Signs That You’re Distant From God

cross_sunset_silhouette_239783  It happens gradually. It may begin by sleeping in on Sunday morning and missing your regular service. You may have the option to go to the later service, but you have an array of things to complete before you go back to work in the morning.  You may find yourself taking on more responsibilities at work or at your children’s school. Before you realize it, you have missed several weeks of church services, didn’t attend your regular bible study and you’re becoming more distant from your Christian friends.  You’re more agitated with people in general. Minor irritants have become major stumbling blocks where your mood now displays anger, judgement, and negativity. You may find you’re sleeping more, or having difficulty sleeping at all. Over indulging in food or drink?  Suddenly, you hit bottom and you cry out, “God, where are you, why have you left me?”   Does it dawn on you that God isn’t the one who left?  Satan is the great disceiver and will stop at nothing to pull you away from the Lord. Temptations become increasingly difficult to deny, you find your head is full of negative thoughts and feelings toward people and situations.  Somewhere along the way, Satan was able to “slip in” and start playing in your head.

I was fortunate enough to have a close friend recognize my personality change and challenged me.  Point blank she asked me, “You don’t seem to be walking with the Lord anymore. What’s going on?” I felt anger swell up inside at her having the audacity to even say such a thing to me, but I knew deep down that she was right. I had pulled away from the Lord.  However, Satan is a crafty sort and I was quickly able to refrain from saying something not very Christian like and simply reply, “I’m sorry. I’m just tired and cranky today.”  Praise God she had planted the seed I needed.  I knew I had changed, I just didn’t know why.  I felt shame and embarrassment at the thought of asking God to forgive me. Why should He? But I know our God is a forgiving and gracious God.  It had been a long while since I had talked to Him. I don’t mean pray, I mean talk. Just talk to Him like I would with a friend.  That evening, I sat up in my bed with darkness surrounding me. Nothing but a dim light of the smoke detector was visible. As I focused on the light, I began to pour out my heart. I told Him everything and apologized for shutting Him out when I really needed Him most.  That’s when I realized I sometimes  confuse Him with my earthly parents that would grow angry,  lecture, criticize and punish me for any confession of wrong doing.  I don’t know how, but God is able to forgive much easier than we humans can. He doesn’t let us go unpunished, but sometimes wallowing in our own guilt and persecution may be punishment enough in God’s eyes.

The next morning I woke up with a new attitude. I was excited to start my day. I began reading scriptures, watching Christian programs, reading some of my favorite Christian authors, attending church services and bible studies again.  Never allow Satan a foothold into your soul. He will convince you of all kinds of falsehoods and make your life a living hell.  Remember your heavenly father is always there and always forgives. He will help rid you of your anger and guilt if you put your trust and faith in Him.

Left Behind: How the suicide of friends or family affects loved ones

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The death of a friend or family member is never easy, but when that person takes their own life, we may find ourselves asking, “Why? Could I have done something to have prevented this? Is this somehow my fault?” We’re left with the feeling of disbelief and anger. We may think of them as cowards, their actions as selfish, uncaring and hurtful. We try and look for clues to help us understand. We may seek counsel from other friends, family members or clergy. As believers, we want to know if the suicidal victim is in heaven, or to a worse fate than what they were facing here on earth.

This particular subject is a healing wound in my heart. You see, I had a friend of many years call me in January, 2015 to say good-bye. Her slurred speech made it difficult and frustrating to listen to. She had battled alcoholism since high school. Our conversation didn’t last too long. When she casually mentioned she was going to kill herself, I ashamedly  replied, “You’re drunk. You need to go to bed and sleep it off. I’ll give you a call in a few days” (hoping she’d be sober). We hung up. That was the last time I spoke to her. I’m embarrassed to admit I really didn’t want to talk to her if she was drunk, and most of the time, that was her state of being. Time passed. The following Christmas, I sent my usual Christmas card to her and heard nothing back. Terror set into my heart. I guess I just knew. She was big on Christmas cards. I had received one from her for more than thirty years. This year, something didn’t feel right. I called, but the phone only rang. No voice message. Again I was faced with the undeniable fear of the worst possible scenario. With the holiday season fast approaching, I became busy with all the festivities and celebrations. I would think of her from time to time, but continued to put those thoughts in a safe place for another time.  It wasn’t until March when I decided I had to know for sure if my suspicions were correct. She had never been a big computer person. She didn’t email or use face book, so I searched out one of her brother’s in hopes my intuition was wrong. At the end of the email I received from her brother, I felt my stomach turn inside out making my way to the bathroom floor, sobbing and vomiting with uncontrollable force. A flood of emotions erupted. I didn’t know what to do with them. I turned to God for solace. Immediately I felt a warmth around my shoulders and a calming sensation move from my head down to my toes. I knew it was the Lord’s comfort.  The last two months were difficult for me. I didn’t talk too much to anyone about what I was feeling since there was nothing anyone could do. I just held on to my faith and asked the Lord to help me through it all. Bring some closure, some peace. With the help of my Christian counselor, I was able to say good-bye to her this past week. This blog has helped me complete this grievous task.

What is Truth?

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It seems as though America has lost its way in its understanding as to what truth really is. The bible’s definition is that the truth must be consistent with God and with scripture. Truth should never change and never be up for debate or discussion. Truth is the way things are and, truth is who God is.
To deny truth, we in turn, deny God. Americans that claim to be Christians are engaging in pre-marital sex, cohabitation, having multiple children by multiple partners out of wed-lock, defending homosexual lifestyles, the right to abortions, assisted suicide and the list goes on. Most recently, we’ve been asked to accept another person’s definition of their own gender and allow them to use a bathroom of the gender in which they, “identify” rather than with the genitalia they were born with. Secular society shows denial of God by proclaiming, “I was born with the wrong body parts. I’m supposed to be a woman (or a man).” By outwardly denying God as the creator, those who struggle with their sexual identity can now claim a biological mishap, and the rest of the country must accept this as truth. This is an example of how our society’s values and morals have declined over the past six decades. By switching from a biblical to a secular view of truth, we turn to our own human knowledge that can determine truth. Unlike the biblical truth, secular truth is ever changing. What’s true for you may not be true for me. Secular societies or non-Christian people are enamored with human philosophies because philosophy is based on nothing but speculation and theory which can change with the times and those who hold political power or control the media.
From a Christian perspective, truth means nothing apart from God. God is the source. Without God, you have no foundation. Nothing else should be more important to Christians than God’s truth. If you don’t have truth, you have nothing. Churches should not be re-defining truth just to adhere to the politically correct agenda. We should love truth and want it as part of our life. How can we call ourselves disciples if we don’t hold true to the teachings of Jesus? We cannot separate God and truth. People today are repudiating God by redefining our culture. They don’t want rules and regulations to guide their lives. They want the freedom to do what they want, when they want and with whom they want.
Christians need to stand together and hold true to their faith. We have already been told what the future holds according to scripture. Stand for what you believe in. Put on your armor of God and take up the fight to protect yourself from Satan’s power.