No Where Else To Go

Some things I can’t let go of. Some things won’t let me go. Old poems long since thrown away. New ones freshly written. Stained coffee mugs. Scrapbooks and thoughts running  as on a hamster’s wheel. This is me.

Changing me is hard. I have to go to physical therapy. Again. I need to lose weight. Again. I need to take a class to better help me deal with the pain. I am already seeing a psychologist weekly who specializes in chronic pain.  For years I have dealt with my pain by shielding myself from triggers and the outside world. The less I do, the less it hurts. The downside is that the less I do, the less I am able to do. So changes have to come.

If you haven’t been through it, you don’t know what it can do to you. Whether the pain is emotional,  mental or physical, it may still be chronic. I run to my Father and he reminds me of the glories of heaven, of his glory that I can’t wait to see.

Some of you know how old I am. Old enough to know that even if I die of old age that is not too far away.  I get closer to seeing Jesus face to face every day. I want to be in his good graces when I see him. Although I know he sees his righteousness  in me. That is what Jesus died for.

Some things I can’t let go of. Some things won’t let go of me. More than the stains on the dearest coffee mugs or my precious children’s scrapbooks, My Father and I can’t let go of each other. All that is eternal is more important than all things earthly.

I used to think that I liked change but I was wrong. Change comes hard. Oh, how glad I am we do not worship a God who calls on us to change before he will accept us. He scoops us up then he produces the changes. Grace. Forgiveness. Love.

I’ve rambled a bit tonight. I have followed my thoughts around the hamster’s wheel .

Starting off with who I am and following myself into who I am in Christ. I have no where else to go. Neither do I want any where else to go. He is my all.

It hurts my heart to know people I love who have simply rebelled and refused to believe. Other friends and relatives just aren’t interested in the christian life and aren’t sure they want to believe.  They will miss out on the glory of God.

Ours is not a religion of works. “He ‘s a sweet guy.”  “She one of the best women I know.”  We aren’t saved by our sweetness, our goodness, or any personality trait. Ours is one of Faith. Believe and Surrender.  It is really quite easy but oh so hard!

Once again I refer you to Ephesians 2: 1-10. Read it thoughtfully and slowly. It is our story. It is who we are.

Thank you for reading my blog. Some of you I know. Some of you I don’t. Your kindness of reading my random (at times) words, I do appreciate and  pray for you.

All my love and God’s blessings!

Jackie

Have You Thought About It?

 

Romans 12:2 in the New Living Translation says it even more clearly.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

I love that first sentence! Most of us want to know what our purpose is on this earth. I see that question come up in so many books and articles. There is a beginning point. A step we have to take first to find an answer. We have to stop copying the behaviors and customs of this world. Which behaviors am I doing like the non Christian?  Do I change the whole way I live or just a few behaviors? I know these questions are not easily answered and will vary from person to person. But, our goal is to be more Christlike.

We have to examine our own hearts to know what is not God approved in us. Ask him to examine your heart and show you where you need to change. He will deal with you gently because of his great love for you. You will begin to feel uncomfortable with some of the things you do as you continue to lean into God praying for that answer.

For me, I discovered years ago that I should listen to only Christian music with some occasional classical. The voice is to be used to glorify God. That brought a big change in me. You may find other things in your life that are not conducive to bringing you closer to God. Reading your Bible is a must. Finding a plan you can stick with can be confusing but if you haven’t been reading in a while, the book of John is a great place to start. Romans 12:2 is certain that to know God’s will for us, we have to make drastic changes in our lives.

The second part of the verse is beautiful! Instead of copying non believers, it says,

but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

He does it for you! When you give up being like the rest of the world, he changes how you think! That excites me! There is hope for anyone willing to change their behavior to more God like behavior.

 

Your Greatest Moment

When there’s a new baby in the house, life will never be the same. Not ever. Even forty years down the road your life will have been changed because of that person in your family.

Hopefully it will be because there has been another person to love, to teach,  to comfort, and to be taught by, comforted by and loved by. Your lives will be intertwined. It is the same with the spiritual world.

When you have helped a new believer to be born again, your life should never be the same. The angels in heaven rejoice and so should we. The household of faith is to care for each other first. Loving them, having patience with them as they grow, teaching them the articles of faith, giving them utmost care as they must go back to work and back to their families a new person. Accepting Christ is a game changer in everything we do, so be in close contact, being an example of Christian living in all you do.

How sad I feel when I hear someone asked what their greatest moment was and they reply when my child was born, or when I got married. These are wonderful blessed times no doubt. But it tells me they are not Christians and I feel sad for them. If you have ever met Jesus and his gift of salvation there is no greater moment. This life changer overshadows all other earthly moments.

Weymouth New Testament
For “every one, without exception, who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

It means you are sealed for heaven by the HolySpirit. You will live with Christ forever no longer having a sin nature there. No longer making hurtful mistakes, no longer having bad feelings toward someone. You will never commit another sin but live in paradise for time unending. It’s hard to grasp what God has created for us in his house! And, it means we have the support of God and of the church in this life. We have forgiveness in this life until we are transformed in heaven.

Their is no greater moment than when Christ enters your life. The next thing to do is your first act of obedience. Baptism. Revealing to all the church that you are saved.

Nothing is more important. No moment is more meaningful. No action is more beautiful! We are now in God’s own family changed forever.  We don’t make decisions without his counsel.  We take care of those in the household of faith who have less than we do. We pray for more “babies” to be born into the kingdom. And, we do not give God rest until we see those persons saved.  We belong to a new family now and we treat all brothers and sisters in Christ as if they are just that, our brothers and sisters, members of one family.

Read the New Testament to encourage yourself in Christ so you will grow up in all things!

I’m excited just writing this! I pray for you!  I want the best of God’s blessings to grow you to maturity!! I’m excited because salvation and growth in Jesus is exciting!

Come to Christ and your life will never be the same!

Ephesians 2:1-9

The War On Hilbillies

The following post first appeared on New Republic them on Digg.com.  I am repeating it here because I feel it is an important post. Take your time.

Stripped of the region’s coal and ravaged by drugs, the people of Appalachia are fighting to survive.

Americans have long viewed Appalachia more as stereotypical fiction than actual place—a doomed and backward land that remains both geographically and temporally isolated from the rest of the nation. “It is not of the twentieth century,” the authors of Hollow Folk, a derisive book about hillbillies, wrote in 1933. A “forgotten land,” Saturday Review declared in 1968. If we wished to believe in the American dream, we had to view the poverty and despair of Appalachia as somehow separate from our national aspirations: an American nightmare of its own making.

The region and its people remain poor for a simple reason: They were shaped by a legacy of extraction and exploitation. As Appalachia has been systematically stripped of its coal and timber and other resources—the wealth of an entire region converted into energy and capital for industrial America—the poverty rate has soared to 35 percent in mining communities like McDowell County, West Virginia. Many residents lack access to basic necessities like health care and transportation, let alone broadband internet. If some turn to an easy and self-destructive alternative, be it conservative politics or opioid painkillers, it isn’t because they lack the intelligence or strength of character to improve their own lot. It’s because false promises and cheap drugs are the only things the rest of America exports to Appalachia in plentiful supply.

When a place becomes fiction, the people who live there become characters. Photographer Espen Rasmussen set out to look beyond the two-­dimensionality that has been forced upon the region. His haunting images show us what we expect to see in Appalachia—miners, addicts, white men with rifles. But they also jolt us into the present by capturing an unexpected complexity—a noisy club scene, a quiet fiddlemaker, a young female fighter.

I left my corner of Appalachia in 2013. There are so few jobs available that I am not certain when—or if—I’ll return. But the longer I am apart from it, the more it feels like home, the distance clarifying what proximity obscured. In an increasingly homogenized world, Appalachia remains truly distinctive—in its culture, its idioms, its struggles. Its problems, though, are still American problems, albeit sharper and more extreme. Appalachia is not some mythic land out of time; it’s a living place, as independent as it is impoverished. And—as its people reminded us last November—it will not be forgotten.

A miner labors underground in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Since 2011, the state has lost more than a third of its coal jobs, thanks to thinning seams, decreased demand, and increased automation. Unemployment rates in the area are double the national average. More than 20 percent of local residents live in poverty.

Young women compete for prize money by dancing onstage during a party at the Muncheez Bar and Grill in Beckley. Those who can are fleeing the region: West Virginia is losing residents at a faster rate than any other state—some 10,000 in the past year alone.

String players gather for a down-home jam session. “Music is the backbone of the Appalachians,” says mandolin player Jamie Smith. “It’s history and culture, present and past, war and peace, battles in the mines, everything all at once. It’s who we are, set to tune.”

A young woman and her friend smoke drugs before going out to a Halloween party. West Virginia has the country’s highest death rate from overdoses—so many that the state has already exhausted its indigent burial fund for the current fiscal year.

Jessie Boggess sits at the window of his home outside Dry Creek. A decorated Vietnam vet, he lives by himself deep in the woods and takes medication for PTSD. Nearly one in ten West Virginians served in the armed forces—one of the highest rates in the country.

Henry Hayes, a retired logger, didn’t seek medical care after he injured his eye in an ATV accident. “I don’t need a doctor,” he says. “Not unless a limb breaks off.” Thanks to Obamacare, the number of uninsured West Virginians has plunged from 21 percent to 9 percent.

Robert Davis, a chiropractor in Sophia, West Virginia, spends his spare time making violins by hand. It takes 250 hours to build a single instrument. “There’s a proudness to being West Virginian,” he says, “despite its trials and tribulations.”

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