The Phil Robertson thing…….

I’ve been giving this issue a great deal of thought. At first I just didn’t want anything to do with it, but since it’s been in my face all week, that didn’t work out too well!

First off, this isn’t about Freedom of Speech. Phil wasn’t arrested for saying what he did, his assets weren’t frozen and taken over by the government, nobody came to his house and beat him up. He wasn’t lynched. No rights being violated. He freely said how he felt. About sin. About what he considers the bible to say sin is.  He said homosexuality and bestiality in the same sentence. He said drunkards and terrorists in a way that rather grouped them together. He said that he had never seen a black person discriminated against pre civil rights. He said all of this in a very blunt, rather crude way.

And regardless of your personal feeling about what he said, he was free to say it.

I don’t know what kind of contract the Robertsons have with A&E…. don’t really care.  What I care about is Jesus.

Phil called himself a Bible Thumper….. I have no problem with bible thumpers…. provided they’re not thumping their bible upside the heads of those that need Jesus.

Which brings me to what I feel is the crux of the matter……  Did the comments Phil made reveal the heart of the Savior? Were his words “seasoned with grace”? Did anything show a world that doesn’t know Him,  how much He loves them? He didn’t come to condemn the world, remember……

I have not a bit of doubt in my heart that Phil Robertson loves Jesus. I know that Phil experienced the grace of Jesus and had his life miraculously made new. I have no doubt that he would like to see that happen to everyone. I love Duck Dynasty, I love that they show their love for Jesus. I love how it flows naturally on the show.

Looking at the fruit generated by the comments, tho, I have to say….. Not good. Strife. Division. Anger. This is the fruit I’ve seen from the comments. Nothing that even remotely resembles the fruit listed in Gal. 5.

And I gotta say it…… What was demonstrated in that article was religion. Pure religion. At it’s worst. Jesus was not revealed. No repentance resulted. And Christians are once again made to look like intolerant bigots that don’t care about people.

I don’t think what was said is the heart of Jesus. I don’t think it’s the heart of Phil Robertson…… the very end of the article talks about how he was having someone with a drug problem over later that evening to do bible study with…. One on one…. with compassion and caring… the millionaire was going to share Jesus with someone who needed Him desperately….

If only the rest of the article had shown more of that Phil….

Bumps in the Road

Sometimes when your car hits a bump in the road it does things to the alignment that makes your journey rougher. So you take it to get the alignment fixed so that your traveling can be smoother.

Last week, I hit a bump in the road. And found that my ride was rough. So I had the Master Mechanic check on things, and He showed me some damage that the bump had brought to light. He showed me this so that I could watch Him fix it, not so that I could jump on it and try to fix it myself…. I’m no mechanic!

We all have damage that makes our journey rough sometimes. And when you hit these bumps of life, the damage comes to light. These are the things that are our weaknesses, our insecurities, our fears.

Thank you Jesus, that You will make Your strength perfect in these things! Because Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. And Your grace is more than enough!

I have to believe that The Word never returns without fulfilling His purpose for it. HIS purpose, not MINE…….  

I will never get tired of the way He touches me in my weakness and somehow makes it “all better”. The way He will “kiss the boo-boo” and the hurt goes away…..

I appreciate the bumps in the road that give me opportunity to watch my Master Mechanic in action…..

And I am undone, all over again, by His love for me……

Faithful

Sometimes I can just tell that something is off. Not quite right. I’ve learned, that as far as I’m concerned, I do have to look at myself a bit since my tendency is to just ignore things and hope they go away……

So something was off….. I felt off….. prayer was off….. worship was off…… Not really bad, mind you, but kinda off.

So I asked the Lord to show me what was going on….. and guess what? He told me! So what did I do?? Welp…. true to form, I immediately started working on what I had to do to fix this problem…. And things kept getting more and more off…. I started getting kinda cranky…. and tired…. and impatient.

Thanks to Jesus for His goodness to me! He showed me that I was like a gerbil on a wheel trying to fix what was lacking in my relationship…. Like the Lord had shown me a need in my heart so that I could fix it!  That’s not why He showed me at all! I can no more fix things that are wrong with me anymore than I can fix ANYthing going on in my life! 

He showed me the problem so that I could WATCH HIM TAKE CARE of IT! And I realized that I was doing it again…… trying to work for my relationship….. trying to please a God who is already as pleased with me as is possible…..

And as soon as I saw and decided “hands off the thing, YOU can have it”, BOOM! Life is good and nothing is off…..

The only reason I can think of why I so easily fall into this trap of trying to do…. is…. well….. habit. I’ve been programmed to do it…..

Another area where I can watch HIM fix it!  It’s gonna be a straight “Hands OFF” policy from here out….. not because I can get it right (EVER), but because He will let me know when I start the doing thing again….

I so need the Holy Spirit!

Highly Pleased

God is highly pleased with me. His face shines towards me with acceptance and approval. Because of Jesus.

I can get to a place where I  think that God is maybe “okay” with me….. that He’s not condemning or punishing me…. but it’s a stretch to think that He is pleased with me when I feel that I’m not doing right. But the truth is….. God doesn’t need me to perpetuate His glory on the earth! He can do that totally without me.

I want to please the Lord….. He has done so much for me that in my gratitude and thankfulness, I want to please Him. To bring glory to His name….. to make Him look good to an unbelieving world. And there isn’t anything wrong with that….. UNLESS I make that my focus and start trying to perform……

Whatcha talkin about Kari Ritchie??

I can get so caught up in DOING things that I think please God…. things I think bring Him glory…. things I think, I think, I think…… that I forget that He wants me to BE. With Him. He doesn’t need me to make Him look good….. He only wants to enjoy me, love me, be pleased with me, bless me….. and He wants me to receive or take His love, enjoyment, pleasure, and blessing from Him and enjoy my life in return.

I cannot enjoy my life if I’m concerned with what I’m supposed to DO all the time. Then I either do it well and get full of myself, or I do it badly and get condemned.

The greatest way I can pay God back for all He has given me thru Jesus is to enjoy it.

I have to trust that if He wants me to do anything….. He’ll tell me. Clearly. I have to trust His ability to speak to me more than I’m depending on my ability to hear.

And I have to quit trying to figure it all out on my own……

He is highly pleased with me…….. He loves me just the way I am and doesn’t want me to be any other way.  Because of that, I’m gonna have a good day!

More on Community

I love the idea of a group of people being as close and committed as family, willing to help each other. But I can’t trust it. I’m convinced that eventually, something will happen that hurts me. Or makes me angry. (It’s easier to be angry).

Abuse makes us vulnerable. And I hate that. The relationship that Jesus and the disciples had, the way the early church was, well….. I just don’t ever see it happening. I wish I could see it happen. And maybe it would, if we weren’t so afraid of it.

Thankfully, perfect love casts out fear. I pray that Daddy God loves all of us over our fears of what community is NOT so that we can enjoy all that community IS in Him.

I refuse to disconnect. I will, on purpose, put myself out there and risk the hurt and abuse. Jesus will love me over the fear…..  Care to join me?

“Community”

From Kelly Craig’s Facebook post…  “God is not the one punishing us to a barren life void of meaningful relationships. We are the ones who often pull away (from others) at the point of healing intimacy. But healing intimacy requires that we leave a heart numbed by disillusionment, bitterness and anger and open that same heart up to those God places in our lives. Trust is the bridge that we learn to walk across together in order to experience that healing (place of restoration) in the context of community.”

 

Me here…..

I’ve never had a good experience with “community”.  I grew up in a small town…. One that certainly had it’s good points, but was also full of gossip and spite for anything different than their norm.  I was different than the norm of that town…. Which meant I didn’t experience much positive out of the ‘community’. There were criticisms, judgments, and ridicule…. mostly ridicule. That was my experience of this particular  community.

Every church I had been a part of had a very definite “do it our way” attitude…. Sometimes it was subtle and not out up front, sometimes it was blatant, but regardless, it was still very much there.  Once we were a part of a church that I thought was going to give me “community” and it ended up with the pastor leading some serious, ugly ritual abuse. (Ugly story).

I’m leery of “community”.

Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to the Amish lifestyle… not the old fashioned stuff like no electricity or inside plumbing (yuck), but how they take care of each other. Granted, they all have to follow what I considered total legalism, but they do take care of and look out for each other. And even the shunning thing is up front and everyone knows what to expect. Of course, all I know about it is what I’ve read in the fiction books about Amish, but it sounds wonderful to have an entire community looking out for each other. It’s what the church is supposed to be.

Lately (the past few weeks actually), I’ve felt myself disconnect from the people around me…. I do all the pleasant, superficial stuff…. And can even share things that matter to me, feelings and what not, but I’m doing it almost as tho I’m just waiting for the ax to fall…. the bomb to drop… the rug to be pulled out from me…. to be cut off at the knees. I go thru the motions, but I’m not engaged. I’m just going thru the motions….. because deep down, I don’t believe in community… I don’t see it ever happening… altho Georgetown Community Church was the closest I ever saw. And I draw back…. right at the point of true relationship to keep things at a distance….even if it doesn’t look like it. And I’m a master at not letting it look like it. It’s safer that way.

He is “I AM”

Think about this……

Who is making sure that I’m forever forgiven?

Jesus says, “I AM”

Who is making sure I am righteous?

Jesus says, “I AM”

Who is healing my body, giving me money, favor, energy, joy, peace and wisdom?

“I AM”

Who is telling me what I’m going to be when I grow up? Taking care of the people I’m concerned about? Revealing Jesus to people who don’t know Him?

“I AM”

Who is healing my hurts? Keeping me from depression? Renewing my youth?

“I AM”

Who is protecting me from all evil? Famine? Lack? Stress? Hormone imbalances?

“I AM”

Who is going to know me better than anyone, and love me with no conditions or expectations?

“I AM”

Who will always be there for me?

“I AM”

 

Well….. you get the picture…..

 

 

Why is Confession so Important?

I’ll be honest….. I hated the “positive confession” thing. The whole “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it”…. I just cringed when I heard this stuff. I had seen the entire “word of faith” thing so perverted with greed and spiritual pride that it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

I had purposed in my heart that never again would I parrot something someone up front told me to say. I just wasn’t gonna do it. Unless, of course it was something I wanted to say…….

So I go to church, learn about grace, get excited…. and guess what? The guy up front is big on the folks confessing…  Things like “I’m the righteousness of God”, “I’m forgiven,”  good stuff…. But I still kinda cringed when I heard it.

Then I was at church one day and my heart was hurting. I was down, and feeling defeated. I was trying to do the praise and worship thing, and I just wasn’t into it…. my heart hurt. The guy who talks up front (that would be our pastor) turned around and for a moment our eyes met. I didn’t hide the hurt and helplessness I was feeling, and I could see that he knew what he was seeing in my eyes.

So he goes up front….. has the music to stop, and…… tells everyone to stand up and repeat after him… OMG!!  Seriously??  I’m hurting here and he wants me to parrot what he says? Like that’s gonna fix anything?? Well….. Jesus is so good to me…. He whispered to my heart… “just say it, Kari…. just say it”. And of course, I did…… feeling totally silly and just knowing that confessing the reality of what I am in Jesus was not going to make me feel any better….

But guess what? By the time we were finished “confessing” the reality of what Jesus did for us and what we have because of Him…. my heart didn’t hurt. My feelings weren’t hurt. I didn’t feel like crying anymore. On the contrary…. I felt….. strengthened. Encouraged. At peace. Almost…. joyfull…..

Because I SAID the truth…. out loud. I confessed. I blabbed it…and then had it. 

Go figure!

I learned something that morning….. first of all, something isn’t bad or wrong just because somebody did something goofy with it.  And that it’s not enough to know the truth, or to believe the truth, you have to speak it. Out loud. You have to confess it.

Our words are a powerful thing….. we can talk ourselves happy…. or we can talk ourselves unhappy.  I never realized just how wonderful Jesus is to me, until I started saying it. Out loud. On purpose. And that’s why confession is important.

Believe in your heart, confess with your mouth….. sound familiar??

“If your earthly father knows how to give good gifts…..” A Father’s Day Tribute

One of my first memories of Dad is when Mom would start cooking supper and anticipation began to fill the air….. 4:30 pm was when we all began to gather. Because Dad was coming home! I remember him coming in and all of us being there to rush to him and how he would pick us up and touch our heads to the ceiling…… How mom’s calling “Daddy’s home!” filled the air, and how even the dog was excited!

It was okay that as we got bigger, it hurt our armpits just a little when he lifted us up under our arms…… and altho I was pleased to be “bigger.” it was just a little sad when I became too big to lift.

I remember one time when my sister was racing on her bike, and wiped out horribly. Dad came running and scooped her up and took her into the house…. and even tho I could see that her head was bleeding, I just knew she would be okay, because Dad had her.

When we were sick and camped out on the couch, he would come in from work and tenderly place his so big hands on our heads and faces to see if we had a fever, and I felt so cared for, that this big man would so gently check to see how sick I was…..

There was a time when money was short, and Dad took another job to work after he was finished with his day job……. we weren’t short in that we worried about the house payment or lights or food….. but he wanted us to take vacations in the summer, and have better than just surviving…….

We all tease him about the Saturdays when mom would be gone and he was in charge of the “room cleaning” that we did every week….. How what passed for clean with mom was a no go for him….. How he would come in and inspect and demand better. I have never admitted how good it felt when we finally had it done right….. how satisfying it was to see order and neatness. (Trust me,, I have never been orderly OR neat!)

And even tho he did tug a bit, it was wonderful that my big, strong, dad would actually curl my hair for church the next day…..

I also remember,, how living in a town that was somewhat racist, I came home with words that he explained to me were not any way to refer to another person. That skin color doesn’t matter…. that it’s what inside that counts. And I believed him and learned….. because my Dad didn’t lie. Ever. I have never heard my dad lie or “take liberties with the truth”… as he is wont to say!

I saw him love my mom….. when she would be playing the piano and he would come in and do a little dance and sing along…. I loved that!

When I got older, somehow I was under the impression that I knew more than he did and that he could no longer teach me anything…. Gotta love that teenage know-it-all attitude!  But even then, I knew he was right more than I liked……

We were driving somewhere one day, just the two of us, and he was talking to me about how sometimes you feel like you should have accomplished more with your life….. I wanted to comfort him, but I couldn’t get over feeling almost incredulous that he would feel that way!

My Dad was always accomplishing….. He was the most honorable man I knew….. and I had more respect for him than even I knew…. To me he was perfect…. and the life he had made for himself and all of us was perfect as well…..

My dad is still the most honorable man I know…. and I have more respect for him than anyone else in the world! He is always learning, always growing, always loving…..

And when I was in the darkest place I had ever been in my life, when the very foundations of my soul were shaken, I could still believe that my heavenly Father loved me and was for me. Because I had a lifetime of experiencing that with my Dad. He has truly shown me the Father’s heart….. even during the times I couldn’t see…… 

“And if even your earthly father knows how to give good gifts, how much more will your heavenly Father give to you…..”

Thank you, Dad, for being an example of an earthly version of my heavenly Father to me, so that the trust I have in you to help me in all I need makes it easier to trust in Him.

Happy Father’s Day! I love you!

It Just Happens!

I have learned that three of the best words ever are, “It Just Happens!”

Whatcha talkin about, Kari Ritchie??

This………

When I love Jesus because He loved me first…..

When I believe and accept that it’s ALL what HE did and nothing that I do….

When I know and acknowledge that I’m forgiven, forever and for always….

When I accept that I’m not at all in control or responsible…..

Then…..

Peace, “just happens”….

Thankfulness “just happens”….

Worship, “just happens”….

Blessings “just happen”….

Freedom “Just Happens”…

Everything I need, want, or should be….

JUST HAPPENS!!

I don’t have to work anything up! Jesus did it all….. my part is to know that I HAVE NO part!!

When I do my part…. (see previous line) things JUST HAPPEN!

Does the world really hate Jesus?

I’ve been pondering this, and while I haven’t arrived at a definite conclusion, I do have some thoughts.

I understand that there is a spirit of “antichrist” in the world. Cause it’s fallen and all that. Last Days stuff. But when I think about it, I wonder……..

Does the world hate the real Jesus, or is it just the parody of Him, that the church (law abiding christians) have shown them, they hate?

Think about it, Jesus said that they hated HIm and likewise they would hate us. But the prostitutes didn’t hate Jesus. The tax collectors didn’t hate Jesus. The poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, the addicted, even the demon possessed did NOT hate Jesus.

So who was Jesus saying hated Him? Well, there were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes and other Jewish leaders. So the RELIGIOUS folk of the day hated HIm. Because He did not follow the rules. Their rules.

Lots of people call themselves Christians. And lots of them truly love God. They love Jesus. They are trying to SERVE Him. But they miss the purpose of the cross in its totality. The FULL Good News. (Gospel). And by full, I’m not talking about gifts of the spirit, altho that is part of it, I’m talking about ALL grace. Not just grace to get you saved so that now you can serve God, but grace that never ends and is for everything.

Because they are not understanding grace, (or are afraid of it) they are MEAN spirited towards anyone or anything that does not agree with them. It shows. They come across (may be really great people on the inside) as rude, judgemental, controlling, and prejudiced. Very unloving. Just nasty, unpleasant people, unless you’re in their little circle of people with what they consider “truth”.

These types of people  bite and devour one another as much as they do anything that they cannot control. Their self-righteousness is repulsive to the world. (It’s repulsive to me and I’m pretty sure it’s a “stench in the nostrils of God” as well! Filthy rags and all that.)

And not just Christians….. there are other religions, with extreme elements, that hate anyone different than them. So is it possible that the “world”, the drug addict, the homeless, the sinners, the ones who know they’re sinners and lost, even if they don’t understand, would never hate Jesus? My Jesus. The One who took so much pain and suffering upon Himself and loves with no conditions and lets us be who we are and accepts us as such.

The world mocks Jesus…… but they mock the parody of Him that they’ve seen from us. The true Jesus, they need and would love. They would no more hate Him now, than they did when He walked the earth.

Could the spirit of antichrist be a spirit that is within the church and all religion rather than among the “world”?

Something to think about…..