Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Taste of What Lies Ahead

Sparkie and I had a conversation this morning. It went something like this.

Sparkie: *rolls over* Woof?
Me: *starts to tickle his tummy* I'm. SO. MAD.
Sparkie: *big brown eyes*
Me: I don't NEED this on top of everything else!
Sparkie: Woof.
Me: I don't like loving people. It hurts.
Sparkie: *puts paw on my cheek and closes eyes*

A quiet voice in my heart: But love is forgiving. Seventy times seven.
Me: I don't care! I care about someone and THIS is what happens!
Voice: They forgave you.
Me: But it was easier for them to forgive me! I have a RIGHT to be mad!
Voice: Since when did you have rights? Love has no right. Love lays itself down daily and sacrifices all. It loves where there is no love. It forgives to the death. It has NO RIGHTS.

When you learn to follow Jesus, you surrender all to Him. Your life. Your ways. Your thoughts. Your choices. Your actions. Your will. And your rights.
Rights has to be one of the hardest things to go. The human will is forever standing up for itself.
Yet where were the rights of the Lord God Creator? He made Himself infinitely finite, took on the fallen form of His creation, was born in questionable circumstances (in the world's eyes), was persecuted from birth, had no place to live during the whole of His ministry, was questioned, doubted and jeered at by His close friends and family, was betrayed by one of His closest friends, was held up to scorn, tortured, and finally had Almighty God turn His face from Him as He took on the sins of the whole world.
Don't all the good things we keep talking about seem pitifully few in His life compared to that?

Gulp. I turn and look back at my own pitiful little cross. I remember that I told God I was willing to take what He meted out if He would make me willing, and able. I remember the extent of the crimes for which He forgave me.
And I look at what I was wailing about.
Um...maybe it wasn't that big after all. At least, not in the eternal scheme of things.

So bend down, lift the twig of a beam, lay it on my shoulder, look up to the Lord and ask for help to carry even this mere crumb of a fragment of His cross, because my flesh and humanity can't do it alone.

I will forgive. And love still. Because I've been forgiven. Because I've been loved. Because He forgave me. And because He loved me when I hated Him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pondering

Today has been a marked change for me. I'm unable to share the details with you as it is rather personal, but one day, one day I will be able to share the way God's worked in my life. It's...awe-some. The way He has lead me, in spite of the pain and the tears, will be so clear, that His love and mercy will blaze out. I pray that when I am free to do so, that you will be able to see it as clearly as I can, right now, feel it.

I have just come down from upstairs, where I went to pray for a friend. It ended up in a complete, soul searching, heart tearing experience, a prayer time of which I wish I could revel in the presence of God every day.

The outline of it is that after almost two years of fighting, I've given in to God. I'm not ready to take the step I've taken mentally and have yet to live out, but there's no way I can go back. I'll take it, God helping me. Because I know if I don't step out, then there is no way God can use me further. It involves the certainty of pain, without the promise of earthly hope, which is something that I'm absolutely terrified of. It also involves the disapproval of my family for the way God is leading me to go; but I know, I know God is in this and I _must follow even if the whole world laughs at me - and that also makes me afraid. God has ways of making us fight our giants.
The decision had two options; to stay in the place that I'm comfortable and familiar with, following reactions and paths I know and live over and over, or to step out in complete faith and react totally against my instincts, crucifying my will to His day in and day out.
You know, even if, as most likely will happen, this present pain ends up in more pain, it will be worth it. I wish I could tell you as clearly as I see it, but I know that until God brings you into that place in your life, you won't be able to experience the joy in the heavy weight of the cross.
It will force me to Him every day as I cope with sight, knowledge, pain, friendships - everything. I know that this place of blessing, even though I will scream under the pain at times, is one I wouldn't swap for the world.

Maybe there's a one line lesson.
God Hates Comfort Zones.

I love the analogy I heard off Paul Washer. Living in faith with God is living in the dark, with pitfalls all around you, and God taking your hand and telling you, "Step." We stand there and shriek, "NO! I can't do this. I don't want to do this! Give me any other way; let me stay here!" But the inexorable Voice persists, "Step." Eventually, we step. And we hit something solid. Ah, we're finally here. We take a deep breath. That wasn't so bad. We start to settle down. "Step." "But LORD! I just DID!" "Step again." And that is the way He leads us. That's the way of a true life of faith in Him - every step a step in the dark, lead by His hand and the light of the Lamp of His Word. Until you are blind, you can never truly see, but if you say you see, then the truth is not in you.

A song I've been listening to recently has a line of "Today all my dreams will come true." The first few days I heard it, I laughed when I sang it. As my life falls completely apart, it was nearly impossible not to. My dreams for my life were so different...
And the problem was that they were my dreams, not God's. When God's dreams are my dreams, then, today, if we are submitted to His will, they will come true.

So there IS joy in the weight of the cross. Life from death. Peace in the pain. Because it's the path that leads us to Christ, refines the gold, shapes the pot, forces the stubborn flesh to die and creates us in His likeness.

When you follow the will of God, no matter the price, the cost will be worth it. Look ahead and see Him. Look next to you, and see Him. Look all around you; His tender care is there. Count your blessings with your crosses. He won't leave you. He will give you as much strength as you need, and ways of escape with each temptation.

This is a little random, but I pray God will use it to speak to you and that it makes sense.

In Christ,
~Janie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Keep Your Heart Soft

This link on keeping our hearts soft was really encouraging. Please click and read!

Keep Your Heart Soft

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

An Addiction to Cutting

One of the worst things for cutters, in my experience/dealings, is when withdrawing...even the mildest cutter has an almost overpowering urge to cut for little to no reason.

It is an addiction, it is a dreadful one, and I beg anyone out there considering trying it - don't. Even worse than the self harm which leaves permanent damage, if not physically, then emotionally, is the powerful urge after leaving it to continue punishing oneself for an angry mood, a sour temper, a bad day - in short, anything you feel is your fault and you want to punish yourself for.

The effort to fight off that urge is very difficult, and can lead to devising other ways of self harm. The problem is, when you're doing it, you feel like you're punishing the person who deserves it.
You can even get into a self-satisfied victim mode; I've punished me, I'm content.

Starting it is dangerous. You think you're a coward if you don't, and that you're a coward if you do. As with drugs, you end up having to get worse and worse to try to compensate as your body gets used to the levels of pain. It eventually ends up something familiar to turn to when things go wrong, in a sense as comfort.

As a human, I appeal to your common sense. Your life is worth something, even if it seems like it isn't. Cutting yourself scars you for life, emotionally, mentally, physically. Mentally you kick into the idea that you're not worth anything more than this; emotionally you allow the victim mode to take over. Physically, your body can't keep healing itself over and over.

As a Christian, I appeal to the Bible. Your body isn't your own, and you have no right to go around destroying it. Your life is Christ's. The troubles you are going through are trials from His Hand to test your faith and your leaning on Him. He doesn't want you to turn to yourself and damage yourself for what's beyond your control. He wants you to turn to Him and pray, memorise Scripture, absorb yourself in Him like a sponge until you are lost in Him and He will carry you through.

How do you know if someone's a cutter? It can be hard to easy. Usually it's people you'd least expect, but often it can be someone who is shy and withdrawn.
One of the notable things in my experience (and I've dealt with several cutters) is that it's usually linked to a pornography addiction or some sexual problem/sin or other, whether theirs or someone else around them (ie, abuse of them, of someone they know, etc). There's only been one person I know of that this didn't (appear to) apply to. So it is generally a guilt factor.

What to do if someone turns to you with a cutting problem (whether you find the cause or not)? Point them to the Lord. Encourage them to go to someone older that they can trust - and that will take time. If there is no one they feel they can trust, then try and win their permission to go to someone you trust.

There isn't any way you can stop anyone cutting. Believe me, I know - I've tried. One of the worst problems of you dealing with someone like that is that you end up feeling guilty for being unable to stop it.
It isn't your problem. If you need to, take time to step back and emotionally get a hold on yourself. You might think you can handle it incessantly without let up, but eventually you will crash - emotionally, physically or both, and it could show itself in any form - even to you turning to cutting.
Christians, remember to constantly to turn to God when dealing with this issue. You can't help anyone without consistently relying on Him and His strength.

I'd like to thank Mrs. Beals and Daniel Beals for their insight into this issue; for those friends of mine that have and do cut for trusting me with it, and I renew my promise to you to pray for you; to Kyle, Kyle (I know four of those!) and Dandi for holding my promise to stop cutting myself.

I know I haven't handled this topic as well as I could, but the desperation inside me as I fight my own battle pleads to send an appeal to those who could be teetering on the brink. Please, don't. There are people who love you, care for you and want to help you. Reach out and save yourself, or leaning over the edge, you may find yourself falling further than those you reached to help.


God bless you.
~Janie

Forgiveness

Written by Luke, inspired by God, sent by a friend.

Luke 7:36-50:

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This Year's Love Story...(so far)

The love story of the year so far is this one:

Here comes the pride!
Words by: JENNA SLOAN, Pictures: ARTHUR EDWARDS
Published: 04 Apr 2011
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STANDING proudly at the front of the chapel, Rifleman Paul Jacobs turns to greet his beautiful bride in front of 130 family and friends.
It is a significant moment for any groom, but Paul's wedding on Saturday was even more emotionally charged than most.

The 22-year-old, who was awarded a George Medal for bravery, will never see his new wife Louise.

For Paul was blinded by a Taliban bomb blast while trying to recover a colleague's body in Afghanistan - and Louise was the healthcare assistant who tenderly helped him at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital.

Louise, 25, fought back tears as she said: "I'm so proud of Paul and everything he's achieved. I know he'll never be able to see me but that's not something I think about. I look past the disability and see Paul as my husband, just like anyone else.

"Now I can't wait to start our lives together."

The couple tied the knot at the stunning 16th Century Grafton Manor in Bromsgrove, Worcs.

After an intimate civil ceremony in the stately home's library, they exchanged rings in a blessing in its chapel.


Chart star Des'ree was so moved by the couple's story that she made her first public appearance in ten years to serenade guests with her song You Gotta Be.
She performed the hit - one of the couple's favourites - as Louise's proud dad Peter Smith walked her down the aisle.

And there was barely a dry eye as the couple exchanged their heartfelt vows.

The Sun wanted to help the bride have the day she deserved, and family were driven to the ceremony in a gleaming £275,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Louise was delighted to see a tower of her favourite strawberry and vanilla cupcakes as the centrepiece of the wedding marquee, which had been decked out with stunning pink and white flowers.

And the bride was treated like a princess when Sun royal photographer Arthur Edwards - who will be on duty at the Royal Wedding this month - captured her special day.

The couple will enjoy a luxury honeymoon at a boutique hotel in New York, complete with business-class flights.



Louise said: "The last 12 months have been a whirlwind but the wedding was something we both really wanted to do."

Paul was five months into his first tour of Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion The Rifles in August 2009, leading a patrol up an isolated alleyway in the Upper Sangin Valley, when an enormous explosion from a hidden bomb killed a colleague.

A second blast killed another British soldier and seriously injured Paul, who lost his right eye and was blinded in his left.


Despite his injuries Paul, from Lambeth, south-east London, cleared a safe route then dragged himself on to it so no more of his mates would be injured rescuing him.

He said: "I don't remember anything about the explosion, but I'm told I was in a coma for three weeks afterwards."

His "sheer personal courage and startling determination" saw him awarded the George Medal in March last year - with Louise at his side. Louise, from Stourbridge, West Mids, said: "I was so proud of him, his courage and his determination are just amazing."


The couple met while Louise tended Paul as well as several other wounded servicemen at Selly Oak.

Paul said: "I first remember speaking to Louise when we went on a trip to the pub organised by the ward welfare officer.

"At that point I didn't really know her at all, it all came afterwards."


Louise recalled: "We see all the patients on a daily basis and I chatted to Paul like I did to everyone.

"Nothing happened between us until we bumped into each other on a night out in Birmingham after he'd been discharged.

"He'd come up to see friends for a few drinks and I was out with my friends. I remembered him and we swapped numbers. Then I went down to London to see him and things went from there.


"A lot of things attracted me to Paul. We got on really well as friends first and he makes me laugh a lot."

Paul proposed in February last year, on Louise's birthday, after first calling her parents to ask their permission.

"I chose a ring with three diamonds, symbolising past, present and future and then got down on one knee," he said.

Since the moving story of their romance hit the headlines the couple have received supportive letters and emails from as far away as Australia. Paul said: "It really helps to know that people we have never met are supporting us."

The newlyweds have recently bought a house in Louise's home town and are busy decorating and making it their own.

Paul, who joined the Army at 18 after training as both a car mechanic and a bricklayer, said: "The Army was my whole world, I loved it. It's not for everyone but it was my life.

"My colleagues are heading back to Afghanistan in the next couple of weeks and despite what's happened I wish I was going with them."

Instead Paul is dedicating his time to raising money for St Dunstan's, an Armed Forces charity that helps ex-servicemen who have lost their sight. Paul climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania a few weeks ago for the charity, along with his father-in-law Peter, 49, raising more than £5,500. He wants to reach £8,000 with even more extreme challenges.

He said: "I want to swim the English Channel and in the next five years I'll climb Mount Everest.

"I keep my chin up and I live life to the full. You can get through anything that happens in life with that attitude.

Louise added: "As a team I know we can deal with anything life throws at us."

j.sloan@the-sun.co.uk

What Guys Think About Modesty

What Guys Think About Modesty

Daddy

A Excerpt:

He looked, searching, into her deep blue eyes and watched his own reflection change, distort, twist itself into a memory whirling in the inky depths.

She was tiny, small, alone...yet apparently no younger than as he knew she was now. Her figure was small and slight, her hair flipped over her shoulder in the untidy perfect flow he loved so well.
She stood, leaning her weight on her elbow, her nose pressing against the glass, forming a round vapour of condensation on the clear glass, her lips leaving a small imprint against it.
No one else was in the room, but he could hear murmurs from the next.
A quiet, choked noise caught his attention, and he looked to see tears running in shiny floods down her cheeks.
One word only escaped her lips, and that word she repeated over and over.

Somehow, as he looked down into her eyes, he could see the reflection of the little girl who still stood at the window, hurting inside. Their expression, through the pretense of valiant bravery and the swagger she always put on, betrayed through the glass walls the bewildered fear, the pain and the confusion still deep within.

Even as she briefly smiled, gave him a quick hug and walked away silently, he could still hear the sobbing, muttered word she'd repeated echoing in the stillness.

"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy..."

The cry of a little girl for a man gone forever, that she'd never truly had, who had rendered himself more dead in life than death could have ever made him.


Jane Johnson
04/05/11

Excerpt from The Screwtape Letters

Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. ... As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation—the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.

Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily good; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.

And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. ...

He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.