Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for the ‘daily life’ Category

“We desire to possess a beauty…

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“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.”
― Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

Beauty – deep in the core of our frame is the desire to be accepted, found beautiful, wanted and worth being pursued.  In our  teen years the spirit of pursuit awakes, but at that time so does the enemy, seeking to destroy our thoughts of beauty. He comes in subtle ways “oh you can stand to loose weight”  “your nose is bigger than anyone on the planet”, and a thousand thoughts subtly assault our beauty, our image, our core.

But these assaults are lies. Lies designed to trip us up from being who we are made to be… princesses, daughters of the most high, set in high places in Christ Jesus.   If the enemy can undermine our mind, make us to feel that we are not worthy to be pursued, not worthy to be viewed as beautiful, then he will win.

The battle is on.  Thoughts are prisoners, and King Jesus can give us victory over these horrendous attacks.  Daughters of Adam, choose what you will listen to.  Select each thought and weigh it carefully – is it good, peacable, kind, uplifting?  Know that our great god will only speak truth to you.  He will never speak in ways that belittle you.  For you are a holy nation, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, called, chosen, blessed, and he sings over you.  He loves you so much that he pursues you with all the powers of heaven.   For you are beautiful, and captivating to him.

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Written by Barbara Bloom

March 19, 2014 at 11:44 PM

God is Good… all the time

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Years ago that was a very popular expression in the city churches… and i remember hearing a large african american woman say that all the time.  Her life was a story of challenge, trial, adversity, and loss.  It seemed that at almost every turn she expereinced yet one more departure from normal and mundane life.. but she always came back with that response “god is good… all the time… and all the time… God is good.”  Intellectually i understood her cry, and in my head i knew this to be true.  Every passage of scripture backed her statement up… and in every instance where an older saint came to the notice of the world for something heroic, startling or shocking it was always the same song… God is good… all the time.

I am not heartless, and i do not forget to connect my heart to my knowledge, but there was one thing missing from my life those years ago… it was that direct and immediate application of this principle in my own life.  Until our job loss my view was that God was indeed good… he provided cars, a job for each of us, and good health, all the food we wanted, and a life filled with stuff.  We could buy whatever we wanted.. well, almost everything.  He provided warmth in the winter, and fresh cool breeze in the summer…. and we were very insulated from the palpable cry hidden in that woman’s statement.  For we knew a god that prevented us from knowing the pain of joblessness, or of death.  He was a God of the mountain tops….

and it was only when our jobless adventure took us deep into the valley and the shadows of death that we really understood the goodness of God, walking us through times when we were not certain how any bills would be paid, or if we would have food on the table.  He provided.  Never beyond exactly what we needed, but his provision has been right on time, precise, calculated, and a blessing.  And he has held us in those emotional times when the world just did not seem right, or we wondered what else would be taken from us… but as the dust settled we knew he was looking out for us.  He cleared our plates of the burdens of excess, providing just what we need.  Is God Good?  Amen

Is God’s way my way? Not on your life.  But is his goodness better than my very life? You Bet. 

So i think back those many years, and still hear that deep growly voice shout from the depths of her soul “God is Good… all the time”… yes, in the death of a son,  and in the loss of that job, and in the time when a spouse walked out, and when the car died, and the house is falling apart.  Is God able to meet the need? Absolutely.  Does he want us looking to him for everything – Yes?  Does he take joy in being our provider, our savior and our friend – Amen.

So the God of the mountain tops does visit the valleys, the deep places where there is great pain, and challenge.  And he walks with us through these places, and stays with us as we ourselves change, shed the garments of materialism, and of greed, and of selfish desire…  For you see, we had worn worldly garments of self fulfillment, of greedy behavior, of indulgence, and of taking for granted the opportunities he had placed in our lives.  That valley shook us to the core.  Bankrupcy – of our souls, emotions, spirit and of our wallet… everything felt like it was stripped away, or ripped away.  In those moments i remember saying to God over and over “Please dont let us be homeless!”  And slowly we emerge from those  rags we once wrapped around ourselves, naked, sad that we have gotten it wrong for so long.  The message of worldly materialism is a distructive one, masquarading itself in a cloak of luxury, and desire, appealing to the deepest fleshly desires… and it was in direct opposition to the God of Creation.  He had other plans.  He allowed us to have alot stripped away – naked emotionally, financially, spiritually.  And naked we find ourselves being handed garments of praise, richly appointed clothing of humility, of dependence, and of selflessness.  We are no longer our own, and we no longer look like the world.  We emerge from the valley dressed in the garments of our God, prepared for us, that we may proclaim to every ear that will listen “God is Good… all the time”.  The climb up the mountain from the valley is challenging.  Rebuilding our lives is not for the faint of heart, but God has known that he designed us for his service, and for surrender from the world. 

Perhaps you ar e there… the economy has thrown you down for the count, left you wondering what your life is about or how you will ever regroup and move forward.  That same God who is Good will be there for you, and see you through this adventure, until one day you kneel in his presence in heaven, with this world’s struggle ended, and eternity beginning free of all of this.  My challenge is look to Jesus… fix your eyes on him, read his word, and yield your emotions and your mind to his spirit.  Stop letting the emotions lie to you, and let Jesus show you his goodness, his kindness, his mercy and his grace.

What is keeping you from yielding to his sovereign will today?

 

Written by Barbara Bloom

July 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM

writing is cathartic

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I’ve known for a long time that I love to write .  But there is one thing about writing – it takes discipline in time .  and I will be the first to admit I am not very disciplined it sitting down to write .  so is a blog idea came to mind,  partly because it could be quick and short .  I love the thought of of selecting from what is going on in real life and spending a few moments thinking about it .  perhaps I missed my calling in should have gone into journalism .  at the heart of this blog was the goal of documents in my thoughts  and I most difficult time in my life .  I had a job that was challenging ,and I worked with people that were very strong willed .  throw my personality and my sense of faith in and this was quite a dynamic and challenging environment . Faith was not something that was valued in that environment  .  Curiously my faith upheld me through this time of difficulty. 

the writing is cathartic ,it’s healthy, and helpful to me to find ways of expressing what’s going on .  and perhaps writing is a means of document in my life  . 

Written by Barbara Bloom

April 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Posted in daily life, hope, Lessons learned

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Handling it….not me but God.

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Last night I had another powerful reminder that our lives are fragile and our God is a strong defender and protector.

Our neighborhood is older and so is the infrastructure.  The gas company is working on updating all the gas lines and moving meters out of our homes.  Last night was our turn to let 5 men with tools and hard hard loose in our basement to complete the work.  Here is the miracle: the gas company found for big leak in our gas line in the basement .  the more amazing thing was the biggest lake was at our furnace and the repair guy said the furnace it is blowing up and killed us all .  But god is good and he watched over us to protect us from that happening repairs are almost all done no more gas leaks and I’m thankful I’m alive .  last night when the news broke off valve leaks I was a bit frantic and then I realized how good god is to me.  initially the gas repair people told me the gas would be turned off we have to hire a plumber and thought we would then have to call to get service turned on.  steve was at his name and study and I didn’t want to disturb him but I was alarmed and needed to pray with him . we prayed together and then steve spoke with his mom’s bible study .  they prayed for the situation and offered several opportunities of christian man who do plumbing .  but here’s the miracle the gas company came back about 45 minutes later realizing they had been using 1 gauge that was hyper sensitive .  dan hypersensitive gauge was showing leak that did not necessarilly hold true .  when nate and tested the line with another gauge it has been fine .  the valve to the furnace is captain waiting are on completion repair however the gas service was turned back on and hallelujah we have no other leaks . 

so this is the miracle that god does ip knew that big ass would be leaking can you get it could kill us it wasn’t hard time and more than that he put on parts of the gas company none the idea to test with a different gauge . I know now how clearly god wants to answer prayer .  and I saw his good hands responding in very short order .  so I am thankful I’m alive and I’m very thankful that I know the lord and more than that I’m thankful that he loves and protects us .  god is good all the time .

Written by Barbara Bloom

April 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord.

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This week has been a roller coaster of emotions, of God work in our hearts and lives. And out of the depths of my soul I have been crying out to the Lord for his wisdom and clarity to know what I am living through. To see through the fog of emotion and to sense his strong hand of leadership. And it is there. Amen.

If you have been reading my posts you will know that we have been in a challenging place – unemployment, depression and a mother in law with problems that she wants to turn into our problems.

Out of the depths of my soul I have been crying out and begging for clarity on what to do with this life, with this sense of hopeless wandering, loss of income, loss of purpose, and midlife rejection by society. I confess I have been depressed and sluggish with simple things like cleaning the house, or doing laundry. Then it happened, and the Lord’s wisdom flooded my foggy soul. I had christian radio on while I was washing dishes and found myself listening intently to the conversation. The guest was an expert in spiritual warfare. He began talking about how we invite the darkness to have a foothold, and sometimes we do not know what happened to bring this oppression to our lives. And oppression can seem to linger, take hold.

I am all ears…. oppression – yes, i think this 2 year adventure qualifies as somewhat oppressive. The depression has been challenging at best, frustrating and life sucking is more accurate.

He went on to say that as a born again believer we cannot be posessed, but the darkness can follow us, thwart our lives, steer us to the rocks, and make every effort to disable our lives as christians. But “take heed- ultimately God the Father is in control, and he gives us tools to deal with this.” OK, i have heard this before many times.. I am all ears still.

First the most important thing is to define the source of this permission for the darkness to have its way in our lives. – I began thinking – what have i done, seen , read, or surrounded myself with that is dark, and in opposition to the Lord? Many years ago as a young believer I remember addressing this issue – and i did a thorough inventory of my life. List out what might be standing against the Lord Jesus.

Second- confess to the Lord these strongholds. Surrender them to the Lord and ask him to forgive you, and cleanse you from this.

Third – pray and stand against these strongholds. Pray with all belief, resting in the armour of the Lord, knowing that the Lord goes before you to win this battle, and secure this ground for his Glory!

So the inventory began again – and i thought of tv shows that had dark content, and a movie we recently saw that bothered me. In the name of Jesus I confess these as sin, renounce them and stood in the blood of Christ, redeemed and restored as a child of the King Jesus.

The afternoon after I spent time in warfare prayer I got wonderful amazing news that made us both jump for joy. Blessings and a door that only the Lord could open. It was brilliant and wonderful news. We were still thanking the Lord when it happened. The cell phone rang and it was the mother in law. Swooping in to rage against us, accusing us of untruths, and offering only belittling demasculating comments. And there it was… there was the biggest answer. Now we are fairly certain my mother in law is not a believer – although she has tried to pretend this. The timing of her call was incredible – and it was within minutes of good news. And her words were so hurtful, so cutting, like sharp knives stabbing us.

I watched my husband’s face, and realized how deeply painful these calls are to him. They are wounds that try to disable. Honestly they are words that do disable us- because they are words that come from someone who was blessed with the sacred honor of being a mother. Mothers should not kill and destroy with their words.

I had not told him of the radio show, or my prayers… until then.

I dont want him thinking I am calling his mother a demon – but i wanted to try to explain that Satan is using her to try to get to us. Before I could say anything he told me almost exactly those words.

So I suggested the inventory and prayer process.
As we began the inventory a pattern emerged. All of this stress and disturbance began when she came to live with us 2 years ago. During the time she lived with us this spiritual problem unveiled itself several times. Once when she and I got into an argument she acted oddly for a week, wearing those sunglasses the eye doctor gives after an exam both day and night so I could not see her eyes. Then she told me she had extensive counseling for a multiple personality disorder. I remember being gripped with the thought “Lord, what have we brought into this house. protect us.” No, it was not scenes from a scary movie, but it was irratic and disturbing behavior. At the time we were both stressed and trying to make the best of life. But her comments stayed with us both. Christians cannot have multiple personalities… they can be schizophrenic, or bi-polar, or have other mental illnesses, but this “multiple-personality” thing was just oddly not settling to my understanding of God’s Word.

Then we started tracking when her calls came, and realized that they were always on the heels of a victory, or quickly after the Lord had shown us his hope, his peace, his Glory.

We took our concerns to our prayer and bible study groups and asked them to join us in praying through this until there is a victory. The victory is already won by King Jesus.

Here is the audio link to this show:
http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_ProgramDetail.aspx?id=66132

“King Jesus, the Mighty One, You are the one that called me from the darkness, washed me in your blood. I come to you now, confession every time when I have aligned my heart with something dark. In the name of Jesus I confess my hostility toward my mother in law. In the name of Jesus I ask that the darkeness that we allowed to come into our home through my mother in law is now cancelled, and yielded to the Lord Jesus. By your blood and authority I ask that all forces of darkeness flee from us, from our home, and our minds. In the name of Jesus I claim our home for Jesus, and ask that every square inch of my life, soul and home exist for the glory of Jesus Christ. I now rededicate my life to Jesus, and rededicate our home to the Glory and Use of Jesus alone. I thank Jesus for the victory knowing that He holds the authority and power over everything. And I pray for the soul of my mother in law – that the Lord will take hold of her soul, draw her out of the darkness, and that she will come to know salvation and freedom from oppression and posession. In the Glorious name of Our Great God I pray. Amen”

Written by Barbara Bloom

February 3, 2012 at 4:52 AM

thank you lord

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In my last post I poured out my anxiety, fear, and frustration that my thoughts run all too quickly to thoughts not ordered by God. Forgive me Lord for this.

And thank you Lord for your unfailing love. Thank you that you trust us with this trial. I go back to one of those early lessons as a new believer that I prayed that you refine me just as gold and silver a re refined. This is a time of refining, of purging the dross from my life. Thank you that you want to see my life refined and purified.
May you have your way in my life. I just want to thank you for your great and merciful love.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 20, 2012 at 1:39 AM

keeping my whits

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Friday was a day filled with major blessings, emotional highs, and so intense frustration that desperately tried to steal any hope that God is in charge of our lives.

As you know we have been on the hunt for work – a full time job- for 23 months for the hubby, and 17 months for myself. I think we are becoming insulated from the frustration of a work environment that does not want 50 somethings who have experience and education… we are no longer pretty, and perceived to be wanting the moon in tow with the big salary.

Well, anyhow, along with unemployment comes creatively paying bills. We have tapped the savings out long ago, and then the 401Ks, and now we have enough for one more mortgage payment then who knows where it will come from. Unless the employment situation turns around we are not sure where this money is going to come from – and everything in me wants to be scared and totally freak out like a small child who has lost any senses of security. But then that still small voice of God reminds me I am his, I am bought with the blood of the lamb, and i am loved, cherished, and he will not let his children beg for bread. Aaaah, the voice of God breaks through that crazy welling up sense of panic.

So I ask myself “Do you really believe that your life is in God’s hands?” “Is he really going to come through and open a door of employment for one of us?” “How big is God- am i out of his grasp?” My mind has been running at hyper speed, toggling between the definitive “YES! YES God loves me and has me in his firm grasp – and it even says in Isaiah that he has my name written on his hand. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without the father knowing this, and how much more important am i.” and “Look where you are now – everything about your life is upside down… look deeply at your life- how good can this be that you cannot find a job? why did you do grad school? that really helped, didn;t it?”

No, I am not hearing voices. I think this is just the spiritual war for my mind. I know that I must constantly lay it all down.. surrender my life, my mind, my circumstances and my very being to Jesus and leave it with him.

“So tonight I come to you Jesus, giving you my thoughts, my emotions, my sight, and my very life. You are the all knowing, always present, loving one, the savior, my redeemer, my king. I honor you and yield this life to you again. Like prisoners of war I march my thoughts to you and hand them over too. I know that apart from you I am nothing and can do nothing. I ask you to guard my thoughts, keep my gaze on you, and show me what you want of my life. We have seen you move in miraculous ways and the enemy try to swoop in to steal the blessings. I hide behind your shield, your armer, and want to retreat into you as my high tower. As this battle continues give me your wisdom and your strength to know how to proceed. I do ask Lord if you would open a door for a job- for income to pay our bills. Show us where to look, and make that way for us please. I yearn for the day when you call us home, and we can fall before your mercy, yielded fully from this sin scarred body, and this sin scarred world. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 20, 2012 at 1:35 AM