Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for May 2009

Growing through brokenness

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Brokenness is something we all shun, or run away from, i think.  It is not easy to be less than what you believe you should be.  Unfortunately brokenness is a part of growth, and a side effect of life itself. 

Over the weekend I spent several days at a retreat, and we discussed a fabulous book called the Emotionally Healthy Church.  The idea is that as a church we have come up with all of these rules, strategies and plans for how to grow – spiritually and physically, but noone has taken the time to look at and learn to suppor t the emotional health. 

In the midst of this discussion we each realized how despirately we are in need of learning to support each other, to be willing to be vulnerable, and to be billing to be transparent.  With that there is an essential requirement that we care for each other and are willing to hold these tender discussions in care and safekeepng, taking it to prayer.  I want that!

And for the first time in years I can say I believe I have found a safe group that will allow me the freedom to share my brokenness, and pray me to the next place. 

I will post another post with the link to take the emotional maturity survey – it is a watershed of information on where we are and how we are doing.  Look for it on my next post.

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 20, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Is God pursuing you, or are you pursuing God?

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There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  – Romans 3:11

The bible reinforces the idea that left to our own devices we will not seek after God, or good.   Bue I never really comprehended how much God pursued Abram until this reading of Genesis, when there are eight (8) documented instances of God pursuing Abram.  

For years I have ruminated the thought that even the ability to read God’s word or to understand any of his word is not my own, but a gift of God, drawing  me.

I have to tell you that I began this post in January and have held this as a pending post because I quietly hoped something would change.  You see, I have a sister in law who’s alcoholic tendencies have moved from the casual beer drinker to a serious addiction that has taken its toll on her health and the overall well being of her family.  She still works full time, and has a wonderful job, but after work and the hours leading up to returning to work are filled with her picking her liver in alcohol. 

She can;t see that she despirately needs to know the unfailing love of a benevolent God, and she doesn;t know that He alone can meet her needs for emotional, social, physical, spiritual…. etc.     We were out to visit her on easter weekend and it couldn;t have been a more stark contrast – this is the day we recognize the wonder of our redemption, the hope of all mankind, and she toast to it swilling down an endless array of beer and alcohol. 

In my days before christ I would have done the same, so I am not knocking what she is, but the real issue is that my heart cries for her to find hope, to find redemption, to be cradled in the love that God alone can provide.  I want her to know the peace I found.  And she is operating outside of the love and protection of faith.  My heart cries for her.

Everything in me cries to you, Lord God, Holy One.  Thank you for the endless mercy and grace you have bestowed on me.  You alone are the one who turns our head, turns our gaze to you.  You alone call us out of darkness and into that marvelous light of your salvation.  Please look upon our unsaved family.  We love them, and we long for them to find the peace and safety in your grasp.  Even now, wherever they are, touch them, draw them, call them from the scars of sin, blaze your light into their dark souls and give them hope.

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 15, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Accepting and Waiting

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Accepting and waiting have been a theme of my life for almost as long as I can remember.  But you need to know that I am like the spoiled child in the toy store – I don;t want to wait, save and plan for a purchase that can be grabbed here and now.  I don;t always see the best interest in waiting for the opportunity to come when I see others accessing the opportunity now.  So pray for me that I would learn to trust and accept the good hand of God for my life and live here in the now honoring him with this life. 

I just spent lunch hour pouring over Philippians 1 and asking God to change my heart.  I wnt to lunch with a heavy heart that was angry because again I bid on a job, and exceeded the qualifications, but never got the interview, and just learned the person who got the job doesn;t even have the minimum education of a bachelors degree.  Yes, this life is evil, and there is really something such as a good old boys club, of which I do not fit, nor can I because I honor Christ and could not lie cheat and steal to get to that job.  I understand that difference, but I am often grieved because I want to believe that there is an honorable and noble honesty in society which does not exist. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  I need you now Lord to clear my fog of dispare, and give me just a glimpse of the hope that awaits me in heaven.  Lord, Help me to accept that the dreams I have must continually be surrendered to you and you alone.   So Take my life lord and let it be concecrated only to thee.  And take from me the wrestling, the frustration, and the despaire that I feel when I see yet another person succeed in advancing while I sit on the sidelines, waiting for your hand.  And I will trust in your character, knowing you are good.  Amen”

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Life groups and the power of prayer

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In my younger years, when I came to faith I did not know how rich an experience I had. the Lord surrounded me with believers who loved his word, and loved people.  Those first years of growing were watershed times and now I know how rare that is to find a group of believers who desire to grow strong.  I could remember clearing the books for tuesday evening and never, ever planning anything but bible study.  When that study ended I was lost, hungry for the fellowship of people and the bond of fellowship in God’s Word.

I have been searching for at least 16 years for this type of safe place to grow, with people who love you, and prayerfully have your back.  Well, I can say the prayers for a group where I belong and want to grow was answered.  We started attending the life group about a month ago, and wow, God does answer prayers.  The group is diverse, but they beat with the heart of God, and welcomed us in as their own.

pray-handsTuesday night we focused on the passage of Gideon, and the question was “what has the Lord spoken to you about this passage – and how are you working it out in your life.”  Willingly each of us yielded answers, some of joy and others of heavy sorrow.  But the prayer that surrounded each person was where I knew God answered my prayer for a place to belong.  One of the women who doesn;t really know me apart from a few visits during life group and the occassional hi in church for worship.  But during prayer after I shared my thoughts she prayed something deeply profound, of which I had not spoken out loud.  I have struggled with a deep sense of insecurity because my father always told me negative things.  This has been the motivation for me to pursue more education, and seek career advancement, never settled to say that where I am is ok.  My husband knows this, but we have been married almost 3 decades and he should know this about me by now.  Only God knew that I have been praying to ovecome the negative words spoken over me, and almost word for word this woman prayed

“Lord, please release all of the negativity, the words that have been dropped into her life as seeds and those seeds that have grown into a harvest of pain in her life.  Release all of the words of negativity from her and free her to walk in the fullness of your blessing.  Grant her to know release from the thoughts that strangle, and kill and destroy.  And in their place give her joy unspeakable, peace unceasing, and deeper mercy for others through this experience. Amen”

I am a guarded person, but when God’s spirit moves in my heart and mind the tears begin to flow, and by the time our prayer time was over I was a blitering mess… but it was good.  I realized this is one of the first times in years that I have sensed the power of prayer in my heart.  And it was one of the first times in years I was open to being vulnerable and honest with others.  Praise God for the breakthroughs.

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 6, 2009 at 7:07 AM

Growing lessons with Gideon.

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Recently my husband and I found our new church home.  After 15 years of very tough inner city ministry we believed God was calling us out of there, but for over a year we wandered from church to church, until we found this one.  It is truely a gift of God and a blessing to be a part of a congregation that loves one another, and wants to nurture and fan the flames of faith in each other.  Last sunday there was a guest speaker who opened up Judges 6 in a very powerful way. 

 white as snow

In Judges 6 we meet Gideon, and learn that he is not a strong guy – in fact he is a bit whimpy.  He meets God in a powerful way and is given a work to do… but he is afraid of the townspeople so he tears down the alters and idols of false gods at night.  The news travels fast, and soon the town is banging on his dad’s home. Yes, Gideon still lives at home with his father.  But for the first time in Gideon’s life he witnesses his dad’s willingness to stand behind his boy’s actions by telling the townfolk that if they want to fight Gideon they will have to come through him (dad). 

And even after being visited in powerful ways by God, he still questioned, and still tossed about fearfully, questioning, needing to get confirmations, clarifications. 

Lesson learned was that when we meet God in a fresh way he may call us to uncomfortable tasks, but with faithfulness he demonstrates his grace and shows us a blessing.  Gideon had not known his father’s support or encouragement until that day.  So Gideon witnessed a powerful moving of God in his life, but that was enough supply for that moment – and seeking God needs to be a daily, ongoing passion to pursue him, allow his spirit to lead, fill and guide.

Sad post script – Gideon died having wandered away from his faith, and returned to the idols of the past.

Challenge to me (and you): Set time aside for God daily – fall in love with Jesus, and let his word wash over your mind.  Keep seeking the fresh renewal of God’s spirit daily.

Lord, you know my frame and you are intimately aquainted with the very core of my being.  You knit me together in my mother’s woumb.  You know me full well.  And I know I was made to love you, to shine, to reflect your glory in everything I do.  Help me to always seek you, keep looking for the fresh touch, the fresh wind of your spirit.  I want to finish this life with no regrets, no holding back, but finding freedom in Christ that touches the world.   Amen

I keep returning to an old hymn that keeps feeling like it is the theme of my life:

Prone to wander, Lord I fear it, Prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart now take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Longing for heaven, but living here for Jesus – amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 4, 2009 at 7:07 AM