEPENDED on myself, NOT GOD,  to initiate all the needed changes so that I could be happy.  I was DEPENDENT on the perfect behaviors of my loved ones for peace to rule in my heart...this was a huge burden for everyone in my life.  When my futile manipulations, subtle suggestions, my blatant blaming, my fits of rage, my all consuming judgements of others became unmanageable--- I collapsed and admitted, I need help.   Today I celebrate my recovery from the stinking thinking of a co-dependent. A co-dependent person depends on people to make them happy. They demand external changes, or insist that others change in order for them to FEEL peace.  The co-dependent me that I was --- HAD TO GIVE; my opinion, my advice, and my help.  My idolatrous devotion to obtaining perfection was nauseating. After honest self-examination, I had to admit that I was pitifully self-sufficient, self-serving, not humble, not kind and not loving and merciful like Jesus. I was certainly NOT reflecting the Light of the world. My aggressive ways to satisfy my NEED to be VALUED and RESPECTED as a person,
eventfully brought me to my knees before the mercy seat of Jesus Christ.  By working the 12 steps and applying the Beatitudes, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, I was enabled to overcome my hurts, habit of stinking thinking, and hang up or hope that the world would change so I could be happy. The saving power of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, established and restored His peace in me.   My part was to surrender my ways, my heart, my desperate needs over to the capable care of Christ.  "Christ in me, His hope for glory"  HALLELUJAH! Admitting that I was powerless to change myself, others or the world was to step out of DENIAL and into RECOVERY.  TRUSTING God with my messy life, REQUIRED that I surrender my hopes, dreams, and desires to His perfect refining purpose in my suffering. God NEVER wastes a single tear or torment. By His conviction to confess, obediently to one another, we are healed.  "Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed." James 5:16 --- The amazing Grace of God pursued me and He transformed me from an incessantly hungry, unqualified caterpillar, into a butterfly set
FREE from a cocoon of shame. My story: Barbara Sue Alley's ability to trust my father was fractured at the age of 7 when dad molested me and DENIED it. My shocked mother sent me direct to the priest to confess my sin. Shame replaced my innocence as I bowed my head and hoped to be forgiven. My dad rejected me and said "I will never touch you again. You are dead to me."  The consequence of telling the truth to my mother, resulted in my dad's lifelong avoidance of me.  Looking for love in wrong places, at the age of 16 a baby girl was born, removed from my body and adopted away from me. We left the hospital and my mother instructed "We will never speak of this again." My voice or my presence unwanted by my parents,  I chose a life of DENIAL and SECRETS.  Acting as if I was happy became the character I played as the youngest of three kids. My silenced reality was shoved down so deep that I became a natural liar to God, myself and others.  A mighty fortress was erected unconsciously around my heart of stone.  Compassion, mercy or grace were impossible for me to give as I was not open to receive.  My heart grew cold in my secret chamber of fear.  Married or divorced, I regularly and silently sat in Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist and Unity church pews feeling like an impostor. No matter the denomination, when an alter call was given,  I went forward and got baptized again, and again even after accepting Jesus in 1985 at a Pentecostal church.  "It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe." Proverbs 29:25 - Fear of what church folks would think of me,  IF I confessed my shameful past,
kept me silent. A voice, not of God persisted "You will never be acceptable to God" I was unable to trust God with my whole heart, and I held onto my secret shame tightly. For 13 years of church bench warming, endless retreats, seminars, and perfect note taking (all which God used to soften my rocky soil), it was not until 1998, when I was 47 years old, did HOPE begin to rise.  After hearing other broken-hearted, imperfect, hurting Celebrate Recovery, confess their raw hurts, honest fears and feelings of hopelessness... I was moved by the Holy Spirit, to voice my nightmare. God mercifully guided me into Santa Cruz Bible Church, and into a 12 step study for sexually abused women.  After ten months of weekly meetings, and hours with my accountability sponsor, much prayer, and the Holy Spirit showing me truth in scriptures....I came to the END of myself, my pride, my ways. My life long, self-sufficient, leading lady role was over! Gladly I surrendered completely into the capable hands of Christ.  Accepting the Truth that the King of Kings, had not only chosen me, but that He had legally adopted me, as His daughter....that FACT gripped and crushed my stubborn hardened heart.  Loving and forgiving others as I had been by God...with no regrets, no bitterness, completely forgotten, and forever erased...was how God set me on fire for His ability to restore all who FEEL unworthy of His love. I was FREED from shame and the enemy's vicious trap of lies --- for Almighty God's purpose: that I can now courageously share my story, without shame, for what Christ has done in me. "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40 - Obediently, I tested my ways and was convinced that my way of concealing my pain for over 40 years was foolish. Our Father wants to take our burdens and heal us, but we must submit, we must obey, we must trust Him, with the entire contents of our heart. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Colossians 3:16 - Today I thank God for every struggle, for all things that drew me to Him, and for the tremendous compassion muscles I gained in my suffering. It took the hearing of the word, and the honest confessions of other believers to loosen my tight grip on my shame, and to TRUST GOD. When I chose to truly LET GO and LET GOD, my heavenly Father, have His Holy way "in me", only then was I able to FEEL real JOY for the first time.  Living fully forgiven, and fully restored, I wear His robe of righteousness, and I am enabled to receive His ongoing stream of GRACE and experience His Holy Presence.  His abiding Peace TRULY surpasses all human understanding. Celebrate Recovery is a biblically based 12 Step Program to RESTORE your relationship with GOD and the church, or anyone who may have rejected, hurt or abandoned you.  IF you fear rejection, or IF you are ashamed of your doubts about God's mercy, IF you are addicted to sadness, TV, food, shopping, drama,
or being in control, to stinking thinking, or to convincing others that you are worthy of respect because of all your good deeds....When your inability to love and forgive yourself as God does ..hurts enough, when your DENIAL gets too heavy, and your broken, ineffective life crumbles, I encourage you to hold on to HOPE in Christ. Find a SAFE PLACE with a small group of honest struggling people. All Celebrate Recovery meetings are anonymous. Celebrate Recovery Groups in your area. STEP ONE is to step out of DENIAL and into RECOVERY. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction to: controlling circumstances, people, and the world. We admit that our compulsive behaviors have injured relationships, and that our lives have become unmanageable. We came to the conclusion that without God, we were doomed to live an empty life, without purpose or meaning. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."  Philippians 2:13 --- and we humbly submit to the Truth of this holy scripture:  "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Romans 7:18 and with the help of the Holy Spirit we grab onto God's undeniable TRUTH which will destroy all DENIAL...because the truth is:  only the TRUTH will set you FREE...
"Brothers (and sisters) loved by God, we know that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you NOT simply with words, but also with POWER, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:4 --- We TRUST God's living Word to enter our brokenness and restore us to wholeness "We have NOT received the (critical) spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us......For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?....but we have the mind of Christ."  1 Corin 2:12-16 We are chosen and given every spiritual blessing "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For HE CHOSE us ' in Him' before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His PLEASURE and will - to the praise of HIS glorious GRACE, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." Ephesians 1:3-6

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are Ye Content Being Still?

In March 2017 I enjoyed a cruise on the Caribbean with 800 Christians who love Sandi Patty. With morning and evening worship daily for seven days, I disembarked feeling inadequate, and maybe off God's plan for my life.  Was it simply that the first year anniversary of my son's shocking death kept me uber sensitive, weepy and feeling hurt?  I allowed my soul just one day to collapse into silence then rebounded by solo kayaking in the Bahamas.  I questioned my life purpose and thought "Why do I feel such discontent?  Why am I here?" A dear friend gifted me a great book by Natalie Grant entitled "Finding Your Voice". Natalie penned a wonderful insight about the question God posed to Elijah. "What are you doing here, Elijah?" to which he replied "I have been zealous for the Lord God Almighty...I am the only one left, and now they are trying to
kill me too." Okay, nobody that I am aware of is seeking to hurt me, but my pirates of the Caribbean, my thoughts of being unwilling, unable,and undone robbed me of my peace, my calm. "After the earthquake came a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper."  (1 Kings 19:9 -12) - Perhaps because my birthday is the 19th of the ninth month, that this word from the King of Kings struck me STILL enough to hear a gentle whisper too. God knew that His faithful, fervent prophet was shaken and weary....and in the midst of a rock shattering storm, an earth splitting quake and a blazing fire, God quietly asks Elijah "What are you doing here?" Imagine what your response to God would be? God knows when our hearts are trembling and He knew that his son Elijah needed to hear His gentle, calming voice. Facing murder and mayhem, Elijah chose to be calm in the storm and trust God. He acted with a wisdom that whispers "walk this way".  Believing that my potential is monumental, and that what I have to speak, or write will bring God glory, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the commission to: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" Matthew 28:19-20  Behind my poised exterior is a quaking irritation about how much I could be doing. Moses doubted his ability to successfully free the slaves of Egypt.  Esther was afraid to approach her husband, but she did and was used by God in a huge way. Rahab must have found divine courage to defy her people and lower that scarlet rope to the spies. God has uniquely equipped me and He is faithful to give me strength in my weakness.  But what IF I want to live a quiet, calm life? I read and a part of me resonated with a blogpost: What If all I want is a mediocre life?  "What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to
people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough." Krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui author of A Life in Progress.  Then I read a book that caught me in the midst of my denial " From Faking it to Finding Grace  " by Connie Cavanaugh. God works in fascinating ways.  My reluctance to pick up the bible, attend church or meet with friends is a certain SIGN that I am in conflict with the gifts I have and what to do with them.  "Peace, be still" is a scripture that came to mind, a pause for me to recover, slowly, "In His timing, In His grace".  Reflecting honestly on my hesitations to "be great" for His glory... I am now moved to thank my Holy Father Jesus, for the storm of emotions that I felt aboard the "Eurodam" and for His word that "this too shall pass".  Realizing that Jesus is in the boat with me during this storm, I am in the very BEST company.  I believe that God will finish what He has begun in me. Following His lead, I pick up a book entitled "Good to Great in God's Eyes" by my first spiritual mentor Pastor Chip Ingram.  Chip a mature man of God wondered "Is it really wrong to want to be great?  Is it self-centered to want your life to really make an impact?  Does ambition indicate a spiritual problem? What does "greatness" in God's 
 kingdom look like?  Is it prideful to want to honor God with lives of great faith and excellent work?  Is it arrogant to imagine achieving greatness in the church?"  In Luke 22 the disciples argued which one of them was the greatest? Jesus did not rebuke them for their longing to be great.  Additionally, Jesus did not condemn them, nor did He warn them against being prideful because of their passionate desire and ambition to be great.  Jesus Himself was not prone to mediocrity.  In a long prayer the night before his crucifixion, he prayed "I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do." John 17:4  That is a bold statement of greatness, and His desires were Godly.  To desire to be great in God's eyes, in His kingdom is not self-centered, but it is a noble thought, a worthy ambition.  Our greatness, as God defines it - is His desire.   When God created us He proclaimed us not just good, but "very good" Genesis 1:31 - So if you are wondering like Elijah "what possible kind of impact you could make for His glory?" Consider living the prayer embedded in the tapestry hanging near my computer  "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit." John 15:8   The go with the flow approach will almost guarantee an auto-pilot spiritual life for me, but the niggling whisper in me that 'there has got to be more' will not be silenced until I accept His call for me to seek to 'bear more fruit'.  In order for God to accomplish a great measure of His highest purposes in my life, I have decided to give myself permission to live out my passion for writing and speaking with intentional impact. Doing more for the kingdom is NOT required for salvation and you cannot earn more love or brownie points with God.  There is no 7 steps to success with God, there is no obligation "to do more" for God.  But if you have a "calling" or a quaking desire, a God given dream, a recurring internal motivation to have an eternal impact for the kingdom of God then "GO FOR IT!" In the course of a week I was went from hurting to healed!  Hallelujah!!!