24 May

Being in Christ…Spiritual Identity

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The ultimate meaning of experience is felt in such a way that all of oneself is included….It is not the experience of oneself as a male or femail, as black or white, as American or European. It is rather the experience of oneself as being.”

 

Reflect on the ice breaking conversations in which we all engage. Next to the weather, the most common question has to do with vocation. “By the way, what do your do?” But is the answer to this question the truest window into who we are?

Of course, we require ways of defining ourselves, of demarcating ourselves from other people and vocation, economic status, race, nationality, and the like help us in the process. Who among us, though, has not wondered, “Am I not more than what I do, where I am from, the color of my skin?” We search for an understanding of ourselves that brings wholeness to the separate strands of our existence. We seek unity in our being. 

The gospel calls us to the experience of unward unity. This is not merely a philosphical idea. The inward unity of being that we seek is a gift of God in Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul told the Athenians, it is in God that we live and move  and have our being. Acts 17:28

In God’s love in Christ we come to know, at the most profound level, who we are. 

O God, we thank you for the joy of being made whole in Jesus Christ, Amen

An excerpt from a very old book my mom gave to me, A pastor named Roy Hall wrote this and it lines up perfectly with how the Lord has shaped my own life. Just the other day I said to my mom, I need to shed these labels. American, white, sick, depressed, green, thrifty…I suffocate on them. I am a child of God, my name is Marla, I am here to lead a crusade of love. I hold high the banner I was told to hold at age 10.  Late bloomer. A few delays. 

Church does not develop us, hardship does. The Bible clearly says it is perseverence built in fire that lasts through hard times and develops faith.

The media loves to group us and rank us by class, kind of how you manage large herds. I am not livestock, nor am I defined by this culture. At a time when finger pointing is high and blame is thrown like a dagger one cannot survive without spiritual armor but to wear that one must know the role of a warrior. You cannot know that until you read God’s Word and understand the culture war is exactly what rages against the spirtual development of God’s children.

My goal is to be a resource so today I give you a passage to read. Colossians 1:9-14. Read  and please note the Apostle says “keep praying and asking God to fill you with knowledge of His will thorough all spiritual wisdom and understanding”. This is the only way to grow in knowledge of God, to ask God. But to ask one must believe fully. Ask for more faith. God will hear you but will ask you to seek and obey. This means to develop your self disciplines,  slay desires, to reject time wasters and seek the Lord in His Word. We will never posess the Word of Life to save without knowlegde. Pray, pray, pray and I will pray for you dear reader.  I love you!

Feel free to share my posts, I serve the greater good of the Kingdom of God. None of this is mine, it belongs to the Lord God Almighty.

 

 

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

05 Aug

Mission Possible

 

 

 

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I am continually amazed at where my self studies lead me, I have never been a follower and it was really just yesterday while talking to God in my garden that I realize I have had trust issues since childhood. I knew my parents loved me but I questioned authority always, why? I don’t know, I would love to, would be time saver for parents including myself since my son is very like me. Some kids just do I guess, is it a lone wolf spirit inside that says “I cannot follow I must make my own path”. Those kids need extra love, a very firm hand, soft heart, and a tough hide. My parents being 2 generations older than I did not know what I faced in the world. Hence they had no idea what dark places I wandered into and what I consumed or allowed to get a hook into me that I brought back. A spiritual casualty by the time I was 17, I raced into life with no hope and almost crash landed, a few times.

I have lived long enough and seen enough to know there are forces unseen at work in this world. The deeper I read my Bible and understand the situations I am led to do history and research. I want to better understand the times they lived in, how does it compare to today. I look around and see mayhem, biblical truth comes alive in lovers of self, disrespecting of parents, abusive, unholy, lovers of money and boastful, how can I not believe God’s plan? It is the only place in this world I have found the truth that actually holds water. How many things do we buy, subscribe to and obtain that eventually let us down and leave us high and dry? Do warranties and guarantees always hold out? Is the medical system, the food system, our police, the government all upright without flaw? I rest my case. Christianity seems to have flaws as presented but I have found God’s actual plan, as found in my Bible to be flawless.

The bill we have been sold as Christianity is not what the Bible says. So many religions hold on to parts and sections but never use the entire Bible as it should be. I have read statisitics that concern me about pastors who do not even read their Bibles for creating sermons. I thought pastors were to be inspired by God, I never realized there were sermon books you can buy and follow along with. The apostle Paul was very heavy in speaking about False Teachers and Prophets. Paul had his fill of moral laxness and he knew they fallen asleep status of the fall of a Christian was deadly. The fall can be partial or total, we must keep this from happening to ourselves and others.  Total falling away is falling into a well and then when the cord is dropped cutting it ensuring no escape. There will never be another rope. The well is sin, the rope is Jesus, the cutting is you saying I do not need you, I do not believe. Game over.

There may be some of you who are there, I am so sorry, I wish I could change your mind, either your spirit was never awakened or you were never told of a life lived in hope. Whatever the case, it was most likely religion or a false teacher who set you astray. I have come to know Jesus and He says, “Come unto me, I will give you rest”. He could go on saying, “Not a bunch of rules and frustration I want to set you free of the laws of men.” This schizophrenic religious mess is not what God put us here for. The gospel is simple, love others as I have loved you, live at peace and be an example of righteous living. Read your Bible and pray, there is no special formula or golden ticket to obtain. It lies within your heart and it is up to you to seek Him with all of your heart, soul and mind. You will find Him, but you must leearn to cast the world off and walk tall.

In Biblical times, 64 AD,  the churches were held in homes, pastors were called elders and they were men from ordinary walks of life. They had struggles and real human issues but were men of the Spirit. There was no time for superficial Christians due to the condition of the church at the time.  1 Timothy 4 was written to the church to avoid Apostacy, you see the church was intended to be the Pillar of Truth but the Bible predicts a gross systems of error from within, one of demonical origin, it is called Gnosticism and if you do your own research Christian you will see it’s influence in the church. Not good, not of God.

The only messages we should be preaching is ont of the simple Gospel truth, the Bible will do it’s job if given a chance. It is to be read in private and expounded in public.  Considering that the church is on it’s deathbed right now that leaves the rembrandt, the solitary believer who adheres to no creed but a Risen Savior and living Kingdom minute by minute while we abide on this created world and wait for redemption. I find few people who are living lives based on eternity, they are caught in the day to day with little planning for the rest of the journey.

Christianity has been an effective tool in freeing captives, releasing the opressed and liberating slaves, the simple doctrine of human brotherhood slays the idea of slavery of any kind. No wonder they try to crush the idea and warp it into unrecognizable religious traps.

Let’s move forward now, into what I have learned. 1 Timothy is awesome,  chapter 2 spells out who and what to pray for, those in authority, the law and government. Why? so that we can live godly lives in peacefulness and holiness.  Chapter 3 gets into the Overseer’s, also known as community leaders in faith and living They should be a one woman man, have a rein on his offspring, a gentleman, not drunk, violent, quarrelsome, a lover of money, his home and life should be managed.  Chapter 4 deals with hypocrites and those with conscience that has been seared by a hot iron, this comes from living and abiding in sin rather than choosing righteousness. it says they will deviate from faith to decieve and be decieved. I would hope every Christian will read this passage and consider what it says. Food issues can be cleared up there, myths dispelled there, it confirms physical training is good, we are called to eat right, what God provided and be in good shape for this life and the one to come. I struggle seeing Christians labeling themselves with diagnosis and ailment, claiming eternal brokenness is defeat. Be who God says you are and stop letting the world system define you. It close with watch your doctrine. Like a hawk, pray and discern with the Holy Spirit. It is a jungle out there.

We cannot live dual lives, you cannot be a warrior for truth and still eat from the tree of knowledge. Pick a side already, waffling is sending kids to hell. Be who God says you are already, He redeemed us from sin, why do we dwell there? We chase these earthly lives run by money and that system created by man, we are slaves to it. The Bible says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Why do we toil and work? We love what money does, what it gives and how it elevates us to false sovereignty. I once put my hope in wealth, as a banker I had every retirement plan in place, savings accounts, 504 and 401K, IRA,  layered protection, not one bit of it helped me when I got sick. the system quickly drained me when my status changed. How quickly the brightest stars fall, but I did not burn out.

The Bible has the antidote for every ailment man, religion and the devil can offer. It all begins with you. Pick it up and read it like manual for life or ignore it at your own peril. I won’t mince words, I am not in this for fame, money or clout. My retirement plan is eternal and this is just the practice run. We meet him and our Saviour or our Judge. I want to hear, “well done my good and faithful servant. It was not enough to realize I was lied to and misled  all my life, I need to change it, if I got it wrong, someone else did too.

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They matter. I offer this piece to you as an olive branch and simply ask that you be open. Assume for one minute that everything you have learned about God and religion has been compromised. You are an agent of grace in God’s Central Intelligence Community. The manual has been compromised and the secret code to unlock the truth is in your spirit. Each spirit has it’s own code and no mission is the same. He created us individual, no one exactly the same, similar at times as His  mission never changes. Love one another. How? Follow his lead. Walk soft.

“I am on the fence about nearly everything I’ve seen
And I have felt the fire be put out by too much gasoline
And we’re all strangers passing through a place and time afternoon
Life is but a vision in a window that we’re peeking through”

Much love, Marla