25 May

Rights or Faith

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America, the home of rights. We are led wrong as Christians in this.
Did you know when rights are the guiding factor it dulls spiritual insight?
God wants America to be home of the Righteous not rights. He has blessed us and calls us to set an example. 
The greatest enemy of our faith is not sin but good choices that are not good enough. You see good is always the enemy of what is best. We are told it is our right to choose and it is, it is free will.
I am called to walk according to God’s standards, not mine or the ones set by the culture around me.
God’s standard is justice, love, kindness, peace. This culture says nothing that remotely sounds like the Lord I know. Pretend you are a refugee coming here, follow my link in red, what would you say you are entering? A country of faith or self reliance?
Enter here: refugee center
In todays churches we have shepherds in pulpits leading flocks, flocks that claim to be the sum of the body of Christ. Yet these flocks do not look or act like Jesus, they forget the lost and dying world is out there, forget we have all power and authority to change that. Dulled spiritual insight.
It is age and wisdom, maturity in faith that can lead this way. How many pastors do you see filling up his flesh on what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, the church? (reference Colossians 1:24)
Are these men in pulpits preaching culture or the Gospel? Why are we entertaining flocks, these people of faith, doing ear tickling and pandering bad habits?
Colossians says to not be taken captive throughout hollow philosophy (the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline) which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than Christ. Mix theology(the study of God) into the pulpit and you have a great risk of heresy. How do we know each man preaching has a true relationship with God. Should we be dependent on that? Do we risk our own souls?
The Word of God says to hold your doctrine closely, how many of us hold a doctrine at all? 
Doctrine defined is this:
Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or belief system.
We are called shoots, grafted in to the Branch, our Lord Jesus. We are told we are taught by the Holy Spirit. This is one of one, you and God in prayer, not done in churches. They are gathering places for us, but we should already be taught from our relationship with God, but for many church is it. Church never saved one soul, it is Jesus in us working His glory. I fear for many who walk out the world, serving themselves and claim to be His by attendance and deeds.  
One would think the ones who gather in churches are all on solid food but this is not so. No wonder evangelism suffers as it does. Discipling a soul is done one at a time, over time, we do this in life, not in church. It is down at home, in families and social circles. Faith is shown by living it out, we are told our lives are a testimony. See Titus 2, available here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Titus%202
Solid food is good for these who have been trained to discern good from evil. Yet many churches are full of greed, envy, hostility, infighting, selfishness among the flock. 
Who are they following? We take kids there for all of their lives but still they cannot discern good from evil. Christian kids who go to secular colleges lose their faith in the first year. Scary statistic, go look it up. They come out claiming to be a Christian but they look like the world. They all out lives like the world, cultured by media, taught by the education system, small spirituality, weak faith but a plan to conquer the world and gain status, career, the American dream. Where is Jesus is all of this? 
Among a seasoned flock one should see rebukes for evil, admonishments and renouncing of such, done with love. I see us passing it over, letting it go and bitter roots being established. Are pastors waiting for God to come down and do it? We are the hands and feet of God, He speaks and acts in on ones who obediently do as He instructs. I fear many ignore that call, they have ignored it in dear and now acts as ones never enlightened. Saying yes to Jesus means you walk as He did not settle into lazy self serving. 
Falling away….a dreaded term but what do you call the milk fed babies who never mature? 
This subjects God to public disgrace. In the Bible it says it is impossible to be enlightened again. Woe shepherds for work undone. It is you who are unfruitful not the masses you are called to lead. What a heavy weight you carry, how I pray for pulpits to be cleansed. I cannot look at the youth and not see utter failure from these alleged leaders of the greater good. They are men called to live above reproach, I have yet to see that. 
Land with crops are harvested, they drink in rain, but land covered in thorns and thistles is in danger of fire and begin burned. Do with that what you want, not my words, God’s. 
Are they trampling Jesus under foot? Treating the covenant that sanctifies us as unholy, are we insulting the spirit of Grace? 
We allow wolves among the flock, we do not say a word, we let this all go on fearing loss of tithe, attendance and reputation, do we not know grace fills in for us? We are called to be bold and speak against evil. 
People of faith in the Bible were nomadic, led by faith living add strangers. They did not act on ideas but waited for a word from the Lord. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God says be prayerful for the brethren, stand in the gap until they reach faith.
The faithful are called to endure hardships as disciplines, for this is God treating us as sons. God disciplines us for our own good. He is the Father of our Spirits, He knows this produces a harvest of righteousness and peace, it is we who hate this, we only hurt ourselves. We run to flesh solutions in the world system, mother’s milk instead of faith, we need it now, we cannot wait. 
How many of these ones sat in church for 40 years and still have no possession of faith to testify to. But we have 401K, IRA, shiny kids, salaries and a lot of stuff. 
There is a church described in Hebrews 12. Mount Zion, the city of God. In the company of thousands of angels joyful in assembly. This is the church of the firstborn, the ones whose names are written in Heaven, we come to God, to the the sprits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and blood that speaks a better Word. 
He will once more shake this earth, He will take what is not shaken, He will remove all created things. Your precious church buildings will burn and fall, then who are you going to be? You spend all this time doing and doing and were told to go be the light, bring the Gospel and yoke with our Lord.
I suggest we all turn and worship Him in reverence and awe. 
Our charge as His church (not a building but hearts of men) is this:
Love as brothers.
Remember imprisoned ones as if it is we who suffer.
Marriage honored the bed kept pure. (not as Hollywood and books say)
Keep life free of love of money and be content.
Remember your leaders and imitate their faith, Jesus never changes, follow Him.
Do not be carried by strange teachings.
Go outside the camp and bear disgrace.
Offer praise, the fruit of your lips that confess His name. 
Do good to others.
Share with others.
Obey leaders, submit to authority. No rebels.
In the covenant of Jesus blood we are equipped with everything good for doing His will. He will work in us what is pleasing to Him throughout Jesus. We glorify His name. We trust and obey. 
I write not to condemn anyone but to speak truths that must be spoken, what God lays on my heart will not leave my lips and return empty but will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose He sets forth. 
Much love,
Marla
12 Jan

Doors

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It was my mother who is 92 who always told me to have faith. Have faith in God, have faith in others. I watched her be a gift to the lives of so many people. She was effortless and refreshing and her style could not be mimicked.

I was not the essence of grace. A klutz, on my feet, in life. Awkward in my skin and undiscovered. I charged into the pasture once the gate was open to the world and it almost consumed me, which bring us to today.

The day before I turn 48, it is cold, rainy and morose outside but there are songs of praise in my heart. It is nice to sit here in the quiet, all I hear is the fishtank bubbling and the dog who whimpers in his sleep. I feel I have arrived at a very good place, there is evidence of it. The other day was nothing but tears on my face, uncertainty, words hard to hear fall on my ears. I wince, I cry, I pray. I lay in bed that night experiencing the peace I cannot describe. Peace that passes understanding, yes Lord.

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And this message is pressed into my heart. Giving up is not an option. It may be a fire you stand in but as long as Mark 10:19 stands, I stand unafraid. There is a message put in my heart, one the world needs. But before it could be said I needed courage, I needed tenacity, I needed the ability to discern and make better choices for my life.

But I had to move, get out of God’s way. Stop inviting God to my plans instead of letting His beautiful plan unfold. Much of my life has been unplanned, I was not taught to dream or set goals. There was zero competition in my life. Yet somehow the designer in me managed to always decorate it and tweak it. As His Kingdom comes, my kingdoms fall. This mortal life will not last.

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So Jesus brought me back to here. This version, who didn’t care about others and was having too much fun with her Father. Well, my daddy lies in wait for the day he is raised up unperishable. And  I have found my True Father and He is more than daddy was, He showed me daddy is one day to be considered my brother in God’s Kingdom. How that has helped me let people off the hook. There is coming a day of reconciliation of God’s children.  When the relationships dissolve so will all the issues you took with people. Let go or be dragged.

I am consumed with the work of Jesus. A step I avoided at the ripe age of 13 when my dad said, you will have to testify one day. I took the detour, I went the other way and said no. I hated myself for that but I later learned dad’s ideas may not be God’s call. God’s call showed up when I was 18, her name is Jessamy.

I am a mother to more than she, God created this nest heart in me, many have rested there. My children share.  I hope today to pass the baton of hope to you dear friend.

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Be a sanctuary to others. Stop, pause to help the downtrodden, the outcast, the broken. This is the work of Jesus. This is a call to action. Love the dirty teenager you don’t understand, the angry man that cannot shut his addictions down himself, the old person who repeats themselves over and over, the friend who gossips and brings negativity, the homeless one who clutters the walks.

There is a brokeness in all of us and love is the antidote. Small acts of kindness go far when you send them with prayers and blessings. Your dear reader have sphere of influence around you, people you can impact. We build or we tear down. We have tounges of fire, are you kindling the work of the Holy Spirit or torching the fires of hell.

You can make a difference right where you are. God wants us to evangelize the community. This is not door to door, this is social and it is adventure. Your identity in Christ is the key to your success.  Do not be scared, Jesus is immunity.

Message me, find me on Facebook and I will pray for you. I seek to be a friend, of you, of Jesus, of God.

Much love, Marla

17 Aug

Feathers and Pigs, oh my

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Said goodbye to my friend, Mac my dog of 2 years. I rescued the little bugger and he was my faithful companion until the Friday before last. Diabetes set in silently and a choice had to be made. No vet I spoke to gave a good prognosis, only a financially draining and emotionally exhausting one. My husband is my best friend, when he gently said “it’s time” I nodded through hot tears and prayed for strength.

Holding onto my faith for dear life lest it slip away in my sadness, I held him as he went rigid then soft and his eyes had no more shine. Crushing, I cannot even begin to tell you when things get taken away in the fire of life and you understand loss. When a little sunbeam like my Mac came in and suprised me with love, losing him hurt more than anything to date, he gave me a reason to participate in life. I am prone to depression, Lyme left my brain with defects and the birds of sadness like my tangles. I could not make the tears stop, even though the entire time I know wallowing in the mud is not where Father wants me.

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We resumed devotions, we two, back to me and Gunnar. I read my Bible aloud, I like the way it illuminates the room, it never fails he comes to me. They used to vey for the sacred spot at my feet. The battle is over now.

 

My wonderful soul sister in Christ is Tammy Trayer, also a penner and homesteader. You can find her at http://trayerwilderness.com for all of the links to her amazingness. She sent me this book after our last visit and said I would love it. I was so busy studying the issues in Asia and the need for help in missions so I tucked it onto my shelf for when the book I was reading was done. Well, I never didfinish the missions book. Those awful birds, they don’t stay away. Mac eas gone and the vaccum began. Saturday,I awoke hopeful and I cried, Sunday I was inconsolable but pulling my bootstraps up. Monday my hubby returned to work and the absence set in. Gunnar is a sleeper, there was this hollow vacancy at my feet. Dippy, Dippy, Dippy, I’d say. That was how I called him, in a silly voice, he was silly, he was never far away. My feather boy. He loved feathers, often carried them like treasures. How I missed him.IMG_5288

Sometimes you need a day and a book so I allowed myself to be drug by my son to my friend Jen’s scrapyard for truck pieces I pleaded to wait in the truck not feeling the best, so I read. Ever had a bad day? Get this book. Seeing other perspectives, sorted biblically, with human emotion but advice that is easy to use and relevant. Not a bunch of rules, libery to be a human being. Thank you Anita, my new friend. Get more of her here on her Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/anita.a.brooks

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I took the advice and began to play again, I have been on this mission for truth and after so much letting go of baggage that had attached itself to my soul, I find myself identifying with 10 year old me a lot. All glam gone, my needs are basic, I wear hand me downs, no makeup, my hair is wild as ever, I love the outdoors, plants, animals and I dig my Daddy. My biological father died in 2002, he was a disciple, a carpenter, a farmer and a guitar man. I got so off track when he was gone from my life, there really was no discipline and I did not respect my mother, I was a brat at times, I can say that now. I became the highest voice for me, the only one I was really accountable to was my boss. My ego was pretty jacked up at one point. I told my mom if she wanted me in her life she had to accept me and she did. However she never accepted my sin, she continued to point things out despite my agnostic views. She knew how to separate the sin from the sinner and keep on loving.

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Walking our yeard by the creek where my dog is buried I stopped and found this. It is a fungus that is dried and fell off of the side of the tree. It is imperfect but beautiful, isn’t life? My husband knows my heart and he protects me with the truth, that is how it should be. We don’t mince words anymore of do dances around topics, my disease took every little wall down. When there is nothing left of our veneers the truth is waiting, I can tell you it is enough.

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We both have learned the art of forgiving, the art of saving your words, holding the tongue and letting anger slip away. When I wallow on my pity pool he tells me. I learned that I had a huge discipline problem. I didn’t listen to my dad, I loved him fiercly but obey him? No,  not the rebel kid. I loved fun and laughter, I chased rainbows and sunbeams in fairytale land as a child, at the onset of teenage years and when the world rushed in and colored the water my beautiful curiosity turned to doubt. My father set an aswesome example of a human being but why could I not believe it when he told me I deserved better that the destructive habits I put myself in? He said I was more than my poor choices, if I let God into my heart I’d see that. He did such a good job being a good person,  I let him, my broken heart screamed “beyond repair” far too often. What I now know as the liar’s voice, I let satan in on so many occasions. Mostly my choices to go past a boundary or go deeper into something I knew was wrong.  Alcoholics are good at that, the remorse and guilt is crushing, they can become self hatred as in my case, it almost destroyed me sober.

My husband took over for my dad, he spent 11 years with me, long enough to asess my habits and challenge me on the ones that made him wonder. After many, many conversations over gardens, pigpens, and dinners cooked together we found this common ground of respect. Respect for each others story, respect for each other’s pain. we have allowed ourselves introspective conversations that were very painful but necessary. We made a choice to work though it all, no matter if it blew the other ones mind. We had what what were you thinking moments but when we get done our talks these days, there is deeper love and respect for the spirit inside that doesn’t give up. We love each others naked souls.

I believe love is a room we go in, of our own will. If you dare to enter, lock the door. I found that God’s plan is that we don’t walk out.  When I put my sin to death on the cross with Jesus, yes that is what we must do, we are asked to leave it there. If someone pays for something is it right to make them pay over and over? IMG_8088

About that whole Daddy thing, yes that would be God, my True Father, the one who created this cosmic beautiful glaxy we live in. He is real, He loves us, the world makes us blind. My mom is 92, I have no intention of being orphaned so I got right with my Abba Father. It was the best decision I ever made, besides the one to marry that man that still takes my breath away.

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Seeing through the obstacles and seeing what lies beyond… what a gift that would be. I would be a master planner, few surprises, I can make life boring really quick. Is there really green grass waiting on the other side of every big mess I get in? Yes and no. I press in during hard times. Like today, I am frantically trying to make up for lost time. My friend is moving and I in classic Marla style managed to miss the forest for the trees once again. She she suffered with isolation and loneliness but I was never in the place of fully understanding how to help her. The situation too big for one person to solve alone and there is no help.  It makes me so incredibly sad. When we moved here my Dad waved at everyone, I remember asking him why, few ever waved back. He said other people don’t stop me from being friendly. What a good teacher.

Her issues never stopped me from being her friend. In my job I adopted several hearts who for some reason I found nuggets of gold in. My mom taught me to do that, find the best in people and love them. Leave the sins separate from the person. That means forming no opinions or making no judgements about them.

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Which leads me to today, a headache and feeling not good but  comitted to helping and I want to be a woman of my word. In this world of texts and last minute cancellations being so easy now, I need to follow through for her, to settle my soul. I should have done more for her but this illness took my energy on so many occasions . So today in the heat I went again and tried to help her patch together what is left of 16 years here and get down the road. Starting over she said, I agreed. I have done my share of reinvention. And I think, me too. So today as I sat with these clowns turning the hose into a sprinkler for them, I giggled as I watched them. But I was by myself but not alone.

I sat on the bench and talked to God about my friend and her problems, I don’t need to reiterate, he was there. He knows her heart, He knows mine, He knows the ending. There is a huge mess there to be faced another day and my darling husband who is always helping my mind said that he loves my heart, my passion for good, but slow down. I know he is right but the eager child who wants to please her Father is energetic in spirit. I know the remedy for broken, I found the truth. I want to help others know that.

Mac would be really proud of me, he knew my secrets, my desire to love others. He was my teacher of selfless, the teacher of acceptance and patience, we don’t all move at the same pace. Slow down for the ones who slip some times. Walk softer my loves.

I hope you enjoyed this journey, it is one of love. We must learn from each other, build bridges don’t burn them.

Love, Marla

02 Jul

The Noble Wife

 

 

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Proverbs 12:4
A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.
As a woman, we are not born into noble character, we are born into sinful flesh. We possess the image of God but our hearts must be taught.  As little girls we look up to her mothers and we model them and I did just that. My childhood eyes saw my mother is the most beautiful creature,  she taught me how to love. I learned by watching her how to be honorable, kind, a wellspring of kindness and a helper.  But it was not enough. Over time I had allowed my mind and my heart to be taken on so many rides, what was left was not very nice. 
We are what we consume and I reached a point in my marriage and I realize the trash I consumed was coming back up and spreading across my family, the results were awful.  There was hostility and toxicity in our marriage and our home and how it got there is too long a story to tell but getting rid of it became a necessity.
2 people, adults come together drawn in by lust, love and desire which by statistics lasts about 18 months. When the fire dies down what is left is life and how we approach it is key, difficulty is not avoidable it comes in many packages.
Difficulty can make us redefine ourselves and where were at in life. There’s nothing like hot water to reveal what’s in the teabag. When someone realizes they need to change we can try to be mindful but are we really ever 100% effective? Failure is a confidence killer that’s cause of setbacks more often than not. I’m all about sustainable progress, so it’s not enough to learn, we must implement new habits and practice in order for a change to stick. I tok on a new mindset, trading hostility for kindness, wearing forgiveness and resisting anger.
As wives and mothers we bear the weight of the relations and our homes in all boomerangs back to us what we do with it matters. 
I ran myself ragged making lists, creating reminders, having talks, counseling, implementing, solving with whatever tips I could find…Exhausting.
Forever the people pleaser I ran circles to keep peace.
How we view the difficulty presented in our households as the overseer is a huge factor in health of the household.
I’ve learned to lean in to prayer in hard times, I found that difficulty is an opportunity.
I encourage you to take some time and consider what’s really going on.  During trials it’s helpful to unplug from our own minds and plug in to God, know that when sparks begin to fly the Lord is at work.
Our home should be judgment free zones, as yourself, am I the safe zone my family needs? Somehow moms have handed this off, subcontracted our jobs to others and we’ve lost so much on the way. We are often the first to become overburdened putting us into situations were simply not designed for and how do we treat our families as a result of this? Just because society sets a model for the American woman,  it does not mean this will work for you, be yourself.
Anger and frustration were my go to emotions I had become a flashpoint. I was able to handle it until my illness crept in and then boom, she blew.
I tied the people that I love to expectations which were largely unmet, my excuse to race off to go fill the wound with girl time, retail therapy, winery events, filling up my desires at whim because I could. I often came home and day with nothing to pour back out our household had become ripe with discontentment, we were barely surviving.
When my illness hit the expectations tied to me crashed and suddenly the boys of the house were as lost as I was.
Sitting in the midst of the mess I asked God to please redefine the role of wife for me, I was a total failure I was miserable and so was everyone else.
Realizing I had no power to solve the issues in front of me I went into deep prayer and learned I was put here to serve not to be served that was my wake up call.
My job is another is to paint a beautiful picture of service which is love without conditions. I was only able to do this when I allowed God to come into my heart and consume me. I had become so sick of myself and my own way, I begged for a makeover so as my body ttied to heal so did my spirit. I went all in, I had nothing but everything to lose.
God taught me to be as full as possible with his love, steer away from any codependence on waiting for others to pour love back onto me.
I was scared,  could I learn to pour myself and others zero expectations? I am selfish to a fault and admit it.
In the past my way was rule and my short fuse always let igniting other fuses causing us to burn. Remember Lady taught me bit and bride are a wild thing’s friend.
I began to unpack my soul with God, my friends had bailed out, none understood,  I was left with a sick body, empty hands, and a husband and son who did not know what was going on. I wrote therapeutically prayed frequently I was able to feel safe and unpacked to my family as well.
No one was more surprised than I when my husband stepped in beside me, he had been watching closely became my confidant and a shelter we began to build our marriage all over again, the results are beautiful. That how God provides, He gives us a shelter that is mean to be the image of His love, a marriage.
If you can identify with any events I encourage you to start today craft an honest apology rooted in acts and affirming words, begin to work on paper work through unresolved issues,  you owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family.  I wrote letters to God, letters to the people that hurt me, I poured out my heart I cried until there were no more tears. The path I had taken in life while ignoring God was ripe with pain,regret and consequences.
This was so helpful to understanding.
God will raise our pain thresholds as we enter discussions but we must focus on the issue, not on events, no finger-pointing, no blaming, forgiveness is a crown we must wear and we must commit to the process of trading anger, fustration and resentment in for intimacy with God.
As my nest grows empty my role changes again and I’m still learning this journey is not on I take alone. I go with God as my guide and he’s given me an extension of himself to stand in the gap with me. I always used withdrawal to avoid any unpleasantries but now that I unplug from me, I’ve exchanged my habits and my actions no matter how well-intentioned they may be. I traded them for His infinite wisdom.
I applied discipline rather than depending on self-control. I cannot change me but God can re-work my heart. This removes the weight from my shoulders by choosing righteousness and embracing the truth. I resist entering bondage and choose to exercise my spiritual sense my deepest desire is only to know God better and understand his way. I’ve learned that God does give us power, the power of choice.
I resolve and renew my mind before a crisis, not when it hits or during it. My choice. 
Ladies let me say with every problem I watch you all face I can only say “me too”, I have been there. Trust me when I say God knows your heart he sees your intentions not your acts, stop trying so hard and tell Him what you desire for your family, seek His word for guidance, no other truth exists that produces results like this.
A noble wife knows she is a conduit of Grace. My caring provides a channel through which God’s love and mercy can flow.
Plant seeds of love, take time, renew your choices, are you seeing yourself and your desires only or the family, the children, the gifts that God gave you. Where your heart is there will be your treasure,  treasure laid up here will rust and be eaten by moths, only treasure in heaven is eternal.  Choose to live, reap the eternal blessings and treasures that God infuses into the spirit of the noble wife.
We are all in this together I’m here as an arrow, I point to Him, the rest is up to you.
Plant seeds with the Master Gardener and watch your garden grow.
Much love,
Marla