A CROSS TOO HEAVY?


“Take up your cross and follow me.” Jesus commanded
This one statement is enough to tell all of his followers that the path of Christ is not going to be one of ease and pleasure.
However, there are times in a believer’s walk that the cross she or he is asked to bear may feel soul crushing. The light may appear to be devoured by the ever-present darkness desiring to destroy you. I have been treading upon a war-torn path most of my life with destructive battles being fought at every turn.
The groove my cross has gouged into my path has become cavernous. Yet, the deeper it digs into the earth of my soul the greater multitude of footprints abound near to my own.
Tis such a battle I have been engaged in of late and the enemy is fierce, for he tries to steal my health, my mobility, my faith, my hope, my humanity but he is failing on all the important fronts. He can have this broken shell if that is what provides him false hope, for his end is near.
If your cross is feeling a bit too wearisome and you feel an overwhelming urge to lay it down, know you are not alone. I have contemplated such an action many a time over my lifetime. Christ never expected us to carry our burdens alone even when humans fail us. Perhaps, especially when humans fail us we learn how steadfast his devotion and love for us really is.
‘Taking up your cross’, is not a euphemism; therefore, do not deceive yourself into thinking the Christian life has no earthly cost. There is no Christian “lifestyle”; rather, it is a life commitment and the difference becomes glaringly clear when any degree of hardship enters into a person’s life.
Anyone can be faithful, devout, and committed when the weather is fair. It is easy to obey and love God, the Father, when your mind is telling you that you don’t need him because you have everything under control. Control is a grand illusion that can be destroyed very easily.
Hollow faith becomes transparent when hardship arises and the “believer” flees from God because he or she believes the lies of the great deceiver. Satan has all the time in the world and beyond to think of ways to destroy you and he has had plenty of practice so he is good as this trade. Hence, if your faith is weak or just a thin façade you have used to fool yourself and all those you love then you are easy pickings for a prime predator of souls.
A warrior in the faith is a sought-after prey for the king of demons, for a warrior does not fall easily. Satan is relentless and vicious because if he can take a warrior down then many will fall with him or her. I am blessed to know many warriors and I can attest that Satan’s attacks have been cruel and ceaseless. Yet, I can also proclaim that these courageous men and women have been steadfast and perseverant allowing a multitude to find the love and forgiveness of our Savior through their suffering. Your suffering will never be wasted if you allow God to use it. I have seen both the good and the bad results of how people handled their suffering. Pain is involved for both those who curse and blame God and for those who ask God to use their suffering to bring others to forgiveness.
The “blamers” bring about bitterness and anger that act as a poison to themselves and to all around them. Relationships are destroyed, marriages end, families become broken and Satan is exceedingly happy.
The “faithful” trust and obey God’s word bringing about fruit they may never see. However, if they handle suffering in a positive way it too effects all around them in a positive manner whether or not the observer is saved or not.
This doesn’t mean that the suffering Christian is jumping for joy and singing loud praise songs while in the midst of painful turmoil like some half-crazed martyr. Sometimes it is evidenced by patient who doesn’t swear at and degrade his or her caretakers because he or she is suffering. sometimes it is as simple as their prayers being overheard by unbeliever or a struggling Christian as they lay terrible suffering in a hospital bed. The ways God uses our suffering are far more than we can even conceive.
One of my most cherished pieces of scripture is, “Jesus Wept”. He knows our pain, he feels our pain and he cradles us in his loving embrace to steady our sobs of agony. There is no problem or pain that Christ cannot handle.
There is suffering so great that he must carry us for a time upon our paths, for the wound is nearly mortal. And in those times, we often wish it were a mortal wound, he understands. He will never leave you even if all you can bear is for him to be near… waiting for you to call upon him. He will wait. He will wait because you are his beloved.
I am a warrior. I do not stay this in boast, for there are more times than not that I begged for God to take this burden from me. Alas, he has not so I pray; instead, for unbounded strength. Strength, perseverance and wisdom are the weapons with which he equips me. Using the scripture written upon my heart to fight the king of all lies when he attacks, which has been often of late creates a never ending need to continue to write the scriptures upon my heart and mind through ardent study. The Father has generously gifted me with a multitude of faithful family and friends who surround me when Satan’s attacks are most vicious. They are my earthly backup aided by the army angels of God.
The Cross is heavy. The Cross has always been heavy so do not be surprised when troubles and sorrows visit your door. Instead, gird yourself with scripture and knowledge of what you believe and not only what you are told to believe. Is your faith fair-weather only or can it withstand the hurricanes of life? Make no mistake, Satan plays dirty and he will use anything to steal you from the Father…anything. He has no rules and there is no line he will not cross to destroy you…so you better start working on that faith.

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Satan’s Scourge


 

 

Crafty demon you are,

picking on God’s

children like a

schoolyard

Bully.

Tear sinew,

rip flesh from

bone.

Break my bones

if their crack

brings delight to

your fallen

Spirit.

Sear my flesh,

Oh, Beautiful One,

if my cries lighten

your burden.

 

Let your scourge

test my resolve.

Loose your

wickedness

upon this

broken

shell.

 

For, your realm

is in decay.

Hell’s

foundations are

crumbling.

You are

in

your

final

death

Throes.

 

So, break this

body if you must.

Brand my flesh, rob

me of all Earthly

Beauty, for

your end

is

Near.

 

I

Stand against

you

with God’s

Army Angels

standing as a fortress

in front,

at both flanks

and legions after

legions bringing up the

rear.

 

Take this useless frame,

twist it,

turn it,

burn it

but you will

never lay claim

to

my

Soul.

 

“Come Lord Jesus, Come.”

Revelations 22:20

Love Pledged


This work is dedicated to my Nephew and Niece’s fourth wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Bobby and Mary! Love Always.

Was it only yesterday
that I explored the depth of your
gaze? Or have a thousand
years passed since I gave
my heart away?

Loved ones seated,
quiet sniffles,
as a soft breeze cools
the nervousness upon our brows.

Gently, you brush a wayward
tendril that worked its way from
my hair ornament. I feel the heat rise
in my cheeks as your light touch
sets me aflame. My nervous smile is
reflected by one of your own.

Can it be? Can this all
be more than a dream? Are you
standing so strong and handsome
right here in front of me?

The love held firmly in your eyes tells
me that this is going to be. The words
you have pledged a thousand times before, you
will vow once more in front of
God and all the world.

Please let my legs hold me, he pleads as
he holds firmly onto his bride.
His heart is pounding so hard that he is sure it is audible
to all.

She loves me, she loves me and
I love her more than life itself. I
cannot believe she said yes, but
she did and now she is standing here
just there in front of me.
The brilliance of her beauty is
nearly blinding. I feel my
soul melting into hers as we
vow our eternal love.

Can I be…everything she needs me to be?
Can we be everything He needs us to be?
Will I be enough?
Will we be enough to stand the
tests that are sure to come?
Yes, our love will grow and
strengthen no matter
what lies in the future.

“I do”, she says confidently.
A smile broad and wide tells of her joy
as she quiets his fears with her pledge.

“I do”, he promises with his own joy-filled
countenance.

She and He are now We,
two have become one
flesh.
The very next step they take
upon their journey
will be
…as husband and wife.

An unstoppable team
regardless of strife, for
this love is pure and
comes but once in a Life.

Soul Pairing


Nancy and Joel Honse, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I love you always and forever.

Peaks and Valleys

by
Tina Blackledge
7-11-197

Ice crystals bounce together
as they dance in a suspended
atmosphere. A Cascading resonance of delicate
pings and clinks inhabit both time and space.

Where am I?

Were those words spoken aloud
or just whispered among my thoughts?
The clear melodic sound of the collision of
crystals eliminates all other sound.

Am I dreaming?

Goosebumps cover your flesh revealing
a chill in the air placing your senses in a state of
acute awareness. Glancing down, you notice
you are wearing a modest pale blue shift
graduating in tone to the floor
toward a deep ocean blue.

A delicate strength inhabits
a length of it, which you allow to pass
between thumb and forefinger
revealing a softness so light,
you are uncertain
if you have felt air alone.

Is this Heaven?

You command your mind
to reason a frame of reference
but to no avail. No memories

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What God has joined…


In honor of my Sister, Nancy Honse and Joel Honse’s anniversary. Happy Anniversary!

Peaks and Valleys

What God has joined…
By
Tina Blackledge

May 20, 2011

We are created
being part of a whole.

Souls search for their mate.
Finding one another
sets the unbreakable bond.

Both willingly
abandon self to become
one whole.

The bond is set.

Love grows beyond
the confines of human
understanding.

The bond is set.

What God has joined together, let
no man put asunder.”
A greater weight than
the words entail is held.

The bond is set

No power on Earth or in Hell can
break it.

The bond is set.

Devotion to God first,
and each other second.

The bond is set.

This is the secret.

The  Bond is set.

View original post

Get UP!


 

Tears of exhaustion cleansed the

 

grime from her weary eyes.

 

The hard earth beneath her felt as

 

if bundles of clouds had been

 

fastened together giving tense limbs an

 

imagined comfort.

 

 

 

Gasping crisped air into

 

overburdened lungs sent a sear

 

throughout her torso lending

 

logic to the fact she yet lived.

 

 

 

Her spirit commanded,

 

“Get up.”

 

Her aching frame bade her

 

 “sleep.”

 

 

 

No amount of will could

 

force her eyes open and

 

the thought of sweet surrender

 

was exquisite.

 

 

 

More insistent but

 

still easily ignored,

 

“Get up, Now!”

 

 

 

Rhythmic breaths began

 

to take over allowing

 

her conscious awareness

 

slip ever closer into

 

the sweet void.

 

 

 

Slight vibrations rippled

 

beneath her.

 

Someone was walking

 

toward her…

 

 with purpose.

 

 

 

A delicate, crisp sound like

 

that of tiny ice molecules dancing

 

atop the rim of a fine crystal goblet

 

teased her ears and sent

 

shivers down her spine.

 

 

 

The sound, gentle as it was, brought

 

her to full awareness.

 

It was…irritating.

 

She wanted to rest, just

 

rest.

 

 

 

“Get up”, came the

 

command.

 

 

 

With reserves she did not

 

think she possessed, she

 

managed to raise herself

 

up to one elbow.

 

 

 

Hand raised to brow, she opened

 

her eyes just a sliver to see

 

who was cruel enough to give

 

such a command to a dying woman

 

eager for glory.

 

 

 

The enormity of light

 

burden her tired eyes

 

causing her to clinch them

 

fast again.

 

 

 

Warm hands gently cupped her face.

 

A soft, loving kiss was delivered

 

to each of her eyes.

 

 

 

“Open your eyes and…see.”

 

 

 

Slowly, she obeyed letting in just a bit

 

of light. Feeling no pain,

 

she opened them both and

 

was awestruck.

 

 

 

Feet firmly planted on

 

the ground in front of her

 

stood a glorious warrior. He

 

shone like the son wearing

 

a golden breastplate, helmet, greaves,

 

and carrying a large blazing sword. In the

 

other hand, a shield engraved with God’s

 

Holy name, Yahweh.

 

 

 

Her eyes came to rest upon his two enormous wings

 

that lay at rest upon his

 

back but whose length trailed behind him. She

 

heard the delicate ice crystal sound every time he

 

moved them.

 

 

 

“I am Michael, an Archangel

 

and I am in charge of God’s Angel Armies.

 

You need to get up and take the

 

next step,” he explained.

 

 

 

She said nothing but her

 

eyes communicated her

 

weary reluctance.

 

 

 

“Woman, look around you.”

 

 

 

Something akin to a

 

veil of fog lifted away

 

revealing mighty

 

and fierce battles being

 

fought. The wars were raging

 

both near and far no matter

 

which direction she peered.

 

 

 

Thousands upon tens of thousands of

 

warriors, like Michael, were engaged

 

in terrible battle with what looked

 

like…demons. Yet, nothing was being

 

touched on the Earth. People were going about their

 

lives without an inkling that there was more…much

 

more.

 

 

 

Her eyes darted to Michael in question.

 

“We have always been here, God sent us

 

to protect you all but you still have the choice

 

to give up or fight. We stand by your side and fight

 

what you cannot see. But, you have to choose to

 

 Get Up.”

 

“You must choose to keep moving

 

forward no matter how many

 

times you are knocked down.”

 

 

 

Her eyes pleaded with him to tell her,

 

HOW?

 

 

 

“You have the Holy Spirit inside you,

 

God’s only Son died for you! God, our

 

creator loves you. He knows how hard it is

 

to walk through this world and he never expected you

 

to do it alone. The Father

 

continues to send help to you but

 

many of you reject it…reject Him. Look

 

at the legions around you. We fight alongside you

 

but we cannot make you choose to follow Christ. We

 

cannot make you stay on the path. We cannot make you get back

 

up when you have been knocked down for the 1000th time. But,

 

I promise you this…Get Up, and we will go back into battle

 

with you. You are not alone.

 

Woman, Get Up!”

 

 

 

Standing with new fire in her

 

eyes she smirked,

 

“How about we

 

 go make the Devil nervous?”

 

 

 

GET UP!

 

A Mountain, Two Dogs and a Field of Reefer…


 

 

A fork, a crossroads…a choice upon our path is always disconcerting if we are seeking the Lord’s will in earnest. Some folks perceive every choice in their life as monumental and claim an inability to make any decisions as their default setting. This, of course, is a cop-out to avoid the responsibility or consequences of making choices.  They look toward others to make the decision either voluntarily or by default then subsequently have a scapegoat. That person can stroll through life never accepting any responsibility for their choices be they good or bad. Others will deflect self-blame by crying good or bad luck as the culprit for their life path. These are people with lost purposes and will look in any direction to see if another appears to know where they are going. These are people I liken to salmon swimming upstream. Everyone else is moving in that direction, in mass, so they feel as if the group must know where they are going. Hence, they scramble to follow the crowd only to be snatched up by the hungry bears waiting with open jaws to devour them.

Thank you, but no, I will not fling my future toward the dictation of fortune tellers, astrologers or anyone else’s opinion of what choice I should make. The only exception of this is that of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life. Christ’s divine purpose for my life is the only thing that steadies my steps.  Once you discover your purpose then very little that Satan can throw at you will knock you off your path. Sure, it won’t stop him from trying and there are times you will be barely able to crawl upon it but if you understand why you are here then nothing can ever keep you from moving forward. That is not to say that there may not occur long pauses where the pain is just too great to move forward…too intense…too soul wrenching to even breathe but you will eventually move forward IF you choose to take that next step.

I have written on different aspects of this topic before as previous life events unfolded and I was faced yet again with the opportunity to obey or disobey, to move forward or stay stuck, to be courageous or succumb to weakness. There always seems to be a critical choice of obedience occurring within my life pertaining to my health journey. My blog readers are familiar with the ups and downs of my chronic illness journey and this year does not disappoint. As in the past, insurance snafus, medical providers and overall human fallibility has given me opportunity to ponder if it is indeed time to raise that white flag of surrender.

Not speaking about heroes who sacrifice their lives to save another but about the human populace in general, it takes much more courage to live than it does to die. Death, especially if you are a Christian should not scare you in any manner. Your confidence should rest firmly in the Christ given salvation that has opened paradise for you.  All fear should be eradicated from your heart and mind, if you are saved. However, if you are not saved then I recommend you try to live forever. Seriously…don’t die if you are not saved.

Saved or not saved, living takes courage because life is hard and often painful. There is beauty, happiness, joy and some even find their soulmates allowing them to taste the best version of love we humans can experience. If you suffer chronic illness that promises to degrade your body without taking your life immediately then it becomes a battle not to embrace the sweet thought of release that death will bring. Some of you will see this as a suicidal statement because you are ignorant of true suffering or the promise of paradise. Or, you could be ignorant of both. Truthfully, I pray there are many more of you who do not understand what I am speaking of rather than the scales tipped in the opposite direction. There is only one way to truly understand the blissful thought of what I am speaking and that is to suffer…unendingly and in exponentially explosive increments throughout your entire life.

Every time one of these pitfalls appear upon my life path, my humanity clutches to the idea of rejecting all modern medicine and the hoops through which our corrupt medical system requires the ill to navigate.  I have my core peeps who patiently listen and encourage me as I “go off” on another idle threat of retreating to a remote mountain cave with my two dogs, my Lord and a healthy crop of reefer to live the rest of my life out. Now, to be utterly frank, I have never, nor will I ever indulge in drugs so they know when I threaten ‘to chuck it all and live my final days as a hermit’ that I am just letting off steam. Faith is not for wimps, just ask Daniel or his friends. Joseph, Job, Peter, Paul, Mary or Martha would all be good folks to sit down with for a while and complain about how hard it is to live the faith.

Trust and obey. Two tiny words in type but are Everest in meaning and in effort to fulfill. Love the hymn of the same name but until you have attempted to live out these two words through the path of suffering then they remain just words. Have you ever had to fight with every ounce of courage, intelligence, fortitude, attitude and perseverance for something you fervently did not want? The very idea of obtaining that for which you were striving was actually nauseating? It is sort of like needing six root canals performed and you had to fight your insurance to get them accomplished. You fight to get it while dreading the “win” because you know you need it but do not want to take the journey to get there. More accurately, you do not want to do the suffering promised as the prize for your win. Yet, doing nothing or not fighting will cause greater, progressive pain that will ruin your entire mouth full of teeth. This is the closest I can come to in explaining my sentiments about my predicament concerning my intermittent health coverage. I must fight everyone to get adequate palliative care in order to keep the diseases at bay that would quickly ravage my body if the needed medications are absent for any period of time. Well, this was my crossroads this month. Choose to find another doctor in my insurance’s network in time to provide those medications or go find that mountain. Since it is a specialist, it usually takes at least three months to get in to see one. The Lord did it in one; therefore, I will only be without the needed medications for one month instead of three to four. An undeniable blessing to be sure but the struggle to get the proper health care had me throwing up my arms in mock defeat as this is just the latest in a long series of events outlining our shoddy healthcare system. You see, it is not that I fear death in any way but I know death will not come quickly. Instead the diseases will quickly take advantage in this lapse of care and cause suffering. Suffering and I are old friends so I am not even really fearful of that but where my concern bubbles up is whether my actions, words or thoughts will strengthen my testimony or weaken it. Will I be able to walk the talk? Will I use the suffering for God’s glory? Or will I fall into my base humanity and throw in the proverbial white flag opting for my mountain side view of my reefer field?

I know with all my heart and soul this fork in the road is really a straight path, for I know what the Lord expects of me and I will forge ahead trying hard not to complain. I know many opportunities lay before me to share my testimony, experience, and knowledge with others who may just be starting their own journey of suffering with these diseases. God has shown me again and again that every single thing I have ever endured in my lifetime has proven fruitful for another’s walk on this Earth because I allowed him to use it. Brothers and Sisters in the faith…do not waste your suffering, allow your Heavenly Father to use it to bring about good where Satan meant it to be for evil. Your choice.

As has become my default setting, I look toward scripture to find a solution to my dilemmas. Now you may think that there cannot possibly be a story in the scriptures that describes my circumstance and offers any kind of solution other than condemnation for thinking about death in a positive vein. You would be wrong.

“20. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. 21. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24. but is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25. Convinced of this, I know I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26. so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”

Philippians 1: 20-25

 

To be quite clear, I am in no way equating myself with Paul, the writer of the above passage. However, his struggle of wanting to glorify God through remaining alive on Earth and his deep longing to be with Christ in heaven mirror mine completely. Another good lesson, if you are struggling with anything in this life then turn toward God’s word to find the answers. Its all right there and his saints have lived and struggled with the same or similar problems in their lifetimes. Scripture is always applicable regardless of the era but you have to read it, study it and write in on your heart so that when trouble comes (and trouble will always come) your soul can quickly point to the solution or toward solace. If you are enduring a rough patch at the moment then try to take comfort in knowing the answer is just sitting there waiting for you to discover. Not a guaranteed solution or a way out of the problem but the manner in which you are called, as a child of God, to deal with it.

 

Be well all,

Your perfectly imperfect friend

Protector


I had forgotten this piece but I love it and love my sisters dearly so I am reblogging it. Happy weekend everyone.

Peaks and Valleys

I am the protector of her,
who is the protector of me.
She is the protector of us
but I am the protector of three.

“One day you will be fast friends,
even though you fight today.”
Mother did say.

Absurdity, surely, for how could
I ever get along with her,
with them and them with me?

Friends?
No, not even close.
We three are one,
but uniquely created.

Each with her own gift.
Personality three
Interests diverse
Life paths, amazingly complex.

A pillar of strength,
Woven with unyielding cords
of love infused with
those who joined in the battle
against the onslaught.

Holding one another aloft
when each fends off that
which would destroy her…them…me.
Strike one, strike all, a force of Love
will defend these three and all to who
they have given their love and loyalty.

Love, laughter, tears, heartache,
I am their protector, they are my

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Who did you send to Hell today?


 

                Is this world truly wicked and bursting at the seams with evil, self-serving humans bent on singular gain? Well…there is certainly enough evidence to support that argument beginning with the first murder in the garden of Eden. Millennia has passed and we humans keep inventing new and horrific ways to hurt one another and in even greater mass. We could all likely agree that mass murders, acts of war, and destruction of an entire species are bad things. However, where do these big events begin? Where did the third Reich begin? Where do events like the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima start? Where do the construction of grand barrier walls that quickly turn into unmarked tombs, such as the Berlin wall and the Great wall of China start?

                If you said political leaders, nations, villages, communities, religious sects or families then you would be in error. This is the key error that begins all the evil perpetrated in our world, the home we humans, all the animals and the flora share. If you tried to answer these questions by looking beyond your own mirror then you have already begun to contribute to the problem rather than the solution. Likewise, if you look beyond your own reflection for the answer to these problems you have again committed a grave error. Governments, religious leaders, communities and families can do nothing if your own heart is dark, cold or consumed by rage.

                Yes…the answer…the key to send evil on the path of retreat begins in your heart! Gee, doesn’t that sound so simplistic? Why then is evil growing and flourishing everywhere we turn? Why are children growing up with hate seeded deeply in their hearts? Why are there generations of humans whose hearts are stone cold before they reach their 16th birthday? America had been known as the “Christian” nation but I fear that is in name only these days. Even we who claim the banner of Christianity cannot quite get on the same page with one another. True enough, the apostles had sharp disagreements with one another causing this one to go one direction and that one another but it was not due to “cultural” matters. Today’s American Christian can be found in bulk comfortable services where, like the Pharisees, they enjoy status and respect when holding a position in the church. At the very least we may enjoy anonymity in the mega church where nothing is demanded of our faith…except money.  

                Since humans are perfectly imperfect, we must expect and even anticipate that the devil will seep in with his lies to pump up the pride of our ego driven populace. As I have harped many, many times before, do not trust any human teacher 100% because we all are fallible…We fail. Simply put…we fail often… to shine for Jesus. God tells us, commands us to pursue him with ALL our heart, mind and soul. That means we must investigate the truth on our own.  

Perhaps Worse, is the way we have ‘Popularized” our churches to attract tithe going patrons while overlooking “little sins” or bury scriptural truths in order to broaden the narrow gate of Heaven.  There is but one way to have your sins forgiven…there is only one way to be welcomed into Heaven…Jesus. You cannot do one single thing to earn your way into heaven so that “no man can boast of his salvation”. Your salvation has already been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. We are taught in scripture that works (our good actions) without faith are meaningless. This is telling us that you can be the best person in the world but if you are not saved then you will not see Heaven. Scripture also tells us that if you claim to have great faith but do not live it out by your works (good deeds) then your faith is dead. Sure, you will still be welcomed into Heaven because you are saved with the second scenario but you will have to stand before God and explain why your faith did nothing for anyone but yourself. You will have to tell your Heavenly Father why you wasted all the gifts and talents He wove into you upon your conception. You will have to explain to him why the thousands of souls  to whom you were supposed to be ‘Christ like’ too and cause them to come to Jesus’ salvation are now suffering in Hell. You will have to look your Christ, your savior in the eye and give answer for your dead faith. For certain, accepting Jesus Christ as your savior will have granted you access to salvation but when you turn around and see the thousands of souls your inaction condemned to damnation, how will you give answer for that? No, you cannot save anybody. Only Christ’s sacrifice saves the damned but he sends you and I out into the world to shine for him so his love can draw his lost children to him. We are supposed to be those lights, if we call ourselves Christian.

                So, what about the heart of the Christian that has turned cold and hard? Are you truly saved? Only God can read your heart so I would never presume to say this person or that is or is not saved; however, it is the person claiming the title of Christian but sporting a dead faith who does so much damage in our wicked world. Yes, it is the person clinging to the banner of Christianity but refusing to walk in Christ’s footsteps who is poisoning the well of faith. Being a fence walking Christian is easy because there is no commitment necessary and there is little demand upon your heart, soul or convictions. When the heat gets turned up on the Christian then the fence walker will jump to the side of popular opinion. When faith gets too hard…they will jump ship.

                Being a former therapist, I encountered a plethora of people who I categorized as “hand holders”. They wanted to be coddled, pitied, and given justification for never taking the steps necessary to move their lives beyond the hurt and pain they had experienced. I am in no way diminishing their pain and suffering but as a Christian, who has suffered deeply on multiple levels, I know that if you choose to remain stuck in the suffering then it will consume you. Satan uses it to destroy you and consequently make you completely ineffective or worse, toxic.  

I also met many people and I am even related to many people who have been hurt or who are hurting for some reason and have chosen to harden their hearts. I get it, I have been there and my heart was as hard a Christian heart can ever get but God broke me into little pieces and then gingerly put them back together. He created a being with immovable faith, rock hard perseverance and someone with a wee bit more wisdom than she had before the pain. Faith is the hardest walk you will ever take in your entire life. It is not for the weak or the faint of heart. If you ask the Lord, he will open your eyes to the most significant tool you need to get through the pain. Ask him to reveal the blessings. Ask him to see through his eyes and recognize the good instead of just the evil, pain, and suffering. It is always, there. I guarantee it.

 Yet, many folks cannot or will not see past the pain to glimpse the blessings. Yes, the blessings. There are ALWAYS blessings in every single painful situation. The pain may be so great, so soul-wrenching, so horrific that it is simply impossible to see the blessings…in the beginning. Yet, God will always be there waiting for you to see Him.  However your refusal…as time goes on…to see him will cost you and it will cost all those who love you. God sends people into your life at very specific moments for very specific reasons. Those reasons might be to help you or the reasons might be to help them in some fashion. Usually, we are brought together to help one another. However, there are moments in our lives where the pain is so intense that the person is brought to us. They are offering us their hand, a helping hand, an obedient hand of a Christian obeying God’s command to help. If we spurn that hand, if we reject that help from that specific person then God will not give up on you and he will send another and another and another. But this is key…it may not be the same person…ever again. You may lose the opportunity to be blessed because you reject the person/people sent to you.  That person was obedient, he or she will still be blessed whether you reject them or not BUT it is not them you are truly rejecting…you are rejecting God. You are slapping God in the face and telling him you don’t need his help while you beg him in your prayers to “fix the situation”, “to heal you”, “to heal a loved one”, “to get you a job”, or “to find someone to love”.  The trouble is we Christians do not know God. We accept what we are fed by our church leaders, society, our governments, social media, and the all-wise internet but we do not know ourselves or our Savior.

                As a result, when the “refining fires” come upon us we crumple because our faith is weak or hollow. Faith is borne of suffering. Anger and hatred are hard things to conquer in this life but so they must be if your heart is to thaw. God will not bust his way into your heart but he will give you many opportunities to grow your faith and perseverance. God does not serve up wisdom, faith, perseverance and Christ driven love like vending machine options. Instead, he gives us opportunities to grow each one of these in our hearts and souls. We have far too many hollow Christians with darkened hearts and dimmed spirits. These Christians may have been very strong at one time but are battle weary but the ones I have been encountering of late are ones whose faith is barely there, for they have no idea of who God really is or what place he should have in their lives. They are empty…because choosing the darkness is easier than fighting to reach the light. Yes, fighting because each step you take to living like Christ will cost you as the world belongs to Satan and he will use all his power to bring you down. He hates you because you are a child of God and he really hates God. What better way to hurt the parent than to hurt the child?  

                If you feel you are a hollow Christian…If you have a darkened heart and dimmed spirit…if everywhere you look you pass judgment and spew toxic hate…then I beg you…DO NOT TELL PEOPLE YOU CLAIM TO BE A CHRISTIAN! You are wounding Christ with each hateful thought, word and deed. He can take it….He can take anything we dish out toward him. However, how many are you turning away from salvation? Who have you condemned to Hell today? If you are a lost child of Christ, then fall on him and see his outstretched hands of love and forgiveness. If you are his lost sheep then use your pain to get closer to him and stop pushing him further away. However, if you do not know the salvation of Christ then I plead with you to seek him out in earnest.

(Note: I have deliberately omitted the scriptural references to encourage the reader to pursue God; however, if you are unfamiliar with Scripture and would like to be pointed in the right direction then just leave a comment and I will gladly provide you with the references. God bless and keep you, always in his light and protection.)