The Catcher

Ever notice the catcher in a baseball game? He’s the one crouching down, ever watchful. A very important part of the equation, isn’t he? What a position! Pretty defensive, but, when the need arises he can be very offensive as he plays hard for his team. He catches that runner as he rounds third plate and heads toward home at full steam, before he can reach his goal of scoring a point!

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Let’s take a closer look. When he enters the field and takes his position at the bottom of home plate, he is present for the first and last events of the game shall we say, the runs coming in and strike outs at the plate. He is properly dressed for the job with hat,  face mask, chest protector, leg guards, catcher’s mitt and cleated shoes that dig in to hold his position.

When we think about life, we could compare ourselves to a baseball catcher. No, really, we are given by our “manufacturer” all the equipment we need to be able to handle our “position.” But, what if our equipment becomes compromised? What happens then?

Suppose our  hat has been blown off by a particularly strong storm, an emotional event that took us by surprise. We may feel uncovered, vulnerable with our thoughts a bit muddied or dusty from the stray debris that has been deposited on our mind. Is our perception clear? Can our vision actually be affected and distorted because we are wearing a face mask that has became bent and broken during an unforeseen accident that pitched us forward onto some hard ground?  Let’s continue looking.

Hurt and abuse may have damaged our chest protector leaving our heart bleeding and torn. The protective cushioning that was originally placed there by the “manufacturer” has become damaged and ineffective.

Constantly tripping up and making mistakes can be the result of leaving our leg guards behind when entering dangerous territory. Because of our muddied thinking, we may have become forgetful and not mindful of what we need to don for our daily walk. And how are we to handle things? Reaching out spontaneously to touch what may be forbidden will leave us burnt, hurt and often disfigured with our mitt soiled and torn.

Lastly, where are we going? Are we wearing our protective foot covering when traversing through life? Abuse and injury, either by someone else, life’s circumstances or our own doing can lead us to a place of confusion and pain. Often touching others with that same harmful behavior.

Even though this is just an analogy, we can feel like that beat up catcher who  has has his protective gear destroyed. We know that our loving Father has sent us here to be part of his world, his Kingdom. But, the events of life can surely take us on many different roads, some being very difficult to trek. Jesus told us that in this life we would have trouble. Sometimes I think, “well, thanks Jesus!” But, he also said to be of good cheer because He overcame the world. Sigh of relief. He has already done this! The work is finished!

He is the one who can lead us back to wholeness. Whatever that may look like for each of us. Perhaps a straightened gait or cleared mind, or sharper vision with thoughts that bring joy. Broken hearts can be made whole when they are placed into His hands that His word tells us, have been engraved with our very names.

For sure, this may not be easy, it may be extremely difficult to turn our faces toward His. Hurt and unbelief and lies all seem to be clouding our vision. But he is also there to help us. Just one glance in His direction can turn our perspective in a thousand different ways. His ways are higher than ours He says. Taking that first step in our dirty and worn out shoes will lead us to the path of healing and freedom. He asks us, to “come.”  He will restore our “equipment” and help us move on to take our position, bend down, dig in and get the work done. Lastly and most importantly, finish the game well!

Ephesians 6, Hebrews 12, Philippians 3

baseball player in gray and black uniform running

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Real power is in a Name

I love this song! My favorite line, “you didn’t want heaven without us.” No matter what the devil brings including arguments on how to pronounce His name, it is the connection to Him that wields the power when His name is spoken. It shakes the very bones of the enemy with fear at the sound of that name coming in whatever language. It is the assurance of salvation and the knowing that our forever address is Heaven that activates the spiritual movement and realignment that IS prayer in His name!

Two Toolboxes

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Interestingly enough, this blog idea came to me in the midst of a very trying time. I am under stress and my walk as a follower of Jesus has been questioned. However, the Holy Spirit is so wise. During a drive running some errands He began to speak to me about what the christian walk really looks like.
He showed me a picture of two toolboxes. Now, I don’t know if this analogy is one that has been spoken of before, but it surely speaks to me! I saw a brand new shiny toolbox. It was open and silver lined in bright clean metal.  And, it was empty. Then I saw another toolbox. It too was open. It was however, filled with lots of rusty,dirty,  greasy tools. Nothing a good mechanic or fix it man would ever use.

Then I got it! The new toolbox is a gift for us. When we come to Christ, He makes us all shiny and new. The bible says: 
New American Standard Bible
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

So, here I saw that it is as if  we are given a new tool box with which to “work out our salvation.” (not work for salvation, when we come to Jesus sincerely, we are saved)
King James Bible
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

As we travel into our relationship with the Lord, he teaches us how to walk in it. This may be through bible study and reading, prayer and receiving teaching from authentic pastors and teachers of the word. As we come upon these truths and they become part of us, we then begin the process of renewing our mind. Old things are thrown out and new things take up residence within our mind.

New King James Version: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable…

Those old truths and mindsets are then replaced with new ones. Some of these truths deal with honesty, how to speak to others, behaviors, habits, forgiveness, repentance, love, trusting God, giving, and the list goes on. As we encounter a new truth, we have the opportunity to remove the old lie from our mind and replace it with the new truth that comes from God.

Those old thoughts come from our experiences before we chose to walk with Jesus. Those lies which we only think are truths are changed and replaced. Those lies may be thoughts about ourselves like, I am stupid, I am lost, I can’t do anything right, they are better than me, I am a failure etc. Some others lead us to behave inappropriately. We may lie, cheat, speak harshly to others, be sarcastic, break laws, hurt other people etc.

When we understand from the Holy Spirit’s teaching and leading that those things we believed before were just filling our old toolbox with dirty, rusty tools, that we would take out each time we were hurt or triggered by an event. We would use them and then replace them with the remnants of the wounds whether we used them on someone else to manipulate them or to hurt them in order to feel better, or unfortunately, we would even us them on ourselves. Our own flesh and blood would be left to rot and dry on those tools as they were replaced back in that old toolbox.

However as we come further and further to the truth of who God is and who He says we are we find that those ugly old nasty, and rusty tools begin to show up in our new toolbox, shiny and clean. They turn into instruments of healing and comfort. Maybe even glowing with some of the glory of God. As we take these new tools out and use them (and yes, if they are not used, they may get rusty again) we will then learn how to walk in the assignment that was given to us originally by our Father, before the foundations of the earth.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 that God has thoughts and plans for us. Plans for our welfare and peace and not for evil.

So, as we continually empty out that old messy toolbox that represents our life before our relationship with Jesus, we will be following the instructions of the Lord himself by allowing Him to free us and heal us from hurts and experiences that left us wounded and injured, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Remember it says that we are three part beings. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 points this out. God provides us healing in all three parts of our being.

Most of us still have two toolboxes, however as we empty out the former one it will become smaller and smaller and the new shiny, clean one will become bigger and bigger.

Do you have two toolboxes? Perhaps you received your new one and it is still empty or maybe just has a few tools inside. Or maybe you just have the old one still lying around within easy reach. When Jesus said step into the yoke with me, He meant it. His burden is easy and light. Oh, we still have to pick up that toolbox and carry it around, we don’t get off that easy, but wow, it sure is light for how big it is and those tools are light too! King James Bible
Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I am still exchanging those rusty, dirty tools for my new ones, this process will go on as long as I live. But, with the exchange comes more and more freedom to be who He called me to be. Jesus is kind, he gives us all that choice.

 

 

 

 

 

What?!?! But I have GRACE! Have we forgotten that God also told us to Repent!

In the book of James, we read this: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:7-10

Wow, does this sound like the sweet words of the gentle savior? Sometimes Jesus comforts us with words of loving kindness and sometimes like a good parent he speaks to us a bit more sternly with words of correction. However, these words although they may sound harsh, will ultimately take us to a place of personal freedom! We don’t always like to be corrected or instructed to do something. We don’t always see things the way God sees them. He is a God of omniscience, he knows everything all at once. He knows the past, present and future. He knows what we need for today and also the days to come. Matthew 3:2 tells us that Jesus wants us to repent because the Kingdom of God is coming. Well, what does that mean? He wants us to know that there will be an end to this world. How will he find us when he returns with that angelic shout at the last trumpet? Will he find us going about his business or our own business? This is a stern word for us all, but we do not want to be tricked into believing that we will go be with him simply because we have been “good.” That is not what he said, he said to repent. Confess your sins.

Let’s take to heart what the bible says, what the Lord of heaven AND earth is saying to us, to those who he says, have ears to hear. When we take the words in James and really apply them, we will see that it is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of those things in our lives that do not line up to the word of God. When we get serious and really mourn the behaviours and attitudes that need to be rooted out of our lives, it is then that we will receive the freedom we need. By leaving these things in humble repentance at the foot of the cross we enable God’s hand that was stayed, to once again release blessings unto us.

He really is a loving God who wants His best to flow into us. He tells us how that can happen. Obedience is paramount. Obedience to his word brings that freedom and that truth, along with so many other wonderful truths will bring us what we need. He longs for us to come to him and release these things that hinder us. Pride and false confidence brought by the enemy will keep us from repentance. But, really it is so simple. The rest of James chapter 4 will show us what to do. It is our decision if we will do it or not. God won’t force us to repent, but it delights him when we choose to be obedient, and oh how he smiles when we are finally released from bondage by doing so. In order to live that abundant life he tells us about in John 10:10, this must be done, for by repenting we keep the “thief” from stealing from us.

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God WANTS you! He not only loves you, but he really does like you too!

Lately, I have been listening to some teachings about God, the bible and learning some very basic, simple truths. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have been walking with the Lord since 1984 and have been a student of the bible for a long time. However, sometimes, we get so bogged down in all kinds of study that we kind of forget the simplicity of the gospel, the “good news.”

In the book of Ephesians, we find the true heart of God. Paul the apostle, wrote the book of Ephesians, or the letters to the Ephesians,  because he was in the city of Ephesus, Turkey. He sure got around didn’t he? In that ancient city the folks worshiped the idol Diana. She actually was not a god. There was a strong territorial demonic presence on that city at the time and an ancient principality (fallen angel) had a stranglehold on the people by counterfeiting God as a deity that tries to mimic the true nurturing and loving God.  Hence, “Diana” is presented to the people. Paul shows up and has the task of undoing years of mindsets and ancient witchcraft and rituals. The people were so ingrained in the false teaching of this little g god that Paul had to go back to the basic truth of the gospel.

The first chapter of Ephesians gives us great insight. He reminds us that all blessings come from God and that they are available to us through the work of Jesus. He also lets the people who are riddled with false teachings which required them to perform rituals in order to receive what they needed from their god, to know that they are loved just because they exist.

So, did you know that God has chosen you? He has set you apart for a specific purpose? That he not only loves you but He really likes you as well? Yep! Ephesians 1:4. God created us for His pleasure, Ephesians 1:5. He wants us and wants to be near us. One author says it like this: He wants our little faces near His face. Thom Gardner: Healing the Wounded Heart.

So think about this, we sit at home and wonder where in the world God is. We stress ourselves out by thinking that we have to do everything under the sun to make him love us. We take precious time and fret about things that have already been settled by the work of Jesus. Jesus did all that needed to be done when he took our punishment for us. We are to live and love in the freedom that has been given to us through what Jesus chose to do. One teacher says it this way: He took the bullet for us! Michael Smith at http://www.hardcorechristianity.com

So, relax, He’s got this! Our only job is to step into the work that has already been done!  Now, the only thing required from us is to believe that and live according to what He says. You’ll find all that you need to be and do in the New Testament. Jesus is all about verbs. You know, he gives us simple instructions about how to live a life of freedom. Our only job is to find out what these are and do them. How simple is that? Stop fretting, stop worrying, stop going to “what if land.” God has you.

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How is God showing you that He has you in the palm of His hand as the bible says in Isaiah 49:16.

You may contact us at lifestationexpress@gmail.com for more information about how to step into the presence of the one who Created you. Also our Facebook page at:https://www.facebook.com/AngelCounseling

What’s new? New Year musings and discoveries!

Well, here we are starting a new year! 2014, is it really?  Oh wow, how time does fly!

I remember hearing the “older folks” speak like this. Time flies, why yesterday we… and other similar sayings. Now, I am the one using these familiar sentences. This past year has been one filled with wonderful happenings and hard struggles. A new grandson came to our family, our son got married to the love of his life, we discovered another wonderful grandbaby is on the way later in this year, changes and transitions at our church. Many things humming along with the same smiles and frowns as usual.

Our pastor is teaching us some of the basics for the new year, prayer, getting alone with God and reading through the bible. I believe the Lord is taking me to higher AND deeper places with Him and will use these new revelations as I sit with clients in the counseling room. I’ll be sorting and separating these new thoughts and truths with much study and prayer.

In what ways are you moving forward into the new year with the Lord? How is he taking you to new horizons? Please share and encourage us! Thanks! Let’s keep moving along this journey with Him. Remember, if you need to pull off the tracks and rest in the “station” for a while with us, our invitation stands for you to connect with our counseling ministry. Blessings! Linda

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Renewal, rebirth, redeemed, re-positioned, rebuild, reconciled, etc. etc. etc.

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Today is the first day of Spring!!! Yippee! We are coming into my favorite time of year! Signs of renewal and rebirth are soon going to be seen everywhere! As I drive through the apple orchards here in south  central Pennsylvania with my 4 year  old grandson, we rehearse the stages the apple trees go through during each season. All winter long we have seen the bare branches of the numerous trees that line row after row over the rolling hills. We talk about the next step, buds, that will be coming soon, and the next step which will bring the beautiful blossoms and then the leaves and so forth until those trees are full of ripe red apples that will be picked when the air is again cool and the ground begins to get frosty.

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Like the trees and plants that are getting ready for rebirth, we too have the great opportunity to make some new plans for our own lives. Rebirth and renewal and all the other words that begin with the prefix re come with our re-lationship with God. Jesus is the redeemer, the one who brings us to a place of realigning ourselves, spirit first, then soul (mind will emotions) and then body.

What a great opportunity to be re-positioned to the One who created us! In his letter to the Romans chapter 12, Paul says: Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Sometimes, we need to re-do the patterns in our lives that we ourselves have set. Changing habits, or ways of thinking is not always easy, but none the less, when we do, we then line up with what God says and find the road, be it rocky or smooth, a road that leads us forward.

How about you? Are you considering some re’s in your life? At Angel Counseling, we understand what this means. If you would like to talk about some of the things that you are facing and changing, we are here to help you. Feel free to send us an email or comment.  We would love to hear from you.