Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for the ‘growth’ Category

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Written by Barbara Bloom

April 25, 2014 at 7:18 AM

Bugs on the windshield

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There is a Jamie Grace song “Beautiful” that was playing on my headphones when the text message came in..

On the way to work – car died
Car wont turn over
roadside assistance here now
roadside left, waiting tow truck
towed to garage, waiting on the mechanic
head gasket blown, oil and radiator fluid everywhere – too costly to repair

Words fell like bullets into my gut.  And yet the song continued to play and the lyrics jumped into my consciousness:

When trouble seems to rain on my dreams
It’s not a big, not a big deal
Let it wash all the bugs off my windshield
Cause You’re showing me in You I’m free
And You’re still the refuge
That I’ve just got to get to
So I won’t let a day go, won’t let a day go by
So put the drop top down, turn it up,
I’m ready to fly.    – Beautiful, Jamie Grace

By faith i will not focus on the trauma of the loss of our only vehicle.  By faith i will let this rain storm wash all the bugs off my windshield, and trust this is working toward a greater goal.

Its strange to say I have a deep peace in this decision. I will trust God for the provision of a vehicle, which will be functional, and which we can afford.  He has provided our every need in the past, and he changes not… so

“Lord, this is your strength. You own the cattle on a thousand hills, and your wealth is beyond what we might understand.  You have told us that you are our loving father, and that if a child would ask his father for a fish would he give a snake instead (no, absolutely not), or would he give a stone for bread. No, you are good, and even before we were aware of the need you knew.  You hold everything in your control.  Please lead us and guide us to the vehicle you wish us to find, and provide the means to purchase it.  Today, unwaveringly i will trust you for this.  You are indeed worthy to be trusted, and i thank you now in advance knowing that an answer is at hand.  Amen”

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 15, 2014 at 9:49 AM

All we can do is pray

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No, not a hopeless statement, but a declaration of sheer dependency on the Sovereign God who rules over all things. I hate to tell you that i bristle when I hear someone say “well, all we can do is pray” as if to say there is no other alternative.

Prayer needs to be the core and first choice of every human… seeking the wisdom, guidance, clarity, and abundance that only our father can bring is not a last ditch effort.

Prayer has always been a part of my life, but in the crucible of unemployment, sharp and marked economic reversal and new health concerns there is no other thought than to lay everything into the hands of God, and seek his clarity daily. And honestly that may also be moment to moment at times.

So why do we carry a misconception that as humans we have the power to make everything happen, make it better, heal that wound, change that future in our own power.

For those of you reading who still believe you have great power over your life please excuse me for being so brash, but “You don;t have power over your life. Nor do I over mine.” Surely we have times of free will, and times when God blesses us in spite of our best layed human plans. But the truth is even the breath we breathe comes from Him. Salvation is not something we can conjur up – The Father has to draw us, to put a deep longing, a hunger, a desperate need for His Salvation deep in our soul.

And we are hopeless to shrug this sin nature, apart from His Spirit filling us up and changing our hearts. And yet we sin, and yet we stumble and fall. But He stands waiting for us like a parent holding his arms out and calling us back.

So the next time you hear someone say “all we can do is pray.” I challenge you to turn it around and say “Prayer is all we can do – the answer is up to the Lord.”

Written by Barbara Bloom

March 17, 2012 at 2:40 AM

Recognizing the Battle

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In my reading and research of spiritual warfare I found a simple chart (fancy word is matrix) that is a clear way of analyzing where the battle is raging and the plan for how Jesus will bring the victory:

Father, we come to you, yielding our lives, homes, children, and every aspect of our life to your authority. Thank you that your authority is stronger than any other. And thank yo uthat there is power in your Word, your Way, and your Authority. Thank you for being The Way, The Truth and the Life. Thank you for your love and grace in our lives and for your salvation of our souls. Be glorified in our lives today. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

February 3, 2012 at 7:07 AM

Posted in growth, prayer

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

Thoughts about Ruth and Boaz

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As a church we are working through the book of Ruth on sundays. Today we read through chapter 3 and the first 12 verses of chapter 4. Ruth is encouraged by Naomi to get spruced up and visit Boaz on the threshing floor, and lay at his feet. He discovers her when his feet are cold, and does the honorable thing of watching over her until morning. In the morning he hunts down the other person who would qualify as a kindsman redeemer – the closes family member that would buy both the land and the right to have Ruth as wife and honor the memory of her deceased husband. This un-named guy flatly refuses the offer when he learns the deal involves both the land and Ruth. Boaz is then free to become Ruth’s Kindsman Redeemer.

I included a photo of the painting known as The Kiss by Gustav Klimt for two reasons.
1. I have an inexpensive copy of this painting hanging in my bathroom. His style speaks deeply to me.
2. this painting reminds me of Boaz and Ruth.

Boaz has wrapped Ruth in his coat in many senses of the word. He has chosen to cover her and protect her. His offering is gracious, honorable, and while we fail to practice the kindsman redeemer concept in our society, he wanted to do the right thing. His love and compassion were coupled with a sensitive correctness… everything should be above reproach.

In a great sense each of us are like Ruth – needing to be redeemed from this life of sin and challenge. We each carry scars of pain that life has given us- whether widowhood, or physical illness, childlessness, unexpected financial reversal. Being honest I must tell you that I cry when I read these passages because of that deep compassion Boaz exhibited. And I know that he is a type of Christ. He is a human example of the divine character of our great God who would not leave us forever in this sin scarred world, but made a way of redeeming us through the death of his son Jesus.

Written by Barbara Bloom

November 21, 2011 at 4:13 AM

Lord help me learn to rest in you

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Lord,
It is 6am and my sleep pattern is all messed up from working those occassional night shifts, coupled with anxiety about the current state of our life. Yes, the bankrupcy is final, the time share is gone, and so are most of our big bills, but we are still not working,and the savings are draining out. The little start up business is not paying the rent, and most employers seem to have slammed their doors to us. So where do we go and what do we do?
and then a still small voice says – “Do you trust me?”
What? “Do you trust me – you remember me, the creator of all life, the one who hung the stars in space, and set the planets in their orbit, the one who spoke and the waters and land seperated, the one who breathed and man came to life. Do you trust me?”

humbled i must say yes, but i am afraid Lord. I am afraid of being on this journey outside my comfort zone.

“Fear me, not life” “Fear the one who can take your life.”

OK, i understand. But will you please hold me until i stop shaking inside. will you give me your wisdom for the future? Will you guide us with your strength and wisdom? Will you open a door that we can earn an income to pay our bills?

“Trust me, my child” “Trust that I have a plan for you, that I want to give you a future and hope. Trust me.”

I will, but i need your strength to indeed live up to this, and trust you with my whole heart. I am still scared. This year has given us a lot of ugly reminders that unredeemed humanity is vicious, sadistic, and uncaring. I wrestle with forgiveness… and then there are times when I know I have declared forgiveness for these people. Help me not be so double minded. For I want freedom from those who have hurt us. I want release to love youand to love people and to share the hope you have given me.

“Yes, trust me though. Let go of your understanding and trust that I am doing a work that you may not see right now. Wait for me, wait for my good hand, and trust me please. For I love you with an everlasting love. I have bought you with the blood of my son. You are mine,and nothing can seperate you from me. Trust me. REstin me.”

and all i can say is “Lord help me learn to rest in you.” amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 5, 2011 at 5:12 AM