Sober Courage

Sober Courage – I don’t know what made me look that up. I guess it’s my way of dealing with challenges on my journey with the Lord, and emotions that I’d rather not deal with. I am tired. Even though I’ve been sober a while, I still fight those temptations to “numb out” – it’s more just a quick thought actually, I never come close to actually doing it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wish I could just not feel anything for a day or two and definitely not share my struggle with anyone like I am doing right now.

I was reading other people’s articles about it taking courage to get and stay sober. I never thought of myself as being courageously sober, but maybe I am. I could have completely given up and drank myself to the end. But instead, no matter how painful and frustrating life can be at times, I choose to no longer numb out and I choose to let my desperation for God to continue to save me. Maybe that’s the courageous part — having faith that no matter what, God is who He says He is and that His mighty hand is on me. He truly is in control of my life and I am forever grateful. If I were still in control, I’d be dead by now.

So I see that I continue to really be one of His walking talking miracles. I am sober, I am alive, and I have an amazing relationship with my Lord. And wow has He blessed my life with strong men and women of God who help me to stay on the path that leads to life. It’s His courage in me that keeps me walking the walk that He has planned for me and the strength to tell the world all about Him. What was I thinking? I can’t numb out, there are too many that still need to hear about Him and His power to change. I can’t do that drunk or dead. Besides, I don’t want to miss out on His best for me.

Thanks God, for showing me that I am not better than anyone who does not know You like I do, but I am certainly better off. I can’t do anything without You and I don’t ever want to try.

(Those who have been walking this miracle journey alongside me, thanks for being such great listeners every time I need to pour out my heart like this. You are the best encouragers and you are my human angels. I couldn’t do this alone. Love you.  )

Does Jesus know you?

That is a question I wish someone would have been bold enough to ask me years ago, so I am going to be bold and ask it now because I hope that someone will ponder it to the point of full surrender and let the transformation begin. It was almost seven years ago, when I discovered for the first time in my life that the Lord Jesus Christ is not religion. He is real and His Spirit now lives in me. Hallelujah, I am redeemed!

As I continue to grow in my faith-walk, Scripture not only brings me my daily comfort and guidance as I seek wholeheartedly, it also makes my heart ache. My heart has been aching for a very long time now and I have been given courage to share this no matter the cost because someone needs to have their heart strings tugged at. I believe the Lord will use it in a powerful way for those whose hearts have not hardened past the point of no return and who need to hear Him and finally surrender ALL like I did. So please listen to Jesus’ words found in Matthew 7:21-23 (as written in my one year New Living Translation Bible): “21 Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. 22 On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized…’”

Now I am not a pastor with eloquent speech, but I have become a true disciple of Christ and I believe that God uses our willing hearts in different ways to reach different types of people in different types of situations. I am a simple servant who has only been walking this walk for a short time but I will share that I think this passage is warning us that going through the motions and pretending to sound and look godly when people are watching is not going to get us anywhere with God. Religious actions without real faith in Christ does not develop a personal and loving relationship with the One who created us. This, I know!! My heart hurts to think that there will be people at the end of this present evil world who will find themselves on judgment day crying out to the Lord, only to hear Him telling them to go away because He doesn’t know them. That makes my heart tremble and so incredibly grateful that I have chosen to no longer be one of those people! I pray the same is true for you.

I do not think that this passage can be any clearer when Jesus states that the decisive issue is whether we obey the Father in heaven. If you are walking in obedience to God, you are in a relationship with Him. We cannot continue to live in our old ways of life and be obedient at the same time. We cannot pick and choose what we will obey. It is all or nothing. We must turn away from our old way of living and allow Jesus to come in and transform us from the inside out. That is why He died on that beautiful terrible Cross!!! And I also think that being obedient to God means we are known by Him. What a relief for a sinner like me.

All those years I was brought up to memorize and recite what I consider now to be mindless and incredibly empty prayers. The church back then never taught me that I needed to ask Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I just did what I was told to do like a good little girl and memorized words and performed religious rituals (not sure what else to call them) that left me feeling empty and fearful for most of my life. I was taught to fear God by the church, but it was in a way that made me so afraid that when I came to a point in my life where I was nearing rock bottom, I ran even further away from God instead of to Him. In fact, I doubted that He was real and made some terrible choices that almost destroyed my life.

Today, I thank God for my rock bottom because that is where He met me and made me alive in Him. I had a choice – I could die in my sin, or I could surrender and give Him a chance. I do not regret taking that chance on Jesus!

I am also grateful for my new church and my pastors who keep me hungry for the Lord. My heart’s desire is to know Him more and more and please Him! I never had that when I was young. My heart is broken when I watch others today going through what I did back then. It doesn’t matter what their background is, whether they never knew God, or whether they’ve walked away from Him for whatever has happened in their life –all I see is dread and emptiness and I think God allows me to see it and feel it so I can pray and preach and be bold whenever He gives me something to share like this latest writing.

Some people are waiting to surrender to Jesus because they think they have time, but they are wrong. Okay, so maybe Jesus won’t come back today, but that drunk driver might strike out of nowhere or that stray bullet might hit and then what? There is no time like today.

My heart rate seems to be increasing. I never initiate altar calls in person or online, but suddenly I think this is a good time. No one is too dirty to come to be made clean by the blood of Jesus. No matter who you are or what you have done, if you want to start a new life in Christ, here’s a prayer that I found through a pastor’s book written just for you. Pray it with all your heart and then tell someone! Prayerfully seek a Bible based church and reach out. DO NOT try to do this walk alone. Please trust me on that. In time, you will understand why:

“Father, it is written in Your Word that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You have raised Him from the dead, I shall be saved. Therefore, Father, I confess that Jesus is my Lord. I make Him Lord of my life right now. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I renounce my past life with the evil one and close the door to any of his devices. I thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Jesus is my Lord, and I am a new creation. Old things have passed away; now all things become new in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

If you prayed this from the heart, God heard you! I wish I could be there to give you a hug and warm welcome to the family of God. I pray the Lord will bring some strong men and women in Christ into your life to walk along side of you. Like I said, we cannot do this alone. No matter what you think or what you have believed in the past, God loves you! He sent His one and only Son to die in our place. He paid our ransom with His blood. I pray you will believe and receive and then tell the world what He has done!

Thank You, Holy Father! ♥♥♥

It does not matter what the world says…

I thank God for rescuing me from this present evil world. If I were still believing and listening to what the world has to say, I would still be a worthless, depressed, suicidal drunk. I am eternally grateful that over six years ago, godly people came into my life who have taught me how to seek God with all my heart so I can find out for myself that He is as real as the air I breathe. He really is. He was so real that I put down the bottle and picked up a Bible. The Spirit of God has touched me powerfully. I discovered that Jesus is real and now He is truly alive within me. He is my Savior and Lord. He is my way. He is my truth. He is my life. He is my only means of going to the Father (John 14:6). Jesus died so that I may live and I am grateful I that I choose to live today! I am sad that not everybody believes this enough to choose life in Him like I have. The god of this world has so many captive through confusion and blindness and I am not going to give up praying for those hearts.

Anyhow, I shared last year that I was wondering if I was a bit crazy for becoming a part-time freshman in community college at the age of 49. At 50 I am still pressing on and I am only half way there. Or maybe I should say that I am already halfway to transferring to a university so I can someday earn my undergraduate degree…that certainly sounds more encouraging to me. I try not to allow myself to get too overwhelmed that I am getting older, growing more tired, and have such a long way to go, and even though I do struggle at times, I push through and it is so worth it.

The world may think I am nuts for doing this, it probably seems pointless to some. I just read an article today that mentioned the 20 worst bachelor degrees to get in today’s world of business. Dare I share that my major is psychology and that according to this article, it is the second worst degree to go for? Nice. I knew I should not have read that article, but what is done is done. I can let it bring me down and cause me to give up, or I can keep pressing on. I am choosing to keep pressing on.

Now, prior to my faith-walk with the Lord, I would have let that article discourage me enough to consider quitting on my delayed education once again. But that is not going to happen this time around because my faith has becomes super strong and I have learned not to care what others say or think (total freedom!!). I have come too far and have overcome too much to quit now — that would be crazier than anything else that I can do. I did not muster up the courage to return to college for my own sake or to prove anything for my own life. God has become the center of my life and He is the only reason that I am going for it because I believe His Word that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). I truly believe.

So even though I admit that it bothered me for a minute, I choose not to care what the article says because it is of the world and about the world’s economy. I happen to be walking and living in God’s economy, not the world’s. My God always supplies to the full my every need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He truly does. I am not in this for the money. I am in this because my heart’s desire is to shine God’s light in the darkest places. Secular college is where He wants me right now so that is where I will be until it is time to move on to wherever He may lead next. I believe the goal is for the degree to open some doors where I can work with others struggling with what I used to struggle with and perhaps have opportunities to minister to those hurting souls. I wish I had someone ministering to me in the darkness that almost took my life, but then again, I would not be where I am today if I did not go through everything that I have gone through. I am blessed!!

I do believe that I certainly would be crazy to try any of this on my own. I am forever grateful that I have learned to commit my works to God and entrust them wholly to Him. It is He who is effectually at work in me and causes my thoughts to become agreeable with His will so that my plans shall be established and succeed (Proverbs 16:3; Philippians 2:13). How incredibly awesome is that?! I am “doing” His Word! I take Him for His Word, and His Word never returns to Him void but always accomplishes what it is sent to do (Isaiah 55:11).

I so love God’s Word. I pray that His Word and promises that never fail, will encourage someone else’s heart like He has greatly encouraged mine.

Do not let the world discourage you in your journey. It does not matter what the world says about you or about what you can or cannot do. It only matters what God says. Nothing is impossible with God and nothing is too hard for Him to do. My life is proof of that. Never ever give up because where He guides He provides. Do not quit and miss out on His best for you!

Be encouraged. God loves you.

Father, be it unto me (be it unto all of Your beloved) according to Your Word (Luke 1:38). In Jesus’ name, amen. ♥